Aby-a-Day – 14 April: Give me the kitten until he is seven and I’ll give you the cat

Today is Jacoby’s 7th birthday!

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As is tradition, he got his cat food can-cake with a candle on top.

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He loves his birthday cake!

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He knows he can’t eat any of it til the candle is lit, so he paced around impatiently while I got out the matches.

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“Hurry up, mom! Light the candle already!!”

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Abys have no fear of flame…this is a reason why I never have candles.

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Fire on food? No problem!

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Angel was completely uninterested in the festivities.

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Nom nom nom

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I let him eat a little bit, and then saved the rest for his evening meal.

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After the cake, it was time for his present! A new Hexbug!This is the Hexbug Nano V.2, which can climb up tubes.

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What’s nice about it is, on the floor, it seems to just want to go around in circles. It doesn’t try to escape like the other ones. This seems to be more fun for cats, too.

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Kylie always gets involved in Jake’s birthday – hers is only 10 days away, on 24 April.

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Here’s a quick little movie of Jake playing with his Hexbug, with a cameo by Tessie.

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Happy birthday, Jakey!

Aby-a-Day – 28 March: Zootopia (Miniature Monday)

I saw Zootopia a little while ago, and I LOVE it. I really can’t wait to see it again in the theatre. Yeah, it’s that good.

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I mean, how often do you see a movie that addresses racial issues, stereotypes, discrimination with witty but insightful commentary and has cute talking animals? Not to mention a few awesome inside jokes.

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The main protagonists, Judy Hopps the rabbit and Nick Wilde the fox are among some of the best fictional characters I’ve ever come across.

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I think Mini Jacoby has a little man-crush going on with Nick, actually.

Aby-a-Day – 1 February: Findus och Pettson (Miniature Monday)

While I was in Sweden, I got a set of Pettson and Findus figures.

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Pettson and Findus are the main characters in a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Sven Nordqvist. They are very popular – this photo is from a display in a book store in Göteborg. Pettson is an old farmer who live alone with his cat, Findus, some chickens and some little house creatures. Findus gets his name from a brand of frozen foods; when Pettson got Findus as a kitten, he was in a box labelled “Findus Green Peas.”

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I’ve had this small plush Findus since I visted Björn in 2000. He went back to Sweden with me for Christmas.

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Naturally, I adore Findus…

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…I mean, what’s not to like? He’s a cat, he can talk, and he’s a sassy troublemaker. Someday, I want to get Jacoby a pair of green striped pants like Findus wears.

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I think Jake would make a great Findus.

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But what does Jake think of Pettson and Findus?

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He likes them!

Aby-a-Day – June 13: “Touch” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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Abys are very touchy-feely cats. They use their paws like little hands.

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Jacoby loves these plastic spring toys. I happened to get a bunch in my swag bag at BlogPaws.

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See? There he goes, using his hands to hold the spring down.

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I think he likes the way the springs feel.

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In his teeth…

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…and in his paws.

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It’s fun to watch Abys use their hands.

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They also like to touch their humans. Jake is always touching my hand, putting his full weight on it to see something I have, trusting me to keep my hand there and support him. I haven’t had many cats who would do that.

Aby-a-Day – April 18: “Ball” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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My husband brought home a HeliBall from Five Below the other day.

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So of course I had to show it to the Abys.

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It’s a pretty simple helicopter toy. It’s not even a remote control helicopter – you turn it on, it goes up and down until it crashes into something and then you turn it off and back on again and do it again. Still, Jacoby was pretty interested in it.

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Especially when it crash-landed.

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Angel wanted to get a closer look at it, so she quickly hopped up the wallclimbers.

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From up there, she could get an eye-level view of the HeliBall.

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Jake was quick to follow her up there.

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The HeliBall is slightly controllable with your hands. It reacts to things beneath it and goes up when it senses a surface, like the floor or the palm of your hand. The Jake and Angel were fascinated by the flying ball.

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However, before you run out and get one of these for yourself, I have to warn you, it’s not the safest toy on the planet. The box says “Ages 14+, so it’s not a kid’s toy. It also has no side-to-side control, just up and down. And if it hits you in the face…it hurts! Somehow, while I was taking photos of it, it managed to get between my camera and my face (I guess I thought the camera would protect me?), and the propellers hit me in the upper lip. It didn’t leave a mark or cut me, but damn, it stung. It also hit Jake in the side which startled him. And that was with two adults playing with it. If you do get one, just be careful with it. And wear glasses! Seriously, this thing could put an eye out.

Aby-a-Day – February 28: “Brush” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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I have an awesome stylus for my iPad: the Sensu Solo.

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Basically, it allows you to paint on your iPad the way you would with a regular paintbrush on paper.

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Not only is it a pretty fun toy…

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..and, apparently, tasty…

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…But look what you can do with it!

Not an Aby: Baby Snugs Kitten “Willow the Abyssinian”

So you know how I love to search for “Abyssinian” online just to see what I’ll find, right? Well, the other day I did it on Amazon and discovered a lifelike electronic kitten named “Willow the Abyssinian.”

And I got really excited…

…until I saw her. She’s brown…okay…but she’s also white. If anything, she’s a chocolate and white bicolour! It actually reminds me of the “Not Even Close” example on the National Aby Rescue website!

If anything, “Sunshine the Calico” (who may actually be “Gizzy the Tabby,” and who, by the way, is absolutely NOT a calico OR a tabby!) looks more like an Aby than this brown-and-white kitten does (or she would do, with judicious use of a Copic marker)!

I guess I should be happy that at least they know that there’s a cat called an Abyssinian? Even if they have absolutely no idea what an Aby actually looks like? I did leave a review on the Amazon listing making my feelings known…

Aby-a-Day – November 12: Wordless Wednesday (Is my cousin from Japan)

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Aby-a-Day – November 1: “Barbie” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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I am still working on the Strollercat Action Figure. I have a couple of different versions, mainly involving Playmobil strollers and Lego cats, but I’ve also been experimenting with Barbie components.

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This iteration of the Strollercat action figure is larger than my other attempts. It is based on the Barbie Strollin Pups playset. I got one on eBay, along with some other random pieces.

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It is about the right size for the two Yujin Gacha Abys I got from a vending machine in Seoul in 2006. More on them later.

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Because Barbie is freakishly tall, the handles on the Barbie stroller are ridiculously out of proportion to the rest of the stroller. The base of it is a good size, but the handles are about twice as tall as they would be in real life.

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So I cut the handles down to a more normal size.

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I also added green reflective tape to cover the joints where I reattached the stroller handles….and to cut down on the Barbie pink.

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And, you know, to make the stroller is safer at night (just like Jacoby’s real stroller!) I will say this about the Barbie stroller, though: it’s actually meant to be a pet stroller, not a baby stroller, and that makes it easier to adapt. Most of the toy strollers I’ve found were designed to carry little human dolls, not feline ones.

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And for a Barbie accessory, it’s not as obnoxiously pink as it could be – it’s also got a good amount of purple and teal!

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Because I bought the strollers as “Barbie parts,” I got a bunch of other Barbie Veterinarian/Pet Sitter/Groomer accessories. Like this cute double-decker cat bed.

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And this traditional basket bed. I think this one is meant for Barbie’s dog, but it fits two kitties quite nicely (just like a real dog bed)!

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And of course…

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A handbag so Barbie can take her kitty with her when she goes shopping!

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You may be wondering about these little Aby figures.

These are Yujin Pet Cat figures (Series 2) from 2006 and they are a little hard to find now…but they can still be found on eBay. I got the first ones from a gacha machine in Seoul, as I said above; this was right after my Siamese Harri had died and we spent quite a few yen trying to get the Siamese figure.

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It took us a while to get a Siamese, but in the meantime, hey, kitties! I knew that the solid mahogany kitties were meant to be Abys, but I didn’t realise the import of that until later in 2006.

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These little cat figures are delightfully detailed from head to…er…toe. And then some.

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Even on the bottoms!

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I think this one looks like Tessie.

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There’s a decent representation of breeds, too. I’ve got a Japanese Bobtail, a Scottish Fold, and an Ocicat…I think the other two are a red pointed Balinese or Birman and a tabby of some sort.

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I also have a Maine Coon and a Persian.

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Recently, I realised from looking at the slip of paper that came with each kitty in its gacha capsule, that there was a red Aby as well as a ruddy Aby in the collection.

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And as luck would have it, someone was selling a red Aby on eBay! So now I have both Aby colours. And I would be lying if I said I haven’t considered trying to paint over one of the eyes on the red one…

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I think these little gashopon Aby figures make a pretty good Strollercat, (which doesn’t mean I’m always on the lookout for something better, of course). I just need to perfect the stroller and the Strollercat Action Figure will be ready to roll!

Aby-a-Day – October 18: “Rock” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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I have this really cool rock that I got at some point when I was in high school. It usually lives in my bathroom with some metal Aby figures.

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It’s some sort of California holey sandstone that’s had perfectly circular holes and pits drilled in it, over time, by water.

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It’s a really cool-looking rock.

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Even Jacoby thinks so.

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And it gets even more cool-looking when I put a few pieces of his dry food in those little holes.

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Good times!

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It’s kind of a natural food puzzle toy!

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I hope this doesn’t mean Jake’s going to start trying to find food in the rock when it’s back where it belongs in the bathroom…

Aby-a-Day – August 7: This is your cat on nip.

Abyfriend Wendy sent me a birthday package, but the best gift was a Yeowww! catnip fish.

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It also just happened to arrive on Jacoby’s “gotcha” day, so I think he was expecting something in there for him.

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He may be a mature five year old now, but he’s not above rolling around on the floor with a toy now and again.

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He started out playing with it on the S-curve scratcher…

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…but it managed to get away from him.

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Luckily, Jake was able to recapture it.

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He certainly gave it a good licking.

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Yep. A really good licking.

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I love the look Jake gets on his face when he’s nipped out.

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I really wonder what they think about when they play with a catnip toy.

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I never understand the whole “rubbing the toy on the head” thing, though…what’s that about?

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Jake’s not the only one who does it. Kylie and Tessie, do, too, and Patrick was the king of rubbing his toys on his head.

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This must be some seriously good catnip!

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I mean, look at this face.

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There was also some great Aby grabby hand action during this battle with the catnip fishy.

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He was having so much fun.

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The longer Jake played with it, however, the stronger it seemed to become. It was putting up quite the fight!

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Whoops! It got away again!

Aby-a-Day – June 5: Searching High and Low

As a general rule, when you are looking for Jacoby, you look up.

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That is, unless he’s busy rolling around on the floor with a catnip teabag. The corollary to this rule is when you’re looking for Angel, look down.

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That is, unless she’s up on the wall watching Jake roll around on the floor.

Aby-a-Day – May 31: “Grape” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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Wine is made from grapes.

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And old plastic wine corks make fun cat toys!

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They roll…and they bounce!

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Good times!

Aby-a-Day – April 25: Easter through the years (Friday Flashback)

Jacoby’s always enjoyed Easter eggs. I think it may be because his birthday falls right around Easter.

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He was actually born after Easter, which fell on 12 April in 2009. This was his first Easter egg, 4 April 2010.

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In 2011, Easter was usurped by Kylie’s birthday, as both were on 24 April (note the brown paws in the upper left corner).

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But in 2012, Jake got a box of Mycrobe’s needle-felted Easter Eggs!

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And last year, Jake and Tessie had leopard-print eggs with treats inside.

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My favourite Aby Easter photos, though, are these of Gun-Hee as a kitten, playing with eggs that are just so HUGE compared to him!

Aby-a-Day – April 20: Egg hunter

Happy Easter, everyone!

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I made a little kitty Easter basket with plastic eggs from the grocery store filled with UT treats and dry food.

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Plastic eggs these days have little holes in the bottom, which is great, because cats can smell the treats through those holes. They also have hinges so the tops and bottoms stay together. Yes, there has been vast improvement in plastic egg technology since I was a kid!

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Jacoby was instantly interested in the basket of eggs.

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Most of the eggs were filled with Royal Canin UT dry, but in the greens ones I put his special UT Support treats.

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Naturally, Jake opened the green eggs first.

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It was a lot of fun watching him root around in the basket to find the eggs with the “good” treats in them.

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Jake loved his Easter basket.

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I mean, he really loved it.

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Happy Easter, everyone!

Aby-a-Day – April 14: My big 5-year-old boy (Hipstamatic Monday)

Somebody’s turning FIVE today!

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Whose birthday could it be..?

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Why, it’s Jacoby’s, of course!

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Unsurprisingly, Jake was eager to eat his delicious cat food cake.

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The cheerfully burning candle did not deter him in the slightest.

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I guess after five birthdays, he’s become an expert at eating around the candle.

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Jake didn’t even get one curly whisker!

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After cake, it was time for his present – a Whack-a-Mouse game!

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Jake was so excited…

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…he knocked it off the cat tree!

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Oops!

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I guess this is more of an on-the-floor game.

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Every time you give a cat – even an Aby – a new toy, there’s that moment of truth…will kitty play with it?

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Well, I needn’t have worried.

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It was such a hit that Angel had to check it out, too!

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Jake and Angel actually played with it together for a little while.

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Without any hissing! I wonder if that was Angel’s birthday present to Jake?

Aby-a-Day – March 29: “Bird” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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Among the toys that our friend Sanna sent from Finland was this catnip bird. It’s very firmly stuffed and a marvelous shape.

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Of course, Jacoby loves it.

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He especially loves rubbing his head on it!

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So much so that he gets a little carried away with the rubbing. Jake, the bird’s on the other side!

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Jake’s not the only one who likes the bird, though.

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Tessie and Angel like it, too. But of course, Angel was a little shy about taking the bird from Tessie.

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So I took her and the bird into the middle room for a little alone time.

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Someone’s in the catbird seat!

Aby-a-Day – February 16: Ev’ry Day I’m Strollerin’

As part of my Jake plushie project (which is on temporary hiatus due to moving), I bought a toy stroller. It’s been stashed away, and because of moving I got it out and set it up to remind myself of its size.

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I turned my back on it for a second…and guess what happened!

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A certain someone just hopped right on in.

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And just as pleased as punch about it, too. Look how proud of himself Jacoby is.

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He sat there for a long time, too, waiting for someone to notice him and give him a push.

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“Well! Finally! It’s about time you got here, Dad!”

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Jake stayed in the stroller a long time, too, demanding to be pushed. Top up or down, made no difference to him.

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Just goes to show you, when you’re a true Strollercat, it doesn’t matter how big or small your stroller actually is.

Abys are Everywhere – Hello Aby on eBay

Don’t ask me how, but I happened to find this little Japanese treasure on eBay: 2003 Hello Kitty Cat Collection Abyssinian plush doll!

Yes, you read that right. It’s Hello Kitty dressed up as an Abyssinian.

Seriously. Hello Kitty. Dressed as an Abyssinian.

She comes in several other breeds, too. With a little help from Google, it looks like there’s a Scottish Fold (スコティッシュフォールド), American Shorthair (アメリカンショートヘア), Russian Blue (purple?) (ロシアンブルー), Bengal (ベンガル), Bombay (ボンベイ), Siamese (シャム), and a Himalayan (ヒマラヤ) on there. I’m not sure what the tabby and white one is meant to be, but 日本 I think means Japan, so it may just be a “regular cat.” This does align with Japan’s favourite cat breeds, more or less.

And I’m not 100% certain, but I think this one (second from the left on the top) just might be a Somali…ソマリ is Somali according to Google Translate, and I think I see some of those characters there…anyone out there read Japanese?

And yes, this is indeed meant to be an Aby. It says “アビシニアン” on the box, and that’s the Katekana for Abyssinian. That one I know!

*Sigh* I would absolutely love to add this to my Aby collection…but at $80 USD (plus $35 for shipping), I’m going to have to content myself with the photos and the knowledge that it exists.

Aby-a-Day – December 15: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Cat Tree

We aren’t setting up the big Christmas tree this year, but, using one of our scratching posts, I built a sort of “Christmas cat tree” with our swirly light trees.

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It’s not as nice as the big tree, but it’s better than no decorations at all!

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I hope Jacoby isn’t too disappointed with this year’s holiday display.

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I also found an adorable dancing Christmas tree at Macy’s. When you push a button on its foot, it lights up and dances while singing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

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I thought the cats, especially Jake, would be enthralled by Bruce the Spruce.

As you can see by this video, however…well, I guess Jake’s a little too calm and used to weird things and sounds to really get excited over a singing and dancing tree. When I finally showed him the tree in action, it was anticlimactic, to say the least…

I was expecting something more like this!