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

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

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

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

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

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So, I did a little research and discovered that it was a small leaf of Yarrow! I only know Yarrow from the Warriors books (the medicine cats use it, and there’s a cat named Yarrowleaf in the more recent books, but I had no idea it was growing in our lawn! Because they mow once a week, it never gets a chance to grow tall or flower. Jake must have accidentally inhaled the little leaf when we went outside – he loved chewing on the grass, and the yarrow is mixed into the lawn. It was an interesting mystery, and I’m glad I was able to solve it.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Juni: The birds and the bees (Cinema Sunday)

When we were outside with the Kittens a while back, they found a bumblebee.

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Izaak seemed more interested in it than Lorelai was, at first.

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They were adorable, studying the little insect. Zak went so far as to pat it with his paw, but luckily neither cat got stung.

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When it didn’t move, Zak got a little bored, but Rory knew it had potential and studied it intently.

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Finally: the big payoff! The bee started to fly!

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Rory is incredibly agile and athletic when she is chasing a bug. She actually catches flies (and eats them) in the apartment without knocking over anything.

Here’s a video of Zak, Rory and the Bee.

Later that day, Rory went to the area behind our apartment…I could tell because the birds were going crazy with their “Cat!” warning cries. It was really loud…I took video, but I don’t know if you can hear them. I worry about the bigger birds dive-bombing her; when I was a kid we had outdoor cats (not my idea), and one got a massive abscess on his head from either a scrub jay or a mockingbird. Rory’s only 2½ kg, our smallest cat, and your average crow weighs around half a kilo…but they have force and gravity on their side. One peck from a crow or jackdaw’s bill could do some serious damage.

That being said…Rory really wants to catch a bird someday.

We’re trying to teach Alfred to go outside with us offleash…but in the meantime, sometimes he joins us via the balcony. Here he is complaining about being left out.

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

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

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

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

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Zak was the first to jump up on something.

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Then he took it to the next level.

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Rory is turning into quite the little princess of posing…

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…except when her curiosity gets the better of her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nurse Camilla and I weighed everyone.

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

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

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One last note about our Freddy…

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

Aby-a-Day – 29 Maj: Wordless Wednesday (“Life is short. Running makes it seem longer”)

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Aby-a-Day – 27 Maj: “I’m so hip I have trouble seeing over my own pelvis” (Hipstamatic Monday)

I know I have been posting a lot of Loreali and Izaak outside photos, but they are just so photogenic and they love being outside so much.

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On a recent outing, I thought it might be fun to take some Hipstamatic shots whilst we were outside. I got some astoundingly beautiful images.

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I never tire of the randomness of Hipstamatic. You never know what you’re going to get. And of course, they aren’t all good. But once in a while, you get lucky.

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I love how these two show Rory’s busyness when she’s out exploring.

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I’m also quite enamoured of these photos showing the camaraderie between Rory and Zak.

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And these last two, of Zak…somehow, the Hipstamatic lenses and films capture him beautifully.

Aby-a-Day – 26 Maj: Outside with Alfred (Cinema Sunday)

When I share the photos of Lorelai and Izaak running around outside, people ask why we don’t let Alfred run free, too.

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The reason for that is he was never trained to go outside offleash. We worked on leash training with him and Logan, not offleash training. It’s something I never thought to do again until I met Rory. My Siamese Harri was the last cat I trained to stay close offleash. It helped that he hated me to be out of his sight, so all I had to do was hide behind a tree, and he’d yowl and come running.

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Zak is the same way Harri was. Rory is a little more free-spirited; she knows when we want to go in, but she tries to stretch her time outside as long as she can. If I go back into the building, though, she always comes up to the doorstep trying to find me.

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But if Freddy gets out off leash, he runs off to explore on his own. This is partly because I never trained him to be off leash, and because, being the evil genius he is, when he was young he managed to open the kitchen window and the balcony sliders a couple of times without our knowing and roamed around alone for hours until we noticed him missing. Jacoby also did this; the first time he escaped, he was gone for over an hour!

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So, sorry, Freddy…you need to stay on your leash.

But really, he doesn’t seem to begrudge the kittens their offleash time. He’s perfectly happy to be outside at all, even if it’s on his leash.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Maj: This time last year…(Swedish Saturday)

I thought I would chip away at my massive backlog today…

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This time last year, we hadn’t gotten Izaak yet, and we were showing Lorelai the outside world on the end of a leash.

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Well, she was only three months old…but I think these early outings laid the foundation for her being so good offleash outside now.

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Look how little she was!

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Even though she was so small, she was still fearless.

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Of course, she had her big brothers with her to protect her. Not only Alfred…

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…but Jacoby as well.

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Rory was lucky to grow up with two protective big brothers.