Aby-a-Day – 13 September: Backstory to Wordless Wednesday (Thursday Things)

Yesterday’s post showed professional photos I had taken of Angel, Jacoby, Alfred and Lorelai back in May.

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When I saw the poster at our local DjurMagazinet, I jumped at the chance. Not so much for Jake, who has had his photos taken by Chanan as well as other professionals, or Rory, who will have plenty of opportunities to have photos taken at shows throughout her career, but for Angel and Freddy, who won’t ever get to go to a show.

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Unfortunately, Björn had to work that Saturday, so I was on my own with the four LunaTicks. I packed up the lot and put them in Jake’s Strollercat stroller.

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There was just one teensy problem with that. Jake didn’t want to share. This was the early days of his mystery illness, and he was cranky. So I let him ride on top of the stroller. He was actually fine with that arrangement.

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It was not at all easy to wrangle them over to DjurMagaznet…but at least it was scenic. Look at those gorgeous poppies!

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When we got to the store, Jake didn’t want me to unzip the stroller and let the others out.

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Too bad, Jake.

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Of course, all the LunaTicks were instant hits with staff and other shoppers.

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It’s one of the idiosyncrasies of Sweden that there are ice boxes full of ice creams for sale in all kinds of random stores. Even pet shops will sell you an iced lolly. And Freddy wanted one.

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He was disappointed- “Aw…Mooooooommmmmmm…!”

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Meanwhile, Jake occupied his stroller.

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And pretended to ignore that Rory was still in there.

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Meanwhile, Angel and Freddy were exploring the little café that the store has set up for customers.

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And Angel and Rory spent some girl-time together as well.

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This was Rory’s first really big outing with other cats.

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I wonder if she saw Angel as a sort of mother figure? She’d only been with us three weeks…

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Yeah.

Stay classy, Freddy.

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Rory especially drew a lot of attention from people…kittens have that effect on people.

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Jake occupied his stroller whilst shooting daggers at the other cats.

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When it was our turn to have photos taken, I had some help transferring the cats to the photo room. There are, of course, no “behind the scenes” photos…I was too busy trying to herd four cats!

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Towards the end of the session, Rory was starting to get sleepy.

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On the walk home, I was able to open the stroller and let them walk. They didn’t all avail themselves of the privilege right at first.

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Eventually, they all got out and walked a bit.

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Although it would have been a lot easier if they all wanted to go in the same direction at the same time, but hey.

Aby-a-Day – 26 May: I have no teeth and I must chew (Silly Saturday)

You may recall my post a while back about Alfred’s obsession with chewing. A favourite is rawhide sticks covered with dried lamb or duck, but I also give him Matatabi sticks and dried turkey feet (our kitchen floor looks a bit interesting). Well, now it’s become a kind of fad amongst the LunaTicks. Jacoby doesn’t really get why Freddy likes it so much, but he’ll steal the chewsticks or rib bones and gnaw on them anyway.

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But there’s one cat I never thought would jump on the chewing bandwagon.

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Angel.

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I mean, she only has THREE TEETH! But there she was, the other day, carrying one of Freddy’s chewsticks around the apartment and chewing on it when she felt safe to do so.

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Teeth or no, nevertheless, she persists.

Happy Ticked Tabby Day!

Today is National Ticked Tabby Day ! A day to celebrate all the Abys, Somalis and Singas in the world!

…and that’s different from every other day, how, exactly?

Aby-a-Day -18 March: “If you gaze long into an Abyssinian, the Abyssinian also gazes into you” (Swedish Sunday)

This is another post written by my husband, Björn. While Björn has had cats most of his life, he never lived with Abyssinians before…

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Before Jake and Angel moved in, the most active cat I had lived with was Olivia (1999-2010), the small tortie shorthaired Norwegian Forest cat mix. She was pretty talkative and active, annoying and fun (usually at the same time). Still, she was nothing compared to cats like Jake, Angel, Alfred and Logan.

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Other cats I had met, like those of friends, were pretty sedate, just like my own old cat, Pyret. Some hid under the sofa and refused to come out when I was visiting, others were just furry couch potatoes. I had met Jake and Angel in Boston in 2015, and had seen their antics during our FaceTime sessions before Koshka moved here. I thought I was prepared…

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18 June 2016. Two cats are let out of their travel cage and explore their new surroundings. Soon I’ll learn what it means to live with Abys. While Angel is more like a regular cat as long as there’s no meat involved, my old Pyret was the opposite to Jake.

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Active, attention-seeking and affectionate (usually), the claim that Abys are the most dog-like of cat breeds is proven true.

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Did I say dog-like? Abys aren’t really like dogs, at least not at the dinner table. Dogs are usually well behaved and just sit there, with sad puppy eyes and whining, hoping for a scrap. Abys, on the other hand… Or paw.

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Living up to the epithet “grabby Aby”. Any plate within the reach of an Aby is fair game, and that reach is considerable. Turn your head for a couple of seconds, and that piece of chicken is gone. Don’t think that just because you’ve stuck your fork in the meat that it is safe.

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The Aby looks at it and says: “Is that meat you have on your fork? Mind if I insert my head between your hand and mouth and take it?”

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It was rubbing off on my old cat, too. OK, she always had a thing for shrimp off my pizza, but she began to join the other four-legged (or rather two-armed) pests when we had a meal.

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She wasn't as aggressive as the Abys, though. The young boys – at least Freddy – have adopted the bad habits of their elders, but that was just a matter of time…

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Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Living with Abys and a Singapura is a whole new experience, and I would never consider one of those decorative but passive breeds that might score first prizes at shows, but which are about as fun as a plushie. With Jake, Angel, Freddy and Logan around, there’s almost always something happening.

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Contrary to what uneducated people think, cats have personalities, and with their intelligence and activity, I would say that Abys are among the most personable of all breeds. That helps now, when my Pyret passed away two weeks ago. To have the other cats around have made the loss a little bit less painful. A home without a cat isn’t a real home.

Aby-a-Day – 17 March: My goodness, my Guinness (Silly Saturday)

At this local pub we go to for book club meetings and the occasional pub quiz was festooned with these silly Guinness pint glass St. Patrick’s Day floppy hats when we were there last Thursday. Of course, we had to snag one to show the LunaTicks. It turned out to be just the boys…Angel, sagely, made herself scarce.

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Logan was in his favourite brown nest bed and I couldn’t drag him out just for some silly photos. So, I just put the hat on his bed. I think he liked it.

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When Alfred came into the room, I moved the hat to our tree stump cat tree.

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He was actually a little afraid of it.

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He’s usually so brash and fearless, it was highly amusing to watch him be so wary of a new thing.

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I tossed it on the floor, and I think for a second he wondered if it was alive.

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He examined it thoroughly, inside…

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…and out.

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Then I did that slightly mean thing that all cat people do…I made the “Pssssst! sound and he jumped back.

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Which actually might be a good thing. Maybe I can put it on places I don’t want him to go.

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Jacoby, on the other hand, was unfazed…or should I say, unfezed?

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This is Jake’s 8th St. Patrick’s Day, of course, and he used to live at Ground Zero for the legendary Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I guess it’s all old hat to him.

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Meanwhile, Logan came out of his bed and joined us on the sofa. I came up for a different way for him to “wear” the hat.

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I’m not sure if he liked it or not. With that face, it’s hard to tell sometimes.

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Okay, then. Guess he didn’t like it. Well, St. Patty’s Day isn’t really a thing in Sweden anyway, apart from some bars.

Aby-a-Day – 4 March: Pyret party (Swedish Sunday)

This is the first of (hopefully) many guest posts written by my husband, Björn. In his first post, which was originally written before Pyret died, and revised after she left us on Friday, Björn describes his experience of going from having one elderly cat to living with two active adult Abys and two kittens.

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With the passing of Pyret two days ago, I’ve rewritten this piece. My cat is dead. This is who she was, and how she was affected by the four- and two-legged people in her life.

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While having a horde of Abyssinians (well, two) descending on you is an experience in itself, it didn’t come quite as a surprise. Not so for my old cat, Pyret. She was an old dame, born in a stable on a farm in 1999, and used to having the run of the house since my other cat, the black tortie Olivia, passed away in 2010. “Pyret” translates as “the little mite,” as she was really tiny when we got her.

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Pyret was “my” cat ever since my ex and I got her as a kitten. She liked to be in the bathroom when I enjoyed a soak.

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Pyret’s background affected her dealings with other cats. When she was a kitten, she and the rest of the litter was orphaned when they were just five weeks old. My then partner got her a friend (Olivia) a few months later, but they didn’t really bond. Still, Olivia taught Pyret how to cat, like using the litter box and cleaning herself.

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Olivia as a kitten, about six months old. She was a talkative and rather smart cat, annoying and amusing at the same time.

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Pyret sure was a pretty cat, though, even when age and failing health made her lose weight. Pyret was gentle, and except for a couple unlucky birds and the unfortunate incident with Koshka’s finger, she never hurt anyone. The photo above is from 1 April, 2000, when Koshka visited us.

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She took the photo, never expecting that she one day would become Pyret’s mom.

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Pyret and Olivia got a new room-mate in 2003, when my son Kalle was born. When we came back from the hospital with our baby, the cats met us at the front door. Kalle cried a little, and Olivia vanished, hiding for a couple of hours, while Pyret showed some interest in the new arrival. Kalle has always had cats around him, and Pyret was like his older sister.

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Scruffy, but otherwise in good shape for her age. Her last weeks in life saw her lose weight, and it was heartbreaking to see her waste away.

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When she became the sole cat again, she didn’t show any signs of missing company; she was “my” cat, and appeared happy with sleeping and eating and not much more. Her life was uneventful for six years, with not even a visit to the vet.

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18 June, 2016. Two cats were let out of their travel cage and began to explore their new surroundings. Pretty soon Pyret and I learned what it meant to live with Abys. While Angel is more like a regular cat as long as there’s no meat (or corn) involved, Jake was the opposite to my old Pyret. There was plenty of hissing and growling; Pyret wasn’t too happy about getting her territory invaded, but with a large apartment (five rooms and kitchen, 120 sq.m./1290 sq.ft.), they didn’t have to share the same space if they didn’t want to. She kind of accepted them after a while, but kept to herself most of the time.

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Then, on 6 June 2017 and again five days later, on the 11th: Kittens! Alfred and Logan arrived on the scene. This time, the period of hissing was much shorter. She didn't bond with them, either (although Logan tried very hard to befriend her), but she didn't mind their presence. They mostly left her alone in her favorite spot in a chair next to my computer desk. We were together since the first weeks of her life until the last day of her long life, and I never had a pet this long. While she was far less active than the LunaTicks, she had always been around, and for a long time she was healthier than one would have expected from a cat her age. I counted every year past her 15th as a bonus, but all good things must come to an end. She died at home, surrounded by familiar things. When she had brief spells of cramps, we comforted her. We hope it was a better choice than a trip to the vet and a needle in an unfamiliar room. The other cats appear to understand that she was ill and that she’s gone now, and not just disappeared.

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Having the other cats around will hopefully soften the blow, but to me, Pyret will always be #1. Her spot next to my desk is so empty now, and I mourn her. She was like all of us made of stardust, and she was a tiny piece of the universe that experienced itself in the shape of a cat for the 18½ years she graced this world.

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When she died, a friend wrote this:

“Att somna från alla sina liv. Tassa rakt in i evigheten. Bo i hjärtan. Spinna i minnet.”

Translation: “To leave all lives in the sleep. Pad straight into eternity. Live in hearts. Purr in memory.”

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Björn’s early photos of Pyret and Olivia can be found here (ignore the broken thumbnails – they still lead to the photos).

Aby-a-Day – 3 March: “Some are born Abys, some achieve Abyness, and some have Abyssinians thrust upon them”

Shortly after Pyret was born, her mother disappeared, and her litter would have died if not rescued and bottle-fed. While Pyret had her littermates for a short while, she never had an adult cat to serve as teacher, mentor, and example. It wasn’t until Olivia arrived that Pyret learned any semblance of how to cat.

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But then Olivia died in 2010, and Pyret was an only cat for six years before having her live invaded by two Abys.

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Another year after that, another Aby and a Singapura were added into her household.

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She hissed at them – a LOT – and she only cuddled or slept with Logan (because Logan never takes no for an answer), but I think part of her was happy to have other cats around. Maybe she would have preferred to have few cats sharing her home…

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…but she clearly decided that they weren’t all bad.

And Björn noticed that the LunaTicks had a definite effect on Pyret.

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Before she was invaded by the ticked horde, she never begged for food when Björn was eating or preparing a meal…unless he was eating a pizza with shrimp on it.

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But after the Abys and Logan arrived…

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…she started picking up their bad habits.

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Cats learn by observation and example, and Pyret was quick to adopt the ways of the LunaTicks.

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Who says you can’t teach an old cat new tricks?

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Whenever any cat hears us cutting something in the kitchen, they come running in the hopes it may be meat.

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We had a smoked lamb leg at New Year’s, and whenever we took it out to cut some meat off to eat we were swarmed by the LunaTicks…

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…and also Pyret.

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While she may not have been as proactive as the Abys and Logan in asking for bits of meat,

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she was definitely a participant in the Hunger Games.

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One fun thing we do with the cats is we play the “Hunt Crunchies” game. It’s simple to play: get some dry food and toss it, one piece at a time, and let the cats “catch” it.

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The competition can get quite stiff.

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The Abys, especially, are treacherous opponents, as they use their quick hands with impunity. That, and they are so food-oriented!

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But even against the hungriest Abys on earth (Alfred and Jacoby), Pyret held her own. These last photos were only taken six months ago, and she was right there in the middle with the boys, catching crunchies!