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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Guess who's coming to dinner...

Dear George,

You might remember the famous movie by the same name but my story is a bit different. We’ve recently moved in this posh neighbourhood where everything it’s nicer and greener! It was a nice, warm, late summer night and I was having dinner in the garden with my humans. I was watching my daddy turning the juicy steaks on the grill when we got unexpected guests! Guess… who? Of course, I’d be glad to share my dinner with Sidney Poitier or Katharine Hepburn but that wasn’t the case. Who was coming to my dinner? A family of racoons – mother, father and kids! All up on the fence. No excuse and no shame! As I was ready to charge towards them my mommy grabbed me and run into the house! And that ruined everything as I couldn’t protect my territory! Why would she do this? Now, how am I going to claim my territory back? I lost my appetite as you can see in the photo attached! George, how do get rid of unwanted guests?

By the way, it’s Thanksgiving in Canada! How am I going to enjoy it now ….knowing that these predators are nearby? Or maybe….in the spirit of thanksgiving I should feed them?

Happy Thanksgiving to all


Dear Lenny,  
Patrol. Get to know your territory purrfectly. Every single morning I walk round to see who has visited in the night. There are various dangerous areas - the hedge near the old piggery, the box shrub in the garden, and any cars parked nearby. I spray urine on them all, to tell any visitors I have been there and also to post a marker to remind myself that this is a worrying area. And I sniff carefully to know who has visited.
There is the occasional fox (very frightening), the feral tom from the local barn (ear tipped so probably neutered), rabbits (yum yum), rats (a bit scary if they are large ones) and sometimes the cat from across the road who is visiting in search of rabbits. Luckily we don't get racoons in the UK.
A racoon - not a good neigbour
Don't even think of feeding them. Make sure no cat food is left out by mistake. You don't want them getting too tame - maybe even coming in the house.  Racoons sometimes attack kittens and they can pass on diseases like rabies. Tell your humans to shoo them away from your territory. 
Keep safe is the message for Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Dear George,
A few weeks ago, you advised me on my career. I have taken your advice, and rather than becoming a feral cat, I have decided to adopt a human and take up the career of being a human companion.
But it's so difficult. My foster parent, Celia, has put my photo on Sunshine Cat Rescue in Oxfordshire, England, but they are swamped with cats needing homes. I can't compete with some of the other kittens, as I am still very nervous. 
I love my own foster human (video here) but I am still frightened of strange noises, unfamiliar humans and dogs. So I am looking to adopt a very special person, which may take time.
I have been spayed, vaccinated and microchipped?Is there anything else I can do to find the right human?
Abby the Silver Tabby.

Dear Abby, 
It's a fact that there are thousands of cats in the UK and millions worldwide seeking to adopt humans from good homes. All of us want the same thing- a human who will become a loving pet, who will stay with us all our lives, and will be dutiful, caring, and generally lovely. They can be young or old, rich or poor, fit or disabled - we don't care about any of that.
We just want love. And you, Abby, need a human pet who will be very patient. Which means you yourself, must stay patient. And try to learn how to be picked up (which I am told by Celia you don't like at all).
Hang on in there for the happy ending.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My bed is not for.... sharing

Dear George,
I don’t think there is a cat that likes to share her bed and I’m no exception! Just that my case is much more sensible….and here is why! My mummy got a boyfriend!
Yes! All is good as we know humans like to keep each other company and I don’t want to get into more “details” here but, my problem is why do I have to share my bed with him? Sharing is not exactly the case as he took over my half of the bed. That’s totally, completely and absolutely unacceptable! When I visit him at the cottage (I must admit he has a beautiful cottage) I bring my own food, my own water and my own bed!
So, why can’t he bring his own sleeping bag? Excuse me? I’m not asking him to bring his own food….I don’t mind to share my food with him! Nor do I ask him to bring his own water (maybe he should as it might be a bit difficult for him to drink from my water fountain). But….a sleeping bag? George, do you think by buying a sleeping bag for my mummy would solve the problem? There is plenty of floor space that they can share.
I want my bed (at least half) back!

Dear Shumba,  
You have put your paw on a Major Human Dilemma. We cats are generous. We share the bed with our human, even though a human takes up a lot of space. (Mind you, they do act as hot water bottles for us too). But when a stranger intrudes, there is less space. Worst still, there may be undercover activities of a kind not compatible with feline rest and relaxation.....
What advice can I give? Euthanasia is out of the question, alas. It would be just too difficult. Rehoming him would be the best thing to do but where would you find another human to adopt him? You could try to show your disgust by never approaching him, sitting with your back to him, and refusing all his attempts to be nice. But your human seems to have bonded with him so she might completely refuse to rehome him. 
So you are going to have to accept his presence. The sleeping bag idea is not going to work. But not all is lost. You can reduce the undercover activities by a) sleeping between the two humans: b) showing an intense and embarassing interest in their activities: c) purporting to believe that this is just a game and jumping wildly on the body parts below the covers. Aim for the groin whenever possible.
Yes, I know that this may result in your being evicted from the bedroom. In which case you yowl and scratch the door throughout the night.
Best of luck,

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Teeth .... I'm afraid of the dentist!

Dear George, 
Please do take a look at my photo (attached) and tell me what do you see?I bet ….you’ll say: “a lazy cat” as everybody else does, but let me tell you that what you see is a “worried cat”. Why I’m worried? I’m worried because my humans decided that I need a “teeth cleaning” and I heard them ….debating anesthesia.  
Well, I don’t like the idea at all; neither teeth cleaning nor anesthesia. What if I’ll never wake up from it? I never heard my grandparents or great-grandparents to have their teeth cleaned. I never heard of any cat brushing its teeth. Are my humans crazy? George, how can I get my teeth cleaned….in a simple and easy way?
SOS - in a haste

Dear Vegas,
The easiest way to keep your teeth clean, is to get your human to buy special dental dry food and mix it with your ordinary kibble. Special dental food has larger than normal bits of kibble and crunching each bit of kibble up helps keep teeth clean. Chews and dental treats are delicious too. 
Other possibilities are Vet Aquadent Anti Plaque Solution which can be added to your water, or Logic oral hygeine gel put directly into your mouth. It tastes quite pleasant  Some humans use a toothbrush with special feline toothpaste to clean our teeth but I personally won't stand for this invasion of my mouth. A couple of sharp bites put a stop to Celia trying it on!
I rarely consult my human, as she has nothing much of interest to say. But lately she told me she had spent a total of about 10 hours in the dentist's chair (spread over 3 months) for some complicated dental work. She would have preferred anesthesia so that she didn't have to sit there waiting for the dentist to drill down. So if painkillers or anaesthetic is on offer, embrace them with all four paws!
Believe me, Vegas, drifting off into an anaesthetic sleep is better than being present. And when you wake up, all the nasty stuff will be over.
Yours earnestly
PS. If you do have to have anaesthetic, get your humans to ask the vet if anything else needs checking while you are under. It might be a good time to make sure you don't have any arthritis.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cats, castles, and microchipping - is it safe for me?

Dear George,
I’m Tomi von Ineu and a wanderer at heart! Like in any aristocratic family, when the parents don’t live together, the father’s family has rights to a kitten. And, since I was the only one willing to leave home ….there I went full speed towards new adventures, my new castle and my new domain Ineu. But, it seems that I misbehaved from the very beginning as I escaped through (or under) the gates of the castle. I heard my little human kitten, sorry, my little princess crying but I didn’t bother thinking that I’ll make up to her later. I got lost. Fortunately, some good human kittens found me and took me back to my castle. As a corrective action …I’m now locked in the tower! Plus, I heard them saying that I’ll be microchipped. God, hope they won’t electrocute me! I send a letter to the Elders in the village to ask what a microchip is. They said my humans will put a GPS in my head so they can track all my moves. George, is that true? Can they put some computer in my head and then watch me on their security cameras/monitors?
Tomi von Ineu

Dear Tomi
I am so impressed by your status.  Your own castle. And locked in a tower, just like Rappunzel in the fairy tale. She escaped and so will you, once you have that microchip. I promise you, microchips are safe. I have one. It's to help if we get lost. Ordinary microchips just stay in the body, and if someone finds us when we are lost, they can get a vet or a rescue charity to scan us, read the microchip, and find our owner.
There are GPS devices for cats but these have to be mounted on a collar. Here in the UK most catflap cats don't wear a collar, because of worries about safety (for a discussion of this, go here) GPS collars may present difficulties for some of us smaller cats, as they add a bit of weight - though there are very light ones used for tracking small rodents. GPS microchips are on the way (a patent has been filed) but I am not sure how far they are widely available. These would be a small implant not requiring a collar.
Most of us cats get a microchip when we are neutered and spayed, so it is no big deal. Don't worry Tomi, a microchip is a very good thing to have.
Yours reassuringly

Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online