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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Of cats and official jobs in government

Dear George,
I was using Google to find out what happened to some high profile cats when I stumbled upon your blog. I must say….your blog is cool! Oh boy! So much information:  I keep reading and reading and reading! But, the last two letters kind of scared me! The one about cats and noises and the other one about cats and cars! You see, I live in the countryside, on a beautiful and rather large domain with lots of trees, flowers, bushes, greens and even some sheep, hens and other little creatures! I love my life but, somehow
I’ve always dreamed of a life in a big City! Well, this opportunity came in a form of employment for my human. She is supposed to take on an important job in a big city!
Now, what do I do? Follow her in the big city or stay back home in the countryside and see her only over the weekends? I must mention that I will have full staff attending to me either way (staying back home or joining her in the big city).
George, another question came to my mind! What happened to the 10 Downing Street cats – I’m thinking of Humphrey? Gladstone? Palmerston? Larry? Oh boy! Wasn’t Larry famous? What happened to them? Are they still in the big city (hopefully not abandoned) or did they retire with their humans? I mean ….if I join my human in the city is there any possibility for her to leave me behind when her mission ends? I don’t want to end up in a shelter!
That’s where I came from in the first place!
Anxiously ….yours
Bijou
Dear Bijou,
The biggest danger for cats anywhere is traffic. In cities there are many cars but in residential areas, these are often slower. And sometimes the little side roads, where cars drive fast late at night have more cat casualties. But there's danger on all roads. And if you are enjoying country life, being stuck in an apartment might be very frustrating. Can you rehome yourself to a reliable country dweller?The famous government cats survive because of their privileged lifestyle. Gladstone the Treasury cat known as a cold-blooded killer for his mousing prowess is confined to the buildings. Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat, and Larry, the Downing Street cat are based near the relatively safe St James Park, and all of them have security men and police who open and shut doors for them! You have conscientious staff, but not the sheer number of them available to these three privileged cats. Look at their photos below (from Wikipedia).
Actually, one other danger are the fights between Larry and Palmerston. I have written to 10 Downing St to suggest various peacemaking changes to the street - high cat ledges, multiple resources etc - but received no reply. They believe human security comes before feline security showing how wrong their priorities are.
Yours
George


PS. Read Larry's twitter feed here
Gladstone
Palmerston


Larry the Downing St cat


Friday, June 08, 2018

Cats and noise

Dear George, 
I’m very tried, barely hanging in there as you can see in the photo attached.
I can’t sleep well during the day (which is my favorite time for resting) because of the noise coming from our neighbours who are building a new house! I’m trying to sleep during the night now but I’m missing out on checking and protecting my territory. 
Who knows? Maybe my territory has been invaded and I don’t even know. I’m very sensitive to noise, especially the loud ones. Fireworks freak me out – I spend the night and the day after under the bed in the most remote bedroom! Do you think it’s something wrong with me? It seems that the loud noise is not bothering my humans that much! But, I’ve seen them using ear plugs at times, especially when they are sleeping. Do you know if and who makes ear plugs for cats?
Yours,
Vegas

Dear Vegas, 
No wonder you are finding the building noises next door stressful. We cats can hear far better than humans and better than most other animals. We can detect the highest ultrasonic noise of a mouse squeaking and the lowest sound of a growling large animal. So you are probably hearing ultrasounds from electrical equipment that your humans can't hear at all. 
It's even worse for elderly cats. They sometimes develop epileptic seizures (fits) from jangling, crinkling, metallic noises, mobile phone rings or ultrasounds from electronic gadgets of all kinds.  Lucky for you, you are not a Birman. Birman cats seem to be particularly affected. Most of these seizures are not serious - just jerking convulsive movements, but a few unfortunate felines react with a more severe grand mal seizure. Take a look at this website.
What can you do? Well, ear plugs are not the answer. Your sensitive ears might be damaged when they are put in by clumsy humans. I suggest hiding away in the room the other side of the house furthest from the building noise and only coming out when it is over. It can't last forever.
Yours
George.
P.S. Feline reference nerds should read 'Audiogenic reflex seizures in cats,' Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 18, 328-336

Saturday, June 02, 2018

I've rocked up in……Barbados!

Dear George,
I have recently moved from Europe to Barbados! Why? I really don’t know but my human got tired living in a big, busy city so she decided to buy a house in Barbados and retire! It’s a totally new life for both of us and we both enjoy it very much!
We live in a posh neighbourhood, in a big, beautiful house with lots of trees and huge plants and very close to the Caribbean Sea!  My human spends a lot of time at the beach – I really don’t understand what she’s doing there but I watch her from the window and it’s fun! However, my new life on this wonderful island didn’t start on a nice note! Very soon after our arrival I was inspecting my territory when I’ve got a visitor – there was a monkey sitting on my fence! It looked small and cute and as I approached her to say “hello” she attached me! I ended up with fifty (50) stitches!  Damn it! 
Why couldn’t someone tell us that monkeys are not as friendly as we might have believed? Shouldn’t be there flyers guiding tourists and new comers? I’m fine now but I could have been dead! Phew! George, any idea where I can search for means/tools to protect myself and maybe my human? Do you think our humans pets are at risk? I don’t want to move back but I want to be safe on this little Paradise. So, what should I do?
Yours
Katho


Dear Katho, 
Treat them as you would treat an unknown and feral human. After all, humans are just unpredictable huge primates. But they are so clumsy and incompetent we can easily avoid them. 
Monkeys are like agile humans, only much more agile and more competent in every way. They can climb and jump and run as well as us.
Stay well away.
Yours 
George. 

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Cars - how we cats can use them

Dear George,
I am writing to ask whether you can advise me about cars. My female human used not to have a car but she has recently started a relationship with a male human who has one. This piece of metal stands outside the house door in the street every night.
I know from experience that when they move, they move fast and unpredictably. I nearly got run over one evening when I made a dash for home. Somehow I can't estimate their speed. So they are dangerous when making a growling noise and moving.
But is there anything I could do with it when it is stationery. It seems to take up a lot of room in the road.
Yours 
Stanley.

Dear Stanley,
Here are some suggestions with photos.
When cars are not moving they make excellent look-out points. If you jump on the bonnet or the top, you are safe from passing dogs, and you have a good view of the neighbourhood.
You can use them to shelter from the rain.
You can use them to admire your own reflection.
You can also use them for warmth. If they have been moving, then stop and go silent, you will find there is a warm spot on the bonnet just above the headlights. Very comforting in autumn.
Yours
George




Saturday, May 19, 2018

Dear George,
Here are my teeth! Four big pointy ones at the front for stabbing deep into the vertebrae of a small rodent. Some little ones in the front for nibbling and grooming. And some teeth at the back for slicing up prey. What I haven't got is any teeth for grinding up bone like dogs have.
My question is this. Why does my human insert a brush into my mouth and scrub? It is extremely uncomfortable and I dislike it intensely. She has been doing it for as long as I remember.
Will she stop if I bite her?
Yours
Gracie.

Dear Gracie,
This is another example of well meaning but unpleasant human interference. She is trying to scrub the plaque off your teeth, in order to keep the healthy. Not many humans do this because most of us (unless we have been trained from kittenhood) bite!  And when those canine teeth go into human flesh, most humans notice!
What do I recommend? Well since you have't yet bitten her, I think it is too late to bother. The older you are, the more your teeth need attention. So managing to put up with it, will mean the vet doesn't pull them out! 
I have bitten from the beginning and therefore my teeth are never scrubbed. I am beginning to regret it as I had to have one pulled out by the vet last week.
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