Aby-a-Day – 11 April: Why does the sun go on shining?

Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
‘Cause you don’t love me anymore

Why do the birds go on singing?
Why do the stars glow above?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when I lost your love

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything’s the same as it was
I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it does

Why does my heart go on beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when you said goodbye

Jacoby died at 18:35 CEST today. May StarClan light his path. May he find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when he sleeps.

A vet at Anicura called me around 18:25 to tell me he was having trouble breathing and they wanted to know what to do, if they should resuscitate him or use heroic measures…and while I was on the phone with the doctor, he just…died. He was alive at the beginning of the call (which thank StarClan I didn’t miss), and gone at the end of it. Apparently, 20 minutes prior to her calling me, he was doing all right, but then he just crashed. There was no possible way I had time to get there before he was gone.

A different vet had called me earlier in the afternoon to tell me how he was doing. He was still having a lot of trouble breathing outside of the oxygen cage. He was still on the feeding tube. He was too weak for another round of chemo. She told me that the total was up to around 43,000kr in charges (which puts us over his cap; more about that later) and wanted to discuss my DNR wishes, so I knew it wasn’t going to be good. I was already bracing myself for him not celebrating his 10th birthday on Sunday.

The worst part is, when that last call came…I was sitting in a nail salon, getting my toes painted green for Jake. I heard that my soulmate cat had just died whilst having a woman put my feet under the dryer. It’s so hard to watch them die, to say “okay” and watch the vet inject the overdose of painkillers into them…but it’s a million times worse to not be there…not even be able to be there. Long distance is not the next best thing to being there.

I was planning on going to Jönköping to see him tomorrow. I still will, just not in quite the same way.

Jake was such a special boy. He was born to be my kitten. He bonded with me instantly, and slept by my side within a day of joining our family. He was smart, friendly, and bulletproof. His name was decided twelve days after he was born, when Jacoby Ellsbury stole home against the Yankees at Fenway Park; I didn’t name Jake after the player, but rather the awesome thing he did that time on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball at Fenway against our most hated rivals. I was right about that, considering that Ellsbury eventually ended up going to play for those pinstriped goons.

Jake was a therapy cat, and he loved riding in his stroller when we walked to our visits at the psych wards at facilities along Harrison and Albany Streets in the South End. He loved people, especially children. He loved going on shopping errands with me and I would take him along if I was shopping anywhere that didn’t involve food. He even went to restaurants with me, as long as there was outside seating.

He was also a minor celebrity in Boston, known as Strollercat. He appeared on the cover of the Boston Herald during a newsweek consisting of Hurricane Sandy, the Patriots playing at Wembly Stadium in London, Halloween, and a Presidential election involving a former Massachusetts governor. He got a two-page spread in Your Cat, the UK’s biggest cat magazine, and there was an article about him and his travels in CFA’s Cat Talk. He was a celebrity cat guest at the first ever Somerville Cat Film Festival. And, perhaps most amazing of all, he was named Cat of the Year by the Westchester Cat Club and honoured with the Scarlett Award for his therapy work with first responders after the Boston Marathon bombings.

He was a show cat, but he didn’t start his show career until he was two years old, partly because of this therapy training, and partly because he got his foot caught in the top of the escalator at Broadway T Station when he was a year and a half old. He did well, the judges exclaiming over his rich ruddy coat, and his decidedly non-Abylike behaviour on the judging table. One judge called him a “poseable action figure,” and another said he was “a Persian in an Aby suit.” He became a Grand Premier in a nailbiter of a show, needing only one final to have enough points and not getting it until his last ring on Sunday. One year, he was in the top ten Abys in Premiership in all of CFA, only to get bumped to #11 on the last weekend of the season. Ironically, in the 2015 season, he was 8th best Aby in Premiership without even trying…and then in 2016, he was 10th best after having gone to only two CFA shows! He also managed to crack the top 25 Best Cats in Premiership in the Northeast Region in 2015, earning a regional win and placing 21st…again, without really trying. The year we went to the World Show in Philadelphia, he was the Best Abyssinian Premier in the Red Group. The only thing he failed at in cat shows was agility. He preferred to pose on the obstacles rather than run through them. He was also a Double Grand Champion Alter in TICA.

After we moved to Sweden, he registered in FIFe, where he earned Nominations, a Best in Variety, and a Best in Show in Altered Males, Category 4, along with several Best in Shows in the Senior class. He ended up with the title of International Grand Premier before deciding he didn’t like FIFe’s style of showing.

He did like dressing up for NEMO’s costume contests, though. Except for wearing pants.

Born in Canada, he lived in Boston and visited New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania in the States and then Göteborg, Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn (and Reykjavik’s airport) in Europe. He’s ridden on almost every form of transport imaginable: Car, bus, subway, train, ferry, airplane…and of course, stroller.

As I said above, the insurance cap has been reached so I won’t close the GoFundMe campaign for his chemo just yet as we don’t know what his final total bill will be. Also, the insurance won’t cover his cremation. An anonymous donor made an extremely generous donation, so I am confident there’ll be something left over for New England Abyssinian Rescue. I will close it down on Jake’s birthday, 14 April.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today. Sleep well in Tuonela, my beloved Jakey Bakey.

Aby-a-Day – 10 April: Wordy Wednesday (Update on Jacoby)

Jacoby spent last night in an oxygen cage because his red blood cell count was low and he wasn’t oxygenating properly. He’s still in the ICU, probably for another night at least. I am not sure when he will be able to come home. If he needs chemo next week, depending on when they do it, he may stay until then to save him two round trips on the train. He has got pretty good insurance, but it looks like his ongoing treatment and rounds of chemotherapy will outpace what the insurance will pay, especially if he needs to stay in the ICU. The photo above is Jake and Dr. Cecilia. He has a feeding tube in his nose to get nutrients into him.

They also sent this text. Isn’t it sweet?

Now, on a serious note…I always hate to be “that person,” but I also hate the thought of losing Jake so young (he’s only turning ten on Sunday the 14th), so I set up a Gofundme page for him.

Any leftover funds will be donated to NEAR (Northeast Abyssinian Rescue).

Aby-a-Day – 1 April: Looks like we’re going back to Jönköping (Medical Monday Mystery)

Siiiiggghhh… And we had been doing so well, too. Jacoby has been on his treatment plan for several weeks, and he had been gaining weight nicely. But in the past week or so, he’s been…not himself. Less eager and excited about food, sleeping in unusual places (like the radiator bed, which I don’t think I have ever seen him in before), and just…not being himself. Most concerning, the last time I weighed Jake on 16 March, he was up to 4.8 kilos…and yesterday, he weighed 4.3 kilos.

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So…I called Min Veterinär this morning to leave a message, and then, completely by coincidence, Anicura called me an hour or so later. I made an appointment with them, just in case…and, when Min Vet called me back, we discussed it and decided it would be better to take Jake back to Anicura since they have all his recent treatment records. So it looks like Jake and I will be riding the rails to Jönköping this Friday.

Aby-a-Day – 12 November: Izaak’s first vet vist (Medical Monday)

I collected Izaak from Arlanda airport in Stockholm on 20 June. On 26 June, his five-month birthday, we went to the vet for a wellness check.

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Of course, the first part of the trip was taking the bus. Zak rocked that part of the exercise.

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He was also pretty okay in the vet’s waiting room.

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And in the exam room as well.

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Zak was quite brave on the vet’s examination table.

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Zak was checked out thouroughly…and he was fine. The vet thought he was two months younger than he actually was…but, other than that…

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No, really, Zak…you were fine.

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Okay, take my word for it.

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On the way back to our apartment from the bus, I took Izaak to check out our local pet store.

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Zak had a lot of fun playing with the cat beds on display.

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He also did a really great job walking outside on his leash, even at his age.

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I mean, only five months old, and he’s already awesome at walking on a leash.

Aby-a-Day – 17 July: Cats of the World (Cartoon Tuesday)

Okay, technically not a cartoon, but you may remember when I took Alfred to Anicura to say goodbye to Logan, I mentioned the “Cats of the World” poster hanging in the cat waiting room.

Here’s the Abyssinian…he looks grumpy, like Jacoby. The ears seem a bit small, though.

They illustrated the red Abyssinian separately. Again, the eyes and ears seem small. They didn’t include the other Aby colours.

The Somalis were included on the poster together. Again, they don’t look quite like Somalis, do they?

Last but not least, we have the mighty Singapura! Of all the drawings, I think they caught the Singa best of all.

Aby-a-Day – 9 June: Logistics (Swedish Saturday)

When we go to the vet, we always go by bus. It’s not a bad bus trip, just a long one, but the stops are convenient at either end.

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I prefer to take Jacoby and Angel in the stroller. It’s easier than having to carry them both.

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The very first time we went to the vet here in Skövde, we tried taking Jake and Angel in the double Sturdi carrier Meg gave me.

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I mean, it works…

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…but it’s a pretty heavy bag to carry around with the both of them in it!

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It’s also a lot harder for Jake to greet his adoring fans.

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No, it’s much easier to have the two big cats in the stroller.

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In fact, it’s easier to have all the cats in strollers. Since Jake doesn’t like to share his stroller with the younger cats, we took both strollers to our annual vet visit!

Aby-a-Day – 15 April: A post I never thought I’d be making this soon (Serious Sunday)

Logan joined StarClan yesterday around 17:20 in Jönköping. Alfred and I were with him at the end. He was killed by FIP, ten years after my first Abyssinian, Gun-Hee, was murdered by the same virus. Ten years of research, and we still lose our cats to this horrible disease.

I have a lot to process (and not just photos)…but I will tell the whole story over the next few days. But to summarise, after the judge at the Winners Show said she thought Logan was thin, I weighed him as soon as we got home. And yes, Logan had lost weight since the last time he’d been weighed (I weigh all the cats every other week, when I clip claws), so I took him to our vet here in Skövde. I called on Tuesday, and the first appointment we could get was on Friday. They ran blood tests, but we didn’t get any results until very late Monday night, and the rest of the results came in Tuesday afternoon. They said he needed to go to the nearest big animal hospital, which is in Jönköping, an hour train ride from Skövde. So on Wednesday, Logan was admitted for more tests, feeding and hydration, and a possible biopsy. For a while, we thought it might not be FIP, since he had enlarged lymph nodes and anemia, and didn’t show the classic signs of FIP, like the swollen belly that Gun-Hee had. But on Friday the 13th, after they opened his abdomen up to surgically biopsy his mesenteric lymph nodes, they found the tell-tale fluid in his abdomen. It was a jelly rather than free fluid, which is why is wasn’t so obviously FIP.

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So on Saturday, Freddy and I took the train to Jönköping to say goodbye to our friend. Phillippa the vet tech brought him into the room and Freddy went right over to him.

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Then I got to hold him. I wore my Porg shirt because they always remind me of Logan.

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He didn’t like being held on his back, so I turned him over and Freddy was back to check on him.

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Freddy went back into the carrier, and the sweetest thing happened. Logan started squirming in my hands. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but the tech exclaimed, “Oh! He wants to go into the carrier with Freddy!” And he did. I made a short video of the two of them (click the above image to view); Freddy hissed a little at Logan’s funny smell, but they cuddled together like they always have.

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Up until that moment, I thought I brought Freddy to say goodbye to help Freddy deal with the loss of his Brother From Another Mother. But bringing Freddy was as much – if not more – for Logan.

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Turn up the volume…Logan was so happy to see Freddy and me he was purring! (Click image to play.) The tech was called away for an emergency, so we had a little more time together. Logan was so tired, though.

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Finally, the tech returned and the sedation and final injection process began. We stayed with him until they confirmed he was really gone.

My heart has joined The Thousand, for my friend has stopped running today.

Goodbye, my little dollbaby. May StarClan light your path. May you find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when you sleep. There will soon be a new star in the night sky.

SE*Melur Vide “Logan” – 9 March 2017-14 April 2018