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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter eggs: why can't I have one for myself?

Dear George,
I’m not sticking my tongue out at you; I’m sticking my tongue out at my “mummy”.
I’m once again very upset with her. It all started yesterday when she got two packages with chocolate and goodies from a dear friend from overseas.
I’ve seen stamps and labels with cats on the packages so I thought they were for me (I know this dear friend loves me more than she loves my mummy) so I tried to open them.
Oh boy, did she jump shouting that I’m not allowed chocolate? I wasn’t going to eat chocolate but I wanted to see what else was in there. She hid everything away.
I went to sleep very, very sad! Today I’ve seen her boiling eggs and dipping them in red liquid dye. They came out quite bright red and shiny and I thought this was the perfect time to play and have some fun. So I jumped up on a chair and started pushing them one by one over the table. Whoa! You should have seen her face staring at me in disbelief!
Of course she overreacted as she always does. She said the eggs were for Easter and turned her back to me. So I stuck my tongue out at her (as you can see in the photo how mad and upset I was). Now what? Should I talk to her again?
Should I crack eggs with her on Sunday? George, do you think I misbehaved?
Happy Easter to all
Fluffy

Dear Fluffy,
Ninety nine percent of the time humans are plain wrong. But for once your human was in the right. We cats shouldn't eat chocolate. It contains theobromine which is poisonous. It's even more poisonous for us than for dogs. Luckily, unless it comes in ice cream or chocolate sauce, we are less likely to eat it in the first place.
Greedy dogs sometimes swallow down a whole box of chocolate and need veterinary treatment urgently.The more expensive the chocolate, the more cocoa there will be in it, and therefore the most theobromine. 
Hard boiled eggs are a different matter. Personally I like a little egg - maybe just a little lick of the plate after breakfast eggs. My predecessor Fat Ada used to eat them raw, biting into the egg carton, cracking them with her teeth and licking up the yoke. She had learned this when she lived on the street, breaking into houses through the cat flap and  burgling their kitchens.
You did nothing wrong. You communicated your natural feelings to your human. She was mean minded enough to ignore them. I suggest sulking all through today (Easter Saturday), then lots of love and purring at the moment the painted eggs are cracked at Easter. It might work.
Love
George
PS. I am intrigued by your reading matter. High Society - about cats on roof tops, no doubt - speaks for itself. But why are you reading about dogs?

Friday, April 11, 2014

My humans are stealing my hammock....

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Dear George,
Last week I got this wonderful little hammock as a gift from my human kitten.
I must admit he brings me the coolest gifts. Now, who wouldn’t like to take a nap in a hammock? Of course I do – as you can see in the picture.  It’s such a joy to nap and get a little swing in the same time. I can sleep and sleep and sleep!
But, I can’t enjoy my new gift because lately my humans (the old folks) are acting very strange; as soon as they see me in the hammock napping they come and tempt me with treats or rub my belly or literally grab me off the hammock. She is worse than him. I know she’s jealous. But him? Do you think they want my hammock? Do they think they can fit in it? George, how can I make sure they won’t steal it from me? Also, I’d like to punish them for disturbing my sleep! I’d like to wake them up when they are sound asleep. What should I do? Please…..feed me all the tricks.
In love with a hammock
CAT Victoria

Dear CAT Victoria,
That hammock looks really good. I used to have one attached to a radiator but it fell off one day when I leapt on it. There was an enormous clattering sound and it never felt safe to get into again. Yours seems much better designed and fits safely under a chair.
I can do better than just tell you a few ideas for waking your human. I can show you some at http://www.wimp.com/catsalarm/  A human (believe it or not)  gave me this information. Michelle in Toronto is one of the least stupid humans I have come across. Cayenne, her owner, says she is really quite bright.
I particularly enjoy the cat who leaps on to his human's groin in the video. I have always found this particularly effective with a sleeping male. For a female, I prefer a slightly less direct approach. I get myself into position and then do what I call a dry spray - quiver my tail in an attractive come-on. The nearer you get to the human face, the more likely they are to wake up.
Biting toes under the duvet is good. My informant Tilly specialising in poking items off the bedside cabinet. She chooses the items that will make the most noise, but she also finds that her human responds well to the sound of her spectacles being poked. 
Grooming is reasonably effective, as the video shows. But it is hard work grooming all that hair - unless your human is bald. That makes it easier.
Yours
George

Saturday, April 05, 2014

What the hell do my humans think they are doing - A DOG!


My portrait by my human Nancy
Well George,     
Here I am again.
I’m rather tired, having been waging war with THE DOG - the small interloper I am forced to share my house with. She arrived without anyone asking my permission; a little, panting, whimpering ball of fur, who immediately had both my humans’ total attention. 
Apparently, she’s what is called a “Rescue Dog” [which means that she’s been rescued, not that she goes up mountains with a cocktail shaker hanging off her collar] and because of that, I’m supposed to be nice to her.
Honestly George, she arrived with so much stuff; -- blankets and toys, biscuits and bones, plus a couple of things called “Pig’s Ears.” My human gave her one, to keep her calm [or just plain shut her up], but she was in such a state she didn’t want it.   
So I took and hid it on top of the wardrobe, which is my favourite hiding place. [You should see how many pens and paint brushes I have up there!  My humans are “artists” and have heaps of them, or did have before I got to them] 
Ha!  Chaos:  1   DOG:  nil 
Next step was to register my disapproval, so I had a chew at one of the big pot plants in the lounge. It’s a “Maidenhair Fern.” How do I know this?   Because She Who Must be Obeyed was yelling “Chaos, leave the.....alone” at the top of her voice.
So I sat in it.
It’s outside the window now, on the deck....Rats. 
Human:  1    Chaos: nil 
As I mentioned before, I ask for biscuits, sitting on the arm of Her chair......unfortunately, THE DOG has realised that I am getting something she is not, so my Human now tosses her MY biscuits...yes, my biscuits at the same time, because [get this] she doesn’t like dog biscuits!
Well!
If she’s going to run around the room like a wet ferret, chasing my biscuits, then so am I.......so now I have to get down from my special perch, and race around like the idiot dog. [Sigh] 
THE DOG: 1       Chaos: 1   
A  draw? 
Yours 
Chaos 

Dear Chaos,
Do not take any impertinence from the dog. If there is trouble, stand your ground and swipe. Hard. It is essential that you establish your position as Top Cat from the very start of the relationship. The dog must look up to you and accept you as its total superior.
It sounds as if you are starting well by stealing the pig's ear. Now you must start training the dog. It sounds as if your humans use positive reinforcement (with your biscuits) to train this inferior mammal. You should use ruthless punishment - institute a claw and order programme immediately. 
And have a back up escape plan - high up. Dogs can't climb.
Dogs have an instinct to back down in any trial of strength and make pathetic appeasement efforts such as rolling on their back, licking their lips, and even raising a paw. When we raise a paw it is a threat. With them it is a supplication. You may have to explain this to the dog by following up your paw raising with a proper swipe.
Best of luck. It is typical that your humans did not ask your permission. Who do they think they are? Top of the hierarchy? Idiots.
Yours
George.
PS. I like the portrait.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Why am I clawing visitors?

Dear George,
 My name is Golab and I’m a rescue. I was adopted from a shelter by this wonderful family, my new human parents.  I don’t know how old I am but I can’t be too old as I still remember the abuse I suffered before I was rescued. All is too fresh in my memory. 
I love my humans and they love me. I’m happy and at peace as you can see in the photo attached. I’m treated like royalty. I take pride in my humans and my home.  But, I have an issue; for whatever reasons I claw everybody else visiting my humans.
I know my humans are worried and perhaps upset. I don’t know how to tell them that I’m afraid of other people, I don’t trust other people and each time they have company I panic that the company will take them away from me and I’ll be abandoned and abused again. I’m not possessive or jealous, I’m just scared.
George, the problem is that they will have family from overseas visiting soon and they are thinking of renting a flat just for me so they will come daily to visit me and spend time together. This is very generous of them but I don’t want to live in a flat for three months. George, this is a very serious matter and I need your expertise.
Firstly, why do you think I act like this….clawing everybody visiting them?
Secondly, what should I do? Is there anything I can do or they can do so?
How can we all live in peace (visitors included)?
In distress
Golab

Dear Golab,
Some of us are one-human cats. We love our human pets, but we don't love or even much like any other human. Well, it's natural, isn't it? Those of us who were in animal shelters have often seen the worst side of human nature - humans throwing things at us, humans shouting, and sometimes cats have even been tortured in the microwave by sick human beings. Feral humans can be vile,much more evil than any animals.
I expect it took you time to learn to trust again. Now you do trust your new human pets, which is wonderful. I am sure that they have responded to your growing confidence and love.
Now it is time for them to look after you. Renting a special flat for you isn't exactly what you want. You'd prefer if they rented the flat for these visiting humans! However, that might not happen. Perhaps they would think of a cattery - not much fun for you, but if you have been in a rescue shelter you probably at least know the score.
If none of this happens, find a safe area in your home - under your humans' bed, on a high cupboard in the spare room, in a box cut to make a hidey hole or perhaps on a bookshelf somewhere. Settle in there. If you can, purrsuade your humans to keep the visitors away from your space. Maybe they could even give you a room of your own for a bit with your own litter tray, food and water, and a familiar bed. A Feliway diffuser would help too.
Tell them to tell the visitors to ignore you. If they are staying a long time, you may feel confident enough to come out and take a look at them. 
Yours
George


Thursday, March 20, 2014

It takes two to tango - a cat and a human!

Dear George, 
I got so encouraged and inspired by your answer and, of course by the comments made by other feline friends in reference to my last letter that I felt it was my duty to up-date you on the latest development of training my humans.
Between your advice to train them without them “knowing” and CAT Victoria’s mentioning of “Dance me to the end of love” (which, by the way…it is a Leonard Cohen’s song) I came up with this brilliant idea…I’ll teach them “tango”!
Why tango? Because it’s passionate! It’s dramatic! It has the “wow”…the “joie de vivre”! I’ll teach my female human how to tango! She’ll love the passion. She’ll love the rose between my teeth (as you can see in the picture). I’ll make my male human jealous! I’ll make him forget about Bach! I’ll make him change the “tune”. I’ll make him love tango! Good plan? What do you think George?
Tango…..anyone?
Lenny

Dear Lenny,
 After a bad week, having lost my cool with Toby's boast about his whiskers, your letter came like an inspiration. What a caring cat you are. And what a truly wild idea - teaching your human to tango. And that photo! So romantic!
Do you in Canada by any chance have a TV programme called Strictly Dancing? We do and it shows human celebrities competing for a dancing trophy. If your idea catches on we could have cat celebrities teaching humans to dance? Here in the UK we could start with Larry the Downing St cat teaching David Cameron to dance human cheek to feline cheek. 
Over the pond it's probably too late to get Socks, the former White House cat, involved. He retired from politics altogether, though I always thought that President Clinton would have avoided a lot of trouble if he had spent more time with Socks and less with interns.
But there is one problem. Are humans capable of learning a pas de deux with cats? I have my gravest doubts about President Clinton or David Cameron. Nor do I think your Canadian mayor Rob Ford would manage too well: he'd probably fall over.
Keep us informed on our progress, Lenny. This could be the beginning of something big.
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