Aby-a-Day – 26 Juni: Sweet Izaak Cat (Bom Bom Bom) (Silly Singapura Saturday)

Singapuras, having American Burmese in their ancestry, are brachycephalic. They’re not as bad as, say, Persians and Exotics, but it’s there.

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With Izaak, it doesn’t really cause any problems, except he gets black eye boogers pretty much every day.

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Okay, so maybe it causes a little problem for Zak.

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Because Zak hates having his eyes cleaned.

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But he is such a good boy, all he does is push my hands away.

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And he is wicked strong, too!

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As I was cleaning his eyes the other day, I came up with a little song:

Hands…pushing hands…I don’t want…you to clean…my eyes
Don’t clean my eyes!
(Bom Bom Bom)
I like them just the way they are…
(are…are…are…)

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Or, if you prefer something a little more modern:

Don’t clean…Don’t clean my…
Don’t clean my eyes for me

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And that, right there, is the Singapura Stink-Eye™!

Aby-a-Day – 17 Maj: “We live on the leash of our senses” (Mischievous Monday)

As you know, Lorelai loves to go outside.

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Her leash? Not so much.

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Girl can throw some serious shade, though. I mean, it’s not Singapura stink-eye level, but it’s up there.

Aby-a-Day – 26 September 2020: I love your funny face, your sunny funny face (Silly Singapura Saturday)

I love Izaak’s face.

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I love the way he looks at me with such intensity. It’s like he’s trying to communicate with me telepathically.

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Zak is so expressive. He goes from that to a goofy yawn…

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…back to stink-eye in the blink of an eye.

Aby-a-Day – 18 Juni 2020: King of the Dustbowl (Thursday Things)

On one of our outside adventures, Izaak discovered a wicked awesome dustbowl at the base of a tree.

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It wasn’t in the sun, but oh, it was still perfect. And Zak was going to keep it all to himself, prepared to fight it with everything he had.

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First Lorelai came to check it out.

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Look at how Zak watches her.

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Alfred tried a sneakier method. He pretended he was scratching the tree…

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…and then tried to take it over.

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Zak was more than ready for him.

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Freddy wasn’t about to give up to a cat he outweighs by 70% after only one attempt.

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I am not sure what he was trying to accomplish with this move, but…

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…Zak was NOT falling for it.

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“Really Freddy? REALLY!?”

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“Okay, dude. Back off!”

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“Okay, that’s technically still my dust, but fine. But like a good neighbour, STAY OVER THERE.”

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“I can’t even with you right now, Freddy.”

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After his roll, Freddy made another siege on Zak’s dustbowl.

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Clearly, this attack is Freddy playing a long game.

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Obviously, it’s the old “yeah, keep your dumb dustbowl” trick.

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“Just how stupid does he think I am?”

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Freddy walked around the tree and was right back in Zak’s face. Clearly, Zak was expecting him.

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And then, adding insult to injury, Freddy had the nerve to do Zak a heckin’ blep! A BLEP! I loved this last photo so much, on Sunday I posted it to a wonderful Facebook group called this IS an airport, please announce your departure: aeroplane ear posting (as you can see in the top photo), and as of this writing, 1,130 people have reacted to it!

Some of the comments people made were brilliant, too. I laughed so hard at this thread.

I particularly love this comment thread, because indeed, this is a classic Singapura stink-eye.

(Editor’s note: Since this is a public Facebook group, I didn’t block out the names on the screenshots in this post. If you want your name blocked out on my post, please comment and I’ll edit the photo. But if you are here from the Earplane group…thanks for all the love this week! I really needed it!)

Aby-a-Day – 18 Mars 2020: Wordless Wednesday (The faces of Izaak)

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Aby-a-Day – 7 Mars 2020: Happy Birthday, Kalle and Björn! (Swedish Saturday)

Since Kalle’s birthday is today, and Björn’s birthday is the 10th, we generally celebrate them both together. Björn always makes the cake…and this year, he made a Coronavirus cake.

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Kalle is is turning 17, so instead of candles, Björn put 17 gumdrop Coronaviruses on the cake instead. Because, you know…blowing out candles would spray germs all over the cake, right?

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Izaak says, “Really? A Coronavirus cake? Do you really think that’s appropriate?”

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Björn did a really good job on the viruses, though.

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Lorelai wanted some of the viruscake.

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“Look, mom! I am washing my hands and everything!”

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“What do you mean, NO?” Rory is channelling her inner Abernathy here.

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In no way related to the Coronavirus, but oddly apropos, my birthday gift to Björn was a Swiss Army gas mask from WWII. I ordered it in December (after getting him a Swiss Army pair of snow goggles for Christmas from the same seller), way before we knew about the pandemic.

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Björn was pleased with his gift.

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…and then he started posing with props.

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Emma was really happy to get to spend time with the cats.

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Happy birthday, Kalle and Björn!

Aby-a-Day – 25 Februari 2020: The Zakdalorian again (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, I posted a sketch and a preliminary inking of Izaak as The Child (aka Baby Yoda)

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Starting with the shaded ink layer I did last week, I changed it from black to blue-green and did a second, cleaner ink layer.

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The whiskers and eyeshine are actually on their own layer. I really like having the whiskers as a separate layer from the rest of the drawing. There’s also a slight outer glow on this layer.

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Using the clean ink version, I made a flat colour layer. This layer is about 70% opaque.

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Using the same colours, and following the shading done on the first ink, I added a texture layer, with the fur and ticking and the rough cloth of the robe.

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The background is a combination of the original screenshot I based my drawing on, and a painted background using bark and grass brushes, run through the oil painting filter.

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I also added a shadow and backlighting, to capture the feel of the original scene.

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One final, tiny touch: I have a set of steam/smoke brushes. One little stamp at 60% opacity, and…the bone broth is hot!

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And here is the final, complete drawing. I am pretty proud of this one!

Aby-a-Day – 18 Februari 2020: The Zakdalorian (Cartoon Tuesday)

Like 90% of the world, Björn and I watched the The Mandalorian a few weeks ago. and the minute I saw Baby Yoda/”The Child” sipping a cup of bone broth, I knew what had to be done.

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So far, it’s just at the sketch and ink phase…I am trying to decide how I want to colour it. The green of Baby Yoda’s skin is almost the same colour as Izaak’s eyes, but it won’t look as much like Baby Yoda if I colour it in sepia tones…so I am still deciding how I want to finish this. I also have an untested idea of doing a pale green background, with an overlay of sepia ticking.

I need to think about this. Stay tuned for the finished version!

Aby-a-Day – 6 Augusti: “Railroad trains are such magnificent objects, we commonly mistake them for Destiny”

The thing about going to cat shows in Sweden is, you have to travel all over the country (and also to other countries). We sometimes rent a car, but usually the rail and bus system is good enough that we don’t have to. It’s tough sometimes because the luggage for cats and humans gets heavy, and if the elevators are broken it can be a struggle.

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But our new super stroller makes it a million times easier. We can put things on top of it, or inside with the cats, and it can be steered with one hand (that was a problem with the previous strollers).

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And we get to see a lot of interesting things. This is Södertälje Syd station, closest to the show and our hotel. The swoopy thing is just a shelter to wait for taxis or cars to pick people up.

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I just thought it was wicked cool. It could have been plain and boring, but instead they made it look interesting. I like that.

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Riding the train is nice. Sometimes it can be crowded, or there can be screaming children or annoying people having FaceTime conversations. Since we have to travel in the pet compartment, sometimes we share it with dogs.

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Usually the dogs are well-trained and polite, but on the trip to Södertälje, there was a Labradoodle who was not so nice. His human was seated across the aisle from us, and he was on the floor at my feet. Lorelai was chilling on Björn’s bag under the table, and Izaak was on my lap, closer to the dog. Zak’s okay with dogs, but he’s more used to small dogs. At one point the Labradoodle lunged at the cats with no warning! It even surprised the dog’s owner, it was that sudden. After that, Zak decided to sit on the table and shoot stinkeyes at the designer mutt. (I wanted to get a photo of it, but after the altercation I was afraid the woman would see me take the picture. But it looked almost exactly like this.)

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Even Rory, who likes dogs, decided that sitting on the seat next to Björn was a better idea after that.

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Sometimes Zak gets bored on the train and walks around. He likes to climb up the backs of the seats, too.

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This is from the trip home, which was blessedly canine-deficient. Rory was fascinated by the passing scenery.

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Zak also had to check it out. I love watching them crawl all over Björn…it just shows how comfortable they are riding the rails.

Aby-a-Day – 21 Maj: Singapura Stinkeye, Pixie-style (Cartoon Tuesday)

Last week, I did some sketches of Izaak in the style of Pixie from the webcomic Pixie and Brutus. There is one particular cartoon that really inspired me to do a Singapura Stinkeye PixieZak. So…here it is.

I tried to do this entirely in Procreate on my iPad Pro, but I had to do a couple of things in Photoshop after I had finished. One, Björn thought Zak’s eye was too big, so I made it a little smaller…and two, I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to paste my signature into the drawing on Procreate.

However, whilst Procreate may be lacking in layer-pasting abilities, it does have a very nifty feature: it records your drawing, which you can then export as a video! So…here is me drawing Zak as Pixie.

Aby-a-Day – 10 Maj: Another set of pro photos from Djurmagazinet (Fashion Friday)

You may remember last year when I bundled everyone up in the Strollercat stroller and got professional photos taken of everybody. Well, they had another photo shoot last month, so I took everyone back in for another round of photos.

I mainly wanted to get photos of Angel and Alfred, because they don’t go to shows, and we don’t have as many opportunities to have them photographed. Angel actually did really well, considering she doesn’t get out much.

Lorelai, of course, is a natural.

She’s been getting professional photos taken since she was 11 weeks old!

Still, even a seasoned poser can take an slightly awkward photo every once in a while.

Izaak is pretty good at the posing thing, too.

*Sigh* At least, when he isn’t throwing the Singapura Stink-Eye around.

And then there’s Freddy. He is an excellent poser.

Except…when he isn’t. It’s really hit or miss with this silly boy! Still, I would rather have goofy photos of them than no photos at all. It’s funny…the last time we got the photos done, we had just four cats (because Zak hadn’t joined us yet)…and this time, we also had only four cats. SOMEday I hope we’ll be able to a photo of the whole family of five.

Aby-a-Day – 15 December: Jólakötturinn (Swedish Cat Show Saturday)

There’s an interesting holiday custom in Iceland: the Yule Cat (Jólakötturinn). According to legend, the Yule Cat eats people who don’t get new clothes for Christmas.

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It’s actually kind of hilarious. When I went to Sweden for Christmas in 2015, I had a stopover in Reykjavik and I saw him for myself. It’s like happy little santas and elves, pretty white angels, sparkly snowflakes and snowmen…and then, WHAM! ANGRY BLACK CAT!

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The Yule cat is associated with the Yule Lads, thirteen troll-imp brothers who show up starting 12 December and don’t leave until 6 January. They harass livestock, steal random objects, and generally do bad things. It’s so different from any other holiday tradition I know of. I absolutely love it.

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Drinking is also a significant part of Scandinavian Jul celebrations…so naturally, Yule Cat bottle covers are a thing.

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Of course, I had to buy some Yule Cats whilst I was there!

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Since seeing the Yule Cat for myself in Iceland, those ornaments have become a part of my holiday tradition. He plays a prominent part of our decorations. And to that end, I made my own Yule Cat. When I discovered the Japanese Scratch cats, plushies with scowly faces and extended claws who generally look pissed at the world who were designed by artist Tamiho Maita, I knew the black one would make a marvelous Yule Cat. So I took one of Jacoby’s Santa hats and scarves, and voilà! One Yule Cat plushie!

On a whim, I brought him along to the cat show last weekend. He attracted a bit of attention, and one of the club’s members even posted his photo on the club’s Facebook event page!

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I tried to get Lorelai and Izaak to pose with him in their show cage…it didn’t go as well as I hoped.

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Look at Zak’s face! He looks like he’s trying to out-anger Angry Black Cat!

Aby-a-Day – 19 September: Wordless Wednesday (Pro photos from last weekend’s show)

Aby-a-Day – 2 September: “Everyone knows that if you’ve got a brother, you’re going to fight” (Cinema Sunday)

While Alfred and Izaak will never have the relationship that Alfred and Logan had, they are still the two youngest male cats in the house. They may not be brothers from another mother…but they are brothers, nonetheless.

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And one thing brothers do, regardless of species, is wrassle.

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As of today, Freddy weighs 4.1 kg (9 lbs) and Zak weighs 2.3 kg (5 lbs). Almost double!

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Our little Zak can hold his own against Freddy, though.

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Freddy chews on Zak’s ear, and Zak just waits him out.

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Freddy starts grooming Zak, trying to throw him off and lull him into complacency…

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…It didn’t work.

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In fact, Zak turned on Freddy.

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“The first test is the element of surprise! You FAILED!”

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Zak held Freddy off for a while with nothing more than his Singapura stink-eye.

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The fighting action was so awesome, and it was so hard to capture in a still photo, I decided, hey, let’s make a video! Yeah…that was not one of my best ideas (Click image to view movie in a new window).

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And then, five minutes later…we had this. Boys.

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 – 22 April: The Watch that Ends the Night

Alfred was so lonely after Logan went to the Djursjukhuset in Jönköping.

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I got a call from the vet in Jönköping on Friday the 13th, of all days, that Logan was going to die. He had a surgical biopsy of his mesenteric lymph nodes. In his belly, they found gelled fluid indicative of FIP. After Pyret, and the way all the cats paid their respects to her, I knew I couldn’t let Logan die without saying good-bye to his brother from another mother.

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So I bundled Freddy up and took him with me to Jönköping to say good-bye to our Logan.

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We had to wait in the cats-only waiting area first, where there were lots of certificates announcing how cat-friendly the hospital is.

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They also had this awesome poster showing Cats of the World. The Abys were much better than on the last poster I saw in a vet’s office…and there is a Singapura on it, too!

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Eventually, we were taken to a room. Not a hospital room, but an office-type room, with computers and a comfy leather sofa.

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The vet tech brought Logan in, and Freddy was right there to greet him.

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Then I cradled my baby and cried over him.

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Being on his back was uncomfortable for him, so I held him turned over. I wore my Porg T-shirt because Logan was my little Porg.

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Freddy didn’t care that Logan was wearing the Cone of Shame. He was just happy to see his brother from another mother.

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Logan struggling to get into the carrier with Freddy after the vet tech took off the Cone of Shame. I have no words to express how much I miss his love of Freddy. And his funny faces.

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We had to wait a while before it was our turn. We didn’t mind.

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Logan was so weak and tired. He had had surgery, blood tests and so much else done to him those last few days. But still he hung on.

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He was happy to be with Freddy.

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Finally, the vet tech came back with all the syringes. Because the doctor was tied up with an emergency, she was going to administer the drugs.

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She flushed out his port with saline before starting the euthanasia procedure. I didn’t take photos of that. I wouldn’t normally have taken as many photos of all this as I did, but Björn was away that weekend on his Hemvärnet exercises, and he couldn’t be there to see Logan that last time. So I took these for him, and also for Lisa, his breeder.

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All clear.

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He started receiving the sedatives first. While they started to work and make Logan drowsy, Freddy was right there with him.

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Brothers to the end.

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Finally the last needle was given, and Logan left us. They gave us a blue towel to wrap him in, and Freddy said his last goodbye.

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I hated to leave him alone in that empty room, so I left one of his favourite fishes with him. It’s been just a little over a week since he died, and Freddy and I are so lost. He was our little dude, and we miss him.

Aby-a-Day – 19 April: Keeping his weight up

Logan’s weight went from 3.4 kg on 4 March to 2.9 kg on 8 April. At first, I didn’t think much of it, all the cats eat a little less and seem to lose wight when spring comes and there’s more daylight.

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But the last weekend, Logan wouldn’t eat anything. Not even freshly cooked chicken or lamb. He also wouldn’t drink – and he used to love to drink from the fountain.

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So I had to feed him and hydrate him. I fed him a gruel of Hill’s A/D and Royal Canin Convelescence, and gave him Oralade to hydrate him and give him electrolytes.

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When Gun-Hee was sick, we were told to give him Pedialyte…but they don’t seem to have that in Sweden (and I have no idea what one would do if they needed to give a baby electrolytes, either). But Oralade is actually better, since it’s balanced for cats and includes taurine. And it’s chicken flavoured!

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Logan really didn’t want to eat, and he hated having to eat from the syringes, but he tolerated it so well. The least he would do was push my hands away. But I think he knew I was trying to help him.

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I had a routine: One 10ml syringe of Oralade, then one 20ml syringe of the food mixture, and then another 10ml of Oralade.

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It could get a little messy. I know that bothered Logan, too, because he was such a fastidious little guy.

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Oh, I miss his expressions!

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You have to go slow while feeding like this. You have to give the cat time to swallow, and make sure he doesn’t accidentally inhale any of the food or liquid.

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We also took clean-up breaks.

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Come on, little Logey! Just a little bit more…

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…and, we’re done. Good job!

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Wipe the chin a little bit…there we go.

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Okay, now just one more little syringe of the Oralade…

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…there you go. Good!

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See how he’s holding onto my arm? I miss those little hands…

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…and that funny, funny face.

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The whole feeding process took about 20 minutes. I fed him every four to six hours starting on the first Friday night (6 April) until Wednesday when we went to the Djursjukhuset in Jönköping (11 April).

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This is how he looked on Sunday, 8 April, after eating. He really didn’t look like an FIP cat. And the best news is, I was able to hold his weight steady at 2.8-2.9 kg by our scale until we went to the animal hospital on Wednesday. I haven’t accomplished that much in my life, but this is one of my proudest achievements.

Aby-a-Day – 16 April: Beginning of the end…

Vide. It means “pussywillow” in Swedish and “empty” in French. Ironically appropriate.

Also appropriate: the British meaning of the word “gutted” for this feeling I have right now.

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Logan was losing weight, but I fed him kitten food, Hill’s A/D, Royal Canin Convelescence, and Aptus Reconvalescent Paste.

I called the vet on Tuesday, and the first appointment available was Friday. We took it.

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Logan was thin, but he didn’t look sick.

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He definitely didn’t have the swollen, fluid-filled belly.

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Logan needed an ultrasound of his belly, but there was another patient in that room, so we had to wait.

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We finally went in. I don’t have any photos of him getting his ultrasound because I was busy helping to hold him.

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After the ultrasound, they took samples of Logan’s blood for testing.

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He did not like that.

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Although I think he was more upset about having to have a bandage on his arm than the actual blood draw.

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“Can we please go home now, mom?”

And when we did, all we could do was wait for the test results. It was a very long weekend.

Aby-a-Day – 23 February: When the drapes match the rug (Fashion Friday)

Do you remember that scene in Garden State where Zach Braff’s character inadvertently wears a shirt that matches the wallpaper?

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Well, Logan does. At least, he understands that feeling.

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I tried Jacoby’s red and white Christmas hoodie on Logan…while forgetting that our bedspread has a similar pattern and colour scheme. Apparently, Logan remembered.