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Friday, January 30, 2015

I am Wesley, the famous student cat!

Dear George,
I just came across your blog and I think I'm in the right place to get advice. I'm a rescue and I have recently adopted a human kitten not knowing that he attends university in a different city. As he didn't want to leave me behind he took me with him to the student camp where he lives. So I became instantly famous (even if some would call me infamous) and very, very spoiled. Just imagine having at least 4 big guys, all football players, taking care of me!

But, I need your expertise in nutrition as I want to make sure that I eat right for my age  and all my adopted human kittens eat right too (they are athletes after all and probably need more protein, etc). I'm not worried about food when we have a school break as we always go back home to our human mommy and she cooks well! So....dry or wet food for me? What about treats? Should I share food with my human kittens? They eat mostly meat sandwiches. Or....should I just stay home with Mommy?
In gratitude 
Wesley
Dear Wesley, 
I do envy you. Four big football guys all taking care of you! Lucky old you. I bet that they are real softies.
Nutrition. Adolescent humans usually eat very badly indeed and meat sandwiches are not the ideal cat food. (Nor are they the ideal human food, which should contain fruit and vegetables not just meat and bread). By all means eat a bit of sandwich when you fancy it. A little of what you fancy does you good, but try and get more of the meat and less of the bread! Don't let them fob you off with the outside crusts.
Mouse sandwiches would be a great idea if you could purrsuade your football guys to go in that direction. Could you tempt them by catching one and presenting it to them? Raw mouse is probably the best natural food of all but for some reason, humans are squeamish about feeding them to us. And they don't seem able to produce tinned mouse.
Wet food or dry food? Wet food is great but not ideal for teeth. Dry food can lead to a cat being dehydrated unless they have the chance to drink whenever they want but is better for keeping your teeth clean. Tell your human to put out two bowls in two different locations so you always have a choice.
If you have a cat flap I recommend wandering down the street, and sampling various houses to see if the humans there offer a better brand of cat food. If you are an indoor-only cat it's trickier. Train your human to buy the brand you prefer by purring loudly when you get it. When you get an inferior brand, look at it disdainfully, then walk away. Or take a few mouthfuls and then try to cover it up, like you would cover up the contents of a litter tray.
This usually makes your human feel guilty and we cats make guilt work for us. 
Yours enviously,
George
PS. I can't read ingredients on cat food containers. Celia can read them but says she can't understand them. All the percentages depend on the amount of water in the food and she can't work out what the ingredient "ash" means.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Enlightened - in a flash!

Dear George,
I know that "enlightenment" is the state of understanding something clearly or as in Buddhism or Hinduism, is the state of no longer having any human desires, so that one is united spiritually with the universe! What I don't know is towards which one of these two states is my human mummy aiming to. Based on my observations over the years I think she aims (unsuccessfully) towards "no longer having any human desires". I mean...eating meat is a human desire, correct? Well, she lost that one as now she's eating only grass and I can't make her understand that a mouse is fresh and juicy regardless of the season.
"Sleeping in" every morning is very much a human desire, right? She lost that too as she's up early in the morning but then she goes sit on the floor crossed legs with her eyes closed - I know she's sleeping she can't fool me....but why give up the comfort of a warm  bed? Or, I cringe when I see her twisted like a pretzel at times! What human desire can this one possible be? Why all these false pretences? Why "being enlightened" is so important to humans? Humans will never reach our elegance, good taste and wisdom.
So, I decided to teach her a lesson! I proved to her that even if I eat meat, sleep in every morning and not transforming myself into a pretzel I can still become "instantly enlightened" (as you can see in the photo)! That's sheer wisdom! Do you agree George?
Should I aim to enlighten my mummy so she'll have a better understanding of life?
Do you think she can become enlightened in a flash? Just like me?
Love
Fluffy

Dear Fluffy,

We cats don't become enlighted. We are enlightened. It is our nature, our telos, the essence of our being. We live in the present without having to do mindfulness exercises. We do not obsess about the past or future. So we do not think: "If only..." or "What if..." or "Why me?" 
We do yoga every day without even thinking of it. We stretch out our back legs and then our front legs. We place our back leg against our ears pointing up towards the heavens (so that we can clean ourselves). We lie stretched out in the warm or curled up in the cold paws neatly tucked away under our bodies, tailed swept round as a bit more protection against a low temperature.
And our eyes are enlightened in the moonlight, as the moon's rays hits our tapetum at the back of the eye and spring back with our own flash of moonlight. Like the photo you sent me. Sheer wisdom indeed, Fluffy.
Your equally enlightened friend
George

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I stuck my tongue out to my human



Dear George,
What my human did to me is outright outrageous! She tried to shame me (see my face in the photo no 2) by calling in an animal behaviour specialist "to assess my destructive behaviour"! It's hard to believe but that's exactly what she did! Ah! about my destructive behaviour? She claims that I destroyed the walls in the flat we live in; she claims that I shred them to dry wall! But, I did not! It is just one corner (of course...a junction between two walls) that I scratched and I'll continue to scratch not because I lack calcium but because I can smell, feel "something" in the walls. It might be a mouse or squirrel or who knows what....but I can smell it! I can feel it! And, she doesn't get it! The animal behaviour specialist's conclusion? That there is nothing wrong with me and she should call in the property manager! Aha! In response to that I stuck my tongue out to her! 
Here! (see it in photo # 1). So, George...did you hear of other cats behaving like me? Any tips? Advice? I really think there are mice running up and down the walls! Her argument against mine is that our flat is in a new, modern building! Have you ever heard of something like this before?
Hugs
Shumba

Dear Shumba,
I scratch therefore I am..... a cat.
It is difficult to remember than humans are smell-blind and nearly deaf. They just don't have the noses, the hearing, and the brain power to notice smells and tiny noises like we do. Of course there was some rodent or other behind the wall. There's nothing to stop house mice making a home in a new building. Many do. Modern buildings are well ventilated and warmer than old ones. Mice, like humans, often prefer them.
I am glad that she called in a relatively sensible human to help out - sensible because this human agreed with you that there was something there. (Poor Celia is studying hard to try to get the level of expertise that will allow her to become a better cat behaviourist. Just a glimmering of understanding cat behaviour may result.... or not.)
I hope your human has provided a good scratching area. Celia bought a nice new armchair two years ago which is splendid for cat claws. I also have a Fat Boy post - nice and stable and occasionally I even use it if I am bored with the chair.
Good job humans are dumb animals. Your human could just have blocked the area with a piece of furniture. Too stupid to think of that, I suppose. Nice for you though. It must be fun to scratch there.
Yours
George.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Big fuss about New Year's Resolutions...

Dear George,
My name is Rocky and, of course, I'm a rescue. I'm the black and white kitty (intentionally) pictured here ...sleeping as I'm always blamed for being up and playing 24/7.  In the picture (attached) you can also see my older brother (a rescue as well) Stanley - who can sleep 24/7. The reason I'm writing to you is to clarify the big fuss about new year's resolutions that human are talking about! For the last two week all I hear is: we should go on a diet, I ate too much chocolate, don't eat this or eat less of that or we should exercise more, etc. If all the commotion is about humans' plans for the coming year ...
I can tell you right here and now that I have just one New Year's Resolution and that is to learn how to open a can! Last year I learn how to open the cupboards' doors and roll out food cans. Now, I need your advise on how to open the cans. In a normal household I wouldn't have to worry about this but ...I don't live with normal people. My human mom is vegetarian but my father is not. That means that I will never attack her rice stuffed cabbage rolls but he might attack my juicy mouse! I know for sure neither one of them will attack my food cans.
So, George.....how do I open them?
Cheers
Rocky

Dear Rocky,
It is not a cat's job to open cans. That is a human's. However there are times when it would be handy to do it. I have tried pushing cans off the kitchen counter - they bend but they don't break. I have tried prizing them open with my paw or even tearing off the labels. None of this works. 
There is a way round this problem. Get your humans to feed you out of envelopes not cans. Start giving canned food a contemptuous look. Instead of eating it, walk round the bowl with an expression of dismay. Then make digging motions as you would in a litter tray. You are showing the human that this particular food is S--T. 
Your evident disapproval and reluctant to eat is punishment for their buying the wrong food. Make them feel guilty and ashamed.
Given an envelope, eat quickly purring as loudly as you can. This is the reward your human gets for buying the right food. Make them feel happy because you are happy. 
You can do it. Millions of cats do. Why are there shelves and shelves of different cat food in a supermarket? Answer - because humans want to please their cats by buying the one they prefer.
Once you have envelopes you can have some fun with them. They can be torn open and by pressing in the middle with a paw, the food will come out. Pulling the "empty" envelopes out of the trash is also a good game. If you tear them further open, you will find a few fragments of food left inside.
This emotional manipulation is the first lesson in human training.  Humans love to be trained by cats. They are happiest when they are doing what we want them to do.
Get training.
George 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

George is away on a indoor mousing holiday......

I am taking a break for a few days while I go on an indoor safari. I blogged out of my usual pattern over Christmas and the New Year and I badly need some down time. There is a nest of mice in Celia's home, which I is eliminating one by one at night. As the whole night taken up with the sport of waiting, watching, pouncing and then killing, I need to sleep all day. Blogging will resume next Saturday. Here is last night's prey.
My usual technique, after I have caught the little beggar, is to leg it upstairs to show Celia my success.  Last night was a mistake. I forgot to kill it first. As I leaped on the bed with the squeaker in my mouth, its tail trailing downwards, she leaped out of bed almost as fast as me. She shooed me to the door and shut it on me.....
Humans...
Now excuse me I have to plan tonight's hunting excursion.

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