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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Cats and bad weather... trust cats not groundhogs.

Dear George
How does one forecast weather? How does one know if it’s going to be cold or warm? Here is North America we mostly relied on our groundhogs to forecast the coming of the spring. The weather on Goundhog Day can influence if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not ... (check here) According to the legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow, then there will be six more weeks of winter.But if he doesn't, then an early spring and above-average temperatures are on the way! So, on Feb. 2 Punxsutawney Phil (of Pennsylvania, USA) saw his shadow and that means six more weeks of winter! But albino Wiarton Willie (of Bruce County, Ontario, Canada, check here) didn’t see his shadow and that means …early spring. 
Now who is to trust? What worries me is that with the “human catnip” legalized in both country I don’t know who’s smoking what and that’s how I found myself stuck indoors between blankets…cozy but still indoor! I love being outdoors! I can “smell” spring in the air but what can I do? We just have been hit with another snow storm today!It seems that Punxsutawney Phil was right! Six more weeks of cold weather! Brrrr!
George, how do you forecast weather in the UK? Do you rely on a groundhog or a weatherman?
Uma

Dear Uma,
My human uses me as a weather forecaster. I am very sensitive to the risk of ice, snow, rain and drizzle. I particularly hate wet. I lived on wet concrete under a car for a dreadful six months and only survived because Gaynor picked me up and gave me to Celia. So I never ever want to be out in the rain and wet again.
If I refuse to go out in the morning, which I often do, she knows that it is damp from rain during the night or the rain is coming. I can sense the moisture in the air. I feel the same way about snow. If I look up and see that yellowy cloudy sky, that in the UK means snow, I just stay inside and use my litter tray.
Ice and frost? If it is cold but dry, then I might venture out, walk up the garden, then return. If it is very cold, I use the litter tray because the garden soil is frozen solid. Dry without rain I patrol my garden properly. I don't claim to be entirely accurate, but human forecasters are not accurate either.
My message to our humans is this. Trust cats not groundhogs. If the cat is inside refusing to go out, it means its damp, cold and miserable. Stay indoors and break out some more cat food for us.
Yours
George.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Snoring or purring? That is the question.

Dear George,
I was sound asleep (as you can see in the photo attached) when I was suddenly awakened by loud laughing! I jumped up scared that maybe some strangers found the door opened and got in but, no…there was my human mommy laughing her head off! What was she laughing about? Well, she said she was laughing watching me snoring out loud! What?
Was she bluffing? I know I purr quite loudly but I don’t snore! I don’t even know if cats snore! I know my daddy does and pretty heavy too but, at least he has an excuse as he can’t purr. Believe me he tried many times but the noise that came out from his throat was rather comical! So, dear George, do cats snore?
And, by the way…what’s the difference between purring and snoring?
Leo

Dear Leo, 
Do cats snore? Some of us do. Snoring happens when our throat muscles are relaxed while we sleep so they don't move the air through freely. Then the surrounding tissues vibrate making a snoring noise.  It also occurs if we have a blocked nose from cat flu. We cats are also more likely to snore if we are overweight or if we have short noses. Sadly humans have bred Persians and other breeds with such snub noses that their upper airways are kind of twisted up. Thus the snore. The really badly affected cats may make a snoring noise when they are awake. Shocking.
It's absurd that humans should laugh at our snoring. Their own snoring is so much louder and unpleasant. I have sometimes had to leave the bed, when my human has a blocked nose and snores horribly.
Purring is completely different. Humans can't do this. The muscles in our throat intermittently close our glottis, the area which includes our vocal chords and the opening between them. Our diaphragm muscles also move and the sound comes out both when we are breathing out, and also when we are breathing in. Some cats purr silently: some loudly.
I purr at medium loudness because it helps my human sleep. And I prefer them to sleep soundly so that they don't wake me up by tossing and turning.
George

Friday, February 01, 2019

Cats and birds - yum yum

Dear George,
I have mixed feelings and I don’t know what to do! I need your help!Here is my story: lately my mummy started bringing home people and cats; human guests who stayed for too long (if you care to ask me) and few cats she fostered for a shorter time.
There must be something wrong with mummy! Why does she think she have to help everybody and anybody? What could she possibly be missing in her life if she has me? What? Last night I’ve heard her talking with a friend and promising she’ll look over her two birds if she’ll bring the cage over to our house (while her friend will be travelling overseas). She even promised her friend that I’ll be a good girl and become friends with the birds! Phew! How could I befriend a bird?
George, I love my mummy very much! Should I be honorable and tell her honestly that I’ll never befriend a bird or should I keep quiet and enjoy the “accidental” but juicy dinner? Would she learn her lesson then? What do you think?
Shumba

Dear Shumba,
Aren't humans dumb! Cats do not befriend birds. We hunt them. It is in our DNA. Has she ever seen you looking longingly out of the window at passing birds? I think she ought to take a closer look - your body tense with hunting desire and your eyes in a hard stare. It's not the look of a cat that wants to cuddle up with a bird. 
Here's a photo of one of Celia's foster cats, Boomer, looking at birds on the windowsill. You can't see his eyes but you can perhaps see how (despite being fat) he is craning his body round to get as close to the bird on the left as he can. Believe me, Boomer didn't want to befriend that blue tit. He wanted to grab it!
All in all, Shumba, I would just let her go ahead. Why waste the chance of having some juicy prey put right in your reach! 
Have fun with the birds.
Yours
George

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Of cats and arts.

Dear George,
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that we are born naturally gifted, much more so than humans. It takes a century for humans to produce a genius! It takes us about 67 days at most to produce one in a litter. That should tell humans something, right?
I know you are a gifted writer and other cats are gifted hunters, acrobats or athletes.
I’m exceptionally gifted as a painter. I took up painting but my human (just like yours, George) is not only sabotaging me …she’s stealing my art too! Huh!
I must admit I have much fun dipping my paws in paint and then work the canvas!
What does she do? She waits until I’m asleep and recreates some portraits or still nature painted by me and signs the painting with her own name. I tried few times to cover her signature with my unique “paw-signature” but she must have a method to erase mine. Totally unfair. You know what I’m talking about! So, George what are we going to do? Whatever you’ll suggest I’ll follow! How would you stop Celia from stealing your work and admitting that you are the author? How am I going to stop my human pretending that she’s a great artist and give me credit for her success?
Totally yours,
CAT Victoria

Dear CAT Victoria,
Humans are terrible plagiarists. I have suffered too. Because I cannot use my paws to type, I am reliant on a human typist, Celia. Not only does she try to pass off this blog as my own, she also has claimed authorship for my best selling volume, One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train its Human. I have a nephew, also called George, who is currently negotiating with an agent to publish a useful book about human management: he says he will only write it if his name is on the cover. We shall see what happens....
Could you purrsade your human to add a pawprint to her signature? Terence Cuneo, a successful painter of ceremonial occasions, always added a signature tiny mouse to his paintings. For more detail read here. In one of his painting a mouse was riding on the back of a cowboy in a stampede.
How much better would it be if she added just a pawprint. Either near her signature or somewhere semi-concealed on each painting? I know its not the same as your proper paw print without her name, but at least it's a start.
Yours 
George

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Excuse my French, but do cats fart?

Dear George,
I was sitting with my brother Stanley (the tabby in the photo attached) and our human parents watching a movie on Netflix. My Mom made a comment that someone had broken wind….looking towards us, the cats! Well, I thought this was totally disrespectful and discriminatory…under the circumstances! I certainly didn’t! Did Stanley? He meowed “nope”! Then, this left us with the assumption that one of our humans have farted! But…who? Daddy? Mommy? They won’t admit it! What else would you expect from humans? Plead guilty?
No way! However, regardless of who has farted last night…my question to you George is: do cats actually fart? And, if they do….why? What make them pass gas? Could this become a scary health issue?
Yours 
Rocky

Dear Rocky,
We do fart! But we are usually much quieter about it than humans! Indeed many humans never heard a feline fart, even when they have smelled it. With our superior hearing, of course, we can hear the wind being expelled. Very occasionally we do a loud one like this one here on YouTube.
We fart when we have eaten something that doesn't agree with us - cow's milk, other dairy products with lactose, human food, takeaway human meals, cheap pet food with lots of fillers and not much protein, or when we have gobbled down our food so fast that we have taken in air at the same time. Humans, please note, we need higher quality pet food and a place of safety to eat it!
Excessive farting may mean something is wrong, particularly if it is accompanied by a bloated tummy or loose stools. Possible causes are internal parasites like worms or giardia, or gastrointestinal disease. Some cats have food sensitivities and need a special diet.
I hate to say this, because I loathe and detest vets, but excessive gas needs a visit to the vet!
Yours
George

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, www.celiahaddon.com This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online VetTechprogramms.org