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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Is dinner ready?

Dear George, 
We are Ella and Louis – that’s right… as in Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. 
I’m wearing my white coat (as you can see) and Louis (always a gentleman) is wearing his tuxedo.
We are quite like on that 1956 record cover (sorry darling but I forgot the name – we made so many records and shows together).
Anyway, the reason I’m writing to you is because we found out that you are a specialist in human behaviour and we need your help. Our humans got into the “cat homemade food” mania that lately took over the Internet, main stream news, TV, etc. – I mean all media! I’m not complaining about the food, don’t get me wrong – I’m complaining about the timing of our meals! 
See, I want to eat whenever I want ….like a real diva! My Mom is insisting on feeding us twice a day (morning and evening) at precise times. THAT drives me nuts! Absolutely nuts! And to add misery to aggravation….our Daddy is insisting on weighting and measuring everything such as protein, fats, minerals, vitamins, etc. (I think he is a nutritionist but that doesn’t give him the right to delay our meals). George, I’ll be happy with that roast chicken leftover! But, no ….I have to eat scientifically proved meals! 
Phew! So, for now I’m trying to be more vocal (as you can see in the picture attached) and hope my dear Louis will join me. I bet…no matter how much our humans enjoy music…they will give up and feed us right away! 
Any other suggestions George
Meowing on sweet blues notes 
Ella

Dear Ella,
You have got the right idea. Humans are suckers for the cute. Do something cute, like meowing, to get your human's attention. Without that, you can even start training. Once they are looking at you, then you have to "tell" these dumb humans what you want. Try the following:
The Sit Up method of getting food
  •  First cultivate the cute "I'm looking at you, kid" glance upwards - eyes large, whiskers wide, and a little tilt of the head. You may feel frustrated but you need to look cute.
  • Eyes to the food cupboard. Ostentatiously move from looking at him to the food cupboard, adding a little shoulder shift to make it more obvious - humans are not very bright.
  • Get off the table and walk to the food cupboard, then look back towards him. Even a really dumb human usually gets this one.
  • Meow. Follow up by getting off the table and winding round his legs. Then move three steps towards the food cupboard, turn, and do the appealing look. Got his attention? Another three steps towards the food and another look. This form of training by small increments is what is needed for a really dumb human.
  • Finally, when he is moving to get you your food, don't forget the thank you - a very loud purr as you are eating with the occasionally appealing look between mouthfuls. This is to reward him for his trouble.
You can adapt this schedule for being fed human food during human meal times. If you can add a little sit-up-and-beg to it, you may be lucky.
Yours
George.
 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

New Year.... New life.... .. and training a human

Dear George,
 I am Lila (the fluffy) and my sister is Angel (the tabby). We came from same litter and we are about 10 weeks old now. Before being rescued we were living under a deck but now we live in a mansion!  We spent our first Christmas with our new family and their relatives and sure enough people can be fun! At some point they all were talking about New Year’s resolutions. We don’t fully understand what that is but it seems like a good plan to follow in the year ahead! Our list would be very short: sleep, eat, play and getting lots of love from our humans. I also understood that in cats' ‘world it is a MUST to train one’s humans. I’ve heard you even wrote a book on the subject, is that so George? Then, we definitely need your help! Where do we start?
Gratefully yours,  
Lila

Dear Lila,
Start as you mean to go on.  Help your humans settle in to a sensible regime - regular meal times and regular times for sleep. Train them with reminders. Reminders include rubbing, loud purring, winding round feet, walking to the food bowl, even nipping toes under the duvet if they show signs of wanting to lie in at weekends rather than get your breakfast. 
Establish petting boundaries. Some humans are cat harassers. They want to kiss and hug and stroke for hours. Or they insist on petting in no-go areas like the lower tummy. A sharp nip will usually train them to stop. Punishment teaches them what is acceptable. Be humane - just a nip, rather than a bite which draws blood.
Litter trays (one for each cat) should be cleaned twice a day. If your human is idle about this, show them what you want. As soon as they clean the tray, use it. This makes the point that you were waiting for it to be cleaned. If they still don't get the message, and the tray is filthy, pee outside the litter tray. 
You can learn more about rewards and punishments in my book, One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train its Human. Celia pretended she had written it but her role was purely secretarial, as I cannot type. I was the real author.
Yours
George, the real author. 


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dressing up cats - a vile undignified human desire.

Dear George,
I wish to protest in the strongest possible terms about human behaviour in the so called festive season - dressing up cats. My personal experience (see the photo on the left) has been shatteringly humiliating.
This degrading use of human clothing covering our beautiful fur is on the increase, encouraged by YouTube and other internet organisations such as Facebook. This particular photo was widely circulated by my human - to my shame. 
Purrlease, George, help stamp out this unpleasant human activity. The perpetrator of this undignified image is my human pet.
How can I make her stop doing this at Christmas?
Bob.

Dear Bob, 
The only way to stop this happening is to bite and claw while the garments are being put on. You seem to have given way too easily to your human. A cat your size - you are a Maine coon - could surely have inflicted several wounds while that horrible little jacket was being forced upon you. And a mere shake of the head would have got rid of the cap - I cannot see an elastic on it.
Put your paw down for once and for all. Bite and bite hard if this is being done to you. Scratch and scratch often.  Just wriggling free is not enough. You need to punish them. 
It's the only thing that humans understand.
Yours
George.
PS. There is a photo of me wearing a Santa hat. Celia waited till I was sleeping and put it on me, taking the photo before I was fully awake. I have not forgiven her.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

George's Christmas message for 2016

Dear Readers,
Now is the time for empty boxes, wrapping paper, tinsel, trees to climb, baubles to play with, bits of turkey, with catnip overdose and general silliness from our humans....
It's warm inside, even if there are strange humans, crying human kittens, and toddlers trying to pull our tail in the house. My Christmas plan is to sit unobserved in the kitchen so that the humans to forget I am there. With luck, they may leave the turkey unattended either before or after cooking. Even without that good fortune, there will be crumbs, pieces of turkey skin, spilled cream and heaven knows what else on the kitchen floor.
I shall stay quiet while they eat and (if they go for a walk or sit and gawp at the TV) I will be free to explore the possibilities of the kitchen - empty plates with plenty of gravy on them, cream sauce left over from the pudding, turkey carcases, stray sausages and fragments of bacon..... 
Then upstairs to the bedroom for a long, long sleep. Purrrrrrrrrr. My idea of a good day.
Yours George.

PS. Forgot the important bit. Spare a thought for homeless and unwanted cats this time of year outside in the cold. Tell your humans to give them a home or put out food for them. Sunshine Cat Rescue could do with a Christmas pound. The donation button is on the right hand side under the News section. Tommy, right, who needs a home, says even a tiny amount will help.
He tells me that in the feline world it is well known that the Bethlehem stable there was a cat. Somehow it was left out of the narrative.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What makes a cat a thief? Stealing or just sharing?

Dear George,

Tell me one thing: why is it OK for a squirrel to jump on the table on my patio and steal my food and things (as you can see in the photo attached) but isn’t OK for me to jump on the kitchen table to check (and share) my humans’ dinner?

Why my humans will find the squirrel amusing and quite entertaining to watch but would get upset with me being on the dinner table? Why would they call me a thief?

I’m not stealing anything….I’m only sharing dinner with them.

Actually, what make a cat to be a thief?

In the spirit of sharing

CAT Victoria

Dear Victoria,
Sharing your human's dinner? Finding an extra snack on the kitchen counter? Investigating a half open kitchen cupboard?  This is not theft. It is natural behaviour in our own home.
Humans have ridiculous ideas about ownership which they expect us to share. Feline morality is very different. It's finders keepers; what we find is ours. Yes, we do bring food for our kittens and sometimes we even bring a mouse as a present to our humans. But, on the whole, what ours is ours, and what is theirs' is also ours. "Thine's mine and mine's my own," as the famous Yorkshire cat proverb puts it.
My friend, Tommy, is becoming an excellent forager. Here is a photo of him investigating a kitchen cupboard! He has volunteered to do my Christmas message next week.
Happy Christmas, Victoria CAT. And thank you for your letters during the year.
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