Aby-a-Day – 13 April: Remembering Jacoby

Today’s post was written by my husband, Björn…

jakestockholmcentralenC02742

Our Jacoby is dead. He died in the prime of his life. We had hoped that he would be with us for at least another five or six years, but that wasn’t to be. Following first the announcement of his illness, then his passing, the outpouring of love, sadness and sympathy from people, many who had never met him, was amazing. If a cat can make that kind of impression, it is a very special cat.

I saw my first Abyssinians back in 1992 at a local cat show. My then partner and I went there, as she had grown up with cats. According to her, I fell for the Abys then and there, and I had said something along the lines of that we should get one eventually.

In 1999, we got two cats: Pyret, a housecat, and Olivia, a mixed breed. An Aby was something in the distant future, if at all.

jakebjornC03008

jakebjornC03006

jakebjornC02974

Fast forward to 2015. Koshka and I were chatting on Messenger. I knew about Gun-Hee, Angel and Jake, having followed her LiveJournal and seen them on her Christmas cards. Our old friendship took an unexpected turn, and suddenly we were a couple. I went to Boston and met her for the first time in 15 years. I was introduced to Jake and Angel, and Jake and I got along great from the start.

jakeangelarlandaIMG_5243

pyretwelcomeC08229

cocojakeopenC08251

jakepyretmeetC08334

jakeexploreC08258

jakeexploreC08335

In 2016, Koshka and the cats moved to Sweden. Jake decided he liked the apartment. My aging cat Pyret wasn’t convinced that the newcomers were welcome, but the apartment is big and they didn’t have to rub shoulders.

Soon, we began taking Jake to shows, and the second part of his show career started. That meant going to hotels, usually by train, but a couple of times it was by overnight ferry. Jake loved to travel and see new places.

jaketaillinnC00170

jaketaillinnC00252

jakebjorntaillinnbusC00343

Going places meant going in his stroller. One might think that a grown man would feel self-conscious pushing a cat around in a stroller, but that didn’t bother me – I felt pride! Wherever we brought Jake, he drew attention. Strangers would smile, snap photos, ask questions, and pet him. Jake loved the attention. Many people hadn’t heard about Abyssinians, and thus he became an excellent ambassador for the breed and for cats in general.

NEMOjakeTK_IMG_0254 1

jakeseacoast2016IMG_4134

jakecocowinURKC03123

Jake was an extremely handsome cat. His vibrant coloring, elegant body, and alert expression won him many prizes, but other people than cat show judges found him striking. But his beauty went deeper than his ticking. He was an affectionate, intelligent and social cat, who made visitors feel welcome.

Sure, he had his quirks, like sitting in the cast-iron frying pan, rolling around on beds kicking himself in the head, and eating any and all plastic bags. Traveling by car meant that one would have to endure his meowing every fourth second for an hour or more.

jakeanicura-lördag_6649

jakeanicura-lördag_6653

jakebjornanicura-lördag_6668

When we drove to the animal hospital in Jönköping a week ago, his meowing was barely audible. How I wanted it to be as loud as it used to be! We brought his carrier inside, and he explored the examination room on shaky legs. Koshka and I said goodbye to him, not expecting that it would be the last time we saw him alive. Then followed days filled with worry, and then came the news that Jake, that most excellent cat, had left us. I cried.

jakebjornsmom-jul

The last year has seen so much death. My mother passed away, and Pyret and Logan died. We didn’t expect to lose Jake, who seemed almost indestructible, but fate wanted otherwise. I got to be his dad for 34 months, which was way too short, but he will stay in my memory until my own time is up. Jake, you made our lives richer, and you were loved by people on two continents. We are all made from stardust, but some shine stronger than others.

jakebjornbegC09217 2

Goodbye, Jake. I miss you.

Also, Jake’s GoFundMe campaign is closing tomorrow, Sunday 14 April on Jake’s 10th birthday. We don’t know how much over the insurance cap his bills are, but we still believe there will be something to donate to New England Abyssinian Rescue.

Aby-a-Day – 22 December: Julljusstaken (Swedish Saturday)

A huge holiday tradition in Sweden is putting up Julljusstaker in every window.

jakejulcandlesC03579

Jacoby, unsurprisingly, is a master at posing with the Jul candles.

jakejulcandlesC03582

He’s got the contemplative gaze and the slight smile down pat.

angeljulcandlesC03499

Somewhat more surprisingly, Angel is pretty good at it, too.

angeljulcandlesC03503

I mean, who knew, right?

angeljulcandlesC03502

“What? Don’t look so surprised…I AM an Abyssinian, you know!”

freddyjulcandlesC08076

Alfred is also pretty good at it…

freddyjulcandlesC08073

…when he can keep his focus and not get distracted.

roryjulcandlesC03843

I wasn’t sure how well Lorelai would pose with the candles (she flitters about almost as quickly as her caffeinated namesake), but she did really well.

roryjulcandlesC03834

She’s a natural!

roryjulcandlesC03846

roryjulcandlesC03847

For about a minute. Then she gets bored and goes off to do something else.

zakjulcandlesC03855

Izaak did pretty well, too, for his first time.

zakjulcandlesC03859

He’s got the “looking into the candles thoughtfully” thing down cold, for sure.

zakjulcandlesC03828

Until he, like Rory, gets bored. Kittens these days…no attention span whatsoever!

pyretjulcandlesC07547

Even Pyret was pretty good at the candle-posing thing!

logangodjulapple_1638

I never did get a photo of Logan with the Jul candles…but I did get one of him with this Jul Äppel!

Aby-a-Day – 15 November: Pyret’s Pillow (Thursday Things)

A couple of years ago, Sherry sent me a Dean Russo Abyssinian print cushion cover for Christmas. We thought it would be the perfect cover for Pyret’s pillow…and she agreed.

pyretpillowC06085

Sometimes, though, she sat next to it, rather than on it. Not sure why, but okay…

jakepillowC06159

Occasionally, when Pyret was sleeping in one of her other spots, Jacoby would commandeer her pillow, but he was the only cat who ever slept on it apart from Pyret. After she died, nobody slept on it. For months, it just sat there unused.

freddypyretspillowC03133

Until recently. In the past month or so, Alfred has taken to using Pyret’s pillow. It’s near the radiator, so perhaps that’s a factor, or maybe it’s to do with the afternoon sun…but I have no idea why it sat empty for so long, or why Freddy decided to start napping there.

freddypyretspillowC03134

Cats are so inscrutible.

Aby-a-Day – 19 October: Come on kitties now…Everykitty get together (Flashback Photoshop Friday)

This morning, Facebook greeted me with a reminder of a post I made four years ago. I was challenged to post five photos of my cats, and I decided to post five group photos. Getting a photo of all the cats in the house together at the same time is harder than some might think. So, because of the reminder that Facebook sent me, I decided to post all the “family photos” I have been able to capture over the years.

harritricksigrid1

The oldest is this, of Sigrid, Harri, and Patrick cuddled together on my sofa. This was taken in autumn 1997. It looks cuddly, but actually Sigrid and Tricky were sleeping there, and Harri decided to squeeze in between them. Still cute, though.

4inbed

This is after I’d moved to Boston. Harri and Patrick had been joined by Tessie and Kylie. This is the first photo of all of them together.

family1

This is my favourite photo of this group. I even used it as a Christmas card.

family2

…And this would be the outtake of that photo…

gunhee-everyone677

This was Christmas 2006. Harri had died in August and we had just adopted Gun-Hee.

gunhee-everyone652

This photo is less posed, but more my favourite. Love Kylie’s arm!

gun-heefamily

Another photo of Gun-Hee with Patrick, Kylie and Tessie, this time all gathered on our bed.

4family0348

This is another shot from that session, “arted up” in Photoshop.

catsinarow2

One evening, all the cats lined up on the back of the sofa.

catsinarow3

I had this shot…but Gun-Hee moved his head.

catsinarow

Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to replace Gun-Hee’s head and make this into a usable image.

4-familytreeARTv

This is another “art” composite photo. All of them were on the tree together, but this is multiple shots combined so each cat looks good.

4catsN4541

Food and the kitchen is a great way to get everyone together. Here we have (anticlockwise) Jacoby, Angel, Tessie and Kylie.

wallcatsE_0946

However, they did have other motivations to gather together.

mobsceneC08793

After we moved to Sweden, the kitchen was more a gathering point than ever. Here we have Alfred, Jake, Angel, Logan and Pyret.

everyone-kitchenC00817

And then, suddenly…our five cats became Jake, Freddy, Lorelai, Angel and Izaak.

starflowerC01365

A collection that was also easier to gather in the kitchen.

everyonebedIMG_4420

But they also gathered spontaneously on our bed! No Photoshop required.

Aby-a-Day – 27 July: Evolution of a Catio (Fashion Friday)

When I first moved here in 2016, Björn’s balcony was a rather Spartan affair.

jakebalconyIMG_5818

jakebalconyIMG_5819

There was only a wooden bench, a makeshift cat tree made from natural tree parts, a basket and…not much else.

jakebalconyIMG_5812

jakebalconyIMG_5813

jakebalconyIMG_5815

It was pretty barren. Once my things came from the States, we put my redwood burl table out there, and my floor-to-ceiling cat tree bumped Björn’s old cat tree out there as well. The balcony was open to the elements, so we couldn’t keep much else out there, but we put a tarp over the table, and it was fine out there. And so were the cats…until Jacoby taught himself to jump off the balcony. After that, we had to keep the balcony door closed until we could get it glassed in.

jakebalconyIMG_8248

Finally, May last year, we got the balcony glassed in. Jake was out there in a heartbeat.

pyretbalconyIMG_8433

So was Pyret. The basket on the bench was her favourite spot…

pyretbalconyC01735

…which is one reason we kept her body there until we could get her cremated.

angelbalconyIMG_8288

For a while after it was glassed in, we used it as storage for the chairs until we could get it organised.

angelbalconyIMG_8286

angelbalconyIMG_8287

Angel didn’t mind. She had sun and a cushy place to nap. She was good.

angelbalconyC09358

angelbalconyC09355

Even now, you can usually find her in one of the chairs on the balcony.

angelbalconyC09255

Either a chair, or the cubby in the cat tree.

fredbalconyC09359

Alfred…well, he tries to fit in there sometimes, too.

loganbalconytreeC04623

Logan also really loved the cubby.

loganbalconyIMG_2736

loganbalconyIMG_2740

Logan loved the balcony.

loganbalconyIMG_2887

He spent a lot of time out there in the sun before he died.

freddyjakebalconyC08917

Jake and Freddy love being out there, too…but they’re usually trying to work out a way to escape.

rorybalconyC08868

We got the basic layout of the balcony done last summer after the glass was installed, and we hung curtains and icicle and fairy lights, which actually give enough light to read by, but this year we have been focusing on really getting it set up to be a catio. I fell in love with this artificial pine tree at IKEA, and I found a reindeer hide for 125kr (around $14, about 1/10 what they should cost) which I love…but which sheds too much to live in the apartment. It looks great out on the balcony, though!

freddybalconyC08993

One of the biggest things we did this year is lay down wooden tiles.

freddybalconyC08908

Those tiles made a HUGE difference in the overall feel of the balcony. It feels warmer and more homey – more like a part of the house rather than “outside.” There was just one more thing we needed to do…and you’ll see what we did tomorrow!

Aby-a-Day – 27 April: Cats with tiny faces is a thing (Photoshop Friday)

Well…it has been a depressing couple of weeks around here, hasn’t it? Time for something pointless and silly. I found this a while ago: Apparently, cats with tiny faces is a thing now. Okay, I’m game. Let’s play.

I don’t think it works well with Abyssinians…

jaketinyfaceC06858

Oh, that’s just silly.

angeltinyfaceC08753

Oh, that’s not too bad.

pyrettinyfaceIMG_8033

Yeah, just as I suspected. It works better on solid (or mostly solid) coloured cats.

logantinyfaceC06064

And last but not least, a tiny little Singapura stink-eye. Well, it was kind of fun to do…not sure how impressed I am with the results, though.

Aby-a-Day – 26 April: The two holes in our house (Thursday Things)

Remember what you were doing in February? In February, we had a happy household with five cats.

Now, we only have three. It feels very empty. We will get another Aby soon…it was in the works before we knew Logan was even sick. And we do want to add another Singapura someday. They are so much fun to show!

pyretloganC01847

But that is all in the future. Right now, it’s just too hard to stop looking at the past.