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.