Aby-a-Day – 31 July: You’re never done learning (Cartoon Tuesday)

I am endlessly amazed at how popular the Warriors series is in Germany and Holland. I mean, it’s way more popular than it is in the UK or the States. If you search Amazon.de, you can find all sorts of Warriors merchandise.

Look at all this! Sticky notes, badges, notebooks, gloves…I have the laptop stickers and I love them. You can’t get any of this on the other Amazons (.com and .uk.co), trust me. I looked.

Because I order my (English) Warriors books from Amazon.de, they send me emails when new Warriors items are released. Usually, they’re translations of the series books in German, but a few weeks ago they sent me an email about an interesting book entitled Warrior Cats – Katzenzeichnen: Von den Grundformen bis zur Clankatze (Warrior Cats – Cat Drawing: From Basic to Clan Cat).

Now, I have been drawing cats for over 50 years, and apparently I’m pretty good at it, since people like the drawings I do. But this book is amazing, even for someone like me. Because you can always learn more drawing techniques. Look at the instruction on drawing paws (well, hands, if you’re doing Abys).

The book goes into great detail about all aspects of cat life, and it even has blank pages for you to practice on. Unfortunately for me, it’s in German, and it’s a translation of the original publication…in Dutch. So there is no English edition of this book yet. Considering that the original books were English, it’s a bit interesting that the Germans and Dutch have taken to the cats so much that they’re coming up with all kinds of original items and books that aren’t available in English!

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Using some of the book’s recommendations, I did this sketch of Izaak. What do you think?

Aby-a-Day – 12 March: Takes a ticking and keeps on licking (Medical Monday)

Disclaimer: This post contains images of a disgusting, blood-sucking parasite…no, not the one currently occupying the White House…I am talking an actual arachnid. If you’re squeamish about creepy crawlies, you might want to scroll quickly.

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The first summer we lived in Sweden, Jacoby went out on several outdoor expeditions in the tall grass on the slope near our apartment.

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A day or two after one such outing, I petted Jake and felt…a lump. I inspected it more closely, and…EWWWWWWWwwwwwwwwwww!

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It was a tick! A big, nasty, swollen, blood-engorged tick! I don’t do exoskeletal, multi-legged things (except lobsters, crabs and shrimp), but Björn grew up next to a lake in Sweden and has dealt with ticks many times. He even had the appropriate extraction tool at the ready.

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Between cringing and making “ew” noises, I wasn’t much help.

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So I just held Jake still and took photos.

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I am so glad that Björn knows how to handle these monsters. It was hard enough just taking and editing the photos!

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All I know about ticks is what I’ve read in the Warriors books, and I was fresh out of moss and mouse bile.

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Of course, I could have always looked online for instructions on tick removal…but there was still that whole “I don’t do bugs” thing, so…

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…it’s a good thing I have Björn.

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Because…Ew! Ew-ew-ew-ew! EWWW!

Mango hunts with StarClan now

Sad news…our friend Mango has gone to StarClan.

Randy, Mango’s human, posted on Facebook: “Sadly, we had to say goodbye to the wonderful Mango – the sweetest cat ever. Rest in Peace my adorable little Mango.
2/12/2001 – 11/4/2015
I miss you.”

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

Aby-a-Day – November 3: Warriors Mash-Up (Cartoon Tuesday)

Thanks to the release of a new Warriors Super Edition today, I was reminded of this silly sketch I did last year. It doesn’t really involve Abys, but if you know the Warriors books – and Frozen – you will probably find this amusing.

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When I posted it on DeviantArt, I explained, “So, this happened…I’ve been re-reading Warriors (just finishing the second series) and a song from Frozen came up on my iPod and…yeah. I HAD to sketch it to get it out of my head. But can’t you just see Brambleclaw/star and Squirrelpaw/flight as Kristoff and Anna? Cats can’t really put their arms behind their heads like humans can so SquirrelAnna is kind of doing a lucky cat thing.

“AND THEN…well, Ashfur would be Hans, wouldn’t he, and of course Leafpool is Elsa. So I had to add them and then “Let it go” made me think of Crowfeather…and then Nightcloud and Jayfeather came to the party. This is actually my very first Warriors fan art…

“But back to the first thing…I really need to finish this. When I have some spare time LOL.”

Yeah. SOMEday I’ll finish this…

Aby-a-Day – November 15: “Books” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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I have been collecting cat books for a very long time, and I have a lot of them. I have books on cats in general, on specific breeds (mainly Abyssinians and Siamese), biographies and hardcore veterinary manuals and genetic texts…and silly cartoon and picture books. I’m pretty proud of my feline library.

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I also have all of the Warriors books. They take up most of one bookshelf in the bedroom.

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In case you haven’t discovered these books yet, they’re epic tales of war, prophecy, mystery, intrigue, love, loyalty, honour, responsibility, family, destiny, betrayal, murder, faith and acceptance.

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With cats (and one badger). Mostly, the cats are feral, but there’s an Abyssinian in one of the books (probably)!

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They’re fast-paced and addictive. Currently, there are five 6-book story arcs (with a sixth reportedly in the works), seven expanded “Super Editions” focusing on specific characters, and several novellas and manga that fill in stories between the main novels. There are also “field guides” with character profiles and other background information. The only thing that there isn’t is a full-length feature film (or several) – these books are easily as gripping and thrilling as, say, Harry Potter or Twilight.

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Looks like Jacoby is having a hard time deciding where to start.

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Or, maybe he’s just remembered that he doesn’t know how to read.

Aby-a-Day – September 23: “No cat can help where they’re born!” (Cartoon Tuesday)

Indulge me a little fan art, here…This week’s cartoon was inspired by the most recent book in the Warriors series about ThunderClan’s new leader: Bramblestar’s Storm. If you haven’t yet discovered the Warriors series, and you’re a cat person (which you must be, if you’re reading my blog), then you really should! They’re epic novels, full of thrilling adventures, mystical prophecies, noble quests, riveting battles, wartime intrigue and forbidden romances…all involving feral cats. Kittypets, cats who are taken care of by humans, are generally shunned, but in this book, the feral cats join up with three kittypets who were abandoned when their homes flooded. One of these cats, Jessy, is described as a “brave, bold, sparkling kittypet” with dark brown fur and amber/golden eyes. She’s sarcastic, quick-witted, great at jumping and climbing, and easily adapts to life with the feral cats’ clan. She can only be an Abyssinian…what other type of cat could she be? This cartoon is just a little scene between Jessy and ThunderClan’s new leader, Bramblestar, who have instant chemistry.

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I’ve actually asked the author (via her Facebook page) if Jessy really is an Aby, but I’ve not heard back yet.

The background is based on a photo by Aaron Knox under a Creative Commons license.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – August 21: Forest hallway

I’ve been re-reading all the Warriors books recently (and cannot wait for the release of Bramblestar’s Storm next week), so my imagination is filled with cats in forests.

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They recently recarpeted the common hallway on our floor, and the new carpet is a lovely shade of deep green.

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The new green carpet along with the mahogany wood panelling almost makes walking in our hallway feel like a walk in the woods.

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The bricks are rocks, of course.

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So it’s not exactly ThunderClan’s camp in the ravine…but with a little imagination…