Aby-a-Day – 13 January: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Part 1 (Swedish Saturday)

You know that I flew to Sweden with the two Abyssinians, Jacoby and Angel. But I’m willing to bet you are very curious as to HOW we came here. I flew IcelandAir, which, because Iceland is an island and because of rabies concerns, requires all animal passengers fly in a specially climate controlled pet cargo hold. I know many people have misgivings about airline cargo holds, with good reason. But I have had only good experiences with cargo travel (my two Siamese, Harri and Patrick, from San Francisco to Atlanta, and then Tessie from Portland, Oregon, to Boston). It’s actually easier than travelling with a cat in-cabin, especially when you are travelling with more than one!

I started acclimatising them to the crate very early, by leaving it out for them to nap in. Tessie didn’t really need to practice, but she did anyway.

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I also locked Jake and Angel in the crate for longer and longer periods to get them ready for an eight hour trip.

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Although I think Angel wanted to get out.

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Then, days before the big trip, we had a practical practice, I used the crate to take Jake and Angel to the vet for their pre-travel visit.

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It was a perfect opportunity to practice shlepping the crate somewhere.

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Ironically, my vet, South Boston Animal Hospital, changed location from a 10 minute bus ride away to…ACTUALLY IN THE BUILDING I LIVED IN on 1 June. I left for Sweden on 17 June. Sigh.

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They were their usual selves at the vet, and of course, they got a clean bill of health.

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Finally, the day arrived! We went to Logan Airport to start our new life.

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We all went into a back room at IcelandAir and the cats were checked out, to make sure that they were who I said they were, and to make sure that nothing was being smuggled in the carrier.

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The flight went without incident, apart from the souvenir shop being closed, dammit. But I was lucky enough to see Jake and Angel’s crate being loaded onto the next plane at Reykjavik.

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And then, at long last, we were all reunited at Arlanda airport in Stockholm. What happened next? Tune in tomorrow, same cat time, same cat channel!

Aby-a-Day – 5 January: “Balls flying all over the place!” (Friday Flashback)

On 20 September, Alfred was neutered. He was showing signs of…well, feline masculine maturity. Playfights with Logan ended up with Freddy on top, grabbing Logan’s scruff and treading his back feet…yeah, I called the vet when I saw that and made him an appointment to get snipped.

Of course, that reminded me of snippings past…

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When Gun-Hee was neutered, he came home and was completely…unaffected.

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I was trying to take photos of him, but he insisted on playing with the cord on my camera.

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This is a boycat who has just had his berries picked. But you would never know it to look at him!

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It was pretty much the same story when Jacoby was neutered. According to Dr. Natalie, as soon as he came out of the anaesthesia he started demanding to be fed with a rather strident meow.

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He also insisted to be let out of his carrier so he could run to our apartment.

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Yeah…losing the family jewels isn’t much of a thing with Abys, it seems.

The same day that Freddy had his surgery, I was readmitted to the hospital for another surgery on my hand, so I didn’t get to see how he handled his post-op care. So Björn sent me this message which prompted this conversation:

B: If Freddy is affected by the neutering, he’s hiding it awfully well

K: Still growling?

B: Nope. Just his usual hyperactive self

K: Jake was completely unaffected, too. He also shouted the place down for food as soon as he woke up.
Did you see the after care instructions?

B: Yeah
“Put him in a dark and quiet room the first day”… He would want to get out of it in five minutes!

K: Less if there was no food.
I always let them do what they want, as long as it’s not sit in dirt…or a fireplace. Pezza (a cat I had in junior high school) did that when he was neutered and he got infected.

I’m sorry I missed it.

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This is the only post-neutering photo I have of Freddy…but you can see what I mean. Abyssinians don’t seem to be much affected by getting neutered.

(…And pay no attention to the Singa in the back who’s thinking, “Nyah nyah! I get to keep mine!”)

Aby-a-Day – October 10: “Auburn” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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Angel is a red/sorrel Abyssinian. I suppose you could call that “Auburn.”

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She needed to visit our friends at South Boston Animal Hospital a couple of weeks ago as she had a little bit of a UTI, too. We think it was brought on by the stress of her recent dental work.

It should be noted that Angel does not like anything done to her mouth. That includes giving her pills. Usually, she’ll eat a pill pocket. But not always – which is weird because she LOVES treats. And then you have to give her the medication the usual way. And this is what happens. Bear in mind…I had just clipped her claws two days before. This is why I never really tried to brush her teeth…

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Even though she’s impossible to pill…everyone loves Angel!

Aby-a-Day – August 30: Would you like chips with that?

Bringing a domestic cat (or dog or ferret) into Sweden as a permanent resident seems to be a lot easier than importing a human. At least some things about this will be easy!

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The regulations are intended to prevent the spread of rabies in Sweden, but the rules are acutally set by the European Union. Dogs, cats and ferrets that travel within the EU must be identity marked with a microchip and vaccinated against rabies.

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Well, since Massachusetts also requires cats and dogs to be vaccinated against rabies, that’s not a problem.

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The microchip was a bit more problematic. The EU requires a 15-digit ISO microchip. Angel’s was already the correct type, but Jacoby had a domestic, 9-digit chip. Not only that, but his chip had migrated to the front of one shoulder, where his collarbone would be if he had one.

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So Jake had to have a new microchip implanted.

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In case you’ve never seen an actual microchip, this is what it looks like. And it’s tiny – literally the size of a grain of basmati rice.

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Both Jake and Angel also needed to get their blood drawn to test their rabies titres. This is the level of rabies antibodies present in their systems. Because I keep them up to date on their shots, they’re both fine and can go to Sweden at any time.

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I wish it were that easy for humans. I mean, I have had my rabies shots, too!

Any-a-Day – August 21: Angel’s teeth – a retrospective (Friday Flashback)

Angel has had dental cleanings and extractions before. The last time she had X-rays taken was 2011.

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You saw her new X-rays yesterday. You can see she’d already lost all her incisors on her bottom jaw four years ago.

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However, she still had one left on her top jaw. That one is now long gone.

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This one tooth had a shadow on it four years ago. I think this is a tooth that was removed this time around.

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At least she still has all her fangs. This one, which we discovered was chipped four years ago, still seems to be healthy. Let’s hope she can hold onto it for a while!

Aby-a-Day – August 20: The tooth and nothing but the tooth

Angel has the worst teeth of any cat I have ever owned. She is only 8 years old, but already she has had more dental work than all the other cats combined.

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While Abyssinians are notorious for being prone to dental problems, this isn’t just an Aby thing with her. Jacoby, only two years younger, has amazing teeth. He’s never even needed a cleaning! According to both Sherry and Chris, his grandparents had good teeth, too.

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Since I know very little about Angel’s ancestry (and what I do know is based on speculation and theory), I have no idea about her genetic history.

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All I know is, she has had several FORLs (Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions).

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As a result, she has lost nearly all her teeth. Besides her four canine teeth, she has only a few teeth left.

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She has lost every single one of her tiny incisors, both top…

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…and bottom.

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She’s lost more of her upper teeth than her lower.

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One lower jaw only has two teeth left!

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The other side sports a few more teeth…

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…But I’m not sure I like the looks of that big one in the back. Hopefully it’s just a shadow?

Aby-a-Day – August 17: Angel at the dentist (Hipstamatic Monday)

Last week, Angel and Kylie had dental cleanings at South Boston Animal Hospital. Angel also ended up having a couple of extractions. She has terrible teeth – I think now, apart from her fangs, she’s got about four teeth left.

This Instagram photo was posted on SBAH’s Facebook page…close enough to Hipstamatic, don’t you think? She’s hugging the moon…