Sparta and Bob Hunt with StarClan

Sad news. Two of the world’s most famous cats have died this week. Sparta the Mean Kitty and Bob the Street Cat have died.

Sparta became famous when his human, Cory (aka Mr. Safety) posted his Mean itty song on YouTube in September 2007. That video, as of today, has had 91,004,261 views!

But on Sunday, 11 June, Sparta apparently had a saddle thrombosis and his back end was paralysed. Sobbing, Cory posted a short video to let Sparta’s fans know what was happening before he rushed to the vet. Sadly, there was nothing that could be done, and he had to be euthanised.

After Sparta was gone, Cory posted his last video on his Mean Kitty channel. He described what had happened, and thanked his followers. Sparta went from Southern California to Alaska to Oklahoma with Cory and his family. Over the span of 13 years, we followed the life of a man and his cat.

Then, today, Hodder & Stoughton and James Bowen announced the death of Bob the cat on 15 June at the age of at least 14 years on their Facebook page.

I’m sure most of you know about Bob from his books and movie. A busker living rough in Covent Garden selling newspapers meets a cat who decided that he wanted to adopt that human.

James Bowen says “Bob saved my life. It’s as simple as that. He gave me so much more than companionship. With him at my side, I found a direction and purpose that I’d been missing. The success we achieved together through our books and films was miraculous. He’s met thousands of people, touched millions of lives. There’s never been a cat like him. And never will again. I feel like the light has gone out in my life. I will never forget him.” And oh, how I understand how he feels…Jacoby wasn’t as famous as Bob…but I feel his light going out in his life sentiment.

2020 can bite my shiny metal ass.

May StarClan light your path, and you find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when you sleep, Sparta and Bob. You will be missed.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Juni 2020: Another encounter with Markis (Swedish Sunday)

The other day when we went outside, we happened to run into our friend and upstairs neighbour, Markis.

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Lorelai ran up to meet him first.

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Markis was not impressed.

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He insisted on social distancing himself and backed away.

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So of course Izaak felt the need to come barrelling up behind her…

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…and straight past her, right up into Markis’ face.

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Zak may have come up on Markis a little too quickly; there was a tiny little scuffle.

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“SOCIAL DISTANCING! DUDE!”

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Rory came to back Zak up, just in case.

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It wasn’t necessary.

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Markis decided to turn and run into the tall grass to get away from them. Rory could. Not. Resist. “Ooooh, big fluffy cat is running into the grass! Cool!!”

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She lost sight of him momentarily…

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…but then Markis made the mistake of raising his tail.

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And Rory literally flew after him.

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That’s the only word for it: flew.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Maj 2020: This Freddy is PHOTOSHOPPED (Photoshop Friday)

The other day, I posted one of the photos of Alfred in the little toy car to the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED to see what people would do with it. The above photo of Freddy getting “chimkin nuggets” at the Mc D’s drive-thru was made by Lucy Elizabeth West.

These were done by Helen Yang…I think the first one is so fetch!

Freddy doing donuts in a Walmart parking lot, courtesy of Charles Gipson.

I really like these racing ones Barbara Helms Clark made. The other cat is her outside cat, who also likes to sit in toy cars.

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Then there’s the ‘shops I made. This one is Dandelion. I cannot explain why I thought Dandelion should be Baby Ross in Joey’s nightmare…but here we are.

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The moment I saw this cat, I knew she needed to be Queen Victoria.

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Charlie’s owner called him a Viking, so I put him next to Rökstenen runestone.

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This Sphynx’s name is Farrah, so…

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Talcum’s human wanted him to be a mermaid. I am quite proud of this one. I didn’t know he was a boy until after I made it…but I still like the eyelashes.

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And finally…what else was I supposed to do with a cat wearing a unicorn hat!?

Aby-a-Day – 17 April 2020: This Jake is PHOTOSHOPPED (Photoshop Friday)

Since Jacoby’s deathday and birthday are so close together, I posted some photos of him on Monday In Meöwmorium on the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED. I included some cutouts I’d already made along with some favourites…and wow, the other members did not disappoint! I especially love the image Trisha Pettingill made with Jake in the Red Sox dugout.

Lucia Robson made this one of Jake in Baseball Heaven (which of course is in Fenway Park).

Helen Yang, who had so much fun with Izaak and Lorelai a few weeks ago did this amazing one of Jake on the field with Rally Cat II at an Angels-Cardinals game in Anaheim!

She also did these of Jake in various forms of heaven. So sweet!

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And then there are my challenges…this cat was named Pirate, so…

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Dangles’ human wanted her to have legs, but I gave her eggs instead.

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This was an amazing photo on its own…most people went with an ascension or jet pack theme, but I went in a different direction.

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Mr. Kringle’s human wanted him to run for president. That was easy!

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This isn’t really a Photoshop challenge per se, but I had to do it.

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Sophia’s smile made me think of second grade.

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Someone commented on this photo of Bebby that Yoda the trapeze artist should be dancing with her. So here they are at the Bolshoi.

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Switch’s photo reminded me of Theda Bara.

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But this is my favourite of my projects this week. When I saw Reginald in his cowboy hat, I instantly thought of A Million Ways to Die in the West. I knew what I wanted to do: Reginald with Seth MacFarlane’s Albert and Doc Brown. It was a lot harder to get the parts to match than I expected…but I think I finally got it to look pretty good in the end.

Aby-a-Day – 10 April 2020: More PHOTOSHOPPED cats (Photoshop Friday)

Continuing last week’s Photoshop Friday, I did some more Photoshop challenges on the Facebook group This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED. I also posted the meme about the green screen dress Queen Elizabeth wore when she gave her COVID-19 speech last Sunday.

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And, of course, I had to give Her Majesty a Three Jake Moon shirt.

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When I saw this photo of Mya the Sphynx, I had only one thought and one thought only. Isn’t she precious?

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Jezebel’s original photo had her on her scratching post. I thought she needed a real tree.

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THIS is one of my favourites from this week. When I saw this chonky girl, my brain instantly went to…well, Manchester Township, New Jersey. One member said that it should be a poster. It’s always interesting to work in greyscale.

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Athletic Yoda reminded me of a trapeze artist.

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This face! I had to do this.

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This cat’s name is Chandler, so I had to do this…

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I didn’t think that sofa looked “Central Perk” enough, so I used this one instead. Much better!

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Then Björn made a comment…eh, it was inevitable.

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Harley and Powder’s human wanted them ‘Shopped onto a rock album. Hey, no problem.

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I had saved this photo of the bear and was waiting for a cat to fill it. I thought it was Mia…but I wasn’t so sure after I finished it. But her human loved it, so that’s good enough for me.

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Peso is a semi-celebrity in the group – I mean, look at those eyes! Behold, the majestic Peso Owl in flight.

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Willie’s human wanted him Photoshopped riding something “bad ass”…well, what’s more bad ass than Joust? This was a lot of fun…I learned how to pixilate photos with this one. It’s always nice when one of these challenges teaches me a new trick.

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Then, someone in the comments posted a photo of Putin, shirtless, riding a horse, and said, “Someone please put him on the horse with Putin!” Challenge accepted.

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Gilligan reminded me of an ancient Egyptian cat, so I put him in the temple at Abydos. Not super happy with how it turned out…but Gillgan’s human loved it. Again, that’s kind of the point.

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This is Colonel Gentleman. His original photo looked like he was sitting behind a desk, so… Fun fact: the base I used was a photo of Socks sitting behind Bill Clinton’s Resolute Desk.

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Another person posted her adorable foster kittens Meeps, Sully and Toque….it was the obvious choice. I wish Toque’s photo had been larger, though.

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Another obvious choice. I had fun with the bubbles.

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Daniel had to have his back leg shaved for an operation, and his owner wanted us to cover it up. I used a photo of a peacock I took at Borås Djurpark last summer, and used feather brushes to fill in spots.

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This is today’s project. Bailey’s human wanted him to turn his blep against evil. This was the most evil I could think of.

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Well, either that, or this. Potato, potahto.

Aby-a-Day – 6 Februari 2020: Alfred and Markis again (Thursday Things)

About a year and a half ago, I wrote about Alfred and Markis and their complicated relationship.

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But towards the end of autumn, Freddy and Markis have started to become friendly with each other.

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Markis doesn’t hiss at Freddy, and Freddy isn’t puffing up and acting belligerent towards Markis.

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In fact, although I haven’t been able to capture it on digital film…

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…they have actually started playing when they run into each other outside.

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I guess seeing each other in the hallway and whilst outside has convinced the two that neither one is a real threat.

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This looks like Freddy is chasing Markis away, but it’s actually the pair of them playing a chasing game. This is the closest I’ve gotten to getting photos of them.

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Even Lorelai gets in on the fun! Pretty huge difference from the summer before last, when Freddy thought Rory needed protection from Markis, right?

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Markis even went up to meet Dashiell on one of his first outside excursions.

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Dash was…less than enthusiastic about making Markis’ acquaintance. Oh, well…soon enough we’ll be able to go outside regularly and they’ll make friends. I hope.

Aby-a-Day – 31 Juli: Wordless Wednesday (Romeo and Juliet)

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Aby-a-Day – 7 Juli: My first visit to a cat cafe…in Paris! (Special Sunday(

As I mentioned yesterday, whilst we were in London, we took a daytrip last Tuesday to Paris.

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Our first stop was Le Café Des Chats, my first ever cat café!

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I know, I know…cat cafés are a thing…but this is the first one I’ve ever been to.

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They had laminated cards with photos and backstories of every cat. Those came in wicked handy.

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One cat, Simba, decided it was his job to manage the front desk.

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Simba was up there, managing, most of the time we were there.

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It was so adorable, how seriously he took his self-appointed job.

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Then there was Zan.

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Zan spent almost the entire time we were there (from the café’s opening at noon) up on his shelf on the wall.

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The café has an ingenious system of steps, bridges, and old furniture mounted to the wall to create a “cat superhighway” (™ Jackson Galaxy). Seems like it’s working.

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The resident cats clearly knew that they were in charge. The only rules were “don’t feed the cats” and “don’t wake a sleeping cat.”

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This is Salem, owning his chair.

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Here’s Alaska.

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According to his bio, he was born in the street to a neglected housecat. Not sure why he’s called Alaska…but it suits him.

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The table we sat at had books that patrons could read. This book, “Secrets of the Cat,” was one of them.

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It had a two-page spread dedicated to the “indefatigable players” – notably, the Abyssinian and the Singapura.

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Abys’ playfulness needs no explanation…

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…But the part about Singapuras is particularly adorable. It says, “The Singapura is an expert in clowneries.” Sounds about right.

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The café also has this brilliant poster featuring famous felines.

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And it really is complete. Look at #62: It’s Zunar J-9/5 aka Jake the Cat From Outer Space!

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Then there was this old print in the washroom. That “wild cat” looks a lot like an Aby, don’t you think?

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But the best part about the café was this lovely lady.

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Her name is Izmir.

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At first, she looks like a white longhair…but she isn’t. She’s a lilac Turkish Van; you can barely see it in photos, but her tail is lilac, not white. She also has one yellow eye and one blue one.

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Izmir was a very polite cat. She came up to me and sat on the table, waiting for permission before engaging.

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Then, a gentle headbutt.

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Then she decided to crawl onto my lap.

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She has the longest whiskers I have ever seen on a cat.

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She settled down and made herself comfortable. The leather couch was rather slidey, so I was half sitting, half lying on it when Izmir settled. It was a bit awkward.

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But how could I move? She was so comfy.

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And she was purring!

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She stayed on my lap, purring and kneading, for the longest time. I didn’t really get to interact with many of the other cats…but after almost a week of not having any kitties to cuddle, she really made my day.

Aby-a-Day – 29 April: Lorelai and Markis (Movie Monday)

Lorelai has never met an enemy. She likes dogs, people, and other cats.

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She’s always happy to encounter our upstairs neighbour, Markis.

Markis, as you can see in this video, isn’t really interested in playing with her.

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Later on, she tried again.

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This time, Markis started to run away from her instead of holding his ground again.

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Oh, well…

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…At least Rory got a game of chase out of the deal.

Aby-a-Day – 23 April: Release the Flerken! (Cartoon Tuesday)

Warning…this post contains spoilers for the film Captain Marvel. However, if you have read the comics, it’s not really that much of a spoiler.

I am not a huge fan of superhero comics (I’m more of an Archie’s Gang kind of girl) or the “Marvel Universe.” I enjoy Deadpool (because he’s funny) and I love Big Hero 6 (because Disney animation and because San Fransokyo is awesome). And it’s kind of cool for me that I used to work with Chris Evans’ mother’s sister (she lived in Somerville) and now he’s Captain America…but by and large the who Avengers/X-Men/Spiderman movie monopoly just leaves me feeling…meh.

Until I discovered Captain Marvel. Of course, I had heard of her, but didn’t know much about the comic. Then I discovered that she’s a Red Sox fan and she has a cat. So of course I had to see this movie, right? Well…in the movie, she’s in LA and the desert and someplace in the South, and there is no mention of baseball or the Red Sox, so it was a bit of a let-down on that front. But the cat…oh, the cat more than made up for it!

Goose the cat (a female, but played by four cats, mainly a boy tabby named Reggie, along with Rizzo, Gonzo, and Archie) is easily the best part of the film. Goose even has her own poster!

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For years I avoided Funko Pop! figures when I saw them in stores, because they are a) cute, b) have something for EVERY fandom you can think of (I am not kidding…they even have a figure of Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes!), and c) they are exactly the kind of thing I could get totally addicted to. But after seeing The Last Jedi, I had to get a Porg figure, because the Porgs in the movie reminded us so much of Logan

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And now, I have Goose the cat and Goose the Flerken figures.

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Aren’t they cute?

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But wait, there’s more! The Flerken version is swallowing a blue glowing cube called the “Tesseract”…which glows in the dark! There’s also a third version I like to call “The Slurp” with Goose retracting her tentacles. I haven’t gotten that one yet…but I will.

One last thing…movies like this almost always have a special extra scene after all the credits have rolled (and which most people miss because they leave to early). About halfway through the film, I knew what the bonus scene would be…and if I was wrong, Marvel would have missed the best opportunity for a joke ever. I was not wrong, and I was not disappointed. Here it is if you would like to see it (yes, it’s sideways, but it’s apparently the only one on YouTube):

Aby-a-Day – 31 Mars: Lorelai and Markis (Swedish Sunday)

The other day, despite it being severely windy, I took Lorelai out for a little run whilst I picked up all our bicycles. (I tried to take Izaak out, too, but he saw how windy it was that he noped back upstairs.)

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Rory saw our upstairs neighbour cat, Markis, down the hill, and took off down towards the road to say hello.

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When she got to where he was, she stopped, and just stared at each other for a moment.

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Markis has been territorial towards the boys in the hallway of our apartment building, so before she got herself into trouble, I called Rory back to me. Her recall is actually really, really good.

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I swear, sometimes when Rory runs, she almost gets airborne!

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I love watching her run free. She’s so fast and she loves it so much!

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As for Markis, he was just like…”WTF just happened?” because she bounded down and then back up the hill so fast.

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I really love Markis…he actually reminds me a bit of Alfred.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Mars: “I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring…I do, don’t you? Course you do!” (Hipstamatic Monday)

It’s finally spring here in midwestern Sweden.

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We can tell because there’s no snow, the temperature is getting up above 5°C, and the swans have returned to our little lake (See those two little white dots in that photo up there? Those are our swans).

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Even though it was still a little chilly, I took Lorelai and Izaak outside to run around. It has been ages since they really got to run around, and run around they did.

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Rory got out the door and immediately started bounding down the hill, with Zak in hot pursuit.

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It is amazing how far they can get in such a short time. They are almost down to the road at the bottom of our hill.

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Rory was fascinated by something in those sticks…

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…Whilst Zak was more interested in trees.

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Finally I got them back up the hill…

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…and into the open area behind our apartment.

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They’re very familiar with the back of our apartment.

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We had an audience…apparently that other cat we saw on the balcony last summer has a roommate.

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As much as they enjoyed running around on the back lawn, it was pretty clear that there was only one ultimate goal…

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the sandbox!

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Rory did her usual digging holes in the sand and then running away from them.

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Finally we all got cold enough to go back in the apartment. But we had 45 minutes of fun and bonding before we went back in.

Aby-a-Day – 31 Januari: More from Örebro (Thursday Things)

Saturday was not a great day for Lorelai and Izaak; apart from Zak earning his Champion title, neither he nor Rory were even up for a Nomination.

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But Sunday, both of their judges loved them. Here is Polish judge Robert Nowak admiring Rory.

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There were five females up at the Nominations. It was a very close competition.

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At the end, the judge chose a lovely Siamese to go to the panel.

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This is a shot from Saturday. Rory is Number 664. Number 663 is GIC DK*Saltvig’s Oona. We have been a little concerned that Rory small for her age (she’s smaller than Zak!), but Oona is over two years older than Rory and they are the same size! Oona was chosen over Rory on Saturday, but Rory was the judge’s pick on Sunday.

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Zak’s judge on Sunday was Gerardo Fraga y Guzmán, from Spain. He loved Zak, but he was especially enamoured with his coat texture.

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He even called the judge next to him over to feel Zak’s coat. That’s a particular compliment to the owner as well as the breeder, because the cat’s condition is a reflection of diet and grooming as much as it is genetics and breeding. It’s nice to know you’re doing a good job!

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The Nomination in Zak’s category was also stiff. There were two British Shorthairs (one disqualified himself by almost biting his owner), a stunning white Kurilean Bobtail, and Zak.

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The judge had a cat teaser made with a bobcat’s tail that a Danish merchant sells at shows. We have one at home, too, and I have to hide it from the cats when we aren’t using it. Zak really wanted that tail! He actually jumped out of my arms in an attempt to catch it.

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But in the end, the judge felt that, while both cats were excellent, the Kurilean matched the standard for his breed just a bit better than Zak matched the Singa standard. But it was close…and the Kurilean ended up winning Best in Show for male cats in Category 3! So…losing to a cat who ended up being BIS? Yeah, that’s not bad at all.

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On the way back to our benching cage, we met a little girl who was meowing at all the cats.

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I thought she might like to pet one, so I knelt down so she could pet Zak. I know that if an exhibitor had done that to me when I was kid at a show, I would have been over the moon, so I hope we made that little girl’s day.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Januari: Wordless Wednesday (A day at the show)

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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 – 27 December: Of Somalis and Schipperkes (Thursday Things)

I have a few more photos from the little mini show we went to at our local DjurMagazinet I wanted to share.

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They’re on two completely different topics…but hey, just like most meals between Christmas and New Years, there’s no reason not to mix them up. Leftovers are always better that way.

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First off, we have Izaak in his Christmas bow tie, playing with a fun toy.

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Look at that concentration!

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He really liked that toy!

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But even more than the toy, I think he liked the little girl who was playing with him using the toy.

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She was pretty charmed with him, too.

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The next thing I wanted to share is this Somali, Tootsie, and her friend.

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You almost never, ever, see dogs at cat shows…for, well, obvious reasons.

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Tootsie was wonderful at walking on her leash…almost as good as her puppy pal.

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Oh! I am SO sorry…Tootsie, you obviously taught that dog everything he knows about walking on a leash!

Aby-a-Day – 8 October: The final countdown (Movie Monday)

Izaak’s judge on Sunday was Daria Lukasik, from Poland. When judges in FIFe get cats’ information, they only know the age, sex and colour. Nothing more.

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Despite knowing nothing else about Zak, Judge Daria loved him. It’s almost like she knew he came from Poland, without actually knowing it.

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Like, threatened to take him home with her in her bag. More than once.

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In FIFe, judges write up a sheet on each cat with their assessments. It’s actually pretty great, because you get a copy of it for your show book, so you have in writing what each judge though of your cat.

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Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Zak helped while Daria wrote up her observations on him. She also put heart stickers on his sheet, which she said he helped select.

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Because Singapuras are at the end of the Category 3 judging, instead of going back to our benching cage while waiting for the NOM selection, we just sat nearby and waited. This is where Zak and Lorelai are better at FIFe shows than Jacoby is…Jake just doesn’t do sitting around waiting well.

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In the end, Zak was up for the NOM against a white Kurilian Bobtail and a Bengal.

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(Click to play video) It was very close…but in the end the Bengal won the NOM.

Aby-a-Day – 6 October: Izaak and Lorelai at the show in Vårgårda (Cat Show Saturday)

Quick show report from Vårgårda today.

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Because of the funeral yesteday, we decided to cancel our motel reservation and just stay at home Friday and Saturday night. This meant a long, speedy, frenzied drive to the show hall this morning…only to face a long, slow line at check in. Of course.

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Of course, once we got the cage set up, Lorelai and Izaak were their usual, over-stressed selves.

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Although we did have a bit of excitement over the dried beefheart samples…

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We were benched next to our friends Anna, Peter and Bonk. That was pleasant.

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The big surprise was that Rory’s half-sister was entered in the show! They have the same mother, Kajza, but Adela was born in January 2017.

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Here is Rory’s half-sister Adela up for judging.

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Rory was up for judging first, before Zak.

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The judge, Ulrika Eriksson, liked her well enough to call her back for the nominations.

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She was up against this tabby-point and white Siamese…

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…who ultimately ended up getting the nomination.

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Then it was Izaak’s turn.

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He was the only cat Jaana Jyrkinen judged today in his class (11 – Juniors, 7-10 months), so he got the nomination by default…but she loved him and would have had him in her final decision regardless.

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Here’s Zak with his little Nom trophy.

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…No, Zak…nothing to eat here…

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We were so excited! This was Zak’s first nomination! Okay, it may have been by default…but still, it’s a nomination and it counts!

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In the panel, Zak was up against a Bengal and a blue-spotted Ocicat.

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It was close…but the Ocicat ended up being Best in Show today. But still, it was a good day for the only Singapura entered in the show!

Happy 15th Birthday, Tessie!

It’s hard to believe that Tessie turns 15 years old today! She is still doing well in Boston.

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She’s slowing down a little and she can’t jump the way she used to. She also has a little limp, which may be arthritis. And the brown spot on her right eye (which she has had for at least 10 years) is getting bigger. Apart from all that, she is very healthy and active!

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Happy birthday, Tessie-bell!

Aby-a-Day – 5 July: Alfred and Markis (Thursday Things)

Alfred is a very protective big brother. And free whatever reason, he has decided that Markis from upstairs was a threat to Lorelai.

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Of course, Markis was just outside minding his own business…

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…but when he heard Freddy growling he decided to let discretion be the better part of valour.

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He tried to hide amongst the bicycles, but Freddy followed him…

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…growling…

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…with his tail puffed and his hackles raised! When Jacoby and Markis meet, they just sniff each other and Markis will hiss and growl. I am not sure what Freddy sees that Jake doesn’t.

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This toddler, though. He kept wanting to pet the kitties. The snarling, growling, hissing, clearly angry and preoccupied kitties. I tried to get him to move away, but I don’t think he understands English or Swedish yet, and his mother was right there (you can see her in the background), so I thought her maternal instincts would kick in.

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…NOPE. So of course the kid gets too close, Markis hisses and lunges, kid sit-falls onto his bum and starts crying and only then does she intervene. He wasn’t hurt, but he could have been.

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After that, Markis was done. He trotted off across the grass.

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Freddy kept an eye on him for a while.

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Finally, he decided that Markis was far enough away and relaxed.

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A little later, however, Markis moved to the base of one of our trees.

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Freddy did not like this at all and started stalking Makis again even as Markis moved out into the field.

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Freddy kept walking towards Markis until he was what Freddy felt was a safe distance away.

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Poor Markis! All he wanted was to enjoy the sun and grass and maybe catch a mouse. It’s a good thing Freddy doesn’t go outside without a human on a leash!