Aby-a-Day – 19 October: Come on kitties now…Everykitty get together (Flashback Photoshop Friday)

This morning, Facebook greeted me with a reminder of a post I made four years ago. I was challenged to post five photos of my cats, and I decided to post five group photos. Getting a photo of all the cats in the house together at the same time is harder than some might think. So, because of the reminder that Facebook sent me, I decided to post all the “family photos” I have been able to capture over the years.

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The oldest is this, of Sigrid, Harri, and Patrick cuddled together on my sofa. This was taken in autumn 1997. It looks cuddly, but actually Sigrid and Tricky were sleeping there, and Harri decided to squeeze in between them. Still cute, though.

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This is after I’d moved to Boston. Harri and Patrick had been joined by Tessie and Kylie. This is the first photo of all of them together.

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This is my favourite photo of this group. I even used it as a Christmas card.

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…And this would be the outtake of that photo…

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This was Christmas 2006. Harri had died in August and we had just adopted Gun-Hee.

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This photo is less posed, but more my favourite. Love Kylie’s arm!

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Another photo of Gun-Hee with Patrick, Kylie and Tessie, this time all gathered on our bed.

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This is another shot from that session, “arted up” in Photoshop.

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One evening, all the cats lined up on the back of the sofa.

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I had this shot…but Gun-Hee moved his head.

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Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to replace Gun-Hee’s head and make this into a usable image.

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This is another “art” composite photo. All of them were on the tree together, but this is multiple shots combined so each cat looks good.

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Food and the kitchen is a great way to get everyone together. Here we have (anticlockwise) Jacoby, Angel, Tessie and Kylie.

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However, they did have other motivations to gather together.

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After we moved to Sweden, the kitchen was more a gathering point than ever. Here we have Alfred, Jake, Angel, Logan and Pyret.

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And then, suddenly…our five cats became Jake, Freddy, Lorelai, Angel and Izaak.

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A collection that was also easier to gather in the kitchen.

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But they also gathered spontaneously on our bed! No Photoshop required.

Happy 15th Birthday, Tessie!

It’s hard to believe that Tessie turns 15 years old today! She is still doing well in Boston.

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She’s slowing down a little and she can’t jump the way she used to. She also has a little limp, which may be arthritis. And the brown spot on her right eye (which she has had for at least 10 years) is getting bigger. Apart from all that, she is very healthy and active!

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Happy birthday, Tessie-bell!

Aby-a-Day – 21 June: Glad Midsommar!

We have a Singapura in our family again!

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As you saw in yesterday’s post, I went to Stockholm to collect Joy Minimali*PL, called Izaak.

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I decided on the name Izaak for him (Zak for short, of course) because one of the Polish words for “joy” is “zachwyt.” Which is close enough to Zak for me! I didn’t like any of the variations of Zachariah…but when I discovered that Zak could also be a short form of Isaac/Izaak…well, it was a no-brainer. It’s also has a completely sound from all the other cats’ names, which is good. I had wanted to have a cat named Lennie (after Det. Lennie Briscoe), but with AngeL, ALfred, Lorelai, and Logan, it was a lot of L’s in the family aLready. Besides, with him already being named Joy, it seemed fitting.

Actually getting Zak was an experience. He came to us from a Polish breeder who happened to have two boys available in June. There were no Swedish kittens available…so we decided to go abroad. At first, we thought we might go to Poland to get him, but the timing didn’t work out for us to travel. Anna regularly ships kittens worldwide, so she sent him to us via air cargo. I’d done this before, when I got Tessie, but she was only sent from Portland, Oregon to Boston, not from another country. I thought it was hard to find the cargo area at Logan Airport…but as you can see from the above map, it was quite an adventure collecting little Zak!

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First I had to get from Skövde to Stockholm. Booking a train to Stockholm is a bit like booking a flight, depending on when you choose to travel, the trip can cost as little as 195kr (around $22) and as much as 885kr (around $100) or more. You also reserve your seat, and seats at tables are very popular. Seats at tables in the (very limited space) pets-allowed cabin are even harder to get. Also I had to take into account that Zak’s arrival time was 09:30. So I booked a trip that left Skövde at 07:12. As most of you know, I am not a morning person and don’t really wake up until at least 10:00. I had to get up at 05:30 in order to catch that train. From Stockholm Centralen, I then had to take a bus (a 45-minute trip) to Arlanda Airport Terminal 5.

Then I had to take a Stockholm city bus #583 out to the Cargo City stop (second-to-last on the Märsta line). The bus drops you off at at one of those little shelters that looks like it’s in the middle of a quarry next to a prison with some parcel warehouses off to the side, and there’s absolutely no indication of how one might find the Cargo Center (nor was there a clear walkway). Luckily, the cargo place had called me to tell me that they had a cat for me whilst I was on that second bus, so I had their number and called them to ask how one might walk to their location.

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But here’s the really fun part. Once I managed to find Cargo City, I had to take Zak’s papers and passport and take them to Tullverket (Customs) to be reviewed, approved and stamped, and then go back to Cargo City to actually collect Zak. One would think, this being a common thing to need to do (pick up paperwork, go to Customs, and then come back and get your cargo), that the two buildings would be conveniently located somewhat adjacent to one another. But as you can see from the above map, you would be utterly and completely incorrect. I had to take the 583 bus back to Terminal 5, and from there take an airport shuttle to where the Customs building was located. And as you can see, when the bus dropped you off, it wasn’t immediately obvious where the entrance was.

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At Customs, whilst waiting in the queue, I met an Australian woman, Zia, who was on the same mission I was, trying to collect a large suitcase sent to her from home. She hadn’t yet been out to Cargo City; she went straight to Customs because her emailed instructions were vague. She still had to go out there to collect her suitcase, though. Knowing what I did about finding Cargo City, and needing to go back there myself, I waited for her so we could go out there together. It made the return trip so much easier!

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And, as it happened, Zia loves cats. She was completely charmed by little Zak.

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We ended up going back to Stockholm Centralen on the Märsta train, which turned out to be so much faster and easier than taking the airport bus. Definitely need to remember that the next time!

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Back at Centralen, Zia and I parted ways with a hug, and I had about an hour to kill before my train left. So, I grabbed lunch and did a little shopping.

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Zak was a huge hit at Lush! Both the shop clerks and customers just loved him.

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We made friends on the train, too. An older woman from Göteborg and a guy from Romania were at our table, and we talked most of the trip back to Skövde. So much for Swedes not talking to strangers! The woman was the one who started talking to both me and the Romanian, and I am glad she did…it was a fun conversation.

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Zak slept in my lap for most of the trip. Which was fortunate; he was going to need to be awake when we got home and he met his new clan.

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Alfred was the first to greet the carrier.

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We took it into the living room and Lorelai was next to see who was inside.

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We let the youngsters sniff a bit before opening the door.

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I wonder what Freddy thought when he saw a Singapura who wasn’t Logan?

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Even though Zak is an older male, Rory is still bigger than him.

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…Um, Freddy?

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The point is to meet the new kitten, not eat the food in his carrier!

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Rory was delighted to see Zak! Someone her own size to play with!

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She tried to play with him right away.

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Zak…wasn’t so sure. But I think they’ll end up being fast friends. I think he and Freddy will, too. But I am afraid poor Freddy won’t ever have the kind of bond he had with Logan with any other cat. But maybe Rory and Zak will have something like that as they grow up together.

Aby-a-Day – 11 May: Remembering Gun-Hee (Friday Flashback)

Lorelai has been with us for a week now, and it’s like she’s always been here. She’s feisty, trusting, playful, curious and just…perfect. Jacoby growls at her, she doesn’t care. She pushes Angel and Jake away from their leftovers if she’s still hungry. She holds her own with Alfred even though he’s nearly 10 times her size. She’s had no litter box issues, no eating problems…nothing. She just integrated herself right into the cat family.

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Kind of like another Aby kitten I know. Gun-Hee was a lot like Rory. Jake, Freddy and Logan were somehow not as easy. They all had giardia as kittens, and, I don’t know. It just felt like it took a lot more work managing those three as kittens compared to Rory and Gun-Hee.

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We got Gun-Hee on 15 December 2006, the day before he turned three months old.

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We tried to keep him separated from Tessie, Kylie and Patrick when we first brought him home. That lasted about five minutes. He would have none of it. The older cats were…not the most welcoming at first.

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Gun-hee didn’t care.

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He just stood his ground.

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For some reason, Patrick was his particular favourite. Patrick was still missing Harri, who had died four months earlier.

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Gun-Hee eventually wore him down.

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He loved Patrick.

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Kylie was the closest to him in age (she was only 17 months older than him), so they also became friends rather quickly.

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Tessie was a little slower to thaw.

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But Gun-Hee eventually melted her, too.

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He also loved the floor-to-ceiling cat tree in my old apartment.

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He loved being on the top, epsecially.

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Rory takes on that same floor-to-ceiling cat tree and, if she falls off, she just climbs back up. As I am typing this, she’s at the very top of it, trying to touch the ceiling. Gun-Hee was like that, too.

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Another thing they have in common is shoulder-riding. Neither Jake, Angel, Freddy or even Logan have ever been able to stay on a shoulder. Jake is particularly bad at it; I say it’s like he has magnets on his feet that are the opposite of the ones on people’s shoulders and he just can’t stay on. It’s nice to have a shoulder-riding kitten again.

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And Gun-Hee could be cuddly, too. Just like Rory. It’s a little eerie how much she reminds me of him.

Happy 13th Birthday, Kylie!

Today is Kylie’s 13th birthday! She and Tessie are still living happily in Boston. They’re a bit older, but doing well.

Aby-a-Day- 27 March: Logistics of feeding (Cartoon Tuesday)

These go back to when I still lived in Boston. I was brainstorming ideas about all the hoops I had to go through to feed Jacoby, Angel, Tessie and Kylie. When Kylie was a tiny kitten, we made a box with a hole only she could fit through so the adult cats wouldn’t eat the higher-calorie kitten food. We did this with Logan, too, so he could have food whenever he needed it.

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This was some kind of idea about the kitten box and the menacing big cats hovering around it. I still am not sure where I was going with this.

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This was an idea about the logistics of feeding. At the time, Jake and Angel lived with Tessie and Kylie. Kylie was a slow and picky eater, while Jake scarfs down his food and looks for more. He had to eat UT food, and we didn’t want him eating regular food, so he ate in the spare bedroom. Angel ate in the bedroom, because she also needs UT food, and also because Tessie would bully her and keep her from eating. Tessie and Kylie could eat together, because Tessie wouldn’t try to steal her food.

We have a similar system here in Sweden, because of eating styles and special diets. Jake doesn’t like raw and still needs UT, and he eats in the bedroom. When Alfred and Logan were kittens and ate the same food, we fed them in the Kitten Room and Angel on the cat tree. Pyret used to need eat a renal/hepatic diet, and we fed her on her chair. Angel never tried to eat Pyret’s food, so that worked. When Logan was still eating kitten food after Freddy was neutered, we fed Logan in the Sturdi Shelter and Freddy ate alone in the Kitten Room, but now that the Suprelorin has kicked in, they are back to eating the same food. Between the voracious Aby appetite and the special diets, feeding our cats is a bit like that old riddle about the farmer and the fox, goose and bag of beans!

Aby-a-Day – 30 March: Angel and her sisters

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