Aby-a-Day – 22 Juni: A Cat in Paris (Cartoon Tuesday)

The other day, Björn and I watched a movie I bought ages ago to have enough to get free shipping and then completely forgot about: Une Vie de Chat – A Cat in Paris. It’s a French film about a cat named Nico who leads a double life: Cat burglar’s partner by night, little girl’s adored companion by day.

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It’s a marvelous movie, with suspense, intrigue, pathos and humour. But what struck me most was this one cat during the opening credits.

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Kind of looks like an Abyssinian, don’t you think? At least the colour is spot on.

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Whilst the plot definitely holds your interest…it’s the art that really captivates. It looks like hand-drawn colour pencil drawings, and the way it’s done, the colouring is constantly moving. It’s kind of mesmerising. We watched the dubbed version, and the English voices are a nice mix of British and American; it’s better than most dubbing jobs. If you can find it, it’s a great cat-themed film, showing that cats can be loyal and love their humans.

Aby-a -Day – 11 Maj: Family Cat (Cartoon Tuesday)

So last night, we watched the most recent, and quite possibly the best, episode of Family Guy…Season 19, Episode 19: Family Cat.

While it does include some dog-centric stereotypes, it’s actually a pretty cat-friendly episode, and it discusses the conundrum of Toxoplasma gondii. And, you have to admit, that one cat on the far left looks a lot like a cartoon Aby.

I am not sure how long this link will last, but you can watch the episode on YouTube.

Aby-a-Day – 20 Mars 2020: Toothy Towels (Fashion Friday)

This was back in 2017, but Björn found the cutest embroidered towels in the That’s Sew Creative shop on Etsy.

Just look at these cute designs…and don’t they look like Abys? We had been using my Yoga Cat towel on the tub, but the minute I saw these, I knew we had to have them.

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I had only two requirements…we had to have dark grey towels, and her machine needed to be able to make the Ö in Björn. Which, as you can see, she could do.

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Here’s mine. I love the bow on the tail. They make me smile every time I go into the bathroom.

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But are they Abyssinians?

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Alfred seems to think so.

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.

Is it an Aby? Somali edition: Holiday money card

You know me, I’m always on the lookout for greeting cards with Abyssinians – or Somalis – on them.

I found this one last week at Target. I think it’s a Somali…but what do you think? The colour on the cat is pretty desaturated, so that makes it harder to tell…

Aby-a-Day – July 28: Masquarade (Hipstamatic Monday)

One of the biggest attractions at ArtBeat is the vast collection of arts and crafts booths selling all kinds of alluring items.

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I saw this wooden masquarade mask with distinctly Abyssinian-like markings in a woman’s hand at the Magpie booth and I dashed up and blurted out: “Do you have any more of those cat masks? I need one!”

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The shopkeeper looked at me like I was a bit nutty and, bemusedly, pulled out a second cat mask.

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Then she saw Jacoby in his stroller and it all made sense. This clever wooden mask on a stick is a “Silly Stick” made by Maple Landmark in Middlebury, VT. But as great as it is that the mask looks like an Abyssinian…

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…the backside is a scuba mask with a small clownfish!

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How perfect is this for the NEMO show next month?!

Abys are Everywhere – Helping people get dressed since 1742

Check this out: François Boucher, an 18th century painter from France, painted a cat that looks suspiciously like an Abyssinian into one of his works.

The painting, titled La Toilette, depicts two women getting themselves ready for something…a normal day, a grand gala, a shopping trip…and while they’re dressing, a helpful Aby is cheerfully underfoot.

Tell me that’s not an Aby! Look at that smile!

Abys in Need – Mr. Jingles & April in SC and Fatima in GA

Two sad stories of Abys in need of homes today, I’m afraid…

First we have Mr. Jingles and April, originally from Long Island, NY but now in South Carolina.

“I have 2 Abysinian cats, 12 years old, Mr. Jingles and April. I am in Long Island NY and was unable to care for them. I had them shipped to a friend in SC who said she could care for them. She is having issues and it is not working out. She has other animals and my cats do not get along with them.

I need help!! Is anyone willing to care for them? Mr. Jingles is diabetic and he gets insulin injections in the morning and evening when he eats. Please let me know, they deserve a better home, she has been keeping them in a bedroom because of her other animals for the last 65 weeks. When they were with me they were indoor/outdoor so I know they must be suffering and it is breaking my heart to know that they have not been out!!

They are purebred and both front declawed. I will get the name of the breeder; my husband and his father bought them from her, she is on eastern Long Islnad. We have bought 4 Abys from her; 2 passed away. Holly, Mr. Jingles’ sister, passed after getting spayed and declawed; her heart was too weak for the surgery. Diamond was hit by a car shortly after she was spayed.

My sister lives in NC and can help shipping them for me. I have their carriers and insulin and needles as well. They may need more as I am not sure now even the girl is even caring for them the way they should be cared for. I am worried. Is there anyone that can help me?”

If you can help out with these two seniors (I think Mr. Jingles is the fawn and April is the red), please contact Kara by email at kara1566@aol.com or telephone 516-410-2318.

Then we have Fatima and her five kittens in the Dekalb County shelter in Decatur, GA. I don’t know if Fatima is a purebred Aby or not, but she definitely looks Abyssinian, and so do two of her kittens. Fatima was posted on the Dekalb Rescue Facebook Page.

“Fatima is a 1 year old golden and black Abyssinian cat who just arrived at the shelter with her 5 newborn babies. The shelter is no place for tiny kittens, so this sweet family needs rescue ASAP.” Jacquelyn on Facebook, who lives in the area, visited the little family this afternoon, and she posted the following:

“I visited Fatima today, and she is indeed a true Aby, albeit a poorly-bred one. She is a ruddy with banding on her lower legs, and the MOST gorgeous green eyes that these flash photos do not do justice to. Just look at that eyeliner and little white chin! She is also a LOVER; even as she was nursing, she was rubbing her face against my hand and giving me head butts. (If she is this sweet when she is nursing, can you imagine how wonderful she will be when she’s spayed?) She’s just a baby herself, estimated to be 11 months old.” Three of her five kittens look like they may be ticked, too. Jacquelyn has also started a “Free Fatima Fund” to raise money to go towards Fatima’s sterilization and no-kill shelter support (over $300 has been raised so far!); check the Abyssinian Cat Club on Facebook for more information. Let”s find this sweet mama and her kittens good homes! Fatima comes pre-sponsored thanks to the “FFF,” but she won’t be available to be adopted until after her kittens are eight weeks old.

For more information about Fatima and her family, please email the shelter at rescue@dekalbanimalservices.com or phone 404-294-2949.

Abys are Everywhere: ResQ Thread’s Winston & Aby Cushions at Primark

Check out this awesome “Adopt” T-shirt from Res-Q Threads!

They don’t say it’s an Aby, but come on, look at those eyes! His name is Winston the Winter Cat…and if you buy his T-Shirt, $10 will go to the animal rescue of your choice (Which, interestingly, includes the Yolo County SPCA…the county I grew up in)!

If you want a shirt with Winston on it, you’ll need to move quickly – he’s only available through 16 February! So hurry over to Res-Q Threads now before they run out of your size!

Alsom, Abyfriend Sanna-Leena found these awesome cat cushions at Primark, but before you get all excited, Primark only has stores in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland), Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK, and they don’t have an online store, so they can’t be ordered or shipped. But if you live in one of those countries or know someone who does, you’re in luck!

“Feline tired of your stale cushions? This cat cushion is purr-fect!”

And they’re only £4 each! Although shipping would probably cost more than the pillows. Of course, if it helps, you can always tell yourself it’s a cream and white British Shorthair or a cream European Burmese, not a red/sorrel Aby…

Abys are Everywhere: Aby Cat Scouts represent

Look who’s on the Cat Scouts’ front page slideshow:

Jacoby’s been getting some really nice mentions lately in Cat Scouts. Have I mentioned how much I love that site?

Is it an Aby? New T-Shirt Dress at H&M

Back in April, I discovered that H&M had a T-shirt with Aby kittens on it. Well, they’ve done it again. I think.

This is a new-for-fall T-shirt dress and it only costs $17.95. It actually runs a bit largish, for H&M…the medium is actually a medium! And I’m pretty sure this kitten is an Aby, because…

…doesn’t he look just like this kitten from Abyfriend Leza?

Aby-a-Day – July 28: Dizzy

Let me just preface this by saying I think this is a Somali.

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I’m fairly certain he’s a cat. That seems to be the general consensus, anyway. I do know for a fact that Dizzy is definitely not a squirrel, and if he were a dog or a fox, he’d have more of a snout. JLed includes a lot of felines in his art, so…cat it is.

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Whatever he is, he’s pretty cute.

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When I was in New York, I made my usual pilgrimage to Toy Tokyo in the village. And I saw a lot of figures by Joe Ledbetter. I already have his Chinese Zodiac Snake, which I got last year in Baltimore, but when I saw Dizzy

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Well, you can see why I had to have him.

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Shades of rust…black tipped ears and tail…

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Yeah, I’d say Dizzy’s a Somali.

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Jacoby really likes him, too.

Abys are Everywhere: Graphic Cat T from Forever 21

At least, I think it’s an Aby.

Catsparella turned me onto Forever 21’s new line of cat lady chic tops and accessories, but…But just look at the Graphic Cat Tee with the mesmerising yellow-green eyes!

Is it an Aby? I vote YES. Look at the markings around the eyes! Look at the “are you moving towards the treat cupboard?” expression on that face. Oh, yeah, that’s an Aby.

And the best part? It’s 100% cotton and only $15.80!

Aby-a-Day – December 8: Tsumineko Abyssinians

That the Japanese really, really love cats is a well-documented fact, especially on the internets. And they also seem to love certain breeds of cats: you see a lot of photos of Japanese Scottish Folds, Munchkins (I saw my first Munchkin in real life in a pet store in Tokyo), Japanese Bobtails (of course), and Abyssinians. I see more Abyssinians depicted on Japanese items than anywhere else.

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I got this stationery around 1999 or 2000…mainly because it featured an Aby kitten!

So you can just imagine my delight when, playing the newest smartphone cat game craze Mew Mew Tower, I noticed that some of the cats were definitely Abyssinian-oid.

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See that little kitten on the top of the heap? That’s meant to be an Aby!

Also known as Tsumineko (and, sometimes, “Cat Sin Crime” when translating Japanese websites to English), the object of the game is simple: stack cats as high as you can.

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You take your cats randomly out of the balloon-supported “Kitty Box” and you stack them, one on the other, as high as you can. Simple, right? The cats themselves, though, are the fun of the game. They make faces and meow, especially when a bigger one is set atop a smaller one.

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Of course, my favourite part of the game is the Abys. There are kittens…

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…and adults. There are no fat, bob-tailed Abys in this game.

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Here’s a close-up of a kitten.

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And here’s one of the adults.

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There are different versions of the game available for iPhones and iPads, and most of them feature an Aby. My personal favourite is Mew Mew Tower 2.

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There is also a comic book that can be found at Amazon.jp, and there’s also an e-version available through iTunes. All of the variations are pretty darn adorable.

I’m not exactly sure of the translation of the word “Tsumineko”… according to Wikipedia, “Tsumi” means “sin” or “crime” and I’m not entirely sure how stacking a tower of cats is a sin. But it explains why the common English translation is “Cat Sin.”

The Tsumineko website has lots of information (all in Japanese) and also wallpapers and desktop patterns.

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Tsumineko aren’t easy to find in the US or Canada yet, but if you look at eBay or Amazon.jp, you can find some Tsumineko toys, like this plushy stack of three (that stay together through the magic of Velco).

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There are also keychain/cellphone charms that are remarkably detailed.

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You can also find cellphone charms that can be stacked into a sort of chained tower. You buy them in sets of two or three cats and link them together as you choose. This one features a big fat cat and an Aby kitten.

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Which Google translates as: “By connecting Fastener Mascot sin cat (Abyssinian Chibi Hachiware & fat)” on Amazon.jp.

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You can get cats being pulled from the Kitty Box by the disembodied hand (which I personally find to be rather creepy).

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You can link the cats together into a pretty impressive tower-chain.

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There are also sets of magnetised cats that you can stack into actual towers.

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These sets also include the Abyssinians.

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One part of the comic book features photo-cartoons of cats posing with their plastic Tsumineko counterparts. It’s adorable, and, although I can’t read Japanese, I’m sure it’s hilarious, too. But these photos inspired me…

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…so, here’s Jacoby with the Tsumineko Abys.

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He’s not quite as good as posing as the Japanese cats were.

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Whoops…he knocked down one of the towers. Not the Abys, though, you’ll notice.

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But best of all, there are more Tsumineko items coming out all the time. I discovered a set of four Otoneko (middle-sized) cats with mufflers that were released in late October/early November, one of which was the Abyssinian!

Well, of course I had to find that Aby! Sadly, the muffler cats aren’t available for sale; they’re only available as claw machine prizes at various “UFO Catcher arcades in Japan But, thanks to a marvelous eBay seller called Gentleakindo_in_Japan who promises “If you can’t find items you’re looking for, please feel free to contact us. We will find any item for you!!” I was able to get the Aby Otoneko!

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He’s a really well-made plushy, too. I have a Docomo Mushroom that was wrested from a claw machine at an arcade in VenusPort after a long struggle and many 100 Yen coins, and it’s wonderful. This little Aby is as well-crafted as any stuffed animal you would pay for in a store.

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Of course I had to put a red scarf on Jacoby and pose them together.

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He posed much better with the larger Tsumineko than he did with the little ones. In fact, he posed so well I was inspired to make this:

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Because one of my favourite LOLcats needed an Aby update, don’t you think?

Tsumineko have not been around that long in Japan; from what I can tell, they’re about a year old. Hopefully, their popularity will spread to North America, and we’ll be able to find these toys here.