Shout-out to Summer!

I sent a few gifts to our Somali friend Summer in California for a (belated) Christmas gift. I know Summer and her roommates Binga and Boodie LOVE the European cat treats. And I also remembered that Summer’s human admired the miniature cat skeleton toy I posted about on a Miniature Monday, and when I bought mine, I ordered a few extra for friends and family, so I sent one along to her, knowing it would be appreciated.

You can read all about what they all thought of their gifts on today’s post on Summer’s blog.

Aby-a-Day – 6 Januari: Flying food from Flying Tiger (Cinema Sunday)

About a year and a half ago, Skövde got a Flying Tiger store. If you haven’t gotten one of these near you (there are something like 900 stores in the world and counting), you have missed a treat. Flying Tiger stores are filled with awesome things you never knew you needed. It doesn’t help that everything costs 10kr/$1/€1 – 40kr/$4/€4…

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So, of course, I had to buy one. I stashed it away and ended up putting it in Jacoby’s Christmas stocking. Today, I brought it out.

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It was a thing full of dry cat food. What’s not to like?

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Of course, it attracted an audience.

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Including Izaak, who doesn’t eat dry food and only eats raw.

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Jake cottoned onto the system pretty quickly. Instead of chasing the pellets being shot from the gun, he sent straight to the source.

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He basically went up to the crunchy gun, licked it, and tried to open it. That’s my boy.

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Lorelai especially loves to hunt and catch the dry pellets. We have played “chase the dry food” many times, but it’s way more fun to use the gun.

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At least we had a better response to it than this Sphynx blogger in Finland had with her cats.

Here’s a video of everyone chasing little bits of kibble all over our kitchen.

Aby-a-Day – June 7: Kitten Fiesta!

One of the very best parts of BlogPaws was…

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…Kittens!

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The human from Random Felines brought three foster kittens with her to BlogPaws.

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They were great kittens, too. There was a brown tabby girl, Taquito…

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…and her two brothers, Salsa (the fluffier one on the bottom – I think) and Queso (the shorter-haired one on top – again, I think).

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I had the best time playing with them in their hotel room.

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Look how adorable they are!

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They are actually part of of a litter of five; Tostada and Blanco stayed home with their mother, Margarita.

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Little Taquito was so adorable.

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She was having such a hard time staying awake!

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Her brothers had the opposite problem.

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They were very awake.

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This rattle ball was in the swag bags that all participants were given.

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Questo and Salsa found it and went to town!

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They were having so much fun with that ball. It was so much fun to watch.

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At least they were having fun with the ball until…

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…they got distracted by the furniture.

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Turns out that, if you’re a kitten, furniture is just as much fun as a cat toy. Who knew?

Aby-a-Day – May 29: Coco the Couture Cat (Fashion Friday)

Okay, Coco isn’t an Aby…but she is a fashion icon!

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At BlogPaws, I had the pleasure of meeting Coco the Couture Cat and her human!

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Isn’t her gold pillbox hat just gorgeous?

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Coco had several wardrobe changes throughout the day. This is her pink Hello Kitty Rockabilly dress.

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Coco is a torbie Cornish Rex. I’ve petted Devon and Selkirk Rexes, but I’ve never got to pet a Cornish Rex before.

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Coco’s human took her out of her stroller to show off her dress, but she jumped right back into her stroller the first chance she got.

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That made me miss Jacoby all the more! He does the same thing! I would have brought his small stroller with us had he been able to join me, and I would have brought a collection of his outfits, too.

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Just like Jake, Coco sees her stroller as her “safe space,” her mobile territory, and she’s perfectly happy in it no matter what is going on around her.

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Of course, Jake’s outfits aren’t nearly as fancy as Coco’s…but then, she’s a girl.

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I know a lady doesn’t tell her age, but Coco will be 10 years old in September!

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So much for the school of thought that believes that as cats age, they stop wanting to go out and do things, eh?

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I mean, Coco’s almost 10 and she’s still dressing like a Vegas showgirl!

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I so wish Jake could have met her. They would have made quite the well-dressed couple

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Speaking of my Jakeman, here is his flat self sporting the fancy glasses I made at the Hauspanther DIY craft table last night! You know he would have been at the table helping me design them…and he’d have worn them, too!

Aby-a-Day – November 1: The few, the proud, the Cat Scouts (Fashion Friday)

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the new Cat Scouts website. Both Jacoby and Angel are proud Scouts and are working hard on earning their merit badges. There are uniforms that can be Photoshopped to look like the cats are wearing them, and real live uniforms, caps and neckerchiefs with woggles will be available for sale soon…but you know me.

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I just couldn’t wait.

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I found the perfect little garrison cap on Etsy. Many of merit badges can be purchased on Zazzle, and it’s easy to find dogs scarves and Boy Scouts paraphernalia on eBay.

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And how hard is it to make a little merit badge sash? We had the perfect shirt in the rag pile so I used a piece of it to whip up a nice little baldric for Jake.

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The woggle is a Tiger Cub Scout one, and the top badge on Jake’s sash is one of his CFA Ambassador tags hanging from a genuine Boy Scouts “Be Prepared” banner pin.

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Eventually, I’ll get Jake a camp shirt and pin the sash to it so it stays on his (so-called) shoulder better, and I’ll be the first to order the official neckerchief and woggle…but in the meantime, I’d say he was pretty prepared, wouldn’t you?

Cat Scouts – Be purrpared for the adventure of your lives

I discovered the most awesome, most FUN website last week, thanks to Texas the cat. Actually, it’s not just a website…it’s a way of life.

It’s the Cat Scouts! Cats join up, earn merit badges, compete in character-building contests of wit and skill, and meet other swell fellows around the world. Both boycats and girlcats can be Scouts, but girl Cat Scouts are required to sell treats, like Thin Catmints, on a card table in front of the supermarket to raise money to fund Cat Scout activities.

Jacoby even started his own troop, “Abyssinians at Large,” and there are four other Abys in the Cat Scouts right now – including Angel!

But the best news is that Jake was named co-Scout of the Week last week along with a cat named Raz! Here’s what the Denmaster had to say about Jake:

Scout Jake the Strollercat…IS the first Cat Scout to score every single merit badge. He’s been instrumental in introducing a number of new Abyssinian friends to Cat Scouts. And, he’s the founder of the Abyssinians at Large Troop. We’re proud to have a celebricat like Jake in Cat Scouts.

As I said, girlcats can be Cat Scouts, too! Angel is also a member of Jake’s troop, and look at her posing in her cute little uniform!

There’s a Cardwood Car Derby coming up next month, and soon we’ll be able to buy little neckerchiefs and woggles for the Cat Scouts. The Cat Scout Handbook is going to be published in 2014. It’s such a clever idea and it’s so much fun…if you have an Aby who joins, be sure to join Jake’s troop! And always, be purrpared!

Other People’s Tabbies: A west-coast Strollercat?

Abyfriend Talia pointed this out to me today: MuniDiaries, a blog about San Francisco’s public transpo system (Muni), posted today about a suave mackerel tabby riding Muni in a red and leopard-print stroller!

I love this a lot because I used to live in San Francisco, and I know the love-hate relationship that the denizens of the City have with Muni. And I’ve taken cats on Muni…albeit, not in a stroller, but it was…wow, 15 years, now, since I moved?

There seem to be a lot of cats riding Muni, like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and especially this one. And this kitty isn’t even the first cat in a stroller on Muni!

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Who knew my old hometown was such a hotbed of public catness? Of course, maybe I did and that’s where I got it from. The cats in SF don’t even make Page 6, let alone Page 1!

Other People’s Abys – Somali Sighting

Cate at Blanket ID found this great German cat furniture site…and some great Somali models!

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I see ruddies/usuals, red/sorrels, and a really adorable little blue Somali kitten…not to mention some really sweet furniture.

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.

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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…

Jacoby featured on Pawcurious! Pride isn’t just for lions anymore

Over on Pawcurious, Dr. V is featuring photos depicting readers’ pets illustrating the Seven Deadly Sins.

Today’s featured sin is “Pride”…so of course I sent in the photo of Jacoby and his mistletoe hat!

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You know what they say…”Pride goeth before a fall.” Better be careful up there on the top of the cat tree, Jake.

Are Pet Parents REALLY “Moms”?

Okay…you know I’m not really a controversial blogger (I’m a cat breed blogger. About as controversial as it gets around here is discussions of sex-linked-red, tortoiseshell, and silver Abyssinians), but there was an opinion piece published on Huffington Post on April 27 that…well…to be honest, it kind of pissed me off.

Because according to some woman called Susan Maushart, Pet Parents are NOT Moms.

Oh, yes, she did just say that.

Yeah, I’m not going to lie; I commented. Not with what was really on my mind, but I did point out that, as a matter of fact, part of domestication places us as parent figures in our pets’ lives, and the very process of domesticating animals involves breeding them to retain juvenile characteristics throughout their lives. I also said that perhaps she should do a little more research and a little less ranting.

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I don’t have children. I have cats. But they are my responsibility. I feed them, I bathe them, I take care of them when they’re sick, I play with them, I teach them things and expose them to new things, and they repay me with love and attention. If I’m not a substitute parent to them, then what am I? Not an “owner,” certainly. They aren’t property, they’re family. They have names, personalities, likes, dislikes, quirks, favourite foods and toys…they’re not a car or a computer or a pair of shoes.

So, I may be a “crazy cat lady” but put me squarely in the “Cat mom” category. And you know what else? My mom is my cats’ and my sister’s cats’ grandmother. Just ask her if you don’t believe me.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who’s had to clean up your little one’s puke or mop up a little accident…regardless of species.

Other People’s Abys – Abyssinians in a Tokyo cat cafe

Catsparella posted an awesome article about a cat cafe in Tokyo today.

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Of course, you know I’m posting this not just because it’s an awesome article, but because it has Abys in it! Pay close attention at 4:17 to see Nuts, a handsome ruddy/usual boy, vs an Exotic Shorthair, and then at 6:18 and 6:24 there’s a nice shot of Nuts’ sister, Coco (great name!), a lovely little sorrel/red girl.

Evidently, there are four Abys at this cat cafe: Be sure to also check out pretty blue Alice, and sweet little sorrel/red Komugi, who likes to ride on people’s shoulders. And, for you Somali fans, don’t miss Kanna, who likes the other cats more than the humans who visit the cafe, Ru~u, who “looks like a fox,” and Rin, a pretty “phone” (I think they mean fawn).

Catsparella says that one of her biggest regrets about her 2010 trip to Japan is that she didn’t get a chance to visit a cat cafe in Tokyo. I went to Tokyo in 2006, just before cat cafes started appearing (I think they started popping up in 2007), so I didn’t get to go to one, either, but I did make an express point of going to Pecos PetCity in VenusFort mall at Odaiba. That was an experience! They actually had two adorable ruddy/usual Aby kittens for sale in the shop! My biggest Tokyo regret was not being brave enough to take any photos inside the pet store. I wish I had photos of those two little Abys.

(I did buy our kitties presents from there…collars made out of kimono fabric and little catnip kitties. One of the collars was for my kitten-to-be, Gun-Hee…but when he finally grew into it, he practically chewed it in two within a day of me putting it on him)

Great post, Catsparella…now I really want to go to Japan and Korea again…

Cat of the Day!

I got an email this morning from Catster:

Congratulations, Jacoby Cat of the Day and will be featured on Catster’s Community Home Page all day! We have also credited your account with 25 Zealies to help you celebrate Jacoby’s day in the spotlight! I know I know, we’re purring like mad over here too! Thanks so much for running with the Catster pack. Much Meow, Catster

And, sure enough:

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There he is! It’s kind of amazing. I feel so proud!

Liebster Blog Award!

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One of the first things I do in the morning when I wake up (after petting Jacoby, of course) is check my email on the my iPhone. Now, I am far from being anything like a morning person, but I was delighted to learn that my good friend (and Jake’s distant cousin) Sparkle had named me a Liebster Blog Award winner! Thank you so much for this honour, Sparkle…

As I explained in a comment to Sparkle, I used to do “Gun-Hee a Day” on LiveJournal, because I discovered the 365 Photos project and wanted to do it…but then he died…and I tried to keep it up, but not being able to take new photos, I started to lose track of what I’d already posted. Then Angel came along, but she was so nervous she didn’t really do a lot of different things – all the photos looked alike!

Finally, Jake came along, and I resolved to keep the blog going and do it properly. So I got a Flickr account, migrated the journal over to WordPress and now I’ve got two solid years (almost; there’s still 12 days to go)!

I do so appreciate this mention, because I am trying to become a sort of Aby resource (hard to do when I have a day job, but I can dream) and I see Sparkle as a role model. So this does mean a lot.

Now, you may be wondering what the Liebster Blog Award is. It originated in Germany and recognises up-and-coming bloggers. It is meant to showcase those who have fewer than 200 followers. (Liebster means “favourite” or “dearest” in German.) This is done in the spirit of pay-it-forward. In accepting this award, the recipient agrees to:

• Thank the person who gave them the award and link back to their blog
• Copy and paste the award to their blog
• Reveal the 5 blogs they have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blog

I’m supposed to list five blogs I admire, but I actually thought of six. I wanted to try to come up with some blogs that you may not have heard of, so don’t feel badly if I don’t mention one of you…I just thought everyone would already be reading you! Now, my choices may not all have fewer than 200 readers, but these are the six I wanted to mention:

Life with Fae (and Iggy). The story of two rescued Devon Rexes in Brisbane, Australia. The photographs are wonderful, and Fae’s human writes the blog in both English and Esperanto.

Dr. Cat, MD. Comics about a cat who is also a doctor. Do I really need to say any more? Probably not, but I will: it’s super cute. And there are T-shirts.

Hey Pais. The only webcomic drawn by a cat. Paisley and her new roommate Boo Radley are very interesting kitties.

Lawlzy’s Animation Blog. Not sure if this counts, but it’s something I discovered once doing a Google image search for “Egyptian Cat Dress.” I absolutely fell in love with this animation student’s character sketches of a cat named “Kanila.” She certainly looks like an Abyssinian, doesn’t she?

I adore her characters and her Ancient Egyptian setting, and if she ever does make a movie or book about them someday, well, I’ll be among the first to buy it!

Caaats! The adventures of Hazel and Olive, based on the cartoonist’s two cats. Hazel is an older Siamese, and Olive is…well, Olive is a force of nature. I also just love the drawing style.

Cat Vs. Human. I know that Jasmine has more than 200 followers, but indulge me: seriously, her cartoons are drawn from my life. It’s spooky. If you are not reading her blog, and you have cats, you should be.

(So, it appears that I really like cat cartoons…I should draw some myself, I guess. Well, that can be a New Year’s resolution! Perhaps we’ll have Cartoon Tuesdays next year…)