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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Remaining a cool cat in a heat wave


Dear George,
Lately we have been hit with temperatures rising to 36 degrees Celsius and over. I’ve heard about some humans suffering really bad from this unusual heat wave.
I’ve found out that even London was hit with hot weather! The problem is that humans can dress sensible but we have to wear our fur coat year around! So, how does one stay cool and hydrated? I personally have central air conditioning but mommy did set it up on low as she doesn’t like cold indoors! So, she is dropping 2-3 ice cubes in my water bowl before she heads to work and when she comes back she’s always taking a damp washcloth and stroke me. She does this sometimes even in the winter when she thinks the indoor air is too dry even with the humidifier on! I must admit I like this very much! George, I wonder if there are any other ways to keep cats cool and hydrated. What about the stray cats and other animals? I’ve seen mommy going out and placing containers with cold water near bushes and in the ravine nearby. She even asked our neighbours to do the same! A while ago she created a “bathing fountain” in our backyard for the birds but I’m not allowed near it which, I think is totally unfair as I love watching birds bathing. And then….you know what yes, right – I’m daydreaming! Must be the heat …but she did build it. So, George, how do you stay cool & hydrated?
Princess Penelope

Dear Princess Penelope,
I have water bowls inside the house in three different places and one outside just near the cat flap. Of course, normally I prefer to drink from muddy puddles (it winds up humans nicely) but at the moment there are none.  None of the water bowls are near a food bowl, as we cats do not eat and drink at the same time.
There is a bird bath. And a bowl put out on what used to be a lawn and is now a dry dead area, full of water for wildlife such as hedgehogs (if we have any and 1 don't think we do). I sometimes drink from the bird bath but the local pigeons have a horrid habit of defecating in it, so I have to do this early when it is scrubbed and refilled. Drinking from the bird bath is another way of teasing my human.
I stay inside the house during the day, preferably on the tiled floor of the kitchen. At dusk I move out into the warm moonlit evening and start my patrol.... hunting if I can. At about 10pm I am called in for supper. Sometimes I won't come. But normally I am hungry enough to come in. 
Stay cool, your Royal Highness.
George. 
PS. You are truly beautiful. If I hadn't had the snip, I would be leaving home and hunting you down.
 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

The tail... what does it mean/ Can humans read it?

Dear George, 
I need your help in finding a common language with my human.
She is pretty smart and she did learn fast cat language but, for whatever reason she is quite stubborn when comes to “tail language”.  She doesn’t understand that we are way more sophisticated than dogs and we also “communicate” with our eyes, face, tail, body, etc. She takes the simplistic approach just like a dog!
At times she makes me think I’m training a dog not a human! I’m sure you’ll agree with me that cat tail wagging can mean so many different things! For example: when she calls me, unlike a dog who would be happy to come when called, I like to take my time and analyze “the call” – is it worth my time getting up? Is it about food? Or she just wants company? But, she doesn’t understand that because she doesn’t speak cat tail language!
So, she comes running throughout the house looking for me everywhere and disturbing my quietude! 
George, can you help?
Katho

Dear Katho,
Humans don't understand tails at all. Why should they? They don't even have one, poor mutilated things. So reading a tail, by which we can express so much, is beyond most of them.
Tail language, of course, is obvious to us. There is TAIL UP, a sign that we like the person we are approaching. We're flagging it up, as we walk towards them, as a sign of greeting and liking. 
Then there is BUSHY TAIL. That's just the opposite. Our hair is literally standing up with rage.  At about the same time, our tails are usually going up, then sort of drooping down to cover our backside if we get in a fight.
There's LASHING TAIL.  This is clear too. It says, "I do not like this. Stop it. Or I may bite you." LASHING TAIL is also part of our hunting procedure. We stop, eye the mouse, stalk and then lash the tail as a kind of balancing movement before the pounce.
What else? Well there is just TAIL MIDMAST.  That's the relaxed tail just hanging out more or less in line with our bodies, when we are just relaxed about about life in general.
But how are you going to get this across to her? Most humans can't red their at all. Write to me again if you have found a way.
Yours 
George.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Is my human scared of me? Bored cats go bad.

Dear George,
I’m very worried about my human but, at the same time, I’m laughing my head off as I’m convinced my human is scared of me! I don’t know why but lately she’s acting very strange. A sudden move or meow on my part will startle her? What do you think is happening here? I know I’ve been acting up lately because I’m bored being indoors while my human is at work. She stopped letting me outside since our next door neighbour got a new cat (which for the moment I hate)!  Also, I hate when new people are coming to my house whenever my human decides to entertain. It might be fun for her but it is a lot of stress for me. I suffer high anxiety because of all these humans trying to hold me, pet me! Yuck! So, George, purr-favor….your wisdom is much appreciated!
Bentley

Dear Bentley,
Your human needs to be taught a lesson. When cats have nothing to do, they get scratchy and may start hunting humans not mice! All that hugging, holding and petting makes things worse. Humans may like that sort of thing but most cats like short petting not hours of it.
You need hunting games in the evening. Preferably with a fishing rod toy. I realise that most humans are too idle to do this, even though they can wave the toy while they are watching the moving box called TV. See if you can get her interested by batting small items like fallen biros, bits of paper, string or ribbon. Play with shoe laces. She might then start throwing things for you. Humans are slow to get the message, so you will have to purrsist.
Show off. I find that a small piece of dried pasta dropped on the kitchen tiles makes a great toy.
Do zoomies. Don't know what these are? They are rushing up and down stairs, or round the house at top speed. Try to get her out of her self-obsession and into your fun zone, not hers. 
And while she is out of the house, get her to hide dry food round the house, or scatter feed you rather than put it in a boring bowl, or use a food dispenser. My ideas about making indoor-life more interesting can be found here.
Yours George 
 
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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hair care by humans - no shaving, purlease!

Dear George, 
The question is: can you shave a cat? Unfortunately the answer is: Yes, you can shave a cat! Why? If you ask me….simply because humans are obsessed with shaving their hair! I’ve seen my human dad shaving the hair on his face including his whiskers! No wonder he lost his sense of smell and orientation; I can see him at night bumping into walls and doors trying to get to that last slice of cake! 
I’ve seen my human mummy shaving her legs! Disgusting! Her legs looks like chicken legs especially when she wears a skirt! Phew! I know there are situations when a doctor will shave a cat for medical reasons but why do humans think it is cool to make us look like fake lions and puddles? 
Right now I’m fuming as I’ve got an “all over make-up” meaning….being shaved to avoid “matted fur”. Isn’t that stupid? There must be another solution for matted fur! George, please enlighten my stupid humans before it is too late (I mean next summer)!
Yours….almost hairless,
Mouse

Dear Mouse,
Follically challenged humans are hung up on hair. Theirs. Ours. Have you noticed that not only do the male shave off their whiskers, but the females, who have very few if any whiskers, nevertheless pull out the pathetic ones that do grow. They even reduce the whiskers above their eyes. And now the males are beginning to shave their chests.
I send deepest sympathies to you, about your human pets' behaviour. The obsession is really getting bad when they start interfering with our hair. We certainly don't need them to shave us.
A well trained human may help us a little with some gentle brushing, or even (at shedding time) get rid of some fur with the aid of a comb. Some of us long haired cats may even need daily brushing. Nothing more, purrlease. If mats form, it is the humans' fault for not brushing us enough.

Try to get your humans to do a proper hair care regime with daily brushing to prevent mats forming. You could remind them by sicking up a furball on the carpet. I deposited a particularly revolting one the other day.
I mean, how often do we need to tell them.  They are so dumb.
Yours
George.

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


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