Aby-a-Day – 25 November: Dances with cats (Cinema Sunday)

It’s always a huge event in our house when I cut up meat.

meatdanceC03187

meatdanceC03197

It’s one of the best ways to get all five of them together.

meatdanceC03210

They are so fascinated by it…and of course, hopeful for a scrap or two.

meatdanceC03217

It’s a bit like feeding a tank of piranhas, to be honest.

meatdanceC03220

meatdanceC03221

Cats – at least Abys and Singas – swarm.

meatdanceC03223

meatdanceC03222

Alfred is at his most athletic when there’s raw meat involved.

dancingcats

But still photos cannot capture the mayhem properly…so here is a little movie Björn made of the Famous Hellqvist Dancing Cats. Click the image to view it in Flickr.

Aby-a-Day – 24 November: “Waiting patiently for the fattest bone is a cat’s lifestyle.”

On Thursday, I posted about our early Thanksgiving goose. But I saved the best part for today…and of course, the best part of any bird is the neck! Usually, I bake it alongside the bird and eat it myself as a snack. But since Izaak loves his chicken necks so much, I decided to let him have the goose neck.

zakgooseC03333

zakgooseC03334

I know these photos are blurry, but look how excited he is!

zakgooseC03335

Gimme!

zakgooseC03342

The neck was nearly as long as he is!

zakgooseC03346

zakroryfreddygooseC03348

zakroryfreddygooseC03351

Lorelai and Alfred were very interested in the neck, too.

rorygooseC03381

Rory was willing to dance for it!

zakgooseC03352

zakgooseC03360

It’s hard to see in the photos, but Zak is really pulling on the bone! He’s like a little terrier.

zakgooseC03365

He’s growling, too.

zakfreddygooseC03367

zakfreddygooseC03368

The growling got louder when Freddy couldn’t stand it any more and hopped up on the counter to get closer to the meat.

zakfreddygooseC03371

zakfreddygooseC03374

You have to admire Freddy’s chutzpah, though…despite the growling from the little Singa, he still tried to take the neck.

zakroryjakegooseC03388

Finally, I cut off a small piece of the neck and gave it to Zak.

zakrorygooseC03390

I always give him his neck in the house, so he can eat them without being bothered by the others…and also so it doesn’t get dragged all over the house.

rorygooseC03399

However, it turned out that, excited as Zak was about the prospect of the neck…he doesn’t like goose necks. So, when I opened the house to let him out, Rory stole the neck…

rorygooseC03403

…and proceeded to eat it in the living room.

rorygooseC03401

So much for not having raw meat dragged all over the house, eh?

Aby-a-Day- 22 November: Happy Thanksgiving, or, as we call it in Sweden, “Thursday”

Today is Thanksgiving back in the States, but we actually had our “Thanksgiving” dinner last Thursday.

goose_5174

The reason for this is more utilitarian than anything else. Since last year, I have wanted to cook a goose. In Sweden, geese are traditionally cooked for St. Martin’s Day, celebrated on 10 November. I didn’t know this last year when I first saw whole geese in the shops last year…I wanted to get one for Christmas, but by the time I was ready to buy one, they were nowhere to be found! Because they are only available in early November.

zakroryfreddygooseC03249

This year, I was on full alert for geese, checking all the stores for geese. And I found them at two stores. I snagged a better deal than the above for the one we had for our early Thanksgiving, but Björn (who works at the same mall that the supermarket I took that photo at is in) got a second one we froze for a third of the price. But for the first one, I wanted to cook it fresh, not frozen, and the use-by date was the 15th…so, we decided to have Thanksgiving a week early.

zakroryfreddygooseC03253

I have cooked whole chickens, turkeys, pheasants and ducks, but never a goose. I followed my usual Chinese-style, boiling-water-to-tighten-the-skin trick, and I even found a kick-ass Asian-style roast goose recipe.

The thing to keep in mind, here, is that the goose weighed 5kg. Of our five cats, the one who weighs the closest to that is Alfred, who, the last time I weighed them all, came in at 4.7kg. Yep, that’s right…Freddy officially weighs more than Jacoby!

zakroryfreddyjakegooseC03272

None of the cats was the least bit intimidated by food that weighed more than they did.

freddygooseC03279

freddygooseC03288

Freddy even tried to take a bite!

rorygooseC03275

Lorelai is our smallest cat – smaller even than Izaak! She only weighed 2.4kg the last time I weighed them. She was very impressed with the goose.

gooseovenC03298

Another trick I use when cooking birds is to start cooking it breast down (upside-down from the way people usually roast a turkey). This way, the juices run DOWN into the breast and keeps it moist. Then for the last hour, the bird is flipped over so the breast can brown. Goose cooks a lot faster than turkey, though, which I was not expecting. I’ll know better next time.

zakgooseC03299

zakgooseC032312

Zak was very interested in the cooked goose.

jakegooseC03317

jakegooseC03321

jakegooseC03322

So was Jake.

jakegooseC03325

Cheeky bugger actually licked it!

goose_5180

goose_5181

I don’t cook my birds with stuffing per se, but I do stuff the inside cavity with ginger, garlic, scallions, and, for this particular recipe, orange wedges. It adds flavour to the meat from the inside. I also boil them down with the carcass when I make stock, which makes for very tasty soups.

goose_5183

The meat inside is so much richer and more flavourful than turkey…but overall, it seems there is less edible meat per kilo than a similar-sized turkey. All in all, an interesting exercise. I can’t wait to try it again!

Aby-a-Day – 9 August: Jacoby is such a ham (Thursday Things)

Despite not feeling well, Jacoby is still on the constant lookout for anything edible.

jakehamC09364

The other night we made some pasta sauce using some short-dated roasted ham bits in it. We rinsed out the bag it came packaged in and set it on the draining board to dry out for recycling…the same as we do for any plastic meat packaging.

jakehamC09366

And, usually, that’s not a problem. While Jake does chew on plastic shopping bags, the bags meat comes sealed in is apparently not the right consistency for eating. He’s never bothered that plastic before.

jakehamC09368

But this particular evening…

jakehamC09371

…Jake was after something other than plastic.

jakehamC09376

Evidently, he just really thought there was some meat left in the bag, and he went for it.

jakehamC09377

And then he couldn’t seem to shake the packet off his face.

jakehamC09384

But he didn’t panic or freak out or anything. He just sat there. Jake seemed resigned to wearing ham-scented plastic on his head for the rest of his life.

jakeroryfreddyhamC09381

jakeroryfreddyhamC09380

Alfred and Lorelai seemed quite concerned. Either that, or they wanted to make sure that Jake wasn’t actually eating any ham…

jakefreddyhamC09392

…whichever it was, Freddy jumped up to see what he could do.

jakefreddyhamC09389

I don’t think you’re helping there, Fred. I finally helped Jake shake off his plastic porcine mask. What I love about Jake is how when something like this happens, he never panics. He remains dead calm. Like that time he got stuck in a plastic shopping bag, he just waits…he knows he’ll either get out of it himself, or a human will come along and help him. No worries.

Aby-a-Day – 5 August: MINE (Singapura Sunday)

Recently our nearby pet store started carrying Vaisto Mush frozen chicken necks. This is the same brand that makes the raw balls I feed them, so I thought I would get them to see if they liked them. At the very least, I thought, Alfred will eat them because he loves to chew on bones.

zakjakefredneckC08424

Well, I wasn’t wrong. Freddy does like them. But I was surprised that Izaak really loved them.

zakjakeneckC08420

This is the very first time I gave Zak a chicken neck. Not only did he attack it, but he guarded it, growling and snarling as he ate it.

zakjakeroryneckC08439

Despite being the smallest cat in our household (and this was right after he came to live with us), he managed to keep Jacoby, Lorelai and Freddy at bay. Angel didn’t even try.

Here’s a video of that first encounter with a chicken neck. I hope you can hear the growling!

zakneckC00558

Zak is now addicted to these things. Everytime I go near the refrigerator, he yells at me to open the door and give him a neck! I try to limit them, because too many bones can cause constipation. But it’s hard not to give him one when he is so insistent.

zakneckC00556

And he is so funny to watch! Even if no cat is around, he growls, snarls and hisses.

zakneckC00540

…But if anyone gets too close…

zakfreddyneckC00577

Look at Freddy! He doesn’t even try to take it from Zak! He knows from past encounters, he can’t win.

zakfreddyneckC00575

The best he can do is hope for leftovers. Even though he weighs more than double what Zak does (4kg to Zak’s 1.8kg), he just won’t go there.

Here’s a video I made this afternoon showing the stand off. Towards the beginning, Zak hisses with his mouth full of neck. It’s pretty funny to hear!

Aby-a-Day – 1 February: I chew, chew, chews you

Alfred likes to chew things.

freddyjakechewC09165

He will chew plastic, like Jacoby, but unlike Jake, Freddy’s chewing is more…forceful.

freddyjakechewC09181

Freddy chews not just to get inside a plastic bag (although, if it has food in it, Freddy will chew it), but he also chews for the sake of chewing.

freddyjakechewC09195

He chews like dogs do. Nom…nom…nom…

freddyjakechewC09224

I’ve started giving him bones. I mean, real, serious, dog-bone bones.

freddychewC09243

We had a smoked lamb leg after New Year’s. When we got all the meat off the bone, we let the cats pick the remainder of the meat off the bone.

It was basically the “Freddy and whoever can stand to fight him for it” show.

freddyjakechewC09252

Freddy is pretty possessive of his bones.

freddyjakechewbone1

Here’s a video of Freddy and Jake chewing on the lamb leg bone (click image for video).

freddyjakechewbone2

Be sure you have the volume up to hear Freddy’s possessive growling (again, click image for video).

freddychew20.27.10

It’s gotten to the point where I am buying Freddy dog chew sticks to gnaw on.

freddychew20.26.27

And what’s worse is, he actually chews on them.

freddychew20.26.48

This is my first Aby with an oral fixation. I hope that, at least, it means he’s going to have awesome teeth.

freddy-chew

Here’s a video of Freddy chewing on a meat-covered rawhide stick I got him from an awesome pet store in Örebro (click image for video). There’s no growling in this one, mainly because nobody else wanted to share it!