Aby-a-Day – 30 Maj: Stroller Rage (Thursday Things)

Yesterday, I had an appointment to take everycat to the vet for a check-up and jabs. Björn didn’t have the day off, so I had to manage on my own. Naturally, I took them all in our new stroller. Our appointment was in the middle of the afternoon (not that Skövde really has a “rush hour,” unless you count when all the kids get out of school), so the bus wasn’t crowded at all.

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We have to take two buses to get to our vet, and the first leg of our journey was uneventful.

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The buses we have in Västra Gotalands have a dedicated space for strollers, with room for two (theoretically, as we will see).

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This isn’t the first time we’ve taken all four in this stroller (we had a trip to DjurMagazinet in April), and it was vastly easier than trying to do it with Jacoby’s old stroller! Still, I did feel a bit like that man in Tokyo who takes his nine Persians out in a stroller.

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As you can see, everyone fit very comfortably in the stroller. We also got lucky with the weather. It was sunny and warm. Today it’s grey and rainy.

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On the second bus (also empty), we started out comfortably.

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And then…it happened. Another stroller wanted to get on the bus.

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Of course, I instantly shifted over as much as I could, but she wasn’t very good at manoeuvering her stroller (it was one of those awkward raised car seat/stroller combo things).

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In fact, she was having so much trouble getting on the bus, the driver got up to see what was taking so long. And he glared at me like it was my fault and told me to let her on, like I was deliberately blocking her. As you can see, I was jammed in as much as I could possibly be.

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And then, on the way home, it happened AGAIN! This time, it was one of those awful double stroller, with one kid who looked about five…isn’t that a little old to be needing a stroller? Again, I shifted over and jammed in, but this woman was a LOT better at managing her stroller, and her older boy (the one not in the stroller, behind me) seemed to really love the cats.

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I understand that people with little kids need strollers, because I need a stroller to schlep multiple cats around. I couldn’t even imagine what it would have been like trying to manage three (we have one that’s a double) cat carriers on my own! And believe me, I am no stranger to controversy about cat strollers. My resentment and annoyance is not anything against parents or children. It’s the attitude I get from people (like the driver, and sometimes the other stroller owner) that somehow their strollers are somehow more important than mine. I have as much of a right to bring my stroller full of cats on the bus as they do with their stroller full of baby or child(ren), especially if I am running an errand that requires multiple cats to be with me. And I always shift as much as I possibly can. Yet, in these situations, the person with the non-humans in the stroller is always the “bad guy” taking the space away from “the person who NEEEEEEEDS it”. (Sidenote, it’s even more fun when we’re on a bus back from a cat show with other cats in strollers and a baby stroller comes on. The entitlement on the baby people and the shade thrown doubles.) Basically, it’s a case of “All strollers are equal, but some strollers are more equal than others,” which really isn’t fair at all.

To that end, I posted a couple of these photos to Facebook as events unfolded, and made a flippant comment that 4 > 1, and then added “Cats Before Brats.” A friend said, “That should be a bumper sticker!” So…

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…I made one. It’s available on Zazzle, and at the moment, you can get 15% off with code ZSWEETTREATS.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Maj: Wordless Wednesday (Last train to Skövde)

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Aby-a-Day – 12 November: Izaak’s first vet vist (Medical Monday)

I collected Izaak from Arlanda airport in Stockholm on 20 June. On 26 June, his five-month birthday, we went to the vet for a wellness check.

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Of course, the first part of the trip was taking the bus. Zak rocked that part of the exercise.

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He was also pretty okay in the vet’s waiting room.

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And in the exam room as well.

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Zak was quite brave on the vet’s examination table.

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Zak was checked out thouroughly…and he was fine. The vet thought he was two months younger than he actually was…but, other than that…

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No, really, Zak…you were fine.

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Okay, take my word for it.

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On the way back to our apartment from the bus, I took Izaak to check out our local pet store.

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Zak had a lot of fun playing with the cat beds on display.

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He also did a really great job walking outside on his leash, even at his age.

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I mean, only five months old, and he’s already awesome at walking on a leash.

Aby-a-Day – 16 September: Dogs on a train (Cat Show Sunday)

Still processing everything from the show. On Sunday, neither Lorelai nor Izaak were nominated, so it was a fairly peaceful show day. We just sat and talked to people. I got to talk to Göran, my one-time nurse, and found out an interesting fact that no one bothered to mention before: Not only could I have lost my finger or hand from the infection caused by the cat bite…I could have lost my life! So, everyone reading, please remember: If you are bitten in the hand or finger by a cat and it becomes at all swollen…go to an ER immediately. Don’t waste time at a local urgent care.

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Our train ride home was interesting, though. On Swedish trains, there are special pet compartments that are the only places animals are allowed. In this particular pet car, there were only nine seats…and we had two cats and four dogs! We boarded the train in Göteborg with a very well behaved rescue dog from Greece. He lived with cats and was not at all fazed by Zak and Rory. When a Border Collie got on a few stations later, though, the dog reacted. The Border Collie and his human sat in the doorway. Then in Falköping, we were joined by a Bedlington Terrier and a Chinese Crested!

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Their human was delighted to see a Singapura in person and had to have a photo. She said her friend, who had a Somali, would be so jealous that she had met a Singa.

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Rory in particular was fascinated by the Chinese Crested. She never puffed up, growled or hissed, and she actually got up the nerve to touch the dog’s ear with her nose!

Aby-a-Day – 19 August: Cat Show Wrap-up (Cat Show Cinema Sunday)

Okay, first off I need to apologise for today’s post. We are all four of us exhausted after a long, hot day at the show and what ended up being a nearly six-hour trip home with the kittens’ stroller and two wicked heavy bags. But I also know how much you want to know what happened.

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It was a very interesting Abyssinian class this show. Six ruddies, eight blues, four reds and a fawn! I don’t think I have been to a show when the blues dominated the breed.

On Saturday, Lorelai competed against her littermates Maya and Manne. Rory took Ex2, Maya Ex1 and Manne was Best in Variety (BIV).

This was Izaak’s first show day, and he was up against a Bengal and an Ocicat in Class 12 (Kittens 4-6 months). He got an Ex1, but wasn’t nominated. However, our friend Jenny’s Singapura, S*Kustens Follia d’Amore aka Skilla, was nominated and won Best in Show (BIS)!

On Sunday, Rory again competed against her brother and sister, but this time, she was Ex1 and her sister Maya was Ex2. However, brother Manne still took BIV. He also got the NOM, but ultimately lost to a pretty Siamese.

Zak got another Ex1, and he was up against a Bengal for the Nomination. He lost to the Bengal, but it was a close decision.

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However, how Zak and Rory did in the show is nothing compared to how they did during the long trip involving regional trains, light rail trains, cabs and buses. It was hard on me and Björn, so I don’t know what two six month old kittens thought of all that.

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Zak and Rory were awesome throughout it all. They almost never meowed, they stayed on the table or in our laps on the train, they were unfazed by loud noises or dogs (there were two large dogs in our car), and other people barely noticed them – they were surprised to see kittens in out stroller instead of a child! And they did marvellously at the show itself, being unfazed by the noise or the other cats.

The other exciting part of the show was the Litter class. CFA doesn’t have this, but in FIFe, three or more kittens (under 7 months) are judged together as part of a litter and compete against other litters! On both days, there were no other Cat. 4 litters entered, so Kajza’s kittens were BIS. The littermates are also ranked within the litter, and on the first day, the ranking was Manne, then Maya, and finally Rory…but on the second day with a different judge, the ranking was Rory first, then Maya, and finally Manne. So it just goes to show how a different day and a different judge can change everthing.

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Here is a little movie that Eva made showing her star kittens (click image to see video).

Aby-a-Day – 15 August: Wordless Wednesday (Home again, home again, jiggity jig)

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Aby-a-Day – 21 June: Glad Midsommar!

We have a Singapura in our family again!

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As you saw in yesterday’s post, I went to Stockholm to collect Joy Minimali*PL, called Izaak.

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I decided on the name Izaak for him (Zak for short, of course) because one of the Polish words for “joy” is “zachwyt.” Which is close enough to Zak for me! I didn’t like any of the variations of Zachariah…but when I discovered that Zak could also be a short form of Isaac/Izaak…well, it was a no-brainer. It’s also has a completely sound from all the other cats’ names, which is good. I had wanted to have a cat named Lennie (after Det. Lennie Briscoe), but with AngeL, ALfred, Lorelai, and Logan, it was a lot of L’s in the family aLready. Besides, with him already being named Joy, it seemed fitting.

Actually getting Zak was an experience. He came to us from a Polish breeder who happened to have two boys available in June. There were no Swedish kittens available…so we decided to go abroad. At first, we thought we might go to Poland to get him, but the timing didn’t work out for us to travel. Anna regularly ships kittens worldwide, so she sent him to us via air cargo. I’d done this before, when I got Tessie, but she was only sent from Portland, Oregon to Boston, not from another country. I thought it was hard to find the cargo area at Logan Airport…but as you can see from the above map, it was quite an adventure collecting little Zak!

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First I had to get from Skövde to Stockholm. Booking a train to Stockholm is a bit like booking a flight, depending on when you choose to travel, the trip can cost as little as 195kr (around $22) and as much as 885kr (around $100) or more. You also reserve your seat, and seats at tables are very popular. Seats at tables in the (very limited space) pets-allowed cabin are even harder to get. Also I had to take into account that Zak’s arrival time was 09:30. So I booked a trip that left Skövde at 07:12. As most of you know, I am not a morning person and don’t really wake up until at least 10:00. I had to get up at 05:30 in order to catch that train. From Stockholm Centralen, I then had to take a bus (a 45-minute trip) to Arlanda Airport Terminal 5.

Then I had to take a Stockholm city bus #583 out to the Cargo City stop (second-to-last on the Märsta line). The bus drops you off at at one of those little shelters that looks like it’s in the middle of a quarry next to a prison with some parcel warehouses off to the side, and there’s absolutely no indication of how one might find the Cargo Center (nor was there a clear walkway). Luckily, the cargo place had called me to tell me that they had a cat for me whilst I was on that second bus, so I had their number and called them to ask how one might walk to their location.

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But here’s the really fun part. Once I managed to find Cargo City, I had to take Zak’s papers and passport and take them to Tullverket (Customs) to be reviewed, approved and stamped, and then go back to Cargo City to actually collect Zak. One would think, this being a common thing to need to do (pick up paperwork, go to Customs, and then come back and get your cargo), that the two buildings would be conveniently located somewhat adjacent to one another. But as you can see from the above map, you would be utterly and completely incorrect. I had to take the 583 bus back to Terminal 5, and from there take an airport shuttle to where the Customs building was located. And as you can see, when the bus dropped you off, it wasn’t immediately obvious where the entrance was.

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At Customs, whilst waiting in the queue, I met an Australian woman, Zia, who was on the same mission I was, trying to collect a large suitcase sent to her from home. She hadn’t yet been out to Cargo City; she went straight to Customs because her emailed instructions were vague. She still had to go out there to collect her suitcase, though. Knowing what I did about finding Cargo City, and needing to go back there myself, I waited for her so we could go out there together. It made the return trip so much easier!

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And, as it happened, Zia loves cats. She was completely charmed by little Zak.

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We ended up going back to Stockholm Centralen on the Märsta train, which turned out to be so much faster and easier than taking the airport bus. Definitely need to remember that the next time!

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Back at Centralen, Zia and I parted ways with a hug, and I had about an hour to kill before my train left. So, I grabbed lunch and did a little shopping.

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Zak was a huge hit at Lush! Both the shop clerks and customers just loved him.

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We made friends on the train, too. An older woman from Göteborg and a guy from Romania were at our table, and we talked most of the trip back to Skövde. So much for Swedes not talking to strangers! The woman was the one who started talking to both me and the Romanian, and I am glad she did…it was a fun conversation.

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Zak slept in my lap for most of the trip. Which was fortunate; he was going to need to be awake when we got home and he met his new clan.

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Alfred was the first to greet the carrier.

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We took it into the living room and Lorelai was next to see who was inside.

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We let the youngsters sniff a bit before opening the door.

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I wonder what Freddy thought when he saw a Singapura who wasn’t Logan?

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Even though Zak is an older male, Rory is still bigger than him.

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…Um, Freddy?

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The point is to meet the new kitten, not eat the food in his carrier!

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Rory was delighted to see Zak! Someone her own size to play with!

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She tried to play with him right away.

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Zak…wasn’t so sure. But I think they’ll end up being fast friends. I think he and Freddy will, too. But I am afraid poor Freddy won’t ever have the kind of bond he had with Logan with any other cat. But maybe Rory and Zak will have something like that as they grow up together.