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Friday, July 25, 2014

Purrfect Kitchen Cleaning Services Ltd.

Dear George,
We are a team of two young and enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Our business is to clean any food left in the kitchen. We are thinking of registering a company with the above title….just in case other members of the feline community will need our services. Why Ltd. (limited)? Because some people are very bad at leaving any food out or they would leave out junk that we can’t “clean” (like ketchup, garlic powder, chili peppers, etc.) We are fine observers (from higher up levels) of both kitchens and people as you can see in the photo attached.
We inspect any surface or dish in the kitchen looking for bits of bread, meat or any other “people food” that cats may enjoy. However, being so young…we must admit…we don’t have enough experience when it comes to sneaky (please read sophisticated) people who are hiding food in all places.
That’s where we need your help and expertise George. For example – where is the food from the big plate that Jasper is sitting on? We’ve seen the smoke, the vapors and the smells coming out of “this” thing but when we looked to see what’s cooking….nothing was in there (people call this thing a hood?). Myself, Riley, I’m up and above to see what’s up there ….but, there is nothing again and I can swear I’ve seen our human mommy hiding something up here.  Also, how can we open locked cabinets and what do we do with the food we found in the “cold” big box we managed to open? Brrrr! It was cold and full of frozen meat! Ugh!
Waiting for your tips and tricks!
Yours,
Riley and Jasper

Dear Riley and Jasper, 
I have a cleaning routine. First I patrol round the floor looking for anything that fell off the higher surfaces. Next I leap on to the kitchen surfaces and check these out too. You will be surprised at the crumbs and tidbits that you find.  If you are in luck, there may even be a plate to lick. One one glorious occasion I found an open bowl of semolina pudding. I ate - apologies - cleaned up most of it.
I have never mastered opening a closed wall cupboard, but if you look carefully you may find one that isn't entirely closed. Insert a cautious paw and pull it open. Then jump on to the shelving inside. 
For floor level, try another technique. Fling yourself at the cupboards. They may swing open in reaction. The big freezer boxes? If you are strong enough to pull out a frozen chicken take it away somewhere to defrost. The fridge is easy. Plenty there to clean up if your human is unwise enough to leave the door ajar.
And help recycle the trash! Some people have a recycling food box on the kitchen surface. Edge this off and with luck when it falls on the floor the top will open. Recycle this inwardly. For a larger trash can, stand on your hind legs and pull it over with your weight while nimbly leaping to one side at the last minute.
The hood - normally a waste of time, but it is fun to sit there and survey the cooking. As for you, Riley, that high up retreat is fun but usually you won't find much food there either.
Happy kitchen cleaning, boys.
George.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Claws and clippers - an official complaint from Australia

Dear George,
Can you have a quiet word with your Human about claws and clippers?
Nothing sarcastic, mind - just gently point out that some humans [and I include mine amongst them] should never be given access to machinery or tools.Your Human, whom I am prepared to concede has been highly trained and certified by you – gave my Human a set of cunning and devious pointers on how to approach my beautifully clawed feet, and trim my carefully honed daggers which have taken MONTHS to perfect.
Ye Gods...what was she thinking?
Anyway....my paw was held; [a skill I already had, thank you very much]-and I got my treat... and then held again while this gadget thingy was picked up. And I was off, before even snatching the treat she was holding out for me.
 Back to square one.......
I held hands; sat up and said “Please”; let her hold my paw; watched her hand sneak towards the damn thingy again, and I was whistling off into the sunset again.
I can play this game as long as she can, but my complaint to you, George my friend, is that I keep missing out on my treats, due to having to take off and gallop away all the time.
Not to mention, it’s tiring and wasting quality treat time. The Dog thinks I’ve gone mad, and chases me around the lounge and upstairs, telling me to “just sit and have it done, you wimp,” like she does. Not a chance......
Back to you, Chum – a quiet word is definitely required.
I didn’t also mention that the first thingy was changed for a different thingy...but she’s still not getting near my feet with it, so there!
 It’s pretty cold here now, and I am missing out on lap time as well, not to mention having to sleep with one eye open, in case.......
I am retaliating by shedding more fur all over the place, but all that’s done is make them go out and get another small screamy, sucky thingy, to clean it up with. It’s a scary little beast, and can get into small spaces where I have been able to deposit huge heaps before. Not impressed George...too many gadgets!
Your Aussie mate    
Chaos.

Dear Chaos,
This is an official apology for my human. Poor Celia thinks she trains cats, while all the cats she has ever owned have trained her. Compared with us, she is a really poor trainer. Like all humans she suffers under the delusion that she is in charge of us, when really we are in charge of her.
Continue your behaviour around the clipper. Your humans will soon give up their pathetic attempts. They do not have the feline level of purrsistence. We can outwait and outwit our humans every time if we keep our cool.
Missing the treats. Develop a "cute" behaviour for them. Sitting up on your backside or waving a paw when food in around. They will probably give you some and then every time you want some, you do the behaviour. This is called reward training or operant conditioning. They give you food and you reward them with the cute behaviour.
If only humans knew....
Yours George
PS. If you have a good scratch post (or outside tree) your claws will look after themselves to your satisfaction, if not to theirs. It needs to be large enough for your full height and very stable. I have a Fat Boy post.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Of humans and diets

Dear George,  
Mi chiama Luigi e io sono Italiano. At least I think I’m Italian since I was rescued by an Italian family.  And you got it….my name is Luigi and I think I’m about 3 year old (I don’t remember much of my life before being rescued). Well, all was great until the other day when my human kitten bragged about me to some crazy lady. Why crazy? Because the minute she heard I’m a 22 lbs. cat she started lecturing about me being too fat (how does she dare) and that I can become diabetic and all that nonsense.
Now, you should know that I am a big cat and I am….hm! well rounded (as you can see in the picture) but, I think I’m far from being fat. She advised my humans to cut off completely the dry food and to give me only wet food and only twice a day.
George, I’m not only in a state of shock but absolutely worried that my humans might take her advice. Am I going to be starving? I think she’s so crazy that she would put anybody (humans and cats) on a diet. What is wrong with these people? I don’t tell them to cut down on their pasta or red wine or cheese. George, is it true that we can become diabetics if we eat too much? Since humans are so obsessed with diets….what is a proper diet for a cat? 
Confused and mad
Luigi

Dear Luigi,
I share your irritation with humans. Have you looked out of the window lately and seen those HUGE humans lumbering by. Twenty stone or more of male and female flab. And they have the cheek to lecture us about getting fat! I see my human eating varied and delicious meals, while I have to get by on the same cat food (albeit of a different flavour) each day. It makes my blood boil.
I have to put up with a vet (whom I naturally loathe anyway) who lectures Celia on keeping my weight down. She's quite unpleasant about it: making personal remarks about the saggy state of my tummy. So I am on a restricted diet. Luckily for me I can supplement it by going out there and eating mice and baby rabbits. For cats with a cat flap, I advise doing this or just raiding other cats food by entering their cat flap.
If you are an indoor-only cat, this isn't available to you. What your human should be doing is to give you a more interesting life in order to boost your exercise quota. More fun instead of just less food. Ignore the advice about wet not dry food (unless you have a medical condition like cystitis). Get rid of the boring food bowl. Put your dry food into food dispensers (read How to Have a Happy Indoor Cat here). Scatter the food round the house so you have to hunt for it. It's not such good fun as hunting mice, but it is almost as good. Lots of games with fishing rod toys.
I might say that this should apply to humans too. Less time in the shopping malls and more time in the gyms or out on the hills. I push Celia out every Sunday to walk for 4 hours while I get on with the hunting. She complains but it does her good.
A fun-not-food-deprivation diet is what you need, Luigi. 
Yours 
George

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Naked but not as nature intended.... these humans!


Dear George,
Look at me (and please don’t laugh)! Who did this?
Believe it or not ….ME! Yes, I did this to myself. Hard to believe but it is true! How did I manage to get this hairdo? Very simple!
By training my humans too well. See, I never thought there was such a delicate balance within the human brain between ignorance and willingness to please.
Don’t get me wrong; my humans are extremely nice and love me very much. They try to please me in any way they can; they attend to all my meows and needs day and night.
But, please allow me to introduce myself; my name is Mojo and, of course, I was blessed with beautiful long hair. A while ago my humans decided to get a new brush which I totally disliked. Each time they try to brush my coat I would cry and meow and cry again.
When they stopped brushing me I thought I’m living up to my name and use my magic power to make them do whatever I want them to. Well…the rest is history as you can imagine my coat got so matted they had to give me a shave instead of brushing.
But, don’t you think they should have got more knowledgeable about brushes first? Couldn’t they see that horrible little brush won’t work on my long hair?
George, do you think I fail in training my humans? What do I do now?
I can’t even go outside – I feel naked.
Very upset
Mojo

Dear Mojo, 
Would a human being like it if their hairdresser pulled their hair, or scraped their scalp with a comb, or hurt them in every way? Of course, they would not. They would never go to that particular hairdresser again. So why expect us cats to put up with this? 
You didn't fail to train them. You trained them not to brush you! Brilliant bit of training, I agree, but not such a good idea.
You should have been training them to groom you daily in the right way. They should combine the brushing with a delicious treat and never brush too long time. They should lure you with the treat to a place which suits them, where the brush is ready, and then brush for two or three minutes, finally giving you the treat. And then they should stop. If more brushing is needed they can start again after half an hour.
They need the right equipment. Zoomgrooms are gentle and most cats enjoy them, but they don't do a good job on lots of hair. Slicker brushes, used with care, are more effective as are metal combs (fairly wide ones). The cheap small human hairbrushes used for permed hair can be useful too.
Then, having given you a break, they can start again.  If they as gentle as possible, generous with the treat, and always patient, you will find it easier. They should (for the time being) cut out any knots rather than try to brush them out. Most cats dislike being brushed, because their humans tug at the hair impatiently, don't leave enough time to brush little by little, and pull out knots forcibly. Knots should either be cut out, or (for show cats) teased with the fingers gently, gently, and brushed a tiny bit at a time.
If you are now severely phobic about being groomed, there are some instructions dictated by me to my website secretary here   Get to work with those purrs and claws to help them learn this new trick.
George

Saturday, June 28, 2014

George's obituary of Harvey the Inspirational House Rabbit

 Harvey the Inspirational House Rabbit was a shining beacon for rabbits everywhere. "He took over our lives as soon as he arrived," says Janet, his pet and primary care giver. "From the start he decided firmly what would be his own lifestyle, limitations and place in the family set up."
Luckily for other rabbits who are thinking of moving into a human house, Harvey left a record of his training methods. "It's not all cabbage and carrots being in charge of two humans and a house," he admitted. He monitored all visitors,  and enjoyed watching TV.
His diary of daily life can be purchased here
Harvey also busied himself with a little redecorating - putting frills on the sofa arm, and adjusting the carpet fringe a little. "It was all done very tastefully," he remarked, "They could have shown a bit more appreciation in my opinion."
Like all good trainers, Harvey recognised the importance of showing displeasure when training a human. "If they try to blame you for something, turn your back. If you want to object to anything at all, turn your back and sit tight."
His chapter on the importance of watching feet should be read by all house animals. It is an important insight into the world of humans. He realised that feet were the key to predicting human activity within the house.
He will be much missed. His legacy is his blog and the written version of it in a book. He also contributed photos to Celia's website.




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