Aby-a-Day – June 21: Happy Aby Father’s Day

I just had to share these photos of our friend Dante Mooner that Marsha Zapp Ammons posted on Facebook last week. They are the perfect embodiment of the concept of “Father’s Day.”

Marsha wrote: “Dante Mooner to one of his Humans, John: You’re mine, you’re mine, you are ALL MINE!”

Marsha also explained that “Dante loves to go walking, but he often ‘asks’ us to hold him, like John is doing in these photos.”

Awww…look how much Dante loves his human dad!

Aby-a-Day – December 18: Hoop-De-Do!

Racy Mooner was literally jumping through hoops to entertain her fans at the World Show last month.


She did it several times, and I was lucky enough to be able to capture her on camera.




Sort of, even with my rapid-fire SLT camera, Racy is fast! These last three were taken about 1/8th of a second apart…and she’s still a blur.


After her landing, she composes herself…



…and then she’s ready for a treat and another go.


Of course, it must be remembered that Racy is a cat.



And cats…






…Perform on command.


Sometimes, Racy didn’t feel like going through the hoop and just walked on by. It was pretty funny.


Lisa-Maria just asked Racy to do it again.


Come on, Racy, let’s go!





Perfect landing!



And now you get your treat! Good girl, Racy!

Aby-a-Day – December 17: Wordless Wednesday (Racy Rolls)
















Aby-a-Day – December 14: Racy Mooner at the World Show

One great thing about the World Show was seeing old friends again.


Like Racy Mooner, her mother Twyla, and their human, Lisa-Maria.


Racy, Twyla and Lisa-Maria were actually working at the show.


Lisa-Maria was selling the Sturdi Walking Vests she and Racy helped design.


Racy and Twyla were the models.


Racy seemed a little dismayed that her mom was sharing the spotlight with her.


She needn’t have worried.


Racy is always the star!


Besides, modelling isn’t as glamourous as it’s cracked up to be



Racy sat on the table with the merchandise and basically did what Abys do.



She helped.


At least, I think she was helping.


Lisa-Maria was busy explaining the harnesses, helping people find the right size for their cats, and selling them to a steady stream of customers.


Meanwhile, Racy showed off how great the harnesses are.


Together, they make a great team!

Abys are Everywhere: The Mooners in the Washington Post

Our friend Lisa Maria Padilla and Abys Racy and Twyla Mooner were recently featured in an article in the Washington Post

I love this one reader comment, too: “Currently [I have] 3 cats, two of which we raised as four day old kittens abandoned a couple years back by their mom. They all have learned little tricks, most of which involve ways to interact with their favorite humans and/or to get the occasional treat. In fact, every one of them responds to “Doors Closing” when I say it like the Metro announcement.

This proves that my cats are at least in one way smarter than many of my fellow commuters.”

Show Brag: Abyssinian Winners at the Kentucky Colonels/Great Lakes Aby Devotees CFA Show

A little cat show news for you: The following Abyssinians were the winners in each division at the Kentucky Colonels/Great Lakes Abyssinian Devotees show held last Saturday, 18 May:

From left to right:

Best Abyssinian Kitten: Purssynian Phantom of 3Janes, a 6 month old blue Abyssinian male kitten; Bred by Darrell Newkirk; Owned by Elizabeth Koller, Teri Kennedy, Jane Onstott.

Best Abyssinian in Premiership: GP Hitails Rocco Mooner (Another blue Mooner!), a blue Abyssinian neuter; Bred by Lisa-Maria Padilla; Owned by Diane & Scott Weber

Best Abyssinian in Championship: CH Absolute Fleur de Lis of Abizaq, a red Abyssinian female; Bred by Cynthia Cash; Owned by Martha & Norman Auspitz

Congratulations to the winners! I also found some photos of Rocco Mooner in Japan…along with Roger Vivier and some DeVande Abys! It’s actually a pretty nice account of a cat show in Japan. Talk about a cat show road trip!

Other People’s Abys – Racy Mooner on The Daily Buzz!

This just in from Facebook: Our friend Racy Mooner will be on The Daily Buzz tomorrow morning on a spot featuring travel gear for pets!

Racy’s been out in the public eye a lot lately; check out her appearance at the Yeowww! Catnip booth at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando:

It’s looking like 2013 is going to be the Year of the Aby!

Other People’s Aby – Racy Mooner, official spokescat for Sturdi-Products

This is kind of cool: our friend Racy Mooner is the feline spokesmodel for SturdiProducts!


SturdiProducts is the company that makes the show cages almost everyone uses at cat shows these days, and they also make carriers, folding litter boxes, and all sorts of other products designed specifically for travelling with and showing cats (and small dogs). I’m endlessly impressed with their products and was lucky enough to meet them in person at the CFA Annual last June.


Racy is another Aby star! It seems we have a “Cat Pack” of famous Abys…Jacoby “Strollercat”, Toki Nantucket the Etsy model, Jafari the jogging cat of Vancouver, Louis and Rosie the leash prodigies, and now Racy (who is also the daughter of a Feline Agility superstar).


Guess I’ll have to update this cartoon I drew, eh? And change the title to include non-Ruddies…

Aby-a-Day – July 1: “And all as if beribboned”

One cool thing about going to a national conference is that all sorts of vendors come to show off their wares to the specialised captive audience of attendees.


Once such vendor was a company that makes the rosettes that are given out at every cat show.


Needless to say, this one sample caught my eye.


I really like the eyes on the Abyssinian illustration on the rosette. They look almost photographic.

But don’t take my word for it; compare those eyes to actual Abyssinian eyes:


(I couldn’t resist sneaking in another shot of good ol’ Banjo Mooner!)

Aby-a-Day – June 30: The Annual comes but once a year

Sorry for the brevity of today’s entry…it’s been a long day, and I took nearly 3,000 photos this morning!

Today was the main day of breed council meetings at the CFA Annual Meeting, and I was fortunate enough to attend the Abyssinian Breed Council Meeting.

I feel the need for a disclaimer, here: I am not a morning person. Pretty much the only way I see the sunrise is if I stay up all night. And the Aby meeting was first on the schedule, thanks to the curse of the alphabet.

That being said, the meeting was fascinating. I went with Meg, and there were people I’ve met before, like Lauren Castle-Flynn and Lisa-Maria Padilla, and also people I’ve only conversed with by email, like Christine Ruessheim< and Susan Graham. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, and I was floored by hearing names I've only read on Jacoby's pedigree, names like Nepenthes, Saika Shams, Zehnder and Devande.

If you're wondering what happens at a breed council meeting at the Annual Meeting, well…it's not that mysterious. First, the rosettes were awarded to the breeders and/or owners of the Top Ten Abys Kittens, Top Ten Abys in Championship and Top Ten Abys in Premiership. There was Breed Council business, which mainly involved a discussion of allowing Ocicat breeders to use Abys as outcrosses in their breeding programs, but also touched on the issues around eight-generation rule and shorthaired Somalis in Aby lines.

But the best part of the meeting was the presence of our friend GP, NW Hitails Banjo Mooner.



Banjo was there with his person, Lisa-Maria Padilla.


He was very interested in the goings-on.


So interested that he had to get right up in the action.


Breed council secretary Darrell Newkirk scooped him up so that he could participate in the presentation of his own award. This is his Fifth Best Aby Kitten award.


He was also the Best Abyssinian Premier this year.


Banjo explored the entire room in the two hours we were in the meeting.



He made sure we were all safe from the threatening mosquito hawk that was flying around the window.


“It’s okay, he’s dead. And you’re welcome.”


Banjo did a little crowd-surfing, too. I posted all the Abyssinian winners back in May, and it was fun to meet the people behind the cats.

Winn-ing the fight against FIP

Interesting the way things collude sometimes, isn’t it?

An interesting new study just came to my attention today via the Winn Foundation blog: Risk factors for feline infectious peritonitis in Australian cats

According to the blog entry, “the purpose of this study was to determine whether patient signalment (age, breed, sex, and neuter status) is associated with naturally-occurring feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) in cats in Australia.”

Of course, Australia, being an island nation, makes a nice enclosed laboratory for a study like this. What I didn’t know (but have suspected), is this: Pedigreed cats were significantly over-represented and domestic crossbreeds under-represented in FIP cases. Several breeds were over-represented, including British Shorthair, Devon Rex, and Abyssinian. Male cats had a significantly higher proportion of representation than female cats.

That dovetails nicely with my personal theory that there is at least some component of FIP that involves the Y chromosome. And I hadn’t seen that Abyssinians were one of the more susceptible breeds before this article. There’s a related article which explores this further: “Abyssinians, Bengals, Birmans, Himalayans, Ragdolls and Rexes had a significantly higher risk, whereas Burmese, Exotic Shorthairs, Manxes, Persians, Russian Blues and Siamese cats were not at increased risk for development of FIP.”

Interesting! And what’s more, this weekend is the CFA Annual Meeting, and just so happens to be about 6 or 7 stops away on the red line in Quincy. I’m going to the Winn Foundation Symposium this afternoon; the subject is “Diving Into the Feline Gene Pool” and one of the speakers is Dr. Leslie Lyons from UCD, who pretty much invented all those Cat Genetics and Ancestry tests that I got for Kylie. She and her study are also the subject of a National Geographic feature entitled “The Science of Cats.” I can’t wait!

Then, on Saturday, I’ll be attending the Abyssinan Breed Council Meeting with Meg. That should also be quite an experience.


But the biggest reason that it’s somehow fitting that all these things fall into place on today of all days? Today, in 2008, was the day that Gun-Hee lost his battle with FIP.

Edit: Steve Dale posted a recap of the Symposium on his Pet World blog on the Chicago Now website. Check it out! There’s also a shot of our friend Banjo Mooner greeting everyone as they came in. You can also see me in one of the photos…well, my arm and one eye, anyway…

Meeting the Mooners at the Crab and Mallet

My sister lives in Baltimore, and I went to visit her the same weekend that the Crab & Mallet CFA show was being held in town. Originally, I had hoped to enter Jacoby, as that is a well-known show with a lot of entries and “famous” cats and cat people in attendance.


In the end, Jake and I went to the TICA show in Providence instead, but my sister and I went to the Crab and Mallet show as spectators on Sunday afternoon.


As soon as we walked in the door, we saw a sleek, steel-blue form in a harness greeting people at the entry tables. My sister called me over, and as she was telling me, “Look!” I heard the name “Twyla.” (These photos, I think, are Racy. Twyla was wearing a little walking jacket, but none of the photos of her really came out well, sadly).


“Whoa, wait a minute,” I said. “Did you say her name was TWYLA??”


And then followed the leash up to the person at the other end of it and asked again, “Did you say Twyla?”


And the woman with the blue Aby said, “Yes! This is Twyla.”


And I said, “Oh, hi! I’m Coco. From the Daily Abyssinian!”


And she said, “Hi! I’m Lisa-Maria!”


And then Lisa-Maria led my sister and me over to her benching area, where Twyla’s daughter Racy Mooner and her grandson, Banjo Mooner, were hanging out.


(You may want to go back and refer to my previous posts about the Mooners.)


All three of these Abys are just amazing. Busy show hall, second day, and they’re still playing with toys, rolling over for treats and just showing off all over the place. It was awesome.


It seemed like it happened as soon as we met, but Banjo was called up to a final in Nancy Dodds’ ring.


He looks a little crabby about having to stop playing in this photo, doesn’t he?


He waited patiently (well, as patiently as an Aby can be expected to wait) for his rosette.



As it happened, he was Nancy’s Best Cat in Premiership!


No sooner had Lisa-Maria taken Banjo back to his cage, but Racy was called to a final in Gene Darrah’s ring.


She, too, had to wait her turn.


But when her turn came, she was awarded Best Shorthair Premier and Best Allbreed Premier!


Look at her schmoozing!


Isn’t she adorable?


Back at the benching area, she was clearly very pleased with herself!


“I did good, right, Mom?”


Eventually, I had to tear myself from the Mooners and go see all the other cats at the show. There were 24 HHPs entered (more than I’ve ever seen at a New England show), including this pretty brown ticked tabby named “MyAbby.”


I suspect this is what Abys looked like 150 years ago when the breed first started.


I thought this black Oriental Shorthair was so handsome. And I love his name, too: GPR Kat-Tres Dashiell Hammett.


I have to show you this little man, though. He was just four months old (the youngest a kitten can be to enter a show) and he was adorable.  I got to hold him (that’s my shoulder he’s flopped on)!


He’s a European Burmese called Bijouxcats Dewey. Tessie actually has Bijouxcats European Burmese in her pedigree (Her paternal great-great-grandmother was Bijouxcats Krystal SheerRose of Bes, and if you look at the EuroBurm section of the Bijouxcats website, you’ll see a photo of GC Bes Payton of Bijouxcats, International BOB 2002 – Bes is the cattery Tessie is from!), so they may be distantly related.  He really did remind me of Tessie, though. Such a little sleepy sweetheart..!

I thought I saw some Somalis, too, but I wasn’t able to get photos of them as people were packing up; I was pretty impressed that the show was pretty much over and packed up by 5pm!  There were a lot of great vendors at this show, and Chanan was there, too. Next year, I really want to go to this show as an exhibitor, because it’s every bit as good as I’ve always heard.

Aby-a-Day – March 9: The Dachshund harnesses in action (Fashion Friday)

In last week’s Fashion Friday post, I had just received two custom-made Hug-a-Dog harnesses. They looked amazing on Jacoby, and he seemed to like them, too.


It was a rather chilly morning when we took the train to Providence, so Jake wore his coat.


He was warm and stylish.


I love his name on the back of the harness. Such a nice option to even have offered when ordering a harness!


Jake agrees with me!

On Sunday, we had a little downtime between getting to the show hall and the judging starting. Jake was a little antsy (he gets a bit tired of being carried everywhere at shows), so I put his harness on him and let him walk around.


At first, we just sort of puttered around the back of the hall, near our benching area (we were at the back, near an open space). We had wanted to walk in the foyer of the Convention Center, but some guy in the business center told me there were “no animals allowed in the public area.”


The foyer was completely empty; Jake just wanted to look out the floor-to-ceiling windows…but the foyer was carpeted, so I think the “no animals in the public area” thing was really “no animals on the carpet.” Whatever.


It seemed a little petty to me, but we stayed on the cement as commanded.


Then, my friend Laurie (who, with her husband Michael, was showing her little blue-cream and white tortie Sphynx and benched next to us) suggested we go next door to the Pet Expo part of the show. While the cat show started at 9am, the Pet Expo wasn’t open to the public until 11am, so we could go over there and explore before it got too crowded.


There was some sort of child beauty pageant going on, and this girl was in it.


I thought she was super cute, although she has more curlers in her hair than I’ve ever worn in my entire life.


There were also other animals at the Pet Expo. Like llamas…


…and goats…


Jake wasn’t entirely sure about those goats.


But the goats were curious about Jake!


There was even a goat on a leash, who was being introduced to a Basenji.


I would have gone up to them with Jake, but they seemed kind of busy.


The best part of going over to the Pet Expo side, though, was the dog agility course! Jake loved it.


But then, what Aby wouldn’t? It’s high, you can see everything, and it’s fun to climb.


Pretty much an Aby definition of awesome. One thing I really want to do with Jake is feline agility*, but we haven’t been to a show that was doing it yet.


Dog agility course furnishings are a lot bigger than the ones for felines, though.



Didn’t seem to bother Jake at all, though.


There was also a tunnel for the dogs to run through.


Pretty much the polar opposite of the A-frame, but still fun.


All in all, we spent about an hour over there, checking everything out, playing with the agility course, and talking to people and other animals. Jake met more dogs, too: a Papillon, two Golden Retrievers, and a Shar-Pei.


So, Jake’s Hug-a-Harnesses? Two paws up. There is one modification I’m thinking of doing to them for Jake, which is sewing the neck shut and putting the buckle on the belly Velcro©, because I find I tend to slip these over his head and only open and close the belly strap; if I do that, I’ll be sure to post photos…but first I need to outsmart my new sewing machine, which is smarter than I am.


* One note: if you follow that link to the NY Times’ article about feline agility, you’ll see a mention of “Twyla Mooner, a Bengal from Reston, Va., [who] is considered one of the greatest agility champions”. Yeah, we already know all about Twyla Mooner…and she is NOT a Bengal. She is a blue Abyssinian, thank you very much, and she is awesome at agility. So there, New York Times. You are incorrect.

Other People’s Abys – It’s only an Aby moon

You may recall my post last month about Hitails Banjo Mooner, who was named 3rd Best Cat at the CFA National Show this year. And I’d also posted Hitails Racy Mooner’s charming Halloween costume.

Lisa-Marie has sent me photos of Banjo and also his mom, Lulu:

Banjo 3

“One is of his last show as a kitten in October, where he was receiving Best Kitten from judge Tracy Petty,


and the other I snapped tonight as he was running around. I think he looks quite a bit like his grandmother Twyla,


and also here is his mother LuLu Mooner. I have a sneaking suspicion that you just might be hearing more about Mr. Banjo…”

I for one cannot wait!

Another Aby show cat superstar

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the cat show…

Sherry emailed me last night to point out that this past weekend, at the CFA National Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, an Abyssinian was named Third Best Cat in Show!

GP Hitails Banjo Mooner, a blue neutered Aby, came in as 2nd runner up behind a tortie-and-white Persian spay and a red tabby American Shorthair male out of 500 cats! 18 Abyssinians were entered; 9 Kittens, 6 Championship and 3 Premiership.

What’s funny is, we’ve met Banjo’s family recently: You may recall my Halloween post about Racy Mooner. Turns out, the Hitails Abys are quite the characters. Not only is Racy a waterbug, but her mother, Zehnder’s Twyla Mooner of Hitails, is a Feline Agility star! She’s also a CFA Regional Winner: Look at this wonderful photo from the CFA Southern Region 2011 Awards page:

Such a talented – and gorgeous – family!

(Jacoby is related to Zehnder cats via his mother Catalina’s maternal grandfather, Zehnder’s Cuba of Instincts.)