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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Larry the Downing Street Cat is in Danger

Dear George, 
Something very curious happened to me! Since I took up Cat-Yoga (pronounced Catha-yoga) both my energy and conscience expended to an unbelievable level! I’m no longer the sleepy kitten waiting for my Mom and Dad to rub my belly and give me little kisses!
Even more so my awareness of critical situation and injustice developed to such an extent that I became a very active supporter of the “animals’ rights” movement around the globe. Of course I have full support of my mummy and quite often I’ll send her to represent me at different demonstrations and protests!
I became aware of the changes going on in the UK lately and, with no intention to get into politics, I have to ask you one question! What is going to happen with Larry, the cat now? (NB: not to be mistaken for Larry, the tabby - the famous cat of CatCafe in Vancouver, Canada that your very meow-amazing Adele fell in love - or so the twitter world claims). 
So, getting back to our Larry – the cat living at 10 Downing - will he be abandoned once again? Will he be back on the streets?  Or will he continue to serve the nation from 10 Downing? I heard he was limping the other night? Did he get proper treatment? Does he have the full staff to his orders as before? I’m very worried about his fate. Should I start a cat revolution to save Larry?
George, I’m standing tall (as you can see in the picture attached) and waiting for your comments! You are closer to home than me.
Yours…. ready for action,
Beau 

Dear Beau,
Larry has had a tough time lately - but its nothing to do with the new Prime Minister at no 10 Downing St. For a very brief period he was in charge of Number 10 after David Cameron left and before Theresa May was officially in charge. But he welcomed her into his home and all is well between them, as far as we can tell.
No. The danger has come from the Foreign Office. Not Boris Johnson, the Foreign secretary with the Donald Trump hair. But from Palmerston, a dark presence and sworn foe.
Palmerston is named after an expansionist Victorian Prime Minister, and seems to behave like his human predecessor.
He is a black and white cat. In his tuxedo with white gloves, he obviously thinks himself a cut above Larry from Battersea and is expanding into his territory.
So Larry has limped home with a wounded paw and the nation waits to see who will win this cat fight.
Yours 
George.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Travelling with my family or staying at home?

Dear George,
My family planned a short ten day vacation to visit some relatives and last night they were debating if I should go with them or not! Well, I don’t know! They have a big car called a “van” and I’ll have my bed, litter box, water and food all in the car but still…it’s a 12 hour drive! Plus we’ll cross the border…which makes me very nervous! What if they quarantine me? What if I get lost? I heard their relatives have a huge house which I like to explore but what if I’ll be “placed” in just one room?
The alternative …if I’ll stay home …is to have one of their friends coming once a day to clean the litter box and feed me! Yes, I would be home alone and lonely but, at least I will have my little paradise (as you can see in the photo).
Ugh! George, there are so many pro and con! I really don’t know what to do; one part of me wants to go and one part of me wants to stay home! I know some cats are good on road trips but some are not! Do you think I’ll miss my humans? Or will they miss me more and that’s the reason they want to take me with them?
I have such mixed feelings!
Yours….at a fork
Leo 

Dear Leo,
The van with bed, litter box, water and food sounds good to me - assuming that you are traveling in a temperate climate. In really hot weather you would need air conditioning or fully open windows all the way. Dogs can die of heat stress and so can cats - though most people don't realise it. Staying just in one room while you are in a strange house is probably a good idea - many cats are very freaked out in a new home because of different smells, noises, people and unfamiliar territory.
But having somebody visit each day at home is equally good, if they are reliable. If your family is going to be away for a long time, it would be safest to make sure you are confined to the house, not allowed out of the cat flap. Because if something happened to you outside (road accidents, being chased by a dog etc) the daily visitor wouldn't know about it or might not be able to rescue you.
Celia puts me in a cattery each time she goes away for more than 3 days. I hate it there but it is the same cattery and the same pen each visit. So it is familiar territory and I know all the cattery workers. She feels I would be physically safer there if I have a health problem or the house burns down while she is away.
Purrsonally I think humans should stop taking holidays. It's selfish. Their duty is to stay with us....
George.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Look what my human has made - an outside litter tray

Dear George
My human does make me laugh sometimes. She is always getting the builder to do stuff in the garden relating to me, or the squirrels. She enclosed the garden knowing how important it is for me to keep in shape and have great fun as I chase the many fascinating creatures and leaves in it, and of course to sunbathe on my castle. By the way, she only enclosed the garden as I am FIV positive.
The neighbour’s gardens have therefore become unavailable for doing my business, and this year she has vegetables and herbs growing which are great and convenient toileting locations as the soil is lovely and soft, but she has decided to offer me an alternative. A pit was dug today and filled with gravel and soft sand. I assume she wants me to use this instead. Doesn’t the contraption remind you of Dalek? I’ve had a wander inside, and may use it to shelter from the rain. Whether I’ll use it as a toilet remains to be seen. Do you think I’m being too much of a tease?
Yours in collusion for making our pets work really hard for us,
Diamond
P.S. I'm sending you my human pet's blog on how I inveigled myself into her life in case it might provide ideas to some of your readers. Read it here. And her website here.


Dear Diamond,
I love the way you have trained your pet to be so active on your behalf. Special fencing in the garden instead of an indoor-only life. I bet the neighbour is pleased! For some reason humans are very disgusted by cat poo in their gardens.
I love the idea of sand too. Just what our ancestors in the desert would have used. Is she prepared to make sure the loo is kept clean enough for you - solids cleared daily and urine flushed with water every two days or so? Otherwise it can get very smelly - even by feline standards. 
I've just got the news that Celia has taken on another difficult kitten.... apparently one that attacks the face! Luckily she (Celia not the kitten) wears glasses. I quite admire these feisty kittens but they need to learn how to train humans with rewards not punishments. Claws should only be used in an emergency.
Yours
George.



Friday, June 24, 2016

Was I weaned too young? Will I have behaviour problems?

Dear George,
I’m sitting here, on the stairs (as you can see in the photo) and left to ponder over my human’s words “that I was way too young” when I was rescued. It seems that my human mummy has this obsession about who could abandon me at such a young age.
The truth is that I can’t remember how old I was but probably I was about 4 weeks old when I “landed” into my humans’ backyard. How did I get there? No one, including myself, has any idea! Based on the comments I hear it seems that I lack some skills that only the biological mother can teach the kittens. Well, I purr-sonally don’t think I miss anything! Actually I think I’m purr-fect! And I live a very happy life! 
So George, why four weeks is “way too young” and “12 weeks is a bit old”?
Is there such a thing as “an appropriate age” for adoption?
A bit confused but otherwise Purr-fect!
CAT Victoria 

Dear Victoria,  
There are two reasons why cats should stay with their mother for about eight weeks minimum (if possible).  One is food. Mother's milk is the best way for them to grow big and strong, though they can take solid food as well from 4 weeks. If they are orphan kittens, most shelters will supplement solid food with special formula milk. 
But cats are very adaptable. If there is no mother, and they are put on all-solid food at four weeks, most will survive.  Feral kittens, that lose their mother, often start hunting earlier than those that still have a mum. They have to, if they are to survive.
The second reason is behaviour. Kittens learn a lot from the mother and siblings. They learn how to play without being too rough. They learn what is good to eat. Kittens brought up with a mother but without siblings may be less sociable towards other cats (we think). They may be more aggressive to other cats. 
If they are bottle fed by a human, it is said that they think they are human. They have difficulties mating. The other possibility - and research is under way on this - that they cannot tolerate frustration.
A mother cat starts pushing her kittens away from her when it is time to wean them: but human bottle feeders often don't do this. So the kitten doesn't learn how to tolerate not getting what it wants. 
None of this matters much, Victoria, if you have a good home, have been neutered, and have learned to be gentle with your humans. Yes you are Purr-fect!
Yours
George
PS. Going to your final home at 12 weeks, which is what most pedigree breeders suggest, is OK as long as you have had a proper upbringing with the breeder, met other cats, and met lots of humans. If you were born in a chalet and not handled enough, 12 weeks is late to learn about humans. But it is not impossible - look at Abby's progress here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I'm a bunny without a buddy - and I'm lonely.

Dear George,
I have a good home, as you can see. My human gives me a run on the lawn every day,with a sheltered area where I can keep off the rain. I have lots of hay and not to much rich rabbit food.
But there is something missing. There is nobody to talk to. I am a lonely bunny. If I had a friend I would be much happier.
Please help,
Chesnut.

Dear Chesnut,
We cats don't need friends because we are not a very social species  But you are right - bunnies need buddies. Get your human to look this up for Rabbit Awareness Week here. And also check this website for some good free webinars on rabbits.
If you look how wild rabbits live, you can see that as well as spending hours and hours eating grass they run around and play together. You can see an example here. They live in groups, not like cats. And they need company.
video of playing bunnies

I am afraid I am not safe with rabbits, Chesnut.  You could say I am too fond of them. Thinking of them makes me lick my lips.
Yours 
George
PS. Help my human. She is doing a reptile relationship survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FGJZKLT
PPS. This blog is up early because she is taking the weekend off against my wishes.



 

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