Aby-a-Day – 16 Augusti: Waiting to board the ferry

After the long drive from Lempäälä to Helsinki, Björn dropped Dashiell and I off at Olympia Terminal where we waited whilst he returned our rental car.

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This was Dash’s first time with a leash and harness, and he did really well.

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But mostly Dash wanted to be in his carrier. Despite having been in that thing for 30 some hours on the trip to Finland from Newark, it represents safety and security to him. Which makes sense; it’s just like Jacoby’s attachment to his stroller.

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He was happiest when the top was open, so he could look around.

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In some of these photos, he reminds me so much of Jake. Especially the one where he’s meowing!

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Björn was taking longer than expected to return from dropping off the car. I was starting to get worried that the gates would close before he got back.

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I don’t know what would have happened if we missed the ferry.

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Dash was a wonderfully patient little cat, which bodes well for future trips.

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He also charmed the employees at the terminal. They took turns coming over to where we were to meet him.

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They also were very reassuring and told me that the gates wouldn’t close until Björn came back. Whew!

Aby-a-Day – 14 Augusti: Wordless Wednesday (Dashiell’s Ferry Photos…and one of Jacoby)

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Aby-a-Day – 12 Augusti: The train home to Skövde (Hipstamatic Monday)

When we got back to Sweden from the ferry from Helsinki, we met up with Björn’s ex to get Emma to spend a week with us and the cats.

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We got there a little ahead of them, so we had to chill out in Stockholm Centralen until they arrived.

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Emma loves cats. I am sad that she doesn’t get to live with any.

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If ever a girl deserved to live with a cat (or cats), it’s Emma.

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Emma was amazing with Dash. I think he’s going to miss her when she goes back home.

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Dash also looked out the window at the passing scenery, just like Jacoby and all the other cats who ride trains.

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Finally, the train arrived in Skövde. Emma wanted to carry Dash’s carrier.

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From the train station, a quick taxi ride home.

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Dash was quick to feel at home in our bedroom. And after the long, long, long journey…He was finally home.

Aby-a-Day: 10 Augusti: Comedy of Errors

Yesterday was…interesting. We were supposed to meet Meg, Russell and Dashiell at Helsinki International Airport at 17:15.

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That…did not happen. Their flight from Newark was delayed, and they ended up missing their connection in Frankfurt to Helsinki.

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This is the photo Meg sent me when she finally got to Frankfurt.

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And here is Russell with Dash (under the banana), waiting for the connecting flight.

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Above is the Facebook Messenger conversation we had about meeting up and collecting Dash. FINALLY I got the bright idea to include my friend Anne, an Aby breeder who happens to live in Helsinki near the airport. We had booked a hotel in Tampere, two hours away from Helsinki, which was supposed to be the show hotel, but it got overbooked because of a German heavy metal band who were having concerts nearby. Turns out, we might have been able to cancel our “non-refundable” reservation…but, yeah. 20/20 hindsight.

But we had to drive to our hotel, so there was no way we could be at the airport to meet them and collect Dash on Friday.

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So my hero friend Anne met them at the airport instead.

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They landed sometime after midnight, and my friend Anne was there to meet them.

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This is all of them, taken by Anne, at sometime around 1am. At this point, Dash had been in his carrier for 30-something hours.

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Meanwhile, our hotel had been notified that we would be arriving with a cat, so they prepared a little gift for us: a packet of wet food in the cutest little bag.

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Look how cute the print is on the bag, all little kitty faces! I just wish we had had Dash that first night.

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But here he is on Meg’s bed, happy to finally be out of that carrier!

Aby-a-Day – 6 Augusti: “Railroad trains are such magnificent objects, we commonly mistake them for Destiny”

The thing about going to cat shows in Sweden is, you have to travel all over the country (and also to other countries). We sometimes rent a car, but usually the rail and bus system is good enough that we don’t have to. It’s tough sometimes because the luggage for cats and humans gets heavy, and if the elevators are broken it can be a struggle.

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But our new super stroller makes it a million times easier. We can put things on top of it, or inside with the cats, and it can be steered with one hand (that was a problem with the previous strollers).

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And we get to see a lot of interesting things. This is Södertälje Syd station, closest to the show and our hotel. The swoopy thing is just a shelter to wait for taxis or cars to pick people up.

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I just thought it was wicked cool. It could have been plain and boring, but instead they made it look interesting. I like that.

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Riding the train is nice. Sometimes it can be crowded, or there can be screaming children or annoying people having FaceTime conversations. Since we have to travel in the pet compartment, sometimes we share it with dogs.

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Usually the dogs are well-trained and polite, but on the trip to Södertälje, there was a Labradoodle who was not so nice. His human was seated across the aisle from us, and he was on the floor at my feet. Lorelai was chilling on Björn’s bag under the table, and Izaak was on my lap, closer to the dog. Zak’s okay with dogs, but he’s more used to small dogs. At one point the Labradoodle lunged at the cats with no warning! It even surprised the dog’s owner, it was that sudden. After that, Zak decided to sit on the table and shoot stinkeyes at the designer mutt. (I wanted to get a photo of it, but after the altercation I was afraid the woman would see me take the picture. But it looked almost exactly like this.)

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Even Rory, who likes dogs, decided that sitting on the seat next to Björn was a better idea after that.

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Sometimes Zak gets bored on the train and walks around. He likes to climb up the backs of the seats, too.

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This is from the trip home, which was blessedly canine-deficient. Rory was fascinated by the passing scenery.

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Zak also had to check it out. I love watching them crawl all over Björn…it just shows how comfortable they are riding the rails.

Aby-a-Day – 15 Juli: Do they miss us when we’re gone? (Monday Mystery)

Do our cats miss us when we’re gone? Alfred and Angel are used to us going away, I was particularly curious how Izaak and Lorelai would react to our being away, since usually when we go off on a trip, they come with us.

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Hero the London Lion which I had seen in a shop in Covent Garden, but we were too tired and hungry to go in and look at him. Later, after a rest and some food, I wished I had stopped and gotten the “Lion in a British jumper” because he was wicked cute!

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As luck would have it, I found him at the airport as we were leaving!

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I introduced Hero to Rory…but she didn’t seem very impressed.

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“Really mom? Really? You left us ALONE. For a WEEK. Without taking us with you! And you bring this thing back with you?

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“Look at me. My eyes are bigger, and I am way cuter!”

In the end, I am not sure if Rory missed us…or the fact that we take her outside to run.

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Meanwhile, the moment we walked in the door, Zak was yelling for his chicken neck.

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After he had demolished it, we sat on the sofa and I gave him cuddles. At first, he seemed happy I was home…

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…but then…

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…I think he remembered how much mommy kisses him.

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I have a deep suspicion that he didn’t miss the kissies.

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But he did miss me.

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So much so that he is clearly contemplating his escape from my dastardly clutches.

Aby-a-Day – 12 Juli: Cat toys trump all (Fashion Friday)

In Kensington High Street, I discovered a brilliant card shop called Scribbler. But not only did they have cards (of which I purchased many), but they also had cat toys. I was not expecting that.

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And these weren’t just any cat toys…these were none other than the leader of the flea world, Donald Trump cat toys.

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Well of course I had to. In case you were wondering, the UK really dislikes Trump – the rumours are true. He’s the only non-UK political figure to be made into a cat toy. That’s saying something.

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It was our last full day in London, and it occurred to me that we hadn’t gotten any souvenirs for the cats. So, I Googled “best cat shop London” and found Pet London. It’s not a big, fancy store, but it is awesome and a definite must-see on a trip to London if you need souvenirs for the kitties, especially since most of the shops I found catered more to the canine crowd.

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It’s definitely a hidden gem of a shop. It’s on the top floor of a rather ordinary office building in Marleybone. We almost didn’t see it.

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You ring the buzzer to be let in. There’s a tiny elevator (Björn and I were very cozy) and, of course, stairs.

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But it is so worth it! They had an amazing collection of cat items – including kitty clothing!

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A lot of their items were their own designs, too. They even have a plushie of their feline mascot (I told them that if they ever mass-produced them to save me one).

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That’s not all they had…they had a different Trump toy, this time for dogs.

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And they also had a catnip Vlad Putin to go with that catnip Trump I bought earlier!

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Shirtless, of course…complete with cowboy boots. Of course I had to buy it. Oh, yeah.

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And nifty story, the catnip Putin and Trumpy chew toy are from a company based in Vermont.

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I also got this Catnium credit card…

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…and a Catberry, both with their signature kitty on them.

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Both of them have catnip inside of them. The credit card rattles, and the Catberry has feathers on its antenna.

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But, as we’ve seen before, cat toys that appeal to humans don’t always appeal to their target audience. So, did the cats enjoy their British gifts? To be continued…