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.