Aby-a-Day – 11 January: Run, run, faster than that! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Cat!

Back in Boston, of course Jacoby couldn’t go outside by himself. We lived in Boston! Even in a park, there were too many big dogs off-leash.

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But the first time Jake was let outside our apartment…he loved it!

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He just ran and ran and ran!

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Grass! Trees! Grass! Trees!

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And no slow human weighing down the other end of a leash!

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WHOO HOO!!!

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He would start to climb a tree…

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…but I guess his clipped claws couldn’t dig into the bark.

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Okay, back to running, then!

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Jake has the funniest run I have ever seen.

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OMG! Grass and trees and I CAN’T EVEN!!!

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It’s like that one episode of Friends where Phoebe tries to run.

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Our area is really very safe, and we’re nowhere near speeding traffic. Our neighbours let their cat roam the field, and he loves it.

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The problem is…we also have THIS guy running around outside in the field.

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I was thrilled when I finally saw him. I had seen evidence of a fox (dead birds, scat), but when I finally saw him, it was magical.

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I had never seen a wild red fox before. I did see one in London, near Hyde Park, but that’s not really the same thing. I have seen grey foxes, back in California…but red foxes are different.

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Not sure what is with the open-mouthed running, though.

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Now, research indicates that foxes are not a serious threat to cats>, but I just can’t let Jake out alone because foxes are bigger than he is. And I’ve read all the Warriors books. And we also have deer and hare out there, and where there are foxes, deer and hare…there are also badgers. So, sorry, Jake…you’ll have to be outside on your leash, even here.

Aby-a-Day – November 22: “Feather” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Feather.”

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Birds, of course, have feathers. And when we went to Petco last Sunday, Jacoby was very interested in the budgies.

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Or maybe he was just hungry?

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The birds didn’t seem very upset that a big brown predator was just outside their enclosure? Maybe they knew he couldn’t get at them?

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I really wonder what Jake would do if he ever encountered a bird that wasn’t behind plexiglas.

Aby-a-Day – May 18: Mother Goose story

Living next to Fort Point Channel is interesting.

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We have a little salt water ecosystem right in our back yard. I’ve seen cormorants, grebes, swans, ducks and herons in the water at one time or another. But the most common waterbird is the Canada goose.

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Just try getting a photo without a goose or two in it somewhere!

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Jacoby is used to them. He’s been around them since he was a kitten; to him, they’re no different than the trains, trucks and buses. They’re scary and loud, but harmless if you stay out of their way.

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Geese can be pretty mean, but the geese along the Harborwalk are fairly tame.

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I’ve seen people feeding them bits of sandwiches and chips from their hands.

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The only time you really need to be careful is when they have goslings.

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But even then, they’re so used to humans that they aren’t too belligerent unless you get too close.

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They almost seem proud to show off their babies.

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This story, as you may have guessed, hasn’t really got very much to do with Abyssinians or cats. But last week, as I was biking home along the Harborwalk, I saw a pair of geese with a new batch of goslings.

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Naturally, I stopped to take some photos of the little babies.

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We were on the Harborwalk at the stretch that is entirely fenced along the water, and the geese were walking along the inside of fence.

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Some of the babies, however, were walking on the outside of the fence!

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And one of them fell off the ledge into the water. Now, this should not have been a big deal: geese, after all can swim. And the baby was completely fine, too, swimming around and peeping up to the rest of his family. But the parents started to freak out and crawl under the fence to get to their missing gosling! Yes…under the fence. And they were too big to squeeze underneath the bottom bar of the metal fence. Of course, you would think they would simply flap their wings and fly over the fence…but it was like they’d forgotten how to fly! They just kept trying to either bash their way though the upright bars of the fence or squeeze underneath.

It was seriously like an old Warner Brothers cartoon, where Daffy Duck is falling off a cliff and smashes into the ground because he forgets he’s a duck. So, I decided to help. I started trying to scare the geese into remembering to fly. I am sure I looked ridiculous, waving my arms around and yelling “Come on, you can fly! Come on, FLY!”

Finally, I managed to get one parent, I believe the father, to fly over….

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…like this (this isn’t him).

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One baby and parent down, four babies and one parent to go.

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I started trying to shoo the babies into the water with their father. One fell into the water by himself, but the next one fell into a crevice between two of the granite stones.

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So I had to pick him up! I then held him out over the water and dropped him as softly as I could. He splashed down, unharmed, and swam over to his dad and siblings. And there was just mom and two babies still up on the wrong side of the fence. A couple of other cyclists stopped to see what I was doing and offer help. Another little baby plopped into the water on his own and there was just one left. I managed to catch it and drop it to join the rest. And only the mother goose was left on the seawall with us humans.

She was completely freaked. She could see her family in the water, but despite seeing her husband fly over, she still didn’t remember that she had wings. She kept trying to squeeze underneath the fence. I actually tried to help push her through at one point – she was so upset she let me touch her back! Finally, one of the other bikers came up with a plan: we would corner her and sort of boost her over the fence. That didn’t really work. We got her about halfway up and then she smacked the guy in the chest with her wing and he backed off. But after that, she was even more upset than before, so I just ran at her, yelling and waving my arms. At first, she just ran away from me with her wings out…

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…like this (this isn’t her). But then the light seemed to dawn and she took off and finally – finally! – flew over that damn fence.

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And at long last, the family was reunited and they swam off into the sunset.

It wasn’t til a few days later that I realised how lucky they were. It was a fairly high tide that afternoon when the first baby fell in, and the baby landed safely in water. But had it been low tide, that baby would have landed on rocks…

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…which you can see in this photo of a heron at low tide. You can also see what a long stretch of fence that is – there was no way those geese were going to be able to walk around to the unfenced part!

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I’m not going to lie, though…I did think, when I was holding the first gosling, how much fun this whole thing would have been had Jake been with me!

Aby-a-Day – May 15 – AARP Life@50 2014

Last Thursday, Jacoby and I were invited to participate in the United Healthcare booth at the AARP 2014 Life@50 National Event in Boston. It was held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, only a mile and half from where we live!

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It was a nice day so we walked over to the convention center, where we met up with our host from United Healthcare, Christine, and another PetPartners therapy team, Lee Ann and Sophie.

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Sophie, a King Charles Spaniel, is deaf. She was excited to meet the famous Strollercat, though.

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The other therapy teams were Deb and Boo, a Shitzu, and Nikki and Ralphie, an Abyssinian guinea pig. The convention center is HUGE (it’s the largest in New England), and we had to walk a good way to get to the area the event was actually being held.

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Good thing we have a stroller!

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Like I said, the hall is huge, but we’ve been to big convention halls before. Jake was eager to explore…

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But I made him stay in his stroller.

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“Aw, geez Mom…”

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I got a United Healthcare shirt to wear, so I took this selfie of Jake and I. We participated in a panel about therapy animals, sitting on the stage at a table while there was a slideshow presentation. I don’t have photos of that yet, but I should hopefully be getting some that I can share later.

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After the presentation, we hung out at the United Healthcare booth. There were several different stations in the booth, which was quite large. There was a Boston photo booth, so Jake and I posed for this…it needed a little Photoshop touch-up because the flash lit up Jake’s eyes (and yeah, while I was in there, I might have added a little lens flare).

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Another part of the booth was set up for visitors to create cheerful cards to send to children in hospitals.

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This is the one Jake and I drew.

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The inside says “Sending you sunshine.”

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Yet another section had a whiteboard for people to write their “What’s Next” moment.

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I cannot pass a whiteboard without doodling a cat on it, so I drew this…

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We also met Ralphie the Abyssinian guinea pig, of course!

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Ralphie and Nikki visit at the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Center too, but we haven’t run into each other there, yet.

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Jake and Ralphie sat next to each other on the table at the panel. Despite being at different ends of the food chain, they seemed to have no instinctual problems with each other.

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I know it may not seem that way in these photos, but…

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…the BEST photo turned out blurry. I saved it by turning it into “art.”

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Abyssinian guinea pigs are “Abyssnian” because of their hair, not their colour. It has whorls and sticks up in odd places. They can be any colour that regular guinea pigs are, but Ralphie just happens to be whatever the guinea pig equivalent of ruddy is. I wonder what an Aby cat would look like with Aby guinea pig fur?

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After our duties at the United Healthcare booth were fulfilled, we were allowed to explore the rest of the event.

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There was a lot to see!

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We even met the Geico gecko!

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We stayed until 6pm, when the event closed for the day. We’d been there since 1:30, so it was a pretty long day for Jake.

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Despite that, he was still perky and cheerful.

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It was a great event and we had a wonderful time. I’m so glad that Jake and I were able to be a part of it all!

Abys are Everywhere – Kara the Aby who loved a bunny

Found this adorable story via the Abyssinian Cat Club on Facebook:

Rescue Cat Finds Friendship With Rescue Rabbit

“When Kara a rescue Abyssinian cat met Melba an unwanted rabbit who had had a hard time finding a permanent home, the cat took to the rabbit and offered some love and snuggles. It was then, they became each other’s best friend.
“They both came unwanted from previous owners. The rabbit had been adopted and returned multiple times; she wasn’t litter box trained so that could have been related. Within a week she was trained.

The Aby had open sores from scratching due to food allergies that her previous owner didn’t brother to deal with. The matter was quickly addressed,” said Liz H.
“During the early months of 2011 out of the corner of my eye I started to see Kara and Melba with their heads nestled together but as soon as I would turn my head to look, they’d move away from each other. It kept happening and they were very guarded about letting me observe them.


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One day after seeing them together one second and apart the next, I sat down and had a talk with them and told them I knew they were friends and that it was okay. I’m sure they didn’t understand a word I said and it was probably just a coincidence that they slowly started being more open about their friendship,” Liz added.
They were both older adoptions and adopted separately. When they found each other, it didn’t matter what they are, friendship has no boundaries.”


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Sadly, Kara passed away on 29 July 2013. She was 11 years old, and her friend Melba was there at the end.


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Melba misses Kara…but at least she has other Abys, like Rudy, who also love to cuddle with her!


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(There are many, many more photos of Melba with her Aby friends Kara, Rudy and Sunny – and other cats and bunnies, too – on Liz H’s Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – July 7: Birdwatching

It’s been a heck of a week. On Monday night, this happened:

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So I’ve been a little distracted and busy. We’re talking four visits to the Apple Genius Bar on Boylston Street. But in amidst all the restarting, reimaging and moving into a brand new hard drive (which isn’t as much fun as it sounds, believe me), I’ve had a chance to go through my older photos.

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Back in May, Jacoby and I went on a therapy visit to RISD, similar to the one we did in December.

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The spring semester visit was a lot less busy than the winter one.

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So Jake had a chance to look out the window.

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The window turned out to be pretty exciting when a couple of pigeons came down to explore the deck outside.

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The pigeons were actually pretty cheeky.

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They came right up to Jake.

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I mean, right up to him. I think that, even with their little pigeon brains, they understood the concept of glass.

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I’m also pretty sure they knew exactly the effect they were having on the cat on the inside looking out. Unfortunately, the sliding glass door was locked, or we would have seen just how brave those pigeons really were!

Aby-a-Day – March 10: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell

The TICA cat show last weekend was held in conjunction with a Pet Expo, so cats and humans weren’t the only species present in the show hall.

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There was also a collection of ungulates, including alpacas, goats, and sheep.

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This Jacob sheep was like something out of science fiction, with his four horns. Apparently, this type of sheep can have up to six horns!

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The most common animal in the petting zoo area were the pygmy goats.

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There was even a pregnant nanny…

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…and a super-adorable little kid!

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He was tiny, and really popular.

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Jacoby was not impressed.

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In fact, he seemed a bit put out when people were more interested in taking photos of the baby goat and his mom than they were in taking his photo!

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For her part, the mother goat was not impressed with Jake, either.

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Jake was fairly oblivious to her, but the moment she saw him, she started stamping her hooves and “huffing” at him.

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Even though she and her baby were in a pen, and Jake was on a leash, she still recognised him as a predator, and therefore a threat. It was really fascinating to watch. Not that Jake has the first idea how to hunt, I suppose that if cougars can bring down a deer and lions can fell a water buffalo, a house cat might be able to manage a kid (at least, the Warriors cats could). And somewhere in her instinctive memory, mama goat knew that.

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She didn’t have very large horns, but I still didn’t want Jake getting to close to her.

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The other goats either ignored Jake completely or they were mildly curious about him, but they didn’t see him as a threat at all.

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In fact, I think the pregnant goat wanted to be friends!