Aby-a-Day – 4 June: “Snazzy” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Snazzy.”

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I have this very snazzy, super deluxe, floor-to-ceiling cat tree from Drs. Foster and Smith. I had it in the kitchen of my old apartment in Somerville, and Harri, Patrick, Tessie, Kylie and Gun-Hee all loved it.

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Patrick especially loved it.

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I mean, he really loved it.

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I got it in 2005 as a replacement for the older, blue one I’d brought with me from Atlanta, which was getting a little ragged. Patrick couldn’t wait for us to unpack it.

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He even helped to assemble it.

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He could not even wait for it to be put together before he was climbing on it!

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Sadly, it wasn’t tall enough for the very high ceilings in the old condo, so when I moved out of my apartment in March 2009, the awesome tree went into storage.

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When I got Angel in 2008, I wasn’t spending much time at my old apartment although I still kept it for a few months after I married. I’m not sure if she has ever seen this cat tree (but she really loved the floor-to-ceiling cat tree my mom has at her house, and wasted no time climbing it). I know Jacoby never has, since it was put into storage before he was even born!

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But on Monday, it was packed up to go to Sweden.

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It was pretty amazing to watch the mover pack it up in paper.

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We decided not to take it apart, except for the very top, spring-loaded part.

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He was so fast! I couldn’t imagine wrapping up a cat tree in moving paper…but then, he’s a professional.

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So, here’s my snazzy cat tree, all packed up and ready to go. Next stop, Sweden!

Aby-a-Day – 2 June: Meat-Seeking Missile

Yesterday was my birthday, so I went to Davis Square to get a pedicure. Afterwards, I was hungry, so I stopped by Redbones to have what will most likely be my last barbecue from them in a while.

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When I called to place my order, I mentioned that I was moving to Sweden, and the girl I spoke with wrote this on my bag! I know…awwwww…

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I will miss this place.

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When I got home, I set the bag with my takeaway in it down and made the fatal mistake of leaving it unattended. And just look what happened!

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Jacoby chewed through the plastic bag, the paper bag, AND the cardboard takeout box…and stole a rib and ATE it!

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You can see how guilty and remorseful he felt about it, too.

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He had already had his evening meal, too!

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But seriously, I want you all to take another look at the hole he made. I mean, this was not a random accidental opening. He focused on one corner and attacked with surgical precision. Jake knew exactly what he was doing and how to do it.

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He seems a bit sad that there is no meat left on the bone. He really stripped off every last bit…and then, while I was eating my share of the meal, he actually had the nerve to ask me to give him more! I hope Björn is ready for this rivningskula.

Aby-a-Day – August 2: Occupy ArtBeat

At our last ArtBeat, Jacoby did a really funny thing.

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At one point, he decided to hop out of his stroller, and join the girls behind the T-Shirt and Dogtag sales table.

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They tried to play with him, using one of the dogtags as a cat toy, but Jake was having none of it.

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It seemed like he was seriously trying to help out behind the Somerville Arts Council’s volunteer sales table.

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All he wanted to do was sit on a chair behind the table.

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One girl very helpfully tried to get Jake to look at the camera for me.

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He was pretty intent on his work, but eventually I managed to get a good shot of him.

Aby-a-Day – July 31: Jake’s first ArtBeat (Friday Flashback)

Jacoby went to his first ArtBeat in 2010.

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He was amazing. He was just over a year old, but he hadn’t been with me a year yet.

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We didn’t have a stroller yet. We used his Snoozer Rollaround carrier. But it was partially because of ArtBeat that I decided to investigate getting a stroller for Jake.

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Jake took to ArtBeat like a natural.

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The best interaction was with a boy named Jason.

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Jason was developmentally challenged, and he was a sweetheart. He loved Jake and even gave me a big hug. It was the moment that I knew that Jake would be a good therapy cat, and that we’d be a good therapy team. I’ll really miss going to ArtBeat…it’s really a very special event.

Aby-a-Day – July 30: Art Beat Loops

As we do every July, Jacoby and I went to Somerville’s ArtBeat festival. This year’s theme was “Loops.”

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As always, we stopped to visit our friend Kim at Stella Marie Soap.

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She’s always so happy to see me and Jake.

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We also stopped to look at the M.U.S.C.R.A.T. bus.

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With its ears, it reminds me of the Cat Tank in the webcomic Stand Still Stay Silent.

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This year, there was a lot of sidewalk chalk art. Some that you were allowed to touch…

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…And some that you weren’t.

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All in all, we had a really gerat time, the two of us.

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It was a little bittersweet, though, since we probably won’t be able to go next year.

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And our unbroken string of ArtBeat dogcat tags (16 for me, 6 for Jake), will have to come to an end.

Aby-a-Day – July 24: Portraiture (Fashion Friday)

At ArtBeat this year there was a young woman, Angela DeCarlis, doing pencil portraits.

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Of course, I wanted to get one done of Jacoby and me.

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She sketched me first, and while we waited Jake had a lot of attention from passersby.

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Once she had me down, she had me pose with Jake.

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While we were posing together, Rachel from the Somerville Arts Council passed by – she was one of the people in charge of the Copy Cat Festival we were part of a couple of years ago!

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She took these photos of me and Jake while we were sitting. I’m showing off our ArtBeat tags.

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If Jake looks a little grumpy on my lap, it’s because he just really wanted to back in his stroller. That’s his safe zone, his territory – and also the secret to how I’m able to go to places like ArtBeat with him. As long as he’s got his stroller, he’s happy.

And here’s how our portrait turned out! I kind of wish I was smiling…but other than that, it’s pretty dead-on. What do you think?

Aby-a-Day – July 28: Masquarade (Hipstamatic Monday)

One of the biggest attractions at ArtBeat is the vast collection of arts and crafts booths selling all kinds of alluring items.

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I saw this wooden masquarade mask with distinctly Abyssinian-like markings in a woman’s hand at the Magpie booth and I dashed up and blurted out: “Do you have any more of those cat masks? I need one!”

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The shopkeeper looked at me like I was a bit nutty and, bemusedly, pulled out a second cat mask.

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Then she saw Jacoby in his stroller and it all made sense. This clever wooden mask on a stick is a “Silly Stick” made by Maple Landmark in Middlebury, VT. But as great as it is that the mask looks like an Abyssinian…

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…the backside is a scuba mask with a small clownfish!

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How perfect is this for the NEMO show next month?!

Aby-a-Day – July 21: ArtBeat is hip! (Hipstamatic Monday)

While we were at ArtBeat yesterday, I remembered to take a few Hipstamatic shots as well. I don’t know why it never occurred to me before; Hipstamatic seems like the perfect platform for ArtBeat photographs!

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I just loved this tiger.

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And apparently I wasn’t the only one.

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This was just silly. I’d found a stray pipe cleaner that had been twisted into a circle and put it on Jacoby’s head.

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All hail Jake, the Pipe Cleaner Prince.

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We also stopped at the Batch Ice Cream truck for a treat. They’re a local ice cream company that makes awesome ice cream with minimal ingredients.

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I loved their little map of Massachusetts painted on the side of their chalkboard truck. And their ice cream is truly amazing.

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Jake would have preferred we’d go to Redbones BBQ instead.

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I love these guys in the background. I’m sure they were laughing at me…but so what?

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There is just so much to see at ArtBeat!

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The first time we went to ArtBeat, Jake rode in the little rolly-cart. He didn’t like that because he was dragging along behind me and couldn’t see where we were going.

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He much prefers the stroller, where he can see everything.

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I love that Jake loves to do things like this with me.

Aby-a-Day – July 20: Hatching some fun at Art Beat

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that Someville’s annual ArtBeat festival is something that Jacoby and I look forward to every summer. In fact, it’s a reason that we haven’t ever gone to the famous Garden State Cat Show – they always seem to fall on the exact same weekend!

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I used to live a few blocks away from Davis Square, and I’ve been to every ArtBeat since I moved to Boston in 2000. I’ve only missed two, 1998 and 1999, and those I missed only because I didn’t live here yet. This year’s theme was “Hatch”…it wasn’t one of the more interactive themes they’ve ever had. Some years’ themes are more “done” than others; a couple of years ago the theme was “Red,” which inspired a lot of people to dress up. This year ArtBeat was a little less crazy than it has been in the past…but that didn’t make this year’s festival any less fun.

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As always, our very first stop of the day was our friend Kim’s Stella Marie Soap booth so I could stock up on my ultimate all-time favourite Marshmallow Chocolate sugar body scrub. I stock up on this stuff every July and my supply lasts me the rest of the year.

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Jake is not so impressed with the gloriously scented, handmade natural soaps…but he does enjoy collecting his pettings from Kim.

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One of the more interesting things in the Square this year was the new M.U.S.C.R.A.T. Bus.

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M.U.S.C.R.A.T. is short for “Multi-Use Somerville Community Roving Transport” and is intended to be a movable art space used to conduct roaming art classes, performance art or dance, and anything else the Somerville Arts Council can think of.

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The bus has been tricked out with a pretty epic representation of a muskrat in autumn done by local artist Jeff McCreight. Jake was impressed with the giant rodent…impressed, or terrified. It’s a fine line…

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The absolute coolest thing we saw was this lifesized papier-maché tiger.

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I’m not sure why he was there (apart from his plea to “reforest his habitat”), or what he had to do with “Hatching”…but he was incredible. A lot of work went into making him.

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He was extremely well done made by someone familiar with Asian art. The tiger’s eyes are straight out of a classic Chinese scroll painting.

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Jake made friends with a little boy named Ben. Ben was really enjoying the tiger (his dad told me he really likes cats), and literally squealed with joy when he saw a real live kitty.

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He was great with Jake, and Jake was great with him. It never ceases to amaze me how great Jake is around kids, because he doesn’t see children all that often. There are a couple of families on our floor now, but our therapy visits have almost exclusively been with adults. It’s one of the reasons I love going to ArtBeat with Jake: we get to interact with little kids.

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It’s a lot of fun to watch kids pet Jake, too. For some reason, they really seem to like his ears.

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My little tiger…we’ve been to five ArtBeats together, and then I went to another one with Gun-Hee. I can’t really remember what it’s like to go without an Abyssinian!

Life in Davis Square

I love when I find random photos of Jacoby on the internet.

Check out Richard Chase’s Life in Davis Square photos from ArtBeat.

See anyone you recognise?

Aby-a-Day – July 25: Riding the Red Line

Riding the red line to Somerville is always more fun with Jacoby.

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Whether it’s waiting on the platform for the Alewife train to arrive…

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…riding the train itself…

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…crossing the Charles from Boston to Cambridge and Somerville…

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…or waiting for the inbound train back home, it’s always a better commute when there’s a Jake involved!

Aby-a-Day – July 21: It’s ArtBeat time again!

Yesterday was Somerville’s greatest summer festival: ArtBeat!

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It was my 14th year and Jacoby’s 4th. We have the tags to prove it!

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Every year has a theme, and this year’s was “Micro.” One of the events was a “Micro Mini-Me Parade” wherein people were encouraged to “Bring your adorable double (pet, child, puppet…), wear matching outfits and join us in the ringing in this year’s ArtBeat!” So of course Jake and I were all over that action.

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I wore leopard print and green to match his harness and added my cat ears. But instead of him being my Mini-Me, I was his Macro-Me!

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I also brought along the latest Strollercat action figure.

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It’s still not perfect, but it’s the best little toy stroller I’ve found yet.

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Our first stop was to our friend Kim and her Stella Marie Soap booth.

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Jake attracts fans no matter where he goes.

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You think these two boys were here for the soap?

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Sadly, our friend Mike Ritter of Ritterbin Photography did not have his booth set up this year. We missed him – he always takes such awesome photos of us! But my friend Dora got a nice portrait of Jake and me with my friend Barb.

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Then there was Strollerdog.

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Of course, you know Jake and Strollerdog just had to meet!

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It was super hot…90! Luckily, Jake has his fan, and also a fancy mister to help keep him cool.

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He’s a little less fond of the mister than he is of his fan.

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There are a couple of things Jake and I always do at ArtBeat. We checked out the puppet booth.

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This time we found a little kitty hand puppet that Jake took a liking to.

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We had our traditional Redbones BBQ for lunch.

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And we listened to some music.

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The first band we stopped to watch was called Porch-i-oke and they did sing-a-long songs.

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There are a couple of different stages for bands at ArtBeat. We saw a few bands play on the big stage behind the T station because it was on the grass and was a nice, cool place to sit.

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Well, cooler than being on the pavement, anyway.

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The last band we saw was called Muck and the Mires.

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They were described as “a cross between 1964 Beatles and The Ramones,” and they were awesome.

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On our way back to the Red Line, I got Jake this little button for his stroller. He needed it.

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I look forward to ArtBeat all year long.

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I think Jake does, too.

Aby-a-Day – February 21: Will success spoil Jacoby Stealin’ Home?

It’s amazing how much press some kitties can generate!


“The cat ‘Pellburn Jacoby Stealin’ Home’ made an appearance onstage.”
Kayana Szymczak/Boston Globe

There are a few different features on Boston.com, including a truly magnificent photo of Jacoby onstage taken by Boston Globe photographer Kayana Szymczak (which was also in the actual printed newspaper today). They did a preview article (and an interview with yours truly), a nice slideshow of the entire event as well as an analysis of cat videos.

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The Boston Dig is also featuring a Fotobom of the day, which can also be seen on Flickr!

Then there was a great story and video by the Somerville Patch on the Copy Cat Festival yesterday – be sure to check out their slideshow, too!


I especially love this one the reporter, Sara Jacobi (no relation) took of Jacoby and me talking with Rachel Strutt from the Somerville Arts Council.

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It was a long day for Jake – we were there eight hours, from noon til 8pm – but he handled it like a champ. We did take a little break at one point; Jake decided he needed to get away from his adoring public and took a little tour behind the curtains.

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He was very interested in these kettle drums.

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Jake wasn’t the only cat at the festival, though. This little black and white girl, Krufka, sat patiently on her own little sofa while her human read a story about her.

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And as I mentioned on Sunday, Famous Seamus was also in attendance. He was such a sweet cat. And as his human said, he was twice the size of Jake! Jake’s such a big Aby…it was nice for someone to call him “small” for a change.

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I also got to meet local author Clea Simon, which was awesome; I haven’t met many authors of books I’ve read! Her book The Feline Mystique is a fascinating study of the ancient relationship between women and cats. She also writes feline mysteries!

And we met Case and Emily, the creative geniuses behind Ferocious Friends cat toys…now, these things might just give Neko Flies a run for its money! Check out their video if you don’t believe me!

I also have to mention my favourite local video – this song by aspiring local singer-songwriter Kevin Choi! Not only is Kevin super-talented, but he’s a total cat person.

I read somewhere that cat people don’t really have the social outlets that dog people do, like dog parks. That’s what made the Copy Cat Festival so magical: it was a gathering of creative, artistic cat people, drawn out of their studios, workshops and computer screens, united by a common passion. I hope it becomes an annual affair – you know Jake and I will be there!

Aby-a-Day – February 20: Wordless Wednesday (Interview with an Abyssinian)

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Aby-a-Day – February 19: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (Cartoon Tuesday)

The Copy Cat Festival this weekend was kind of magical, in that it was essentially a room full of crazy cat people who were not trying to hide that fact. People were wearing cat ears and whiskers and some even painted whiskers on their faces.

I can only imagine what Jacoby thought about that.

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(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – February 18: Just hanging out, watching some cat videos (Hipstamatic Monday)

At one point during the Copy Cat Festival yesterday, Jake decided he wanted to go upstairs to the balcony to watch the videos.

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Once we got up there, he took a chair and made himself comfortable.

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It was really cute. He stayed there til the end of the international cat video section.

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I guess it’s true. Cat videos are universal.

Somerville Copy Cat Festival – Second Show Added!

Due to popular demand – tickets were sold out within about an hour and a half of when they went on sale – the Copy Cat Festival has added a second show that will run from noon to 3pm on Sunday, 17 February!

If you wanted tickets but weren’t able to get them, or if you’re just deciding you’d like to go, hurry over to the Somerville Arts Council’s website ASAP and snag your tickets! They’re only $5.50 (including handling fee) – such a bargain for so much feline entertainment!

Strollercat says “Check it out!”

Copy Cat Festival in Somerville February 17!

I just thought I’d post a little reminder about the upcoming Copy Cat Festival in Somerville, MA on 17 February…

Tickets went on sale today at noon, and they’re bound to go quickly, so if you’re in the area and want to partake of the second cat video film festival and a celebration of all things feline, snap up your tickets sooner rather than later! At 12:45pm today, there were about 160 tickets left, and the ticket sales started right at noon! The tickets are very reasonable: $5.50 including a service fee.

In case you’ve forgotten: “Finally, an event to celebrate the profound cultural contributions of cats. Inspired by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which held an Internet Cat Video Festival last year that was attended by over 10,000 people and featured in the New York Times, we proudly announce the Somerville Copy Cat Festival. Yet our feline extravaganza will feature not only cat videos—produced locally and globally—but also cat stories, cat limericks and a slideshow of local cats. Emcee will be Jef Czekaj, who will kick off the event by reading his book Cat Secrets for cat-crazy kids. There will also be a cat costume table and most likely an appearance from a famous local cat.”

You don’t want to miss this!