Aby-a-Day – 19 Oktober 2020: “I wanna live with a cinnamon girl” (Medical Mystery Monday)

When we were planning on breeding Lorelai with Io, I was wondering what the chances were that they might have a fawn kitten. I consulted the Abyssinian Database’s colour breeding chart.

These are the possible results. The males are on the top: Sorrel not carrying dilute (bbDD) and Sorrel carrying dilute (bbDd). The females are on the left: Blue not carrying cinnamon (BBdd) and Blue carrying cinnamon (Bbdd). Io had produced fawn kittens, so we knew he carries dilute. So…the big question: Does Rory carry cinnamon?

With the pandemic and all, I didn’t want to send the test all the way to UC Davis, so I found a European lab that offers a test for the Cinnamon gene. So I ordered a test and swabbed Rory’s cheeks.

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Izaak helped to make sure the paperwork was all in order before I mailed it off.

About a week later, the results came back…and, unfortunately, Rory is BB, so she doesn’t carry cinnamon. Depending on the male, she can only have ruddy or blue kittens…but her kittens could possibly have fawn kittens.

Aby-a-Day – 31 Augusti 2020: The one tooth (Medical Monday)

Remember back in March, when I discovered Angel was down to two teeth?

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Well, guess what?

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Yesterday was claw-clipping and general grooming day (where, among other things, I brush everyone’s teeth apart from Angel), and I got the idea to check Angel’s teeth: And, not entirely to my surprise, I found that Angel is now down to ONE tooth.

Sigh…I wish I could find one of them. I guess she’s just swallowing them.

Aby-a-Day – 24 Augusti 2020: Three years ago today…(Medical Monday Memory)

Three years ago today, my life changed: I was bitten through the finger while giving Pyret a pill.

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Being new to the Swedish medical system, I stupidly went to the local clinic (Vårdcentralen), even though I was well aware of how serious a cat bite is, especially on the hand. I just thought that’s what you were “supposed” to do. The doctor I saw was Spanish, and spoke little English. I tried to tell her it was serious, but she waved me off with just a prescription for penicillin.

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I didn’t know that I could go straight to the hospital. I thought, then, that you had to be referred by Vårdcentralen (although, to be honest, that worthless “doctor” should have known to send me there straightaway). Now I know I can go to the Akuten (emergency department) if I need to. Twenty-four hours later, I woke up screaming in pain so badly Björn almost called an ambulance.

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They bundled me into a room, pumped me full of antibiotics and morphine, and got me into surgery as quickly as they could.

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This is me just after the first surgery. Within a week, I would have two more operations to flush the bacteria out of my tendon sheath.

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I also had a lot of morphine. The pain involved with repeated hand surgeries is insane.

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The brightest part of my week in the hospital was the two evenings Björn smuggled Logan into my hospital room.

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One time when a nurse came in, we hid him under my blanket.

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He was good and held still; the nurse never knew he was there.

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After a week in hospital, I was released, but still had several wound checks and dressing changes. When I first got home, my hand was in a plaster cast. I was also still on penicillin and painkillers. It seemed to be healing nicely, but on my last wound check, 20 September (the same day Alfred was neutered), the nurse noticed my finger seemed red and hot. She sent me back to the hospital, and they determined that, despite still being on antibiotics, the infection had managed to return. They wanted me to have surgery immediately, but I had to go to pick up Freddy, who was literally at the other end of the bus line.

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It took a really long time to get him (I ended up taking a taxi for part of the return trip), gathered my things and got back to the hospital just before 17:00. Apparently, I took too long to get back and they weren’t able to do the surgery until the next morning.

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This last, fourth surgery was the most painful. They put more stitches on my palm than on the previous surgeries, and the skin seemed to have been stretched more than the other three.

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It also bled a lot more than the other three operations.

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A month after the first anniversary of my bite, we were at a cat show in Västra Feölunda and ran into Göran, the recovery nurse after my first surgery. His sambo breeds Cornish Rex, and we (used to) see them at shows frequently. He asked to take a look at my hand, and I made a comment about being lucky I still had a finger.

“You could have lost more than that,” Gören said. “I could have lost my hand?” I asked.

“You could have lost even more than that,” he responded. And that was how, a year later, I learned that I could have died from this bite! Even with as much as I know about cat bites, I never thought it could have been fatal.

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This is how it looks today. It’s still very stiff and it sometimes aches and feels crampy. I’ll never have a normal hand again.

So, again, the moral of the story is: If you are EVER bitten by a cat on your hand – and especially your finger – GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM as soon as you can!

Aby-a-Day – 17 Augusti 2020: Is she or isn’t she? (Medical Monday Mystery)

WARNING! This post features photographs of bare cat nipples!

Tomorrow will be a month since we brought Lorelai home from sleepaway sex camp. And…I still can’t tell if it worked.

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One of the main signs of pregnancy in cats is the “pinking up” of the cat’s nipples. Unfortunately, according to one of my cat breeding books. But it also says that some cats don’t pink up until later in their pregancies. Grrrreeeeaaaaat…

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This is her nipple on 26 July. Doesn’t seem any pinker, but stupid me, I never checked them before now. But one good sign is she hasn’t shown any signs of being in heat…and as you might remember, her heats are quiet, but not at all subtle.

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This was on 5 August. I still can’t tell.

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And this is on Thursday the 13th. Seems pinker? Maybe?

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These last two are from today. They seem pinker, and they were easier to find.

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Meg, Molly and Anne think she is pregnant, especially since she hasn’t gone back into heat at all.

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She hasn’t gained any weight yet, and she definitely isn’t showing…so I guess we’ll just have to wait a little longer.

Aby-a-Day – 29 Juni 2020: An exciting announcement (Medical Monday)

I have an exciting announcement to make…in two weeks, our Lorelai is going to meet a lovely gentleman called Io, who just happens to live with Alfred’s breeder, Karin.

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We don’t know if Rory carries Cinnamon or if Io carries dilute, but it looks like a very good match. Of course I will keep you posted…but our Rory is going to be a mom!

(Edit: Someone asked about Io. He is a year old, sorrel, and he LOVES kittens. Her Somali, Iris, got out while she was in heat and met a handsome black tom. Io helped her care for them.

He also loves to go outside on his harness and leash. Because kittens’ temperaments are influenced by their father, even if they never meet him, these are two of the reasons I chose him. And since we already have a relationship with Karin, it was kind of a no-brainer.)

Aby-a-Day – 8 Juni 2020: Our visit to the vet (Medical Monday)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about our upcoming annual check-up at our veterinarian.

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As always, getting there is half the “fun.” It was particularly difficult because people in Sweden have no sense of distance, so I had to stand most of the ride to avoid getting to close to people.

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I think this was Dashiell’s first time in the stroller. He kept trying to pop through the top.

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The vet is far away, but it’s an easy trip by bus (easy, but long). We just have to change buses downtown.

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Luckily, this time we didn’t have any competition from stupid human strollers.

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Angel was first up. She’s completely healthy, but Dr. Brigitte wants us to have her good eye checked because she thought it looked a little cloudy, more cloudy than usual. I need to remember to make an appointment with the eye specialist for an examination.

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Alfred is also healthy, and I was surprised I didn’t get a lecture on how he needs to lose weight. He got some vaccinations and a prescription for Prednisone to treat his asthma. This is him on the counter…trying to get into the treat jars on the counter (Freddy? Protip: they aren’t in the sharps bin). Lorelai came after Freddy; since there was a social distancing rule (rare for Sweden), only one of us could be in the examination room, so I have no photos of her. She got a vaccine, and we discussed her future kittens.

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Izaak also needed some jabs, and one of them was a new Suprelorin chip.

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Unlike last time, Zak was not very cooperative. We actually had to purrito him.

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When it was all over, we had to wait a bit to check out…and met a curious dog who looked a lot like our neighbour, Bruno.

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When we got home, we were so exhausted and stressed that we all crashed in the bedroom (myself included). Taking five cats to the vet during a pandemic is stressful!

Aby-a-Day – 2 Juni 2020: “Face masks in public spaces do not provide any greater protection to the population” (Cartoon Tuesday)

I have been very frustrated at the fact that Sweden doesn’t think masks work to control Covid-19. The State Epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, has said repeatedly that “masks don’t make sense” and has literally scoffed at the very idea of wearing a mask in pubic.

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So, since I have been using my Izaak Baby Yoda and Zak Toothless as my Facebook userpic and cover photos…I took out a little of that frustration by putting masks on their faces.

Didn’t work. I am still frustrated. And I am still wearing my mask.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Maj 2020: Mani-Pedis are supposed to be relaxing! (Medical Monday)

Okay…maybe claw clipping isn’t exactly “medical,” but it does contribute to a cat’s health and wellbeing.

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Our lot don’t exactly enjoy getting their biweekly claw trim, but they usually handle it well. After all, they have been getting their claws clipped every other week for as long as they’ve lived with me. Alfred, however…

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…is not a fan of getting his mani-pedi. Usually, he sits quietly and self-soothes with purring, but yesterday he decided to squirm and pull faces.

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It may have been the audience. Björn came in the bathroom to talk to me and captured Freddy in action.

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In case you’re wondering, I always sit on the edge of the tub facing in when I clip claws…that way, the end bits just go down the drain when I’m done.

Aby-a-Day – 15 April 2020: (Mostly) Wordless Wednesday (Dr. Jake says…)

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(Uncensored Version)

Aby-a-Day – 19 Mars 2020: Another trip to the vet (Thursday Things)

Yesterday, Alfred and I went to the veterinarian to see how his lungs look after pneumonia.

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As I have said before, it’s a two-bus, almost hour long bus trip from our house to the vet. And we had lots of hang time waiting for the transfers.

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This is at Resecentrum. I love this shot.

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When we had a bus transfer wait of more than ten minutes, I let Freddy out of his carrier.

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Goofball.

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But at the vet we got good news: Freddy’s lungs are completely clear.

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Not only are his lungs clear, it also looks like he doesn’t have asthma. So that’s great!

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Much like Jacoby, Freddy loves to sing the song of his people when he’s outside.

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This IS an Airport, Please Announce Your Departure: Aeroplane Ear Posting.

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After the vet visit, we stopped off a DjurMagazinet to stock up om raw chicken necks and raw meatballs.

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Of course, Freddy helped me pick out the raw food I bought.

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Of course, Freddy made friends when we were on line for the cash.

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That’s Freddy’s superpower: making friends wherever he goes.

Aby-a-Day – 26 Februari 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Alfred’s new X-rays)

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Aby-a-Day – 20 Februari 2020: Alfred’s X-rays (Thursday Things)

Yesterday, Alfred and I went back to Min Veterinär to have Freddy’s blood tested again while he’s still on his Amoxycillin.

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While we were there, I asked them if they could send me Freddy’s X-rays from last week. And here they are. You can see how cloudy and grey his lungs are. I just wish I had gotten X-rays, too, so we could compare. We are going back to get a second set of X-rays on Monday, just to see if his lungs look better.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Februari 2020: What’s your type? (Medical Monday)

We want to breed Lorelai later this year, and the breeder who bred Alfred now has a lovely sorrel (red) male. But before we can mate them, we need to know Rory’s blood type to prevent Neonatal Isoerythrolysis (It’s kind of like the Rh factor in humans).

So, I figured I could do it myself. I mean, I’ve done my own blood type in high school, so how hard can it be? I found a test from Genomia, a Czech company, and bought a test kit.

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The kit arrived on Wednesday. I was excited to do the test!

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The instructions were fairly straightforward…except for how to get the blood out of the cat being tested.

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The only way I could think of to get blood from Rory was to clip one claw too short. I felt really bad about that, but it worked.

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The test only took a few minutes…

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…But the result was very clear: Rory is blood type A. Most cats are Type A, so that’s just one hurdle cleared for Rory to have kittens.

Aby-a-Day – 13 Februari: Like human, like cat (Thursday Things)

Last week, I heard a cat let out a loud YOWL, and when I went to see who it was and what was going on, I discovered Alfred collapsed in our bedroom doorway.

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I found him collapsed and floppy, drooling and gasping for breath with his eyes locked in a thousand yard stare.

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It may seem silly, but one of the first things I did was make a short video of him. I sent it to Meg, Molly and Anne, and also to Freddy’s breeder, to see if they had any idea what could be causing it. I also rang our local vet (and was lucky to speak to our regular vet, because this happened at 16:16 and they close at 17:00) and also the emergency vet in Jönköping.

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The emergency vet was prepared for us if we decided to drive there that evening (Björn didn’t get home until 19:00), and I made an appointment for Freddy for the next day at Min Vetrinär.

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I didn’t know what to do apart from just being with him.

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After a little while, I got him to sit up again.

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I made a box for Freddy so I could move him – and take him to the emergency vet if necessary. Of course, Izaak jumped right in with him.

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When Björn got home, Freddy was doing a bit better, so we decided he’d be okay until the local vet appointment (those are the photos you saw yesterday). We kept an eye on him all night, and this is how he looked in the morning. When we got to the clinic, they tested Freddy’s blood, and we took chest Xrays (Unfortunately, I was unable to get photos of those). Turns out, the video I made was very useful for the vet to see. She diagnosed him with pneumonia and prescribed Amoxycillin. Which is ironic…since I was also diagnosed with pneumonia and prescribed Amoxycillin. We even started our meds on the same day, and we have the same schedule, one pill three times a day. It’s actually kind of great having a medicine buddy: It helps me remember when to take my pill, and when to give Freddy his – because it’s the same time!

Aby-a-Day – 12 Februari 2020: Wordless Wednesday (Another trip to the vet)

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Aby-a-Day – 13 Januari 2020: Never skip a dose (Medical Mishap Monday Movie)

As you may recall, Lorelai is on birth control pills. I give her her pills every Wednesday.

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But…I messed up. As you may also recall…Christmas was on a Wednesday.

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Björn’s brother, Örjan, came for Jul and stayed overnight til Christmas. I forgot it was Wednesday…because it was Christmas.

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I remembered to give her her pill the following Wednesday, New Years Day…but it was too late. I woke up on 2nd January to Rory trilling and Izaak yelling at Rory.

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Apparently, she was nagging and pestering Zak, since he’s the only whole male in the house. Not that she didn’t flirt with Dashiell and Alfred…but Zak was her main target.

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As you can see, he “assumed the position,” but his bits were nowhere near her bits. He was simply trying to get her to shut up and leave him alone! It’s all set now; I had the advice of my friend Anne, and got her to go out of heat, and all is well again. We do have a prospective suitor lined up for her later this year. All in all, my mistake was actually a good thing. I now know that it only takes a week for her pills to wear off and to get her into heat. I know that she knows what to do. And she doesn’t spray or yell her head off…she just trills. All of which is very useful information.

Here’s a little video of the little hussy.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Juni: The nose knows (Medical Movie Monday)

This happened two summers ago. Jacoby was acting like he had something stuck in his nose or throat. I checked his mouth to make sure a string or something hadn’t gotten caught under his tongue, but there was nothing there. The way he was acting reminded me of when I’ve gotten a grain of rice stuck in the back of my throat in my nose; Jake was coughing and snorting in the same way.

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This is what he was doing (click the photo to watch the video in Flickr). We were growing cat grass on the balcony that summer, so I suspected that Jake might have inhaled a blade of grass and gotten it stuck in his pharynx or nasal passages.

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So we went to the vet, and they flushed out his nose and checked him out. They noticed some irritation, but didn’t find any grass or plant matter. They prescribed antibiotics, just in case.

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After we got home, however, I found what looked like some dried, clear cat barf on the floor in the room Jake ate in. But it wasn’t like a regular hairball or food barf…it was a tiny leaf! I had been right – Jake did have something stuck in his nose! He just managed to get it out by himself before the vet appointment.

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So, I did a little research and discovered that it was a small leaf of Yarrow! I only know Yarrow from the Warriors books (the medicine cats use it, and there’s a cat named Yarrowleaf in the more recent books, but I had no idea it was growing in our lawn! Because they mow once a week, it never gets a chance to grow tall or flower.

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This Yarrow plant is entwined with a bicycle rack, so it misses getting mowed. This is what it looks like when it’s allowed to grow. Jake must have accidentally inhaled the little leaf when we went outside – he loved chewing on the grass, and the yarrow is mixed into the lawn. It was an interesting mystery, and I’m glad I was able to solve it.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Juni: “Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health” (Medical Monday)

As I posted on Thursday, we all took a trip to the vet last week to get check-ups and vaccinations. As soon as I parked the stroller in the exam room and unzipped it, all four of the cats jumped right out to investigate.

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Lorelai and Izaak, not having had as many vet visits as Alfred and Angel have had, explored the room fearlessly.

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As I’ve posted before, Angel becomes very brave in veterinary exam rooms.

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Zak was the first to jump up on something.

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Then he took it to the next level.

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Rory is turning into quite the little princess of posing…

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…except when her curiosity gets the better of her.

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Whilst the cats explored the exam room, I got all their passports organised with the relevant vaccination pages opened. Everycat needed their FVRCP vaccines, and Zak also needed his rabies vaccine.

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Freddy, of course, had to sit on the passports…

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For some reason (and I honestly have no earthly idea why), the sink was of particular interest. And not only to Rory and Zak…

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…but Freddy, too. They see sinks every day…I have no clue what was so fascinating about this one.

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When Dr. Birgitta came in, the younger cats all rushed to greet her.

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Angel, having had more experience in this situation, hid in the corner behind the cabinet.

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Nurse Camilla and I weighed everyone.

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Freddy could stand to lose a bit…but otherwise, we’re all good. In fact, the doctor commented on how solid and muscular Rory and especially Zak are. I told her how they eat (raw and Bozita, and a daily chicken neck) and how they regularly go outside to run. She was quite impressed with their condition.

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After they all got their jabs (no photos of that, since I was helping to hold them), Camilla carefully updated all of their passports. Freddy helped.

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One last note about our Freddy…

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…when he wasn’t exploring the room, helping the nurse, or getting injected, he was trying to break into this cabinet. He worked at it from both the top and the bottom of the tambour door, but he couldn’t manage it.
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He even checked the trash can! He is relentless in his quest for food. It’s no wonder he could stand to lose a few.

Aby-a-Day – 11 April: Why does the sun go on shining?

Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
‘Cause you don’t love me anymore

Why do the birds go on singing?
Why do the stars glow above?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when I lost your love

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything’s the same as it was
I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it does

Why does my heart go on beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when you said goodbye

Jacoby died at 18:35 CEST today. May StarClan light his path. May he find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when he sleeps.

A vet at Anicura called me around 18:25 to tell me he was having trouble breathing and they wanted to know what to do, if they should resuscitate him or use heroic measures…and while I was on the phone with the doctor, he just…died. He was alive at the beginning of the call (which thank StarClan I didn’t miss), and gone at the end of it. Apparently, 20 minutes prior to her calling me, he was doing all right, but then he just crashed. There was no possible way I had time to get there before he was gone.

A different vet had called me earlier in the afternoon to tell me how he was doing. He was still having a lot of trouble breathing outside of the oxygen cage. He was still on the feeding tube. He was too weak for another round of chemo. She told me that the total was up to around 43,000kr in charges (which puts us over his cap; more about that later) and wanted to discuss my DNR wishes, so I knew it wasn’t going to be good. I was already bracing myself for him not celebrating his 10th birthday on Sunday.

The worst part is, when that last call came…I was sitting in a nail salon, getting my toes painted green for Jake. I heard that my soulmate cat had just died whilst having a woman put my feet under the dryer. It’s so hard to watch them die, to say “okay” and watch the vet inject the overdose of painkillers into them…but it’s a million times worse to not be there…not even be able to be there. Long distance is not the next best thing to being there.

I was planning on going to Jönköping to see him tomorrow. I still will, just not in quite the same way.

Jake was such a special boy. He was born to be my kitten. He bonded with me instantly, and slept by my side within a day of joining our family. He was smart, friendly, and bulletproof. His name was decided twelve days after he was born, when Jacoby Ellsbury stole home against the Yankees at Fenway Park; I didn’t name Jake after the player, but rather the awesome thing he did that time on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at Fenway against our most hated rivals. I was right about that, considering that Ellsbury eventually ended up going to play for those pinstriped goons.

Jake was a therapy cat, and he loved riding in his stroller when we walked to our visits at the psych wards at facilities along Harrison and Albany Streets in the South End. He loved people, especially children. He loved going on shopping errands with me and I would take him along if I was shopping anywhere that didn’t involve food. He even went to restaurants with me, as long as there was outside seating.

He was also a minor celebrity in Boston, known as Strollercat. He appeared on the cover of the Boston Herald during a newsweek consisting of Hurricane Sandy, the Patriots playing at Wembly Stadium in London, Halloween, and a Presidential election involving a former Massachusetts governor. He got a two-page spread in Your Cat, the UK’s biggest cat magazine, and there was an article about him and his travels in CFA’s Cat Talk. He was a celebrity cat guest at the first ever Somerville Cat Film Festival. And, perhaps most amazing of all, he was named Cat of the Year by the Westchester Cat Club and honoured with the Scarlett Award for his therapy work with first responders after the Boston Marathon bombings.

He was a show cat, but he didn’t start his show career until he was two years old, partly because of this therapy training, and partly because he got his foot caught in the top of the escalator at Broadway T Station when he was a year and a half old. He did well, the judges exclaiming over his rich ruddy coat, and his decidedly non-Abylike behaviour on the judging table. One judge called him a “poseable action figure,” and another said he was “a Persian in an Aby suit.” He became a Grand Premier in a nailbiter of a show, needing only one final to have enough points and not getting it until his last ring on Sunday. One year, he was in the top ten Abys in Premiership in all of CFA, only to get bumped to #11 on the last weekend of the season. Ironically, in the 2015 season, he was 8th best Aby in Premiership without even trying…and then in 2016, he was 10th best after having gone to only two CFA shows! He also managed to crack the top 25 Best Cats in Premiership in the Northeast Region in 2015, earning a regional win and placing 21st…again, without really trying. The year we went to the World Show in Philadelphia, he was the Best Abyssinian Premier in the Red Group. The only thing he failed at in cat shows was agility. He preferred to pose on the obstacles rather than run through them. He was also a Double Grand Champion Alter in TICA.

After we moved to Sweden, he registered in FIFe, where he earned Nominations, a Best in Variety, and a Best in Show in Altered Males, Category 4, along with several Best in Shows in the Senior class. He ended up with the title of International Grand Premier before deciding he didn’t like FIFe’s style of showing.

He did like dressing up for NEMO’s costume contests, though. Except for wearing pants.

Born in Canada, he lived in Boston and visited New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania in the States and then Göteborg, Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn (and Reykjavik’s airport) in Europe. He’s ridden on almost every form of transport imaginable: Car, bus, subway, train, ferry, airplane…and of course, stroller.

As I said above, the insurance cap has been reached so I won’t close the GoFundMe campaign for his chemo just yet as we don’t know what his final total bill will be. Also, the insurance won’t cover his cremation. An anonymous donor made an extremely generous donation, so I am confident there’ll be something left over for New England Abyssinian Rescue. I will close it down on Jake’s birthday, 14 April.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, my beloved Jakey Bakey.

Aby-a-Day – 10 April: Wordy Wednesday (Update on Jacoby)

Jacoby spent last night in an oxygen cage because his red blood cell count was low and he wasn’t oxygenating properly. He’s still in the ICU, probably for another night at least. I am not sure when he will be able to come home. If he needs chemo next week, depending on when they do it, he may stay until then to save him two round trips on the train. He has got pretty good insurance, but it looks like his ongoing treatment and rounds of chemotherapy will outpace what the insurance will pay, especially if he needs to stay in the ICU. The photo above is Jake and Dr. Cecilia. He has a feeding tube in his nose to get nutrients into him.

They also sent this text. Isn’t it sweet?

Now, on a serious note…I always hate to be “that person,” but I also hate the thought of losing Jake so young (he’s only turning ten on Sunday the 14th), so I set up a Gofundme page for him.

Any leftover funds will be donated to NEAR (Northeast Abyssinian Rescue).