Aby-a-Day – 22 July: “I have one speed, I have one gear: go!” (Cat Show Cinema Sunday)

In a couple of weeks, Lorelai and Izaak will be going to their first show together, held by the Järva Kattklubb in Stockholm. This was Logan’s first show last year.

loganagilityC04801

loganagilityC04802

It was a fun show, and it was held as part of a larger animal fair called Djurens Helg, with dogs, horses, small mammals, birds, reptiles and even insects! There was a lot to do and see during the show downtimes. Sadly, though, this year Djurens Helg is the weekend before the cat show.

loganagilityC04800

But the best thing of all about this show was that they had cat agility set up! I hadn’t seen that since I was back n the States.

loganagilityC04797

Now, you may remember that Jacoby absolutely sucks at agility. But Gun-Hee was really good at it, and came in fourth place as a kitten at our first Seacoast show. So when I saw the agility set up, I had to give Logan a go.

loganagilityC04769

loganagilityC04778

And, after getting himself oriented in the cage…

loganagilityC04790

loganagilityC04792

…he did really, really well!

loganagilityC04777

But at the end of the day, he had come in third place! Unfortunately, there were only trophies for first and second places, but still, he ran the course in 4 seconds!

loganagilityC04781

It wasn’t a circle, like the one in New Hampshire; it was just a straight line, but he did it perfectly. We are hoping it will be back again this year, because we cannot wait to show it to Zak and Rory!

loganagility

Oddly, as with Gun-Hee, we didn’t manage to get a very good video of Logan running it. This is the best we could manage.

LoganJärva

So, here is a video of Logan playing in his benching cage. (Click on the images to see the videos on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – 16 July: “No guts, no glory” (Medical Monday)

(This post was written by Björn, as I was so busy helping the doctors I wasn’t as able to record what was going on.)

jakestrollerIMG_3979

Jacoby has been really grumpy for the past few months now. He’s been hissing and growling, lashing out at the kittens (but not hurting them, thankfully) as well as attacking Alfred and Angel. He’s been barfing more than usual, and on top of that, he’s lost a significant amount weight over the past seven months, going from 4.9 kilos in January to 4.1 kilos the first weekend in July (10.8 lbs vs 9.4, or a sixth of his weight). We’ve been mystified by this change, which is so unlike Jake. He used to be a sweet, stable cat, and his current grumpiness has to be an indication that something’s physically wrong with him. He’s been to our local vet a few times; a blood test done in April showed no abnormalities and we tried amitriptylin, Metacam, Feliway, calming collars…everything we and the vets could think of, but nothing helped. While at the cat show a couple of weeks ago, we were talking to our neighbor about cats (of course), and she mentioned a cat of hers that had had similar symptoms because of plastic he had eaten that had stuck in his digestive tract. That set off bells – Jake has always been a plastic eater, to the point where we have to tuck the plastic garbage can liner in carefully so he doesn’t eat the bits hanging out; we just had never made the connection between that and his sudden personality change. We had an ultrasound appointment with our regular vet, but as it’s vacation time right now, the ultrasound technician wouldn’t be back until 24 July. We didn’t want to wait that long now that we had the idea about plastic, so Koshka called the AniCura animal hospital in Jönköping, some 100 km (60 miles) away. They are the same people who took care of poor Logan in his final days, and we know that they are a professional outfit.

jakebjörntouristofficeIMG_3982

We got up early on Friday 13 July, and took the local bus to the railway station. The train ride was one hour, passing through the fields and woods of a summery western Sweden. We arrived in Jönköping around 10am, and killed half an hour before getting on the bus to the animal hospital.

jakebjörntouristofficeIMG_3983

Jake visited the local tourist office where he made an impression on the staff.

jakepigeonIMG_3991

jakepigeon20180713_102027

Next to the bus stop, there was a pigeon with a death wish, as it strutted about without any regard for the predator in the stroller. Good thing for the feathered fool that Jake was tethered.

jakebusIMG_4006

jakebusIMG_4010

Then we got on the bus, where Jake regaled the bus with the song of his people.

The three of us arrived at the hospital some 20 minutes prior to our appointment. The animal hospital is a well-run operation, with separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs.

jakeultra20180713_111514

Jake was called up, and it was time for his ultrasound. The ultrasound tech was a friendly Pole named Dr. Wojciech who had 20 years experience in examining animals with ultrasound. He shaved Jake’s belly (the fur would interfere with the readings otherwise),

jakeultra20180713_111526

applied the gel,

jakeultra20180713_111612

and began the examination.

jakeultra20180713_111624

Jake struggled a bit, but he bravely endured the 25-30 minute examination. Dr. Wojciech pointed out the organs to us, like the intestines, kidneys, stomach and so on. It was really interesting to see Jake’s insides.

jakeultra20180713_111903

jakeultra20180713_112408

He could tell us that there was no signs of any plastic or other foreign bodies, which blew our working theory out of the water. There were signs of some enteritis in the small intestine, but Dr. Wojciech didn’t think that was the reason for Jake’s problems.

jakevetjön20180713_121348

jakevetjön20180713_121133

After the ultrasound, we were taken to another examination room while we waited to see the next vet. You may recall from when Koshka took Logan to this vet that they have excellent bird TV.

anicuramagpieIMG_4022

Well, this time it was extra excellent.

anicuramagpieIMG_4019

A magpie came to eat at the feeder! Jake wasn’t especially impressed, but Koshka got very excited.

Dr. Cecilia arrived, and, like Wojciech, she impressed us with her professionalism.

jakevetjön20180713_121628

She asked us about Jake’s symptoms and problems. As an optometrist, I know about how to do an anamnesis, and I thought she was very thorough.

jakevetjön20180713_123346

Dr. Cecilia ordered a full set of blood tests to be taken, and a veterinary nurse (whose name unfortunately evades me) brought syringes and the other paraphernalia needed.

jakevetjön20180713_123407

jakevetjön20180713_123427

jakevetjön20180713_123501

jakevetjön20180713_123658

Jake got a mild sedative, was rolled into a towel, got his front leg shaved, and his blood drawn. He was very brave about it, not causing any trouble. The vet nurse bandaged his leg.

jakevetjön20180713_123721

Dr. Cecilia wanted a urine sample, which was to be drawn by Dr. Wojciech.

jakevetjön20180713_124307

jakevetjön20180713_124441

Jake had to go back to the ultrasound room, where his bladder was located by ultrasound.

jakevetjön20180713_124558

jakevetjön20180713_124604

By using a syringe and drawing the urine directly from the bladder, any contamination by proteins from the urinary tract was avoided. Dr. Cecilia returned, as she’d remembered one more thing she wanted to check. She palpitated the base of Jake’s neck, and confirmed a suspicion she had. She noticed that his thyroid was somewhat enlarged on the right side. Jake got a prescription of Royal Canin Sensitivity Control. This diet is to be followed until the vet calls back about the final diagnosis, but if we are lucky, there’s just a problem with his thyroid. That is easily medicated.

jakeIKEAeatIMG_4035

The whole visit took about two hours with very little waiting time between the examinations. The vet bill was about 6000 SEK (about USD $680), but most of that should be covered by the pet insurance. We said our goodbyes to the hospital staff, and took the bus for a quick trip to IKEA.

jakeIKEAeatIMG_4034

Even in his stroller, IKEA would not let Jake in, so we took turns shopping. And, since he had fasted from 21:00 the night before, Jake was ravenous. While I shopped, Koshka let Jake try his new food, and he polished off two packets of the wet version.

jakejönIMG_4039

After IKEA, we had a quick visit with my mom, brother and sister, and then, finally, dinner at a new Mexican restaurant in the center of town.

jönsunsetIMG_4042

jakejönIMG_4043

A long day for all of us, but well worth it.

Aby-a-Day – 15 July: Playtime for kitties! (Cinema Sunday)

It has been crazy hot here in Sweden this summer – like, Boston summer hot. We just aren’t used to this here; in Sweden, not only do most places not have air conditioning, but they don’t even have an air circulation system. It’s hotter indoors than outdoors during the heat of the day. So, we took Jacoby, Alfred, Lorelai and Izaak outside the first weekend Zak was with us. We took our Ferocious Friends cat toy with us (we met them at the Somerville CopyCat Festival five years ago). It’s really a great toy to take outside . it’s very sturdy and durable…and the cats love it!

roryrunC06830

roryrunC06832

roryrunC06840

As you can see by Rory’s stalk-and-pounce.

freddyrunC07020

zakfreddyrunC07026

zakfreddyrunC07080

Freddy, too, was unable to resist its siren’s call.

roryzakfreddyrunC0797

jakeroryzakfreddyrunC07101

At one point, almost all the cats were playing with the toy…everyone except Jake.

roryzakrunC07128

roryzakrunC07131

But really, it was mainly Zak and Rory…take a look at the video to watch them play with it.

Aby-a-Day – 3 July: Paw & (dis)Order: Abyssinial Intent (Cartoon Tuesday)

In memory of cousin Taz, I am re-running his and Jacoby’s best cartoon appearance: Paw & (dis)Order: Abyssinial Intent.

abycartoon39

It started as a random comment at the Mansfield show in 2012 and grew into…well, this. Meg had brought a little girl called Tiger Lili, who had Jake and Taz all het up. So she became the star of the cartoon as well. Taz and Jake were wearing collars because Meg had gotten them both collars to wear; Taz’s had a sort of flower on it.

abycartoon40

Originally I was thinking they’d be Briscoe and <aCurtis, but they ended up being more like Goren and Eames (Taz being Eames, of course).

abycartoon41

Annnd…I couldn’t resist throwing in a David Caruso joke, because who doesn’t love crime procedural mash-ups?

Aby-a-Day- 27 June: Wordless Wednesday (Exploring the back of the apartment building)

freddyjakebacksideC04731

roryfreddybacksideC04741

roryfreddyjakebacksideC04747

freddyrorybacksideC04750

roryjakebacksideC04760

freddyjakerorybacksideC04761

freddyjakerorybacksideC04766

freddyrorybacksideC04768

freddyrorybacksideC04771

freddyrorybacksideC04772

freddyrorybacksideC04775

freddyrorybacksideC04779

roryjakebacksideC04785

roryjakebacksideC04786

freddyrorybacksideC04788

othercatbacksideC04792

othercatbacksideC04790

Aby-a-Day – 25 June: This is us (Hipstamatic Monday)

I haven’t done a Hipstamatic Monday in over two years. I’ve gotten a load of new films and lenses since then…so I figured, hey, why not?

hipsta-angelFCLF3837

So let’s go from oldest to youngest…as much as we can. Starting with Angel.

hipsta-angelVAQC0300

Lately, she’s been a big fan of the canoe bed that currently sits on the Danish modern chair that needs recovering.

hipsta-angelUEGM3776

It’s one of those cat bed fads, I know…but she is so cute when she’s in the canoe.

hipstajakeQGUP1984

Next up is Jacoby.

hipstajakeSXNI3898

Good old reliable Jake.

hipstajakeCXBH6710

hipstajakeEACE1737

He’s been a Hipstamatic cat since the very beginning,

hipstajakeLYME0808

hipstajakeESPQ8360

As always, I love the randomness with Hipstamatic.

hipstafreddyVAYY7279

Here’s Alfred.

hipstafreddyVVUT1267

hipstafreddyWXNF7372

He’s shaping up to be as big a poser as Jake is!

hipstazakXMFI6679

Izaak has shown us that he loves IKEA mice along with any largish plush toy. He even likes the Han Solo mousie!

hipstazakHSPR7981

He’s not even here a week and he’s already showing a distinct personality.

hipstazakFHEF4025

He’s very protective of his mousies.

hipstazakfreddyVVSI4615

hipstazakfreddyITKF3076

He stood his ground to protect it against Freddy…so brave!

hipstaroryCUMX9016

Last but not least we have Lorelai.

hipstaroryKSFO8405

She’s so much larger than Zak, it’s hard to remember that he’s older than she is.

hipstazakHWBN7069

But yes, it’s been only five days, and they are already best friends!

Aby-a-Day – 23 June: Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se (Swedish Saturday)

Yesterday, Sweden celebrated Midsommar, the second biggest holiday after Jul (Christmas), on par with the States’ Thanksgiving in terms of gathering together and feasting. The Nordic countries love their solstice celebrations.

.jakemidsommerIMG_5347

Swedish Midsommar is celebrated on the Friday nearest the Summer Solstice. It has varied origins, much like Christmas, but mainly comes from pagan rites. It has a lot to do with Freya and Freyr and the worshipping of fertility and a rich harvest during the Viking age (The fact that many Swedes, including both Björn and Kalle, have March birthdays may or may not have anything to do with all that fertility worshipping). Traditions include erecting a leaf-and-flower covered midsommarstång (or majstång – maypole), which Swedes dance around (this post’s title comes from the “Frog Dance” song, which involves hopping like a frog and croaking. There’s also a verse about pigs).

jakemidsommerIMG_5356

Traditional foods eaten at Midsommar include lax (salmon), boiled new potatoes, sill (herring) and strawberries. People also have barbecues and dinner parties. And they drink (it’s best to get to the alcohol stores early before Midsommar, because the lines can get wicked long and they can run out of your favourites,

jakemidsommerIMG_5357

Beer, wine and especially snaps (something like aquavit) are the beverages of choice. There are several nubbevisor (drinking songs) which are often based on popular tunes with the lyrics changed to booze- and food-related themes.

jakemidsommerIMG_5359

Ironically for a summer celebration, the weather is almost always cloudy and/or rainy. My first Midsommar was sunny and bright, but the last two were grey. Yesterday was overcast all day…but of course today the sky is blue without a cloud to be seen. Perfect hangover weather.

jakemidsommerIMG_5361

Another tradition is to wear a wreath of flowers on your head.

jakemidsommerIMG_5362

Usually you see women wearing them, but men can wear a flower crown, too. The wreaths can be made using real wildflowers or silk flowers, and of course you can buy them ready-made in stores.

jakemidsommerIMG_5363

I made this one for Jacoby for our first Midsommar, which happened about a week after we arrived here. As you can see, he rocked it.

jakemidsommerIMG_5366

Treats may or may not have been involved in the making of this post.