Aby-a-Day – 18 Juni: Five years ago today…(Friday Flashback)

Five years ago today, Jacoby, Angel and I landed in Stockholm.

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We took IcelandAir, which requires pets to travel in crates in a special pet cargo hold. It’s actually really great, because they allow two pets of the same species in one carrier. When we changed planes in Reykjavik, I actually saw them being loaded on the new plane.

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We had a LOT of luggage. That was fun on the train to Skövde.

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But once we had it all stashed, it was a very comfortable ride. Jake was enjoying the view immensely.

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And then…

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…we were home.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Juni: How I spent my birthday (Thursday Things)

Björn asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I said, “go to the second-hand store and to eat at Max (Sweden’s best burgers)“. And so we did.

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Björn gave me a Schleich Bengal (I collect Schleich cats)…

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…a paint-by-numbers kit and some vintage cat books.

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At the second-hand store I scored a beautiful Egyptian cat statue (which Lorelai was quite taken with)…

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…and a Rosa Ljung ceramic cat.

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But the BEST thing we found was when we checked out a new pet store in town, Dogman. There I found FREEZE-DRIED Vaisto cat food (I have been wanting to give Angel freeze-dried instead of raw, but couldn’t find it in Sweden), some dried chicken treats, and an interesting duck “cat sausage” that I am hoping Izaak will eat, because it will be easier to travel with that than with frozen raw food.

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AND we found 1kg bags of frozen chicken necks! We had been buying Vaisto Mush necks in 800g bags, but they’ve been in short supply lately, and these are much better (and cheaper). Zak, as you know, LOVES his necks! All in all, not a bad birthday.

Aby-a-Day – 29 Maj: Dashiell with hair brighter than the sun (Swedish Saturday)

As I mentioned the other day, Dashiell is gradually becoming more comforatble outside.

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You can see it in his eyes and in his gait.

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He’s getting much braver. We still have to catch him and bring him outside – he doesn’t eagerly race out like the other three – but once he IS out, he enjoys it.

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But look how incredibly shiny his coat is! I don’t remember Jacoby being quite this shiny. I think it’s because Dash eats more raw food. Jake refused to eat it. He would eat his other food and leave just the raw behind (kind of like Izaak in reverse). I can’t wait to take him to a cat show!

Aby-a-Day – 22 Maj: First, we had Strollercat…now we have Strolling Cat (Swedish Saturday)

Following up on Thursday’s post about about Izaak’s bouncy gait, here is Alfred casually walking across the grass.

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Freddy saunters when he walks with very little bounce.

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You can see it in the line of his back.

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He keeps it fairly level with each step.

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Freddy walks like a cat on a mission.

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Even when he’s only leisurely strolling down our hill.

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This is what Freddy walking looks like from the front. Look at the determination in his eyes. He’s so intelligent, and you can see that in his face.

Aby-a-Day – 16 Maj: “If you’re not in the parade, you watch the parade. That’s life.” (Swedish Sunday)

All my life, I thought boycats were more friendly, outgoing and social than girlcats. The females I had, apart from Crystal, were all aloof and, if we’re being honest, a little neurotic. Tessie and Kylie changed that preconception a bit, but they had their moments.

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And then I met Lorelai.

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We’ve been keeping her on a leash because of her heats, as you know. Which means when the neighbourhood children want to pet one of our cats, she’s kind of a sitting duck. Luckily, she doesn’t mind at all.

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In Sweden, at least where we live, kids run around outside and play all day long, a lot like I did when I was a kid, (*Ahem*) in the 1970s. It’s nice to see, especially compared to how sheltered children are in the States. It’s also a little annoying; why do kids feel the need to SCREAM when they’re playing?

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The last time we went outside, one of the kids asked Björn if they could hold Rory’s leash…and it lead to a little parade.

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And Rory loved it.

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It’s also really great PR for what cats as pets are capable of. Hopefully, when these children grow up, they’ll be cat people.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Maj: A bird in the paw (Swedish Saturday)

Because of Covid, I have not had the energy to clip the cats’ claws on our regular schedule (it takes a LOT of energy to clip five cats’ claws and do all the other necessary grooming).

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That turned out to be a good thing when we took the cats out for the first time in forever last Thursday.

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Because Lorelai ran right up a tree with the intent to catch a wood pigeon!

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She actually got wicked close, too.

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She was also fearless and überconfident up in the tree.

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Rory was in complete control up in that tree.

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And when she decided to come down out of the tree, even that was deliberate and measured.

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I mean, look at the focus on that face. She’s in complete control.

Aby-a-Day – 8 April: Siberian Tigers at Borås Djurparken (Thursday Things)

This is the last installment of the series about the big cats at Borås Djurparken. This week, it’s the Tigers’ turn.

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Unfortunately, unlike the other cats, the Tigers were…underwhelming.

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But at least we got to see them at all. We did not get to see the African Wild Dogs or the Wolves at all that day.

Aby-a-Day – 1 April: Adult Cheetahs at Borås Djurparken (Thursday Things)

Continuing >the series about the big cats at Borås Djurparken. Last week, I focused on the Cheetah kittens, and this week we’ll look at the adult Cheetahsthey have at the park.

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I don’t remember how many adults there were in the enclosure; I think there were two adults to the several kittens. I think it may have been two mothers with their combined litters.

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Interestingly, the adult Cheetahs didn’t really interact with the kittens all that much.

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They just walked on past the kittens, staying in their own bubble.

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I love this shot. You can see the muscles in the hind legs; they are like coiled springs. The power of the Cheetahs' speed is obvious.

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The park also had an informational Cheetah display with information on wild Cheetahs’ territories and life styles.

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There was also an articulated Cheetah skeleton. You can really see how big their carnassials compared to the rest of the skull.

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Cheetahs are the only cats whose claws don’t retract. But look how heavy and thick their claws are – they give them excellent traction when they’re chasing down prey.

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Still, as interesting as the insides are, looking at the outsides of the Cheetahs is a lot better.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Mars: Cheetah kittens at Borås Djurparken (Thursday Things)

Continuing the series about the big cats at Borås Djurparken (which, admittedly, I totally forgot about last week). This week, I have a little more about the Cheetah kittens they have at the park.

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It was a little hard to tell how many kittens (I refuse to call baby cats “cubs”) there were; I think there were four or five.

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I’m also not sure how old they were.

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Compared to the mother Cheetah, I would say they were a few months old.

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They were wicked cute, though.

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Most of them were lounging out in the open. Look at this guy, just chilling.

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One interesting thing I did not know about Cheetah kittens is that when they speak…they chirp like little birds!

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I love Cheetah kittens, with their fluffy fur.

Aby-a-Day – 11 Mars: More about the Borås Lions (Thursday Things)

Continuing last week’s post about the Lions, I’m sharing more of the big cat photos I took at Borås Djurparken. This week, I have a little more about the Lionesses and Lions at the park.

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The Lions have a house they can shelter in.

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The Lion and a couple of Lionesses wandered over to the house and jumped in.

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…And then this happened.

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Afterwards, they just all hung out like it was just business as usual.

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And then, several minutes later…

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…He did it again!

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I’m not even sure if that’s the same Lioness.

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Although, I gotta say, those two creepers watching are…interesting.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Mars: Lions at the Borås Djurpark (Thursday Things)

Continuing last week’s post about the Lionesses, I’m sharing more of the big cat photos I took at Borås Djurparken. This week it’s the Lion.

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Isn’t he handsome?

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I’ve always been fascinated with Lions’ manes. No other male cats have them; I mean, sure, tomcats have jowls and other cats have heavier neck fur, but no other cats have the manes Lions do.

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Have you ever wondered why that is?

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Since Lions are the only cats that live in large groups, they are also the cats that fight each other the most often. The Lions’ manes evolved to protect their throats, so when the males fight, it’s not as easy for them to land a fatal bite on each other. Also, the size and colour of the mane conveys strength to rivals and health and virility to the females.

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Although this guy doesn’t look like much of a fighter. He looks more like Izaak when he’s snuggled up sleeping next to Dashiell or Alfred.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Februari: Lionesses at the Borås Djurpark (Thursday Things)

Continuing last week’s post I’m sharing more of the big cat photos I took at Borås Djurparken. This week I’m sharing one of the most Aby-looking cats: the Lionesses.

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See? Just like Abys.

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This is about a ton of cuddle puddle.

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Always room for one more!

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I love the one using her sister as a pillow in the back.

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Finally, one girl decides she wants to go on walkabout.

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They even walk like big Abys.

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I just love watching them…I took a lot more photos of them than would really fit into one post. In fact, I’ll be posting the boys next week.

Aby-a-Day – 18 Februari: Eurasian Lynx at the Borås Djurpark (Thursday Things)

Back in 2019, we went to the Borås Djurpark. They have a marvellous collection of big cats, and I took a ton of photos. And…I am just now getting through them all. I’ll share them on Thursdays for the next few weeks. They have Lions, Tigers, and Cheetahs, but I am going to start out with the one cat native to Sweden: the Eurasian Lynx

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We were extremely lucky to have gotten to the Lynx area just as they were being fed. The zoo is very much about enrichment of the animals’ lives, so feeding the Lynxes involves hoisting a hunk of meat ten feet up a tree so the Lynx can climb up and get it.

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This Lynx leapt up the tree so quickly, even my fast camera couldn’t capture him in midair! These two photos are sequential, that’s how fast they are.

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It was interesting to watch the Lynx work out how to get the food.

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Honestly, it was very reminiscent of the cats approaching their daily chicken necks. Even though they know what it is, they spend some time sniffing it before actually taking a bite.

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Then a little lick and nibble…

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…and then, the grab.

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GOT IT!

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I wish you could see the meat in his mouth…typical cat, head turned the wrong way.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Januari: Off the wall (Swedish Saturday)

These photos are from May 2017. Before Logan died, we had entered him in a cat show in Göteborg. Since we had already paid for the entry, we took Jacoby instead. But he was not allowed into the show because the entry staff misread his vaccination records (they said he wasn’t up to date on his jabs, but he was). It was the same trip where Jake explored Göteborg’s future.

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So, we went for a walk around Göteborg with Jake. At Östra Larmgatan 13, we found an interesting black and white mural.

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We were particularly enchanted by this cat surfing/skateboarding on a fish.

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Oh, everybody’s a critic.

This is the whole mural – it’s actually a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vans shoes! (Photo from Google Earth)

Aby-a-Day – 22 Januari: Feel the Bern! (Photoshop Friday)

The best thing to come out of the Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday (apart from the obvious, of course), was this image of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in full-on New England winter gear, including mittens made from recycled materials by one of his constituents. The minute the cameras turned on Bernie, Twitter and the internet went berserk (in a good way).

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When I saw Bernie, the first thing I thought of was Logan in his coat. I thought maybe Bernie just needed some company at the Inauguration.

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But then I realised that the real meme is more about putting Bernie in places, including practically any place on Earth. So…Here’s Bernie sitting in my front yard, watching Jacoby and Olaf.

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Bernie loves him some Social Democracy, but maybe Sweden’s a little too far away for him to commute from his day job. Better keep him in New England. He seems like he’d enjoy Rolling Bridge Park. And if you were wondering what Bernie’s reaction is to all this, Seth Myers asked him about that, and here’s what he had to say.

Aby-a-Day – 18 Januari: “I climbed a tree to see the world” (Movie Monday)

When we were outside yesterday, I noticed that Izaak’s tree was looking pretty darn picturesque with all the snow and everything. Zak loves to pose in that tree, so I thought we’d have a little photo session.

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I was right.

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Since I lost Jacoby, Zak is pretty much my best poser. I can put him in his tree, and he’ll stay there and let me snap photos.

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He really likes this tree. It’s just the right height, and it has a little spot between the branches that he feels quite comfortable in.

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People were sledding down the hill, and Zak watched them from his vantage point.

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For being an engineered purebred cat, he looks really natural in a snowy tree. I love the snow flakes frosting his fur.

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I also love that I am reflected in his eyes.

After he got down from his tree. I made a little video of him walking back to our front door.

Aby-a-Day – 17 Januari: Let’s go outside! (Swedish Cinema Sunday)

We went outside with the cats today. Lorelai was the most eager, as usual…

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She has zero fat and thin, sleek fur, but she doesn’t seem to feel the cold at all.

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The boys, on the other hand, kind of hovered by the door.

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Finally, Alfred decided to explore. Seeing as he’s got the most insulation, he should do…

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Our upstairs neighbours were outside sledding. Oksana is always happy to see Freddy.

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He and Rory explored their sleds.

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Eventually, everyone decided they had had enough snow and wanted to go back inside.

I also made a little video of our outing. Enjoy!

Aby-a-Day – 10 Januari: The second day at the Swedish CFA show (Swedish Cat Show Sunday)

The second day of that Swedish CFA show was as much fun as the first, both for us and for Jacoby.

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We had a lot of judges come over from the US. At this point, I had only been in Sweden for six months, so it was fun to see some familiar faces and hear some familiar accents.

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This judge, Albert Kurkowski, was one of the few non-American, non-CFA judges; he was from Poland, and he was a guest judge from the World Cat Federation.

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I really enjoyed watching him handle Jake.

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There was a really pretty little Burmilla girl who was frequently benched next to us during judging.

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She reminded me a bit of Tessie.

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This judge, Inga Balciuniene, was also a WCF guest judge from Latvia.

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Pam DeLaBar is a CFA judge who lives in Finland. I actually hadn’t ever seen her at a show in the States. It’s nice having another ex-pat in the cat fancy.

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And our friend Russell Webb was there, too. He was always Jake’s lucky charm.

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Jake was Second Best cat in Premiership in Russell’s ring.

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As we did Saturday, when Jake got a little antsy we went outside to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother with the harness and leash. I figured, how far is he going to get in that deep snow.

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Famous last words.

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He started making off towards a little house. He went pretty far really quickly, too! I was surprised how hard he was to catch.

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I finally caught him, though.

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The cats we have now are awesome, and a lot of fun to show…but I still miss going to shows with Jake.

Aby-a-Day – 9 Januari: Scenes from a Swedish CFA show (Swedish Cat Show Saturday)

I never did post the photos from the CFA show we went to in 2017 I was reminded of yesterday.

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Jacoby seemed delighted to be back at a CFA show after competing in a few FIFe shows.

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And our friend Teresa Keiger seemed delighted to see Jake on her judging table again.

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Many CFA judges enjoyed showing off Jake’s “hands off” style on the judging table, and Teresa is one of them.

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People never got over how he loved to just stand and pose on the table, with absolutely no desire to run off.

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Jake really loved CFA shows.

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Even so, later in the day Jake started getting a little antsy, so we took him outside to play in the snow.

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The snow was fresh and wicked deep.

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I think Jake was happy for a break outside…but a little taken aback by how much snow there was.

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That didn’t stop him from exploring, though.

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He even plowed his way to a chain link fence.

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When he got there, he gripped the links and looked out through the fence.

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It was strangely reminiscent of the way he loved to look through the chain link fence in our little park along the Harborwalk back in Boston.

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After the first day of showing was over, we settled into our hotel. Jake knew where his food was!

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Jake and Björn chilled on the bed watching TV.

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There happened to be a documentary about cats on TV that night!

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Jake was very interested in it and watched intently. It was so cute!

Aby-a-Day – 8 Januari: Remembering Jacoby’s last CFA show (Friday Flashback)

Four years ago, Björn, Jacoby and I were at our first (and Jake’s only) CFA show in Region 9 (Europe). There in only one CFA show in Sweden annually, and it’s inconveniently located and so close to the beloved Örebro show, so we only entered it the one time.

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It was fun, though, and Jake really enjoyed himself. He always preferred CFA’s format to FIFe’s. And, entered in the show, were three Abyssinians descended from Instincts cats.

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It was fun to see old friends again. Pam DeLaBar, a CFA judge, is also another American expat living in Finland.

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There was also a lot of snow. When Jake started getting bored, we went out and played in it.

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This show was also the only show where Jake finalled in every ring. There were only nineteen cats entered in Premiership, and, interestingly, they were almost all older than five years. It was a fun time…even though the rosettes were printed on cardboard.

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We went outside again on Sunday to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother to put Jake on his leash. He went on a bit of a walkabout before I was able to catch him!

I’ll share more photos from that show weekend tomorrow and Sunday.