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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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…And this would be the outtake of that photo…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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However, they did have other motivations to gather together.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Logan also really loved the cubby.

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Logan loved the balcony.

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

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

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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!

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

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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…

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Oh, that’s just silly.

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Oh, that’s not too bad.

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

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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!

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

Aby-a-Day – 19 March: Angel at the vet (Medical Monday)

The first time we took Jacoby and Angel to the vet was in September 2016. We went to introduce ourselves (which turned out to be pointless since we ended up going to the other vet in in town), to get a refill of Angel’s Amitriptyline prescription, and to get both Jake and Angel their EU Passports (about which more in an upcoming post).

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Angel can be a little skittish and fearful at home, but she loves to explore when we’re at the vet.

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She’s so cute when she’s curious.

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Before the passport can be issued, the vet needs to scan her microchip to make certain she is really herself and not an imposter. Microchips are much more important in Europe than they are in the States. Besides being listed as the cat’s version of a social security number, they are also required for pet insurance, and every cat’s microchip is scanned when you check in at a cat show.

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Yep, Angel is Angel!

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Jake is happy to just chill on a chair while Angel explores.

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Angel watches as Björn takes Pyret out of her carrier.

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While the vet and Björn attempt to have Pyret examined, Angel checks out the floor again.

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Abys are so different from other cats at the vet.

Aby-a-Day -18 March: “If you gaze long into an Abyssinian, the Abyssinian also gazes into you” (Swedish Sunday)

This is another post written by my husband, Björn. While Björn has had cats most of his life, he never lived with Abyssinians before…

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Before Jake and Angel moved in, the most active cat I had lived with was Olivia (1999-2010), the small tortie shorthaired Norwegian Forest cat mix. She was pretty talkative and active, annoying and fun (usually at the same time). Still, she was nothing compared to cats like Jake, Angel, Alfred and Logan.

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Other cats I had met, like those of friends, were pretty sedate, just like my own old cat, Pyret. Some hid under the sofa and refused to come out when I was visiting, others were just furry couch potatoes. I had met Jake and Angel in Boston in 2015, and had seen their antics during our FaceTime sessions before Koshka moved here. I thought I was prepared…

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18 June 2016. Two cats are let out of their travel cage and explore their new surroundings. Soon I’ll learn what it means to live with Abys. While Angel is more like a regular cat as long as there’s no meat involved, my old Pyret was the opposite to Jake.

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Active, attention-seeking and affectionate (usually), the claim that Abys are the most dog-like of cat breeds is proven true.

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Did I say dog-like? Abys aren’t really like dogs, at least not at the dinner table. Dogs are usually well behaved and just sit there, with sad puppy eyes and whining, hoping for a scrap. Abys, on the other hand… Or paw.

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Living up to the epithet “grabby Aby”. Any plate within the reach of an Aby is fair game, and that reach is considerable. Turn your head for a couple of seconds, and that piece of chicken is gone. Don’t think that just because you’ve stuck your fork in the meat that it is safe.

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The Aby looks at it and says: “Is that meat you have on your fork? Mind if I insert my head between your hand and mouth and take it?”

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It was rubbing off on my old cat, too. OK, she always had a thing for shrimp off my pizza, but she began to join the other four-legged (or rather two-armed) pests when we had a meal.

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She wasn't as aggressive as the Abys, though. The young boys – at least Freddy – have adopted the bad habits of their elders, but that was just a matter of time…

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Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Living with Abys and a Singapura is a whole new experience, and I would never consider one of those decorative but passive breeds that might score first prizes at shows, but which are about as fun as a plushie. With Jake, Angel, Freddy and Logan around, there’s almost always something happening.

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Contrary to what uneducated people think, cats have personalities, and with their intelligence and activity, I would say that Abys are among the most personable of all breeds. That helps now, when my Pyret passed away two weeks ago. To have the other cats around have made the loss a little bit less painful. A home without a cat isn’t a real home.