Aby-a-Day – April 4: Handsome Panther (Fashion Friday)

Angel got a surprise in the mail yesterday.

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And I do mean that Angel got the surprise in the mail.

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The package was addressed to her, as was the note inside. It was a gift from our friend Wendy and her blue Aby girl Wren.

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It was Handsome Panther!

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You love Handsome Panther. Yes, you do. YES YOU DO!

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Well, Angel wasn’t so sure when she first met him.

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But she soon warmed up to him.

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Wendy said that he reminded her of Angel when she saw him.

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Well, he is purple, and he does have just the one eye…

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…yeah, I guess I can see it. Thank you, Wendy and Wren!

Fashion Friday Extra – Fashion-forward in Finland: Suomi Sweater

Abyfriend Maija was so impressed with Jacoby’s Canada sweater, she asked me for its measurements so she could make one for her Aby Morse.

Here is Morse’s new sweater. Maija explains: “My mother got excited about this project and ended up making the sweater herself (fortunate for everyone as it looks much better than anything I could have made!). The design is based on a traditional west coast pullover (called jussipaita here in Finland) often worn by young men in the countryside. This ended up being a bit small for Morse, so my mother is already planning the second one”

Isn’t Morse handsome in his jussipaita? And look: he’s not the only cat to wear a juissishirt! I can’t wait to see his Finnish flag sweater, too!

Aby-a-Day – February 9: Suomalainen vaihto

One thing I absolutely love is things from foreign countries. Since my mother’s family all lives in Canada, I’ve always known people outside of the States, and I’ve had good friends in Canada and Sweden for decades. I’ve always been fascinated by the everyday things that are just different from the things we have in the States. Sometimes better (like coloured money and tomato sauce in plastic tubes like toothpaste), sometimes worse (like public toilets that cost money) but just…different.

When I went to visit my friend Björn in Sweden, he asked me what I wanted to do, suggesting museums, castles, monuments…and I said I wanted to go to a grocery store. I love just shopping at ordinary places in other countries: pet shops, drug stores/pharmacies/chemists (not at all the same thing depending on where you go), supermarkets, places that tourists tend not to go. Some of my best experiences travelling have been the pet store in Tokyo, the supermarket in Seoul, the homegoods department in Amsterdam, and the Saturday Björn and I spent at the IKEA in Jönköping.

I’ve also been fascinated by Finland since I was in high school. My “internet name,” Talonväki” was originally my “household name” when I was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism; it was a bit of a joke since “talonväki” means “household” but looks and sounds so very exotic.

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So when my Abyfriend Sanna-Leena complained about the dearth of good cat toys in Finland and discovered my love for Finnish rockabilly music, we swiftly concocted an exchange. I sent her some great American cat toys, some Boston souvenirs (especially Boston Bruins stuff because Tuukka Rask is Big in Finland, but some Red Sox souvenirs found their way in there, too) and some other things that you just can’t get over there…and she sent me a wonderful box of similar goodies from Finland. We spent months collecting cool things we thought the other would like before sending our boxes to each other towards the end of December.

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I got my box from her this week, and it was so exciting!

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Of course I had help opening it…

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…although I’m not sure “help” is really the right word.

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Jacoby was actually more interested with the toys than with the treats, for a change.

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(Which doesn’t mean he was entirely oblivious to the crunchy treaty goodness that Sanna-Leena sent, of course.)

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Jake was fascinated by all the cat toys…

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…but was love at first sight when he found the “flat cat” (aka the “pelt”) toy, though.

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This was clearly his favourite thing in the box.

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My favourite thing? So hard to choose! There was Finnish candy, gum, rye nachos, CDs (I now will be requiring every annual copy of the Iskelmä Gaala CD, I’m afraid, and Anssi Kela is wonderful), a Moomins book, and a fabulous Aby/Somali calendar published by her cat club.

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Sanna-Leena took some of the photos and her two boys appear in the calendar, too!

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Sanna also included a little pedestrian reflector, something I fell in love with when I was in Sweden but which are virtually unheard of here in the States. Pedestrian reflectors were actually invented in Finland in the 1960’s, and the Scandinavian countries have the lowest per capita rate of traffic accidents involving pedestrians. Since I don’t drive and walk a lot, I love this.

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The fact that she included this packet of buttons amused me endlessly; I’ve only recently discovered that Angry Birds is a Finnish invention (and it makes so much more sense now)!

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One of the very best things Sanna-Leena sent was two leather cat harnesses by Arja’s Art. These things are works of art – gorgeous leather, great design (including reflective piping)…and they are so inexpensive! Only €17,50, which is around $25 in US or Canadian dollars.

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And the leather is sooooo soft. Like butter. Only softer.

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Jake’s is metallic copper, and he was only too happy to model it.

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Angel’s is peralised purple, and it’s just the perfect shade for her red fur.

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She was slightly less happy about modelling it, though.

Sanna-Leena has three Abys: Ruddy Kossi, Fawn Sketsi and Red Kiipa. You may remember Sanna-Leena from her marvelous Aby tattoo featuring her two boys. Jake’s actually distantly related to all three of them through some common ancestors, notably Tinbat’s Morgan’s Passing, whose daughter, Mellowmews Tia, went to Finland.

Since Finland gets a bit cool in the winter, one thing I sent was hats…

one for Sanna-Leena

and one for Sketsi. I think she liked her hat better than he did his!

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But thank you, kiitos, Sanna-Leena, Sketski, Kossi and Kiipi! We loved everything – and we should do this again sometime.

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Jake especially wants to thank you for the pelt…

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Sheesh! Get a room, you two!

Aby-a-Day – December 22: Weruva, Jake’s new BFF

The other day, Jacoby got a box in the mail.

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He knew it was for him as soon as I brought it into the apartment, too. Of course, it said “For the Cat of the Year” on it, but I didn’t know Jake could read.

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The box was full of Weruva Cat Food and treats!

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Weruva is based in Natick, MA, and they also make Best Feline Friend cat food. I love that the company is named after three cats: WEbster, RUdi and VAnessa. I also love that there is a cat named Vanessa.

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This was part of Jake’s “Cat of the Year” award from the Westchester show last month. I didn’t know Jake was getting food as part of his honours and was very surprised when the Weruva rep announced it during the ceremony.

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Jake inspected the contents of his box thoroughly.

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Very thoroughly.

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Very very thoroughly!

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He was much more interested in the treat canisters than he was in the food packets. Typical.

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Weruva food prides itself on not being “mystery mush.” As they explain on their website: “We do not blend our ingredients into the meatloaf-style pate. We instead flake our protein cuts off the bone, and they are then hand placed into cans along with other food ingredients that may be in the formula. Our philosophy is ‘what you see is what you get.’ We want you to see and identify the quality of the ingredients that we list on the ingredient statement.” I do have to say, some of their food looks (and smells!) pretty good to me…and the cats love it, too.

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Since I wasn’t opening any of the packets or tubes of food, the box took on a more immediate interest to Jake.

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He really fell in love with this box, too. I guess Webster, Rudi and Vanessa gave it some extra good smells before they sent it off. Natick is only about 20 miles from Boston, so the box didn’t have to travel far.

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It isn’t like we don’t have any other boxes lying about the place, but this box was special.

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And the fact that it came with a food supply (which Jake diligently monitored, just in case they spontaneously burst open) only made it that much more attractive.

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Perhaps a little too attractive.

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Look at Jake’s face! I think he’s more concerned that Angel’s going to try to take away his box than he is about her taking the food!

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“I didn’t want your stupid old box anyway,” Angel says as she stalks away.

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Of course, we had to try some of the grain-free, all-meat treats…as you can see, they earned the Aby Housekeeping Seal of Approval!

From the mailbag: A Grand show brag!

Cynthia Cash wanted to share a little show brag about her lovely ruddy boy, GC, RW Absolute Zatarain, who just last weekend became a Grand Champion at the Rebel Rousers CFA show in Lawrenceville, GA. Cynthia writes:

“RW Absolute Zatarain became a Grand Champion this past weekend! For his RW, he was #14 kitten, as well as #1 Aby kitten in the Region and #7 Aby Kitten world-wide in CFA. Not only is he on fire’ with color, he loves to stand on the judge’s chest and give nose kisses…yes, nose kisses get you anywhere 🙂 Must be an Aussie thing as he is part Australian.

This is Zatarain, known as Zattie, as a kitten in Doug Meyers’ ring at the World Show last fall. Cynthia adds, “I just adore this boy. Kim Everett and Joan Miller selected him to be the Breed Exhibit Aby for their presentation at the World Show this past Fall. He played the part well. His type might be on the moderate side, but no one can touch his coat, color, and ticking. That all comes from the Australian influence. Plus, he has the single most laid-back, lovey personality of almost any Aby I’ve ever had and I’ve had them, as I mentioned, since 1979. Super boy! BTW, Doug finaled him 3rd Best Kitten out of a field of 99! Go little Zattie!!!

Congratulations to Cynthia and Zatairan! If you’ve got an Aby show brag you’d like to share, please, feel free to send it to me.

Other People’s Abys – A random collection of Abyssinians

Just a few things you, my readers, have shared with me.

Virginia D. sends me wonderful things, like this video of Little Man demanding to be combed:

She also sent me this hilarious LOLcat starring two red/sorrel kits:

Then, I got an email from a woman in Finland, Sanna-Leena, who thought that Jacoby was his cousin Toki. She also posted this photo on the Abyssinian Cat Club Facebook group with the caption “I think I just duplicated Kossi, whoops”…

Speaking of cousin Toki Nantucket, Julie emailed me to let me know that Toki was featured on Buzzfeed!

Finally, I was looking for old cat food print ads today, and I discovered this:

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OMG, I remember this food! I remember being so impressed with those little yellow “nutrition nuggets” in the packets. I actually remember these boxes! There was also a blue one with a black and white tuxedo kitten, which I think was chicken, and there was also a yellow box with I think had a white Persian on it, which was probably tuna. Wow. I found this scan, and I was instantly transported back to 1974 and feeding my cats in the garage of our old house.

Finally, I’m kind of bummed that Puss in Boots didn’t win the Academy Award…but the movie with the dog won. Sigh.

Other People’s Abys – How appropriate!

I got a lovely surprise in my mailbox today from Abyfriend Donnad: a cute little bookmark calendar made even cuter with a familiar brown face on the cover!

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The Aby is actually featured on March, so it’s just in time, too. Thank you!

Other People’s Abys – More Abys in Cars

Oh, my, what have I started?

Kim, the person who belongs to Jacoby’s Uncle Clancy and his cousin Finn, writes:

So, of course I have traveling pics of my boys, too LOL!
Finnegan much prefers to be out of his carrier in the car – he’s on lock down until we hit the highway for most trips – because he loves to gawk out the windows and freak out the cars passing us. Passengers will look over and see a ruddy aby screaming at them, because you just know he’s talking the entire time.

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Clancy, however, will snuggle down and chill in the kitty cube that always travels with him – he’s an awesome car passenger… silent and most times asleep within 20 minutes!

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I wish Jake took after his uncle and not his cousin! As I’ve posted in the past, he feels the need to comment on every single thing he sees and feels…

A note from Stewie

I sent a congratulatory email to Stewie, the longest cat in the world, the other day, and today Jacoby and I got the following message from Stewie himself:

Thanks Jacoby and Coco! I think there ought to be more therapy cats, but as we both know, you have to be a special kitty to be allowed to do therapy work! Hats off to us!

Wondering how big a Maine Coon is compared to an Abyssinian? Here’s Jake next to a Maine Coon at the last cat show. Despite the hair, you can see how big the Maine Coon boy is!

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This is actually kind of a lucky shot; male cats aren’t supposed to be put next to each other in the judging cages. However, in this case it appears the ring clerk made a mistake. Jake’s number is showing on the pink side of the card, not the blue side, so it seems that someone thought Jake was a girl!

I missed my calling, Toki Poki trading cards, and “of course it’s an Aby”…

Lots of fun in my email lately!

Jacoby’s breeder, Sherry, sent me a link to this video with the subject line “There’s an Aby in this video.” And, oh, is there ever!

It’s a testimonial for Cat-Man-Doo Bonito Flakes (which, by the way, are awesome), and it starts out a bit slow, but wait until Pheobe appears around 0:51; you’ll see why she wanted me to see this!

Then, this morning, I got an email from Catster telling me that I could have gotten my Masters degree in LOLcats. Oh, had I only known. I guess I truly missed my calling.

But it wasn’t so much the article that caught my attention as it was the way the email presented it:

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Why, look! A blue Aby wearing a mortarboard!

Then I got an update from Moderncat about Toki Poki trading cards. Of course, the name Toki caught my eye immediately. I plan on making some trading cards for all the kitties (I think Kylie would be particularly adorable on the Pretty in Pink cards) as soon as I can decide which photos to use. There aren’t any Abyssinian members, yet…

I have also been horribly remiss in not posting about these Abyssinian Knob Nots available through Etsy or on KnobNots’ website.

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You may notice that the standing-up-and-knocking-all-the-letters-down Aby looks just a tiny bit familiar. Well…that’s because he is; Jake was the model! Who better to be the poster cat for mischief?

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And, finally, remember when I posted in May about Animal Planet’s Too Cute Kittens show featuring the Aby kitten Tiny Dancer? Well good news: the DVD will be released on October 4 and is available for pre-order now! I know my husband will be happy that we can finally delete it off of our DVR box.

A lot of Aby news for a Wordless Wednesday, eh?

Other People’s Abys – The Daily Kitten(s)!

Abyfan Martinjh99 sent me a link to today’s featured Daily Kittens: Three handsome boys named First, Second and Third. They live in St. Petersburg (formerly known as Leningrad) and they even have their own website, AbySphere! How did I not know about this before?

The photos are spectacular. Look at this cheeky baby backtalking mom!

Definitely add this to your list of daily reads! Thank you, Martin!

Another Abyssinian Jack o’ Lantern

Earlier this month, I posted about Halloween pumpkins carved with an Aby motif. Well, Sherry sent me a link to another Abyssinian jack o’ lantern.

This one features a red Aby from Prince Rupert, BC, named Pepper.

It’s things like this that make me wish that pumpkin guts didn’t make me vaguely nauseous.

It’s the Great Aby, Charlie Brown!

Donnad sent me this link to free pumpkin carving stencils of favourite cat breeds available for download on Better Homes and Gardens’ website. No mystery as to why she sent it to me!

Of course there’s a Abyssinian pumpkin. If only I carved jack o’lanterns for Halloween…

“How do you get to take him places?”

Over on a photo blog I post to from time to time, I was asked “How do you get to take Jacoby into all these places?” I thought my followers might like to know the answer to that question, so here is my reponse:

Well…I basically just go out with him. He’s used to being on a leash, and he also has his stroller to ride in. And he’s pretty bulletproof – he’s a therapy cat, so dogs, loud vehicles, and random children don’t faze him at all. Him being so calm (and me being so confident of his reaction in any situation) goes a long way.

But then, too, I don’t act like it’s “weird” to go someplace with him. I generally go by the rule that “as long as it’s not a food store, a restaurant or a hospital” we can just go on in without asking anyone if it’s okay…and generally, that’s been the case. The fact that he’s not a dog seems to help, too – lots of places say “No dogs” and not “No pets” and I use that loophole sometimes.

If there’s any question he might not be welcome (like the bead shop, where a cat going berzerk would be very bad), I do ask. But because he has the personality he does, it’s not really a problem.

Then, too, in Boston it’s okay to bring pets on public transit as long as they’re in carriers or under control, so I don’t have to worry about getting places with him.

In this case, I went and asked the people running the carousel if I could just take a photo of him on the cat between rides, because I was so psyched to see a cat to ride on that carousel. The people running it were cat lovers, so it was no problem!

There’s a line from the movie The Paper that I keep in mind when I’m out with Jake: “A clipboard and a confident manner can get you into any building in the world.” Acting confident, like you have every right to be where you are with your cat (even if you aren’t sure you are) goes a long way.

One other tip: don’t plan on getting anywhere in a hurry when you’re out with your cat. People will want to ask you questions and they will want to pet the kitty. When I take Jake out with me, it’s when I don’t really have an agenda.

Maybe not rocket science…but I’ve been taking cats out on leashes since I was in 7th or 8th grade, so what seems like common knowledge to me probably involves a lot of things other people haven’t ever thought of…so, hopefully this will be useful information.

Gun-Hee’s Mailbag

I got this email a week or so ago:

I’m sorry that I do not know your name. I have read Gun-Hee’s entire blog and photo-a-day and I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that he had to go on to his next journey. FIP is a horrible, evil disease. I have had the horrific experience of losing 4 beloved cats to FIP over a course of 4 years. Two were 6 months old, one was 2 years old, and one was 9 years old. I know how hard it is and the loss and sadness you feel. Gun-Hee was an awesome little cat and his personality certainly glowed in his photos. Just looking at his photos made me laugh and cry. He reminds me of my American Bobtail, Lynx – always into everything and on the go.

I will continue to visit Gun-Hee’s site every day to see his photos. I am sure you know that he is with you in spirit, always by your side.

I live in NH – probably not too far from you.

Thank you for sharing your sweet boy. We can only pray that someday there is a cure, or a prevention, for this horrible disease.

It’s these kinds of emails that keep me going. Thank you. The weekends are the worst, since those are when I went on outings with Gun-Hee.