Aby-a-Day – 16 Juni: The birds and the bees (Cinema Sunday)

When we were outside with the Kittens a while back, they found a bumblebee.

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Izaak seemed more interested in it than Lorelai was, at first.

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They were adorable, studying the little insect. Zak went so far as to pat it with his paw, but luckily neither cat got stung.

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When it didn’t move, Zak got a little bored, but Rory knew it had potential and studied it intently.

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Finally: the big payoff! The bee started to fly!

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Rory is incredibly agile and athletic when she is chasing a bug. She actually catches flies (and eats them) in the apartment without knocking over anything.

Here’s a video of Zak, Rory and the Bee.

Later that day, Rory went to the area behind our apartment…I could tell because the birds were going crazy with their “Cat!” warning cries. It was really loud…I took video, but I don’t know if you can hear them. I worry about the bigger birds dive-bombing her; when I was a kid we had outdoor cats (not my idea), and one got a massive abscess on his head from either a scrub jay or a mockingbird. Rory’s only 2½ kg, our smallest cat, and your average crow weighs around half a kilo…but they have force and gravity on their side. One peck from a crow or jackdaw’s bill could do some serious damage.

That being said…Rory really wants to catch a bird someday.

We’re trying to teach Alfred to go outside with us offleash…but in the meantime, sometimes he joins us via the balcony. Here he is complaining about being left out.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Juni: Parallel Judging (Cat Show Saturday)

Amongst all the other things that happened at last weekend’s cat show, I mentioned that there was a trainee judge watching the Abyssinian judging, shadowing a Group 4 judge. But later, after the Singapuras and the Selkirk Rex had been judged, Stellan called me to bring Izaak over to the Group 3 “Parallel judging.”

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I’d never heard of that before, much less seen it. Stellan said it’s fairly rare. But it’s actually pretty cool, and I don’t think either CFA or TICA have a thing like this.

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Basically, you’re all called up to a mock ring. Stewards take the cats up to the student judge, who judges each cat and writes down notes on every one, the same as the real judge does. She also chooses her Bests in Variety and the cats she would Nominate if she were the judge.

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Later on, they compare her notes and decisions to the actual judge’s notes and see how she did in comparison. We exhibitors don’t get to see the notes, nor do we ever know how our cats placed…but it was interesting to watch.

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Zak thought it was a lot of fun! Maybe even more fun than the actual judging, because he got to do it and Lorelai didn’t!

Aby-a-Day – 13 Juni: Cats love hotels (Thursday Things)

I don’t know what it is, but every cat I’ve ever known has loved staying in hotel rooms.

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They always say that cats like stability, familiarity, routine…so why they love strange new hotel rooms, foreign beds, and different window views? Perhaps cats are more adventurous than we give them credit for. All I know is, going back to my Siamese, Harri, who was born in 1991, every cat I’ve ever taken to a hotel has loved it. And I hear that from almost every other cat person I’ve talked to at shows.

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Izaak and Lorelai are no exception. The minute we walk in the room, they’re off excitedly checking out every corner. Jacoby would actually be cranky at cat shows during the day because he’d stayed up all night whooping it up in the hotel room.

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The first batch of photos were taken Friday night. On Saturday night, Zak decided to play with the decorative blankets on both beds.

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He didn’t just pull them off onto the floor, though; he also bit them, bunny-kicked them and dragged them around the room. Unfortunately, none of those photos turned out.

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I don’t know if Zak thought those blankets worked better as rugs or what…

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…but he is just so damn cute when he’s being naughty.

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Meanwhile, Rory was exhausted after her big show day and just wanted to nap.

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And yes, she dug this comforter cave all by herself. She does that at home, too. She is the queen of quilt forts.

Aby-a-Day – 11 Juni: The Incatibles (Cartoon Tuesday)

Our new kitten, Dashiell, is named after the author of The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett. When I lived in San Francisco, I lived a block away from the apartment building Dashiell Hammett lived in at 891 Post Street). But our kitten isn’t the only one named after him: Dash, the older son of The Incredibles is named Dash, too (full name: Dashiell Robert Parr). And I got to thinking…okay, Dash…we’ll have five cats…two girls and three boys…hmmmmmm….

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So, using this image of the Incredible family, I came up with this. Alfred, our biggest cat, is Mr. Incredible; Angel, of course, is Elastigirl; Lorelai is perfect as Violet, Izaak is Jack-Jack (or, if you prefer, Zak-Zak)…and Dash is, well…Dash. Now I just need to colour it in!

Aby-a-Day – 10 Juni: Another way to look at the show (Hipstamatic Monday)

I keep forgetting to do Hipstamatic photos when we’re at FIFe shows. I used to take them at cat shows regularly back in New England. But they’re fun…and it’s interesting to see what Hipstamatic does…like this one. You’ve seen our show curtains, they’re shades of green. But Hipstamatic turns them into shades of red!

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I also love the randomness of it. Sometimes it really improves the photo.

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I used to take photos with the cameras Hipstamatic is meant to emulate, back when I was a kid. You would take the photo…but never know what you were going to get. It’s a kind of fun we don’t have nowadays (although I wouldn’t want to go back to film EVER).

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Sometimes it makes a good photo even better…I really like the way the focus is shifted to Izaak and his BIV trophy in this one.

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Some of the films have frames that are a lot of fun. This one flips the original photo around the edges and sort of “shatters” them. It’s a neat effect.

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Hipstamatic can make a boring photo more interesting…

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…and it can save a photo you might have kept. When Hipstamatic saves a photo, it also saves the original, “normal” version of the shot. In this photo, Zak moved his head and his face was blurred. But in the Hipstamatic version…that motion blur is not an issue.

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Some of the different films play with colour, as I mentioned before. This one only keeps red and blue and discards everything else.

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This film makes your photo look like it was printed on an old newspaper, which can be a cool effect on the right shot.

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I also like this film a lot. It makes this cute photo of Zak even cuter, somehow.

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Once, ages ago back in the States, someone asked me, “So…What’s this Hipstamatic Monday all about?” This. This is what it’s all about.

Aby-a-Day – 9 Juni: Sunday at the Cat Show (Cat Show Cinema Sunday)

Today at the cat show was…well, not as exciting as yesterday.

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Lorelai was the first up again, and she had the same judge, Thea Friskovec, that Izaak had yesterday.

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Lorelai charmed her, but ultimately lost the Nomination to a friend’s Cornish Rex.

This is what her judging looked like…so different from CFA!

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Next up was Izaak.

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Like yesterday, since there were three Singapuras entered, he was up for Best in Variety, but today he lost out to IC S*Kustens Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (on the far right). That’s cat shows: one day, you’re top of the world, another day…not so much. You can’t win them all.

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After the BIV, Zak had to compete for the Nomination, against the Burmilla from yesterday and a snow Bengal.

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The competition was stiff…

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But today, Zak lost to the Burmilla. Ultimately, no Singapuras were Nominated to Panel, where yesterday we had two (who both won Best in Show). But that’s okay; with neither cat Nominated, we were able to leave the show early! That’s always a bonus.

Here is a video of Zak being judged. I think I like FIFe’s style better than CFA, to be honest; not only do you get an honest conversation about your cat’s strengths and weaknesses, but you also get a written copy to save in your cat’s show book. Only being judged by one person a day vs. the CFA method of a cat getting several judges’ opinions in a day is…different, and admittedly, a little hard to get used to. But the fact that you get the judges’ notes to keep for posterity is pretty awesome and makes the shift a little easier to handle. Plus, it’s nice having a written record of what a judge thought about your cat.