Aby-a-Day – 19 Augusti: Happy Birthday, Pyret (Thursday Things)

Today would have been Pyret’s 22nd birthday.

pyret18C04906

She only saw 18 birthdays, but no matter how long they’re gone, you always remember their birthdays.

pyretjakeIMG_1060

pyretjakenapIMG_8217

Pyret was an only cat for many years…until she had a couple of Abyssinians thrust upon her.

pyretjakeangelnapC09630 2

breakfastC04161

She adapted well, though.

loganpyretC01403

And then…she met Logan.

pyretloganC01847

Right from the start, they had a sort of bond, those two.

pyretloganIMG_9668

Of course, when there’s a Singapura involved, bonding is not exactly an option.

pyretjakeIMG_2306

pyretloganIMG_2304

When Pyret started dying, Logan watched over her closely.

pyretloganbalconyC01733

Even after Pyret died, Logan spent time with her body. It was especially poignant in hindsight, as Logan died a month later…almost as if he knew.

pyretchairC07368

So, happy 22nd birthday, Pyret.

Aby-a-Day – 8 Augusti: A memory from 2017 (Cinema Sunday)

Today I found a silly old video I made back in 2017 when we only had three cats.

jakeangelpyretbjornsalmonC05940

We were all in the kitchen, preparing salmon for dinner.

jakeangelpyretbjornsalmonC05947

Angel, Jacoby and Pyret.

jakeangelpyretbjornsalmonC05948

I don’t even know why I was taking photos. I mean, it was just an ordinary, everyday thing.

jakeangelpyretbjornsalmonC05955

But sometimes, those little bits of random normality are nice to look back.

And I really don’t know what possessed me to make a video…but again, here we are.

Aby-a-Day – 24 Augusti 2020: Three years ago today…(Medical Monday Memory)

Three years ago today, my life changed: I was bitten through the finger while giving Pyret a pill.

finger1157

Being new to the Swedish medical system, I stupidly went to the local clinic (Vårdcentralen), even though I was well aware of how serious a cat bite is, especially on the hand. I just thought that’s what you were “supposed” to do. The doctor I saw was Spanish, and spoke little English. I tried to tell her it was serious, but she waved me off with just a prescription for penicillin.

finger3

I didn’t know that I could go straight to the hospital. I thought, then, that you had to be referred by Vårdcentralen (although, to be honest, that worthless “doctor” should have known to send me there straightaway). Now I know I can go to the Akuten (emergency department) if I need to. Twenty-four hours later, I woke up screaming in pain so badly Björn almost called an ambulance.

me1-25aug

They bundled me into a room, pumped me full of antibiotics and morphine, and got me into surgery as quickly as they could.

me3-25aug

This is me just after the first surgery. Within a week, I would have two more operations to flush the bacteria out of my tendon sheath.

antibiotic_9644

morfin-27aug

I also had a lot of morphine. The pain involved with repeated hand surgeries is insane.

logan30aug_9707

The brightest part of my week in the hospital was the two evenings Björn smuggled Logan into my hospital room.

logan30aug_9712<

One time when a nurse came in, we hid him under my blanket.

logan31aug_9750

He was good and held still; the nurse never knew he was there.

finger-20sep<

After a week in hospital, I was released, but still had several wound checks and dressing changes. When I first got home, my hand was in a plaster cast. I was also still on penicillin and painkillers. It seemed to be healing nicely, but on my last wound check, 20 September (the same day Alfred was neutered), the nurse noticed my finger seemed red and hot. She sent me back to the hospital, and they determined that, despite still being on antibiotics, the infection had managed to return. They wanted me to have surgery immediately, but I had to go to pick up Freddy, who was literally at the other end of the bus line.

me-20sep

It took a really long time to get him (I ended up taking a taxi for part of the return trip), gathered my things and got back to the hospital just before 17:00. Apparently, I took too long to get back and they weren’t able to do the surgery until the next morning.

finger2-24sep

This last, fourth surgery was the most painful. They put more stitches on my palm than on the previous surgeries, and the skin seemed to have been stretched more than the other three.

finger post surgery2

It also bled a lot more than the other three operations.

arextokatsVFrö_4545

A month after the first anniversary of my bite, we were at a cat show in Västra Feölunda and ran into Göran, the recovery nurse after my first surgery. His sambo breeds Cornish Rex, and we (used to) see them at shows frequently. He asked to take a look at my hand, and I made a comment about being lucky I still had a finger.

“You could have lost more than that,” Gören said. “I could have lost my hand?” I asked.

“You could have lost even more than that,” he responded. And that was how, a year later, I learned that I could have died from this bite! Even with as much as I know about cat bites, I never thought it could have been fatal.

finger2020

This is how it looks today. It’s still very stiff and it sometimes aches and feels crampy. I’ll never have a normal hand again.

So, again, the moral of the story is: If you are EVER bitten by a cat on your hand – and especially your finger – GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM as soon as you can!

Aby-a-Day – 18 Januari 2020: Girls! Girls! Girls! (Swedish Saturday)

I have said, for many years, that cats work better in pairs. I am now kind of eating those words, since we have had five cats for a few years, now, and it’s a wonderful dynamic.

angelroryeat_9178

They fall into some natural pairings: the two girls (Angel and Lorelai), the two (soon to be three) show cats (Izaak and Rory, plus Dashiell), the older two (used to be Jacoby and Angel; now it’s Angel and Alfred), the two neutered boys (Dash and Freddy), the two unneutered cats (Rory and Zak), the two youngsters (Rory and Dash), the two Americans (Angel and Dash), the two Swedes (Rory and Freddy)…it’s kind of fascinating to see how they align each other.

angelroryeat_9180

Angel was always bullied by Tessie, and Kylie would join in when she heard Angel scream at Tessie. She was always a bit nervous around Pyret, but since Pyret has left us and Angel became the senior female, she’s really come into her own.

angelroryeat_9181

Feeding five cats is tricky, but luckily, we have a lot of rooms. Freddy eats on his own, because he eats wicked fast and he’ll eat everyone’s food given half a chance. Dash and Zak eat together (in the winter, anyway) because Zak won’t steal Dash’s food, and Dash is preoccupied with his own bowl.

angelroryeat_9183

That leaves the two girls to eat together. And they do eat very nicely together. They are very companionable, sometimes switching bowls, but there is never an argument over dinner. Angel still doesn’t really cuddle or sleep with anyone (unless Zak insists), but she does seem to have forged a friendship with Rory.

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.

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).

angelvetIMG_6408

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

angelvetIMG_6410

angelvetIMG_6416

She’s so cute when she’s curious.

angelvetscanIMG_6421

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.

angelvetIMG_6423

Yep, Angel is Angel!

pyretangeljakevetIMG_6428

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

pyretangelbjornvetIMG_6430

Angel watches as Björn takes Pyret out of her carrier.

angelvetIMG_6435

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

jakeangelvetIMG_6438

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…

pyretoliviagarden

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.

pyretoliviasofa

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…

jakeangelpyretfoodC08994

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.

jakepyretfoodC08985

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

jakebjornbegC09217 2

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.

jakebjornbegC093018 2

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.

angelbjornbegC02488

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?”

mobsceneC08631

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.

angeljakecocobegC02463<

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…

breakfastC04165

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.

jakebjornbegC09166 2

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.

Aby-a-Day – 7 March: Goodbye, Pyret (Wordless Wednesday)

pyretgoneC01737

pyretloganbalconyC01733

Aby-a-Day – 6 March: Sketches of Pyret (Cartoon Tuesday)

In anticipation of getting back to doing my full-colour, regular cartoons again, I have been working up “characters” for the new cats in the ensemble cast: Pyret, Alfred and Logan. You have seen some of the preliminary sketches of Freddy and Logan already.

oldercats-sketch

I also worked up a sketch for Pyret. Someday I’ll have to finish this one in colour.

Aby-a-Day – 5 March: Pyret at the vet (Medical Monday)

For a cat who lived such a long life, Pyret only went to the vet a handful of times. When she was young, of course, she got her routine vaccinations and her spaying. And then after I moved her, we brought her along with the Abys. She always hated the vet, and medical attention of any kind (as she demonstrated with alacrity when I gave her that pill one time), so it’s very fortunate that she was very healthy and had good, strong teeth.

pyretjakeangelvetbusIMG_6390

She was a good traveller to the vet, anyway.

everyonevetC01058

When we took Pyret to the vet this year, she had a panic attack.

pyretvetC01075

She hyperventilated.

pyretbjornfredvetC01077

And the vet was very concerned.

pyretbjornfredvetC01080

Apparently, being examined by a vet threw Pyret into a panic attack.

pyretvetIMG_9235

So I brought Pyret in for her own, private vet appointment.

pyretvetscaleIMG_9232

At the time, she weighed 3.05 kilos. When she died, she was only 2.6 kilos.

pyretvetIMG_9240

Because Pyret was so old, we wanted to get a blood sample to check all her levels. And to do that, we needed to draw blood. And to do that, Pyret needed to be sedated.

pyretvetIMG_9239

The vet used a short-term drug to knock her out.

pyretvetIMG_9238

Once she was unconscious, they worked quickly to get a blood sample.

pyretvetIMG_9237

Ultimately, the results were positive, with some low-grade kidney failure – nothing unexpected in a cat of her age. She was prescribed a special renal/hepatic medicinal diet, but was otherwise given a clean bill of heath

Aby-a-Day – 4 March: Pyret party (Swedish Sunday)

This is the first of (hopefully) many guest posts written by my husband, Björn. In his first post, which was originally written before Pyret died, and revised after she left us on Friday, Björn describes his experience of going from having one elderly cat to living with two active adult Abys and two kittens.

pyret-box

With the passing of Pyret two days ago, I’ve rewritten this piece. My cat is dead. This is who she was, and how she was affected by the four- and two-legged people in her life.

pyretbjorn-eat

While having a horde of Abyssinians (well, two) descending on you is an experience in itself, it didn’t come quite as a surprise. Not so for my old cat, Pyret. She was an old dame, born in a stable on a farm in 1999, and used to having the run of the house since my other cat, the black tortie Olivia, passed away in 2010. “Pyret” translates as “the little mite,” as she was really tiny when we got her.

pyretbad

Pyret was “my” cat ever since my ex and I got her as a kitten. She liked to be in the bathroom when I enjoyed a soak.

pyret-desk

pyretdeskC06714

Pyret’s background affected her dealings with other cats. When she was a kitten, she and the rest of the litter was orphaned when they were just five weeks old. My then partner got her a friend (Olivia) a few months later, but they didn’t really bond. Still, Olivia taught Pyret how to cat, like using the litter box and cleaning herself.

olivia-window

olivia

Olivia as a kitten, about six months old. She was a talkative and rather smart cat, annoying and amusing at the same time.

pyret

Pyret sure was a pretty cat, though, even when age and failing health made her lose weight. Pyret was gentle, and except for a couple unlucky birds and the unfortunate incident with Koshka’s finger, she never hurt anyone. The photo above is from 1 April, 2000, when Koshka visited us.

coco-pyret

She took the photo, never expecting that she one day would become Pyret’s mom.

kallepyret

Pyret and Olivia got a new room-mate in 2003, when my son Kalle was born. When we came back from the hospital with our baby, the cats met us at the front door. Kalle cried a little, and Olivia vanished, hiding for a couple of hours, while Pyret showed some interest in the new arrival. Kalle has always had cats around him, and Pyret was like his older sister.

pyretsleepC00694

Scruffy, but otherwise in good shape for her age. Her last weeks in life saw her lose weight, and it was heartbreaking to see her waste away.

pyretbalconyIMG_8432

When she became the sole cat again, she didn’t show any signs of missing company; she was “my” cat, and appeared happy with sleeping and eating and not much more. Her life was uneventful for six years, with not even a visit to the vet.

pyretwelcomeC08232

18 June, 2016. Two cats were let out of their travel cage and began to explore their new surroundings. Pretty soon Pyret and I learned what it meant to live with Abys. While Angel is more like a regular cat as long as there’s no meat (or corn) involved, Jake was the opposite to my old Pyret. There was plenty of hissing and growling; Pyret wasn’t too happy about getting her territory invaded, but with a large apartment (five rooms and kitchen, 120 sq.m./1290 sq.ft.), they didn’t have to share the same space if they didn’t want to. She kind of accepted them after a while, but kept to herself most of the time.

pyretloganC01847

Then, on 6 June 2017 and again five days later, on the 11th: Kittens! Alfred and Logan arrived on the scene. This time, the period of hissing was much shorter. She didn't bond with them, either (although Logan tried very hard to befriend her), but she didn't mind their presence. They mostly left her alone in her favorite spot in a chair next to my computer desk. We were together since the first weeks of her life until the last day of her long life, and I never had a pet this long. While she was far less active than the LunaTicks, she had always been around, and for a long time she was healthier than one would have expected from a cat her age. I counted every year past her 15th as a bonus, but all good things must come to an end. She died at home, surrounded by familiar things. When she had brief spells of cramps, we comforted her. We hope it was a better choice than a trip to the vet and a needle in an unfamiliar room. The other cats appear to understand that she was ill and that she’s gone now, and not just disappeared.

pyretchairC07368

Having the other cats around will hopefully soften the blow, but to me, Pyret will always be #1. Her spot next to my desk is so empty now, and I mourn her. She was like all of us made of stardust, and she was a tiny piece of the universe that experienced itself in the shape of a cat for the 18½ years she graced this world.

pyret-bjornsofa

When she died, a friend wrote this:

“Att somna från alla sina liv. Tassa rakt in i evigheten. Bo i hjärtan. Spinna i minnet.”

Translation: “To leave all lives in the sleep. Pad straight into eternity. Live in hearts. Purr in memory.”

pyret-bjornnap

Björn’s early photos of Pyret and Olivia can be found here (ignore the broken thumbnails – they still lead to the photos).

Aby-a-Day – 3 March: “Some are born Abys, some achieve Abyness, and some have Abyssinians thrust upon them”

Shortly after Pyret was born, her mother disappeared, and her litter would have died if not rescued and bottle-fed. While Pyret had her littermates for a short while, she never had an adult cat to serve as teacher, mentor, and example. It wasn’t until Olivia arrived that Pyret learned any semblance of how to cat.

pyretchairC07368

But then Olivia died in 2010, and Pyret was an only cat for six years before having her live invaded by two Abys.

pyretjakeIMG_1060

Another year after that, another Aby and a Singapura were added into her household.

pyretloganchair1stdayC01463

She hissed at them – a LOT – and she only cuddled or slept with Logan (because Logan never takes no for an answer), but I think part of her was happy to have other cats around. Maybe she would have preferred to have few cats sharing her home…

pyretloganIMG_9668

…but she clearly decided that they weren’t all bad.

And Björn noticed that the LunaTicks had a definite effect on Pyret.

breakfastC04154

Before she was invaded by the ticked horde, she never begged for food when Björn was eating or preparing a meal…unless he was eating a pizza with shrimp on it.

breakfastC04158

But after the Abys and Logan arrived…

breakfastC04161

…she started picking up their bad habits.

breakfastC04173

Cats learn by observation and example, and Pyret was quick to adopt the ways of the LunaTicks.

breakfastC04174

Who says you can’t teach an old cat new tricks?

mobsceneC08737

Whenever any cat hears us cutting something in the kitchen, they come running in the hopes it may be meat.

mobsceneC08742

We had a smoked lamb leg at New Year’s, and whenever we took it out to cut some meat off to eat we were swarmed by the LunaTicks…

mobsceneC08720

…and also Pyret.

mobsceneC08766

While she may not have been as proactive as the Abys and Logan in asking for bits of meat,

mobsceneC08793

she was definitely a participant in the Hunger Games.

pyretboysC04865

One fun thing we do with the cats is we play the “Hunt Crunchies” game. It’s simple to play: get some dry food and toss it, one piece at a time, and let the cats “catch” it.

pyretboysC04871

The competition can get quite stiff.

pyretboysC04863

The Abys, especially, are treacherous opponents, as they use their quick hands with impunity. That, and they are so food-oriented!

pyretboysC04874

But even against the hungriest Abys on earth (Alfred and Jacoby), Pyret held her own. These last photos were only taken six months ago, and she was right there in the middle with the boys, catching crunchies!

Aby-a-Day – 2 March: A long walk with a small Pyret (Friday Flashback)

Björn actually trained Pyret to walk on a leash when she was quite young. The above photo was taken when she almost a year old. She was actually well used to travelling when she was younger.

pyretwalkC09732 2

pyretwalkC09734 2

pyretwalkC09735 2

And even when she was older, she enjoyed a walk outside. Kalle and I took her out for a walk shortly after I moved here, just before her 17th birthday.

pyretwalkC09738 2

You can see how eager and excited she is!

pyretwalkC09746 2

Well, she was. She kinda had a “resting bitch face.”

pyretwalkC09767 2

pyretwalkC09768 2

pyretwalkC09770 2

She trotted across the grass with purpose.

pyretwalkC09774 2

pyretwalkC09788 2

Apparently, she wanted to visit her favourite tree.

pyretwalkC09817 2

pyretwalkC09828 2

When she was finished with that, she headed towards the tall grass.

pyretwalkC09805 2

pyretwalkC09833 2

We didn’t let her go too far into that, though.

pyretwalkC09834 2

pyretwalkC09837 2

pyretwalkC09840 2

pyretwalkC09847 2

pyretwalkC09848 2

So she and Kalle walked along the border between the mowed lawn and the tall grass.

pyretwalkC09856 2

She chewed some grass, and then she was done.

pyretwalkC09863 2

She led the way back to the apartment. Well, she had lived there for 10 years at that point, so of course she knew the way.

Pyret hunts with StarClan now

Sometime between 15:34 and 16:37…Pyret left us. I’m not sure exactly when it happened.

pyretjakeIMG_2301

I put her in her favourite place, on her chair. Jacoby checked on her with me.

pyretloganIMG_2304

So did Logan. At one point, he tried to nap with her.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.