Follow by Email

Friday, June 24, 2016

Was I weaned to0 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 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.

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.



 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Grass eating - why do we do it and what we cats need.

Dear George,
I’m writing to you to ask a favor! One or two years ago there was a post on your blog about “gardens for cats” and to be more precise about grass grown in pots for cats to lay down in it and enjoy! Mommy said that there was a beautiful cat from Australia who wrote to you bragging about it. She also said that there was a link either in your response to that cat or in someone’s comment – a link to a website or youtube of a couple in the States showing how they created a “cat’s garden” and what grass they grew for their cats. I don’t know how to use the computer to search for things and I’m too young to remember the post even if mommy read that letter to me at the time.
So, here I am ….begging you George (as you can see in the photo) …to please post that link again! Mommy wants to create a garden for me and I worry she might plant the wrong grass!
With many thanks
Gizmo

Dear Gizmo,
We love grass that is grown from wheat, oat, rye or barley. It's safe and it's enjoyable. Why do we eat it? It's not because we have stomach trouble, nor because we need it to vomit (I can very easily vomit without grass!). It's probably because in millions of years of eating mice, we ate their stomach contents which included some vegetation, which may have helped reduce internal parasites. So you could say that evolution has predisposed us to enjoy nibbling on grass.
Be careful, Gizmo, not to nibble on other things. Nibbling lilies or tulips, even those in a vase, can kill you or give you stomach problems. Some house plants can be dangerous to cats, so get your human to consult International Cat Care's list of poisonous plants here.  Just don't let silly humans have them in the house. It's not worth the risk.
Get your human to look here and here for tips on creating a cat-friendly garden. 
Yours
George 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

A “Cat proof house” - what does it mean exactly?

Dear George,
I’m Pepe! I’m now 11 weeks old and, of course brilliant; I was featured on your blog before (I’m one of the cute kittens born to a feral cat rescued by a nice human). 
I must admit I have a very happy kittenhood being loved and nursed by my biological mother, playing with my other four siblings and being taken care of by my foster human mommy. But! And there is a big BUT ….it looks like I’ll be adopted soon and I’ll go to my forever home which I’m sure it will be very nice! At the moment I’m totally confused and I need your help George to sort this out! I heard my foster mommy saying that she won’t let me go until the people have a “cat proof” home and prove their abilities and capabilities to take care of me and obey my orders! Hooray! I like that! So, it is my understanding that a “cat proof” home it’s something very safe for cats. My foster mommy worries so much about our safety that I had to mastermind a “cat safe” game which actually means playing with a ping pong ball in the bathtub (as you can see in the picture). But, my confusion come from the fact that I’ve heard one of our neighbours saying that she “burglar proof” her house when another neighbour said that were some “cat burglars” lately in the area! Just by listening to their chatting it made me think that I will never be able to get into my new home since it will be a “cat proof” house! That’s scary!  George, can you explain please? 
Totally cute….and confused 
Pepe 
Dear Pepe, 
A "cat proof" home? It could be that your foster mummy is looking for the ideal owner - a human who will serve you well, make sure you stay healthy, play games with you, give you proper health care no matter what the cost.....
Or it could be that she is looking for a home where you cannot roam and get lost. Here in the UK that can mean a home where you will always be indoors, not allowed to go out at all. If so, you will need plenty of things to do - places to climb, food dispensers to roll around, toys for play (ping pong balls are great) and humans who will play games with you every day.
Protectapet fencing
 

The other kind of cat-proof home is one where people have fenced in the garden properly. There are instructions how to do this at International Cat Care  There's also a good website which sells DIY fencing or who will come and fence your garden here.
So a cat proof home should be a good one. Have faith in your foster mum. She's doing a good job.
Yours
George
PS. There is only one kind of fencing to avoid - electronic fencing which gives an electric shock if you go over it. That kind of fencing doesn't stop dogs or predators coming into your territory: it just stops you going out of it. It's not safe for cats.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Six-toed, highly active, and taking supplements....


Dear George, 
I’m following (silently) your blog for a while. I must say I enjoy it very much. At times I found it quite amusing and at times I found it quite informative.
Lately I’ve seen that one of the reoccurring theme was food – what should cats eat.
I’ve learned that Gizmo is eating his broccoli, Chico has his food homemade, Jasper is eating a raw diet from the pet food store and the list goes on and on! But, I have one question: do we need to take supplements and/or vitamins?
I’m a very, very active polydactyl baby (see the picture attached) – I have lots of energy and I can run and play all day (of course having 6 toes helps), but I wonder if it’s the supplements my mummy gives me (she’s in the business - http://www.powerbod.com/2/arlenemetke/) or am I naturally active?
Honestly, what’s your take on this?
Yours in health
Baraboo 

Dear Baraboo,
My preferred diet would be mice, other small rodents, the odd bird and the occasional insect , a completely natural diet. But I don't lead a completely natural life as I live in a human home. Instead I get given very good quality complete cat food. No human food, except what I steal off the kitchen floor, the occasional bit off a plate that hasn't yet been put into the dishwasher, and the odd mouse. A little of what I fancy does me good.
I seem to be completely healthy. So I would say that if you are given a good quality complete diet (and there are now raw food diets available in envelopes here in the UK with no risk of salmonella), you shouldn't need anything else. Would a supplement be a good idea? Only if your human knows what she is doing. 
Humans sometimes think what is good for them is good for us. Wrong. Human medicines, like aspirin, can kill us. There are foods like onions, grapes and raisins, and chocolate, which are good for humans: bad for dogs and for cats. There's a list here.
So tell your human always to check with a vet before giving us human food, human supplements or medicines or veterinary supplements. Stay safe.
Yours 
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