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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Grass for your very own lawn -- a pre Christmas gift for indoor cats

Dear George.
I thought I'd show you my Christmas present from my people.......a U Beaut, fully turfed, indoor lawn!  Excuse the Aussie slang.....can't help it sometimes....
As I may have mentioned before, I am a total indoor cat, albeit with my own personal jungle gym in the form of rafters going up into the ceiling....but no grass. I have, from time to time mentioned this to my staff, and finally they have listened.
Friends have been laying turf around their house, and I have scored the off cuts.  The "garden" tray sits inside a water tray, so that in the heat we are currently enduring*, [particularly me, with the' full on' fur coat] the whole thing stays cool and fresh.
I consider this a stroke of genius from my people, and worthy of a mention on your blog, don't you? 
I have to keep The Dog off it, in case (silly animal that she is), she thinks it's to dig in. Hence it is up on two chairs.
It's  41.5 C  outside, and we are all melting......I even have it in me to feel sorry for the Dog, but not enough to share my lawn...what am I...daft? But I do share it with the wallabies when it grows too high. My people just put it outside and the wallabies mow it down.
I do hope your Christmas includes heaps of paper to be silly with, and a sparkly tree to mess up. This is my favourite time of year...can't wait!
Best Wishes

Dear Chaos,
Love the lawn. Don't even think of letting The Dog near it. This is a rare example of human intelligence (they can more or less think but they just don't most of the time) allied with careful feline training skills. Congratulations. 
Sigh.... Christmas again. I can never decide if I like it or not. On the one hand there are good kitchen treats - turkey trimmings, cream, gravy, butter (left out on the table), and the chance to bat the decorations hanging from the Christmas tree.
On the other hand there are the hazards - humans drinking too much of their liquid catnip substitute, strangers in the home that want to harass you with petting, human-kittens that may want to pull your tail, and a lot of noise from the TV. 
And - horror of horrors, humans who put silly hats on you. What I want for Christmas is turkey, some cat treats like Dreamies, and a nice warm place to sleep away from drunk humans or quarrelling families.... must be great to be in Oz where everywhere is warm.
I catch rabbits here. I'd love to have a crack at the wallabies.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Roll.... or role? Why do Humans complicate their language?

Dear George,
You are such an amazing agony aunt; you study humans' behaviour, you write books, articles and you do a lot of studies and research so, maybe you can explain to me the semantics of "roll". For example, when I want to say something....I meow! And, the pronunciation, the sound and the spelling of "my meows" are all the same; the way I write, same way I read and same way I spell. Why is English such a messed up language? Why can two words have quite the same pronunciation/sound but yet different spelling and completely different meanings?  I found this as being very confusing for humans. Maybe that's why we have so many problems training them.
The word in question is "roll" and the problem is my mummy! I know English is not her first language (she speaks more than one language but it doesn't do her any good as you'll see). The other day I've heard her talking with a friend about "Fluffy's role" and I thought: yes! she finally got it. Then I've seen her e-mailing her friend my photo (attached here) as "Fluffy's roll". I realized that we are talking about different things.  When I hear the "word in question" ....I'm thinking of a "role" and my role is to run the house and train my humans. When she hears the "word" she's thinking of one of my relaxing poses asking for a belly rub. Later that day as I was meowing my frustration in regards to her poor linguistic abilities ...I realized something even more disturbing; to her...if I "roll" ....I'm her darling! But if I exercise my "role" (of running the house)...I'm a tyrant, a spoiled brat! See where I'm getting? How can an extra "l" in the absence of an "e" make such a difference? Can you explain this to me George? And, last but not do I make my mummy skip that extra "l" and add an "e" so we'll both be on the same page and talking same language and that means  accepting "my role"?

Dear Fluffy,
Sometimes I despair at the inferior species. Like you, I find decoding human vocalisations very difficult - same sound, different meaning. It's not just the ridiculous spelling (mouse tracks on a page or screen is what I call them)! It's the sheer impenetrability of their sounds.
When I meow, it is purrfectly clear what it means. The pitch, the intensity, and the context distinguish between Meow meaning "I want some of that.": Meow meaning "Open the door please,": Meow meaning "Wake up,": Meow meaning "I am upset. Get me out of here,": Meow meaning "How could you do this to me,": and Meow meaning "No, I am not handing over that bit of chicken I found in the trash."
We can speak clearly and simply.They can't.
They obfuscate and muddle, just like their tiny minds. And the way they babble endlessly. Is it worth studying their vocalisations?  I have done so and I conclude there are only a few words that it is really necessary for a cat to understand. These, in order of importance, are: "vet," "cattery," "sitter," "tin," "food," "bag," "fridge," "chicken," trash," "pill," "door," "dog."  For most of these, except the food ones, you run under the bed.
What is a cat to do with the rest of the noises? Tune most of them out, I think. It's the only way to save your sanity. And I enjoy it when they call "George." I look at them carefully in a disdainful way and saunter off.
Try it, Fluffy. It's a good game.
Purrs and rubs
Just added a photo of me rolling in the dust. Not such a gorgeous tummy, I fear.

Friday, November 07, 2014

I have trained my human to write novels that help homeless cats.

Dear George,
My name is Lara and I am an amazing survivor of a horrendous dog attack and because my beauty was scarred no one wanted me! That is until a lady at Morley Cat Rescue saw through my injuries and noticed my beautiful nature and playful ways and she rescued me! Now after many years in her care I have regained my lustrous coat and lost all the excess weight I gained through inactivity. I can walk again!
I would really like to say thanks, George, to Morley Cat Rescue and their devotion and I have just seen my dear mum Morwenna Holman writing novels which she hopes to sell to rescue more cats like me so can you spread the word please? Her novels are Westerdale, Heaton and Rainharrow (details here) and she is working on the next one as we speak,( well tea is late again as she is finishing a chapter ) but every penny of royalties is going to be divided among Morley Cat rescue who need a cattery for darling stray little souls like me who get injured by dogs and cannot remain on the streets and AISPA. Morwenna also wants to send money to the cats of Torre Argentine in the Roman ruins as they are a wonderful and devoted bunch of people. They stop cats like me from breeding (babies - yuk - it makes me go cold just thinking about it!).
For every copy of one of Morwenna's books sold each rescue will get a pound so please get humans to help us! Well, I shall now go and position myself strategically over Morwenna's E-book and gaze at her with my beautiful huge eyes. It is a trick I learnt from Celia's book and I flutter my eyelashes for more effect. It works every time!
Miaows and purrs,

Dear Lara,
It's a real pleasure to come across human beings who want to help cats. Some of them don't care and even more of them just think they own one of us and don't bother helping the species. This Morwenna human sounds like a really nice pet.
I really do congratulate you on your pet. Mine does a bit of writing but she had a tendency to invade the privacy of the cats she writes about. I wish I could turn her little mind to fiction, rather than fact. So I admire what you have done with Morwenna.
Worse still, Celia put her own name on MY book, 100 Ways for a Cat to Train its Human. A dirty trick, I thought, and it still rankles.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Bander, the pet shop cat, - should I go on diet?

Dear George,
My name is Bander and I consider myself one lucky cat!
Why? First and foremost because I'm a rescue!
Secondly, because I was rescued and adopted by an entire pet food store... Yes! Everybody loves me - starting with the owner, the staff and ending, of course, with the store's clients. Do you realize what that means for me? It means lots of petting and belly rubbing and unlimited free food - as much as I want from everything!
One particular client keeps telling the staff that I'm a bit skinny and asks how often do they feed me. They look at him like he is crazy since they think I'm well "too rounded" (pictures attached). But, I  took his saying at heart. I knew he's being sarcastic but his remark helped me develop a very entertaining habit at night. You see, when I'm alone in the store I feel so empowered and in charge...that I can do whatever I want, I literally can pick and choose! And, I choose to open whatever bag of food inspires me! Some nights I open two - three bags (not that I finish any) just for fun or maybe because I'm bored. They say I should exercise. But how can I exercise if I'm confined indoors? I'm no hamster to run on a wheel. And, honestly, food just tastes better than toy
George, I need your help as I don't know what to do. Do you think I should be on a diet?


Dear Bander,
Take no notice whatsoever of these remarks. As the manager of a pet store, it is clear to me that you must sample your wares. How else can you tell if you are selling high value products? How can you fulfill your duties to your customers without careful investigation and trials of the various food items.
As for exercise, tearing open food bags does involve exercise - clawing, tearing, pulling etc. And if you are sampling products, it is important to sample several rather than finish just one. 
It seems to me that what you are doing is a justifiable commercial activity. Get your humans to wise up. If they want to exercise you perhaps they could release some white mice or merely important some ordinary house mice. Then you could have real fun with a delicious meal at the end.
Yours sympathetically
PS. It is a human (not a feline) failing to be obsessed with body shape. Who cares! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Training your humans to play THE music for cats

Dear George,
Lately, I've seen from your posts that "training our humans" is a major theme.
I learned also that you wrote an excellent book on the subject; "A hundred ways to train your human", right?
I must admit I've learned a lot from your blog and, now...I'd like to brag about my success on training my humans.
Here is just one example: my very special "theatre space" :-))) created for me by my mom!
I can watch from here lots of "things" and I can get a belly rub from my humans whenever I want.
I trained them to play the music I like or play a movie for me! So, here I am.... watching this superb piece by Rossini! 
But, I wonder...who trained these two sopranos? Was Rossini a cat himself?
Bravos! That's what we should aim for!

Dear Patches,
Congratulations on your leadership skills in the management of humans. I really enjoyed the Rossini duet and I thought the humans looked very sweet as they tried to speak our language. So well trained. I wonder who trained them.
Your letter set me researching the human music which is about cats. Other musical possibilities are The Kitty Valse (Faure) performed by two human kittens, Puss-in-Boots and the White Cat (Tchaikovsky) and The Cat Dance (Prokofiev). I shall endeavour to find these on Youtube later today.
But the Rossini is best.
Yours gratefully
PS. In 1758 a showman, Bisset expand hired an exhibition room in the Haymarket and put on ‘The Cats’ Opera’ with cats strumming dulcimers and mewing, a monkey dancing with a dog and a hare that walked on his back legs whilst beating a drum.

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, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online