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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Brush or play? No, brush and play, please.


Dear George, 
I’m Shumba and I have a problem with my human. I know you are the most awesome human behaviourist even if you let your own secretary slack on her duties so much and so often! Sorry George, but this was a much discussed issue since I joined your blog – your soft spot for Celia which ….creates “disturbances” in the blog …at times!
Anyway, I was living on the streets for quite few years when I was rescued by my human! We do have a great relationship but I’m not quite sure if she fully understands me or I’m lacking in my training her! See, she works full time and sometimes I become bored. I miss the human interaction during the day so I took up the Zen Zzzzzz meditation and I do relax a lot but I wish she comes home during her breaks at work. 
Anyway, she got me a brush …which I love and I learned how to brush myself (video attached) but, my question to you is….should I wait for her to brush me or should I spend our time together just playing? I would like her to both “brush & play” but how am I going to tell her so she can understands?
Cheers
Shumba.
PS. I had a video on this but it didn't seem to work.

Dear Shumba,
You are absolutely right. If I have a fault as a human behaviourist, it is that I am too indulgent to my human, Celia. Which means she slackens and I don't punish her by withdrawing affection, as I should do. Last night she came home very late and for once I did let her know I disapproved. I sneaked out of the door as she opened it and didn't come home till 5am. She was distraught. I hope she learned her lesson about coming home too late.
Now, your problem. Your human should both brush and play. That's a great brush, a Zoom Groom,  that she has got for you and I see that you have worked out how to self groom. Many congratulations. But it isn't enough. She should get a fishingrod toy and, while she watched TV, play with you with that. It's not hard for humans. They are just too lazy to do it enough.
Do as I say, not as I do. Don't let her slacken off!!!
Yours
George. 
PS. At least she grooms. Some humans don't bother even to do that. 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

What we cats see, what dogs see and what humans see.

Dear George,
As you will know, all gardens in the immediate vicinity of any cat’s house legally all belong to the cat. I currently oversee around 6 gardens in my neighbourhood but unfortunately have to allow a rather uncouth dog to use one of my many estates. Being a lesser animal with barely any brains, he often barks at me, so I tend to taunt him from the fence, commenting on his wirey fur and lack of beautiful whiskers, while he tries in vain to jump up and reach me.
However, the other week while throwing some of my best insults at him and watching him jump and bark as usual, my beautiful red collar came loose and landed in the grass on his side. I have appealed to him to return it several times but he claims he cannot see a red collar in the grass. Is he just trying to wind me up or are dogs’ eyes as poorly developed as their brains?
Yours,
Chipstick


Dear Chipstick,
Dogs have inferior brains, yes, and they can't see the colour red. Humans are even odder. As well as an inferior brain, they have eyesight which shows them this unnecessary colour, red. We cats don't see red (except possibly a little tinge of it) because we don't need to. Whoever saw a red mouse? What we see, is what humans call colour blind. What I call feline eyesight is highly developed specialised vision.
We cats are far better than humans at seeing movement. Anything which moves we like - not just moving mice but also moving small furry toys from fishing rods! And also some people now believe that we may even see some ultraviolet!  And we can see in the dusk far far better than any human.
Instruct your human to look at  https://www.lasik-eyes.co.uk/see-world-pets-eyes/ which gives a good illustration of how animals see compared to humans. That way they will understand more about us. Oh yes, and incidentally they will be able to see how dogs see - if they are interested in this inferior species.
Yours
George. 
PS. On that website the gecko vision is very odd! But they taste good.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Danger.... raccoons are dining next door

Dear George, 
I’m following your blog for some time now and I really enjoy it! My mommy bought some of your books (whatever she could find at a local book store). We have recently moved to a village – countryside I would say! Nice and quiet, lots of trees and birds and plenty of backyard. But mommy is a little worried as she learned that our next door neighbor is feeding a family of raccoons in her backyard! Our house is not that close to hers but still within walking distance. Mommy is afraid that I’ll get hurt by these raccoons! I don’t even know how they look like – I didn’t see any yet – all I’ve seen so far were little lizards. Am I in any danger? What can we do?
With thanks
Julius

Dear Julius,   
Your human is right to be careful that you don't get into any danger. Raccoons don't usually attack cats and if they do, a full sized adult cat often sees them off. Elderly cats, very small cats and kittens might be more vulnerable.
Here's what your human needs to do to keep you safe. Firstly, make sure there is nothing to attract raccoons to your garden - no garbage, no vegetables, insects etc. Secondly, install a microchip operated cat flap (or a flap too small for a raccoon to squeeze through), that will only open for you. Thirdly, raccoons can climb but they can't jump high. So make sure that good fencing keeps them out.
Put items around the garden for you to jump on to get out of their way - garden chairs, garden tables, large plant pots with room for a cat, and maybe ledges on the fencing at various points. 
If humans were not so dumb, she could go politely to the neighbour and ask her to stop feeding them. But that might set off a neighbour quarrel and quarrelliing humans are difficult! I have had no success in counselling them. Inter-human aggression among neighbours is impossible to resolve.
Yours
George.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Indoor life is boring... I want to get out and about.

Dear George,
I’ve heard it’s safer for a cat to be indoor (even if it’s soooooo boring) but is it better?
I mean considering the cat’s emotional and mental health? George, I’m asking for your opinion since my humans decided to not let me go in the backyard. See, I was rescued few months ago when I was a tiny kitty and until now I wasn’t interested in the outdoors…but one sunny Sunday I sneaked outside and discovered the trees and the bushes and the ravine behind our house! My humans got really worried and started looking for me frantically. I was hiding under a bush and I just didn’t want to come out. Apparently this upset them very, very much and now I’m not allowed outside at all. I don’t think it’s fair! I want to go out! Any ideas what I can do to be safe outdoors?
Yours….desperate for fresh air!
Minky

Dear Minky,
I like the great outdoors but I live down a cart track near fields where it is not too dangerous (except for foxes). And I come in at night for my last meal, so that I don't stay out too late - which cuts out some of the risks of being run over or eaten by a fox. Most cats would like this kind of lifestyle.
But it is safer indoors, definitely. Safe from predators like stray dogs, coyotes, foxes. Safe from traffic. Safe from disease caught by fighting with other cats. If indoor life is boring it is the fault of your humans. You should have lots of toys, a different one every day, lots of games with fishing rod toys when your humans are watching TV, and you should hunt for your food.
Hunt? Well hunting is what we cats do and it is what I do outside in the garden and fields. You can hunt too if your humans stop putting any food into a bowl. They should put it into food dispensers (look here for ideas), or scatter it so you have to run for it, or hide it round the house.  Or build a feeding pole! Or by the Funboard - video here. That way you can keep busy hunting for food even when they have gone off to work.
I hope you have chosen rich humans... If so, they could build you a catio or even just fence in the whole garden - ideas here. There's a photo of a catio here. That would keep you safe and give you some fresh air.
So if they won't let you outside, get them to start doing what humans should always do - make you happy with an active lifestyle. It is their job to make you happy.
Yours
George

Saturday, July 15, 2017

What the DOG....... cat survival tips.

Dear George, 
I’m convinced now that I’ve completely failed in training my humans! Why do I think so? Because past weekend they came home very happy, shouting from the rooftops - "look, look …we’ve got you a brother” I was totally perplexed as you can see in the picture attached! I was like “what the heck is THAT”? I mean I knew it was a dog but… WHY?   
Are they nuts? How could this puppy be my brother? Were they skipping zoology classes in school? Dogs and cats are VERY different! Don’t they know that? And, what am I supposed to do with this unsolicited “brother” now?
He’s not even good as a “pillow” as he’s constantly running around, it won’t stay still! Plus he’s trying to eat my food and this is a BIG mistake! George, do you think I can train him to be my humble servant? What is the purpose of a dog in a cat’s life?
Yours….totally confused
Pepe

Dear Pepe,
Your photograph shows how upset you are - ears back, feet braced ready to run, body stiff with nerves... Your humans are putting you through a really stressful experience. I only hope they are keeping the puppy under total control - on a lead, in a crate, never unsupervised if you are around. You need to be free to go, or to jump up on to a safe high place, at all times.
That puppy should never EVER be allowed even to think about chasing you...
Why on earth are they feeding you where he can get to the food? Is your litter tray in a safe place where you can reach it and he can't? (Dogs sometimes EAT cat poo - disgusting). Can you get to the litter tray without being ambushed by this excitable canine? Are you safe at night completely away from him so you can sleep without one eye open? Can you choose whether to be in his company or not? I can't see a house-line on this dog, which should be there to make it easy to restrain him.
Keep your nerve. Never run otherwise he may chase. Stand up to him. If all else fails, if you have a cat flap, you can just leave home.... 
Yes, you have failed to train your humans. Now concentrate on training the puppy. Rewards (purrs, rubs and attention) and punishment (swipes with the paw). If you do this properly you will be able to use him as a pillow eventually.
This puppy is not a brother. He is a very junior servant. That's the purpose of a dog in a cat's life.
Yours in great sympathy,
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