Follow by Email

Friday, December 08, 2017

The Universal Language of Cats


Dear George,
I live in a big metropole and, I humbly must admit I live the life of the riches!
Really, I am a rescue who got the chance to live in a Four Season Hotel suite!
But, that’s not the reason I’m writing to you! The reason is that I’m afraid I’m losing my mind and I don’t know if it’s because of the luxurious life I’m living or if it’s because the electro-magnetic/microwave pollution of the big city or what! How am I manifesting my symptoms? Simply….I think there is a Tower of Babel ….in my head!You see…Italian is my mother tongue, my mummy speaks French and my daddy speaks English. They have friends who speak other languages. When we have company …everybody is talking to me in their mother tongue and I DO UNDERSTAND them all!
Isn’t that crazy? How can I understand all these foreign languages?
George, can you explain this to me before I completely lose my mind? Or is it that we are so advanced that cat language transcend any other languages?
Completely confused
Signore Bianco

Dear Signore Bianco,
Of course you understand what humans are saying - in so far as it is worth bothering about. The feline communication system is multi-faceted involving scent, vocalising and body language, far more advanced than the human one. Using those three senses we read our humans. (Admittedly like reading a book for very young kittens as most of their language is unnessary blah).
We read their body language much better than they read it. We read their tone of voice with an ability much better than theirs. We read the way their scent changes with their emotions and we read the family mixture of scent - hers, his, and mine.We can detect if they have been stroking another cat half an hour ago or which supermarket they went to (they smell different).
Human beings only understand vocalisations.  And because their other senses just don't work, they have to do an awful lot of vocalising in different languages. But we read what is behind or underneath the words: so we don't have to bother with the exact way they vocalise. Much of what they say is very boring anyway. Poor nose blind creatures!
Yours 
George.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Seductive charm is the way to a forever home.

Dear George, 
I’m trying to find a forever home and I need your advice.
I won’t bother you with the details of my life but, you need to know that I’m in a foster home right now. This would be my second foster home and I would very much like this one to become my permanent home. I like my foster human too – he’s quiet! At times he seems to be grumpy but I know he’s not! He is kind and generous! I believe he had cats before because I can still smell them. He doesn’t think I’m a good fit in his life right now but I know he likes me! He travels summertime and he worries as he doesn’t know what to do with me! George, how can I tell him that I’m OK to go for a month or two in a cattery or one of his friends’ house if I’ll be with him for the remaining 10 -11 months of the year? I really like him! I’m happy here! 
With thanks,
Petrushka

Dear Petrushka,
Foster homes can become forever homes, if a cat plays her cards right! But be careful what you wish for. If he really is away from home for several weeks, you might not enjoy being in a cattery for that length of time. Of course, if there is a partner or a best friend who could help out by boarding you, that would be great. Many cats have two homes - an official one and the one down the street where the people give him a second breakfast.
To turn a temporary home into a permanent one requires you to exercise all your charms. Purr at him frequently. Roll on your back and when he tickles your tummy, do not scratch (always tempting, I admit). Practice little loving looks with your head on one side. Jump on his lap and knead - gently.
Greet him with your tail up when he comes home from work. Watch TV with him. Play with his newspaper. Sleep on the bed with him purring regularly and quietly to help him go off to sleep. You know the score. Seduce him with charm. Make him love you. It's what we do when we want something.
Yours 
George.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Vaccines - do they hurt? Why bother?


Dear George, 
I have a question for you if you’ll be so kind to answer.
I’m just a kitten (about 3 months old) and I don’t know or understand much!  I was rescued with my mother from a park. I mean she gave birth to her litter in this park. I know there was another kitty but the lady who rescued us could not find it. I pray for my sibling – hope he/she is OK! My question is about vaccines. Last night I heard my rescuer talking to a veterinarian about me and my mother and saying that we need a blood work done, vaccination and my mom needs to be spayed as well. All this sounds very strange to me and now I’m scared. Actually how many vaccines do I need? And how often? Are they painful? Are they all necessary? Can you give us some guidelines?
Scared but thankful
Pumpkin

Dear Pumpkin, 
Much as I loathe vets, they do have their uses and vaccinations are essential. All cats that are allowed to go outside need them and even indoor-only cats will need them if they are ever put into catteries. Vaccinations will also protect them, if by chance they escape outside.
How many and how often varies from country to country. Here in the UK I am vaccinated yearly with a combination vaccine (just one jab) against feline enteritis and cat 'flu. This means I can go into a cattery if there is an emergency at home. When I was younger, because I am a cat who goes outside, I had three years of vaccinations against feline leukaemia. If I had lived indoors I wouldn't have needed that.
If I lived abroad, a rabies vaccination might well be important or even a legal requirement. Lifestyle matters a lot. If I lived in a multicat household or a breeding colony then vaccinations against chlamydia and bordatella (called kennel cough in dogs) might also be worth having. Vaccinations for FIV and FIP are available outside Europe but these haven't passed EU regulations.
Yours
George 
PS. It's complicated. Here's what UK cat vets think. You need a good vet though I hate to admit that.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Looking for my mouse....

Dear George, 
I think my human mummy is going nuts! This week it was her birthday and she got as a gift “The Essential Dowsing Guide” book! That in itself was the biggest mistake as she immediately started reading it and then, of course, she tried to “explore” (oh! excuse me….dowse) everything that came to her mind or her way. I personally think this is a big no-no …but who would think a cat knows better? Anyway, I was quite bored waiting for to finish reading so we can play so I was looking for my mouse (toy). I didn’t say anything but I heard her saying: Ah! Ok! I can find you (meaning me) if you disappear, I can find lost objects and, actually I can find your mouse – a live mouse! Then….she went to the backyard with two L-shape rods and started walking around! George, is she really nuts? Who cares about dowsing? I don’t ….for the record.
Why?
First – I do not plan to “disappear” (after I lived on the streets for 3 years? No way).
Secondly – I’m not interest in any lost object! I can find my mouse toy without any gadgets. And thirdly – the live mouse is my “quick moving and juicy dinner” and all she did was to scare the heck out of my poor dinner! Now I have to eat the food she had prepared for me! Ugh! I know she holds in utmost respect the British Society of Dowsers! Since this association is in UK can you please ask them how can I tell her she has no talent for dowsing (proved last night) and how can I stop her from scaring away my dinner?
With much gratitude
Chico

Dear Chico,
This is a serious dilemma. We don't want humans to start finding and catching mice. This is our job.  I have always argued that mouse traps should be banned as should mouse poison (so dangerous for cats that decide to eat a mouse). Now dowsing. What will they think of next? They are dumb and dumber, poor creatures.
Maybe it would help if you started bringing her live mice so that she practiced inside the home, rather than interfering in your backyard? This is a tentative suggestion because many humans fail to appreciate our generosity and just scream or stand on chairs.
Another possibility is to use her as a hunting aid. At the moment she is scaring mice away but if she could only get a bit more expert at it, she could dowse their whereabouts, then call you in to finish them off. 
But is this likely? Humans are so noisy and clumsy that I believe they can only dowse inanimate things like water.... even the British Society of Dowsers would surely draw the line at mice.
Please stay in touch and tell me how you get on with this latest example of sheer human stupidity.
Yours
George.

Friday, November 10, 2017

What is... the magic word for "Get out of my box."

Dear George,
I need your help in finding the magic word that will make my human jump out of my box! It all started few days ago as a game - I was sleeping in the box when I heard “peekaboo”. I must admit it took me by surprise and I jumped out of the box only to find my human laughing out loud! OK! I meowed back “peekaboo” and ….quite like by “magic”….he jumped into the box. I meowed again peekaboo but no response! I tried to push him out of the box as you can see in the photo attached but no reaction! I don’t know if he fell asleep there but now I worry he might take residence of my box. How do I get him out? What is the magic word? Cat Scan? I tried it with no results? Oh! By the way, my human will soon become a medical doctor! George, I want my box back! 
Please help. 
Leo.

Dear Leo,
Human-kittens are always so amusing! So sad that they have to grow up to be slow and serious rather than playful like us. Soon he won't want to jump into that box!  So enjoy those precious moments while he is still young enough to play like a proper kitten.
Me in my box
We felines know that boxes are awesome playthings. Nice to jump into. Nice to jump out of. But humans lose that creative playfulness. They just think boxes are boxes. Poor things.
So think outside the box, and encourage him to stay inside it. Or maybe you could lure him out by pretending his favourite soft toy is a mouse. 
Or just jump in with him! It will give him a bit of a surprise, as you land on his head!
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