Happy International Cat Day! (Abys are Everywhere)

Today, 8 August, is International Cat Day. In honour of this important day, my friend Robin sent me this video created by e-on, a Swedish electric company.

Of course I checked it for Abys.

This guy kind of looks like an Abyssinian…but then, that might just be the spacesuit.

However, THIS video, made by target=#>Whiskas UK (who, I discovered whilst in London, make a LOT of awesome commercials that are so good you almost forget they’re trying to sell you something) definitely features some Abyssinians.

Like this handsome chap, as well as the lad at the top of the page.

Happy International Cat Day!

Aby-a-Day – 23 Juli: Louis Wain (Cartoon Tuesday)

In London, we spent a good bit of time looking for treasures in second-hand shops. I was on the hunt for anything regarding the early Abyssinians, and I figured England might be the place to find it. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any Victorian-era cat breeding books, but I did find a print by the pre-eminent cat artist Louis Wain. There were a couple of different ones, actually, but I thought the limerick was charming:

A girl, who was dreadfully flustered,
Helped Ma-in-law to a spoonful of mustard!
Her Ma-in-Law stared,
Asked how she dared!
But she told her she thought it was custard.

The print was marked as being from 1910.

When I got it home and framed it, however, I discovered it wasn’t just a print…it was a page from a book! And the other side was also very cute…but there’s a mark on it that I Photoshopped out when I scanned it, so I kept the limerick side out. Louis Wain is known for more than just his drawing…he also had some sort of mental issues (possibly dementia or schizophrenia; mental illness wasn’t as sophisticated 100 years ago), and, even though he was put in an asylum, he kept drawing cats that became more and more psychedelic as his illness progressed. In the filigree decoration on the back of page seems to presage his future drawings.

He was an incredibly prolific cat artist, and his work was published in books and as postcards. I found this very Aby-looking fellow online as a part of series of postcards celebrating “taking the waters” at Harrogate, one of the first ever “spas” where people went every summer for sulphur treatments. The treatments involved both drinking and soaking in the water, and Wain did four series of six cards each as souvenir/advertising. After finding the Abyssinian “sulphurer,” I became fascinated by these little glimpses into history…probably because, as a kid my dad tricked me into drinking sulphur water from the Lithia water fountain in Ashland, Oregon. I know what it tastes like!

In researching Louis Wain’s work (I was unable to find my images online anywhere, believe it or not, so I don’t know what book my page came from), I also came across this happy little guy. I know know much about him…but doesn’t he look like Izaak!? It actually kind of reminds me of that sketch of Zak I did back in March.

Aby-a-Day – 15 June: Hi, I’m Mat (Fashion Friday)

I bought a new doormat last week. I found it at Rusta, a Swedish chain of clearance/dollar stores, the sort of place that gets discontinued merchandise from other stores and sells it on the cheap. You also have no guarantee of finding the same thing twice.

But is it an Abyssinian mom and kit, or just something that looks vaguely Aby-like.

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This is our front door. The black wooden cat sillhouettes are made in Sweden, and the stickers say “Warning for cat,” “Warning for cat hair,” and, on the newspaper shelf, “Welcome, I live here.” We also have a Royal Canin sticker advising firemen how many cats are in our apartment. So yeah, we’re known as the “cat family” the same way that the people on the third floor with the incessantly barking dogs are known as the “annoying dog family.”

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Lorelai was the first to check out the new doormat.

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She seemed particularly interested in the eyes.

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Okay, Rory, what do you think? Aby, or not?

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Alfred checked the mat out next, but didn’t give an opinion on whether or not the cats on it were Abys.

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Jake was the last to examine the new doormat.

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But he still didn’t give me any advice as to whether or not these are Abys. So what do you think? Abys, or not?

Aby-a-Day – 26 March: Re Ment Pose Skeleton Cat (Miniature Monday)

Personally, I think cat skeletons are kind of cool. You may remember
my roughly life-sized skeleton cat, Os-car I found at CVS one Halloween. So when Björn showed me a picture of Re-Ment’s Pose Skeleton Cat, I had to get one.

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It’s one of those typical cool Japanese toys with tons of special touches. The cat comes with a litter box (I think…it might be a bed), a typical Japanese wand cat toy, and a belled collar. I added a Schleich cat tower and some food and water bowls I had from another set, and it seems that the scale on all of them is roughly the same.

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The amount of detail on this little thing is incredible. The collar has stitching marks and a leather look, and the bell has a seam and the hole at the bottom to let the sound out.

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Of course, when he heard the camera, Jacoby had to come see what I was taking photos of…and why I wasn’t taking photos of him.

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Jake was very curious about the little cat skeleton and tried to pick it up.

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He only succeeded in knocking over the cat tree. Then he wandered off.

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Thanks a lot, Jake!

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It’s really a tiny figure (as you can see compared to Jake’s paw), but it has eight points of articulation (tail, both hips, mid-spine, both shoulders, neck and jaw)! I really adore this little thing.

Other People’s Abys – Calendar Cats (Is it an Aby?)

My mom gave me a Cat Gallery Desk Calendar for Christmas this year, so I have twice the kitty photos to enjoy.

And look! That sure looks like an Abyssinian nose to me. Of course, it could also be a tabby, or a Singapura…what do you think? Is it an Aby?

Aby-a-Day – December 18: Lisa Larson cats (Fashion Friday)

Ever since my first trip to visit Björn, I have been in love with Lisa Larson’s cats.

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Lisa Larson is a Swedish ceramic designer who as been working since the early 1950’s. She’s especially well known for her distinctive cat designs.

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Björn took me to Design Torget in Stockholm’s Central Station and what do you think I found? A Lisa Larson cat wooden cutting board/trivet! I told Björn I thought it looked a bit like an Aby…I mean, look at the banding! This is obviously a ticked cat!

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I find it amazing that, even though Lisa Larson started in 1954, she’s still active today, making new cat designs.

Aby-a-Day – June 23: Father’s Day 1980

I was going through some old things of mine and I discovered an envelope my dad sent me a few years ago filled with old drawings of mine that he’d saved. Among them was this Father’s Day cartoon I did in 1980, when I was 15.

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It’s actually pretty well-written and clever, considering my age. My dad always did encourage my creative side. And you can actually tell that whatever style I have was starting to develop even then.

And I’m also pretty sure that the father cat in the first two panels, possibly the mother cat in the 7th panel, and definitely the daughter in the 8th panel are supposed to be Abys. Even back then, I was in love with Abyssinians.