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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Household staff - from kitchen maid to parlour maid


Another Sunday. Celia has come back from a Feline Advisory Conference and has decided William is under stress -- from me. To reduce competition around the kitche feeding station (I need more than he does because I am still growing and I am also greedier) she installed two extra feeding stations yesterday evening, one on the landing and one in our bedroom. That is the bedroom that I share (cats don't really share but we both use it) with William, one on each spare bed. This is a good idea. More food, as much as I like when I like, must be better. It gives me freedom to eat and how much (a lot) to eat. I feel no longer dependant on her putting down food for me. We cats like choices. So just to make the point, both William and I spurned the soft food she put down in the morning. We told her we had already had our breakfasts at the much more convenient hours of 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am and 7am. We don't need her. As a kitchen maid she is now irrelevant to our lives. Her job is now elevated to that of parlour maid, ie of serving food in the three separate areas. Or should that be a housemaid, as two of the food bowls are now upstairs? I need a stately home cat to fill me in on the proper hierarchy of human servants. As for William, I can of course still elbow him out of the food bowls, only I shall have to try to keep an eye on all three. It is going to mean some strenuous running up and down stairs to do so.
Maybe hunting is more fun than bullying him. I hoped to bag another partridge yesterday but had no luck. I shall keep trying.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My best day ever - bagged a partridge

This is my best day ever. Almost the perfect day. I'll come to why it wasn't later. Lately the fields round me have been full of huge bewildered pheasants let out of their nearby pens, where they have been kept like poultry, to starve in the fields before getting shot by humans. Hundreds of them. The nearby road is sticky with their blood and feathers. Slighly less big but just as bewildered are the French partridges (easier to rear in hen coops than the more alert English species). They too are wandering round unable to cope with life in the wild. No idea of predators which is where I came in. I have been eyeing up the pheasants for the past week since they were let out. I've had a couple of practice runs but stopped short each time. These are huge birds, taller than I am, fat and slow moving as pigs. This is the cat's time. They haven't learned to run and in their hen coops they haven't had a chance to fly. The humans have only slaughtered a few of them. My chance is now. As I run in for the grab, I keep thinking about their size so I stop.
This morning was my opportunity. The French partridges stay in proper groups and are normally a bit cleverer than the pheasants. They all keep a look out for one another. If one spots something (like me) they all fly off. Well this morning, one of them hadn't stayed alert for danger. They'd come into the garden in a vain hope of food - outside is all ploughland - and the poor saps are used to breakfast being put in a food hopper for them.
I eyed it up. Definitely a more manageable size than a pheasant. I stalked. I did the run in. I grabbed the bird - no mean feat when you consider its size even if it's smaller than a pheasant. And I popped through the cat flap fast so that I could finish it off at leisure in the kitchen. That's where my perfect day ended. Moving with unusual speed, Celia grabbed me. I dropped the bird who ran into the living room. Celia handed me to Ronnie and walked out shutting the door. I never saw the partridge again.
Did I sulk? I looked thoughtfully at the feathers and the smear of blood on the kitchen tiles, and decided not to hold grudges. I went out for another one.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Is God a Cat?

One of the oddest things about humans is the way they anthropomorphise their God. If you listen to them talking about God (any main religion god) you get a picture of a sort of super human - almost always male, a person, a father, a director, sometimes even new employer. My thoughts were prompted from sitting on Celia's desk reading the blog of Ruth Gledhill of the Times. It is as if humans can't imagine a God that isn't human. I say what if She was a Cat. If God was a Cat, things would be different. For one thing, She'd make it clear that some of the human activities had got to stop - trapping and killing cats, shooting cats with air guns, kicking cats, etc. Instead churches would open their doors not just to church mice but to church cats. They'd take collections and go and buy cat food for strays. And all the starving little strays that scrounge a living in busy towns would know there was a sanctuary for them - a dry sheltered place with lots of room and cat food given out free. There'd be less church ritual (what's the point of if?), less standing up and kneeling, less human music (though some caterwauling would be lovely at midnight mass), and more practical charity. Humans would be allowed in to serve others (cats) and, if they persisted with their 'services" (which aren't really anything of the kind in practical terms) we could sit on their warm laps for the duration. Some forward thinking churches have already taken a step in this direction by having resident felines. At the Tower of London chapel there is Teufel, a black tom who is known for enjoying weddings. He often sits down for a nap on the bride's train. Rupert was assistant organist at St Lawrence, Ludlow. And Lucky is a convent cat. She joins in as the nuns sing Alma Redemptoris Mater. As humans no longer go to church, perhaps we could take over.
Of course, it is pretty bad news for mice if She is a Cat.
And even worse news for us, if God is a Mouse.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Specieism - One Day in History but no Cats.


This morning, as I was eating my toast or rather Celia's toast on the kitchen table, I couldn't help noticing something in the Times. I had carefully placed my bottom so that Celia couldn't read it. I needed her to concentrate on buttering my toast or rather her toast. Apparently yesterday thousands of humans in Britain documented their day for a kind of mass blog. It was meant to be of use to the historians of the future just as the records of Mass Observation during the war time years are now. The organisers, History Matters, did not ask me to contribute. Indeed there are no feline blogs. Felines only occur if humans have put them into their blogs. That's called species discrimination. Something that humans are very good at. Their self-centered view of the world simply leaves out others, like us cats. They don't think or won't think of others. So I thought I'd write about my day, today and call it Cat Matters. I woke Celia at 6am, 7am and 7.3O am. The woman is so tired, she keeps going back to sleep. Normal wake up proceedures -- purring, standing and stretching on chest, rubbing against her face, dribbling while rubbing, rolling over etc. I save biting the nose until 8am and this morning I didn't need to. Went downstairs and had snack in bowl. Out for a little walk. Back in for toast (hers). Another walk. Back for snack in bowl. Morning hunting. Caught a mouse which I generously deposited at her feet. She threw it out again and closed the cat flap. Lunchtime snack in bowl. Slept. Tea time snack in bowl. Walk. Second tea time snack in bowl. Blogged before going out hunting again. Came back later for snack, then sleep, then snack, then sleep. There's a kind of stripped-to-the-bone poetry in this routine. We cats know what matters and it's not human history. In the early morning I added this fancy picture of me - just for the record.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Dogs - the deference problem

I don't care for dogs. I met some dogs when Cats Protection was caring for me but since then, they have not been part of my life. Meeting dogs was included in my Cats Protection education. Cats Protection kittens get a better education than pedigree ones because they are given proper experiences of life when young enough. But I didn't do a secondary education in the canine species. Dogs are a potential problem for cats. When I adopted Celia, we decided it was best if I grew up frightened of them. We live down a cart track and occasionally yobs from Birmingham come with their greyhounds and long dogs to do illegal chasing of the local hares. Two years ago, Stanley, the then next door cat (black like me), turned up with his tail half hanging off and we think it was one of the coursing dogs. So Celia felt it was safer for me if I just was brought up to shun the species. She didn't want me walzing up to an unfriendly dog and getting killed. There are dog walkers come down our cart track and some humans teach their dogs to chase cats. They shout "Cats" as a joke, and we die in earnest. When I think of the blood curdling idiocy and cruelty of some humans, I have to try to remember the kindness and goodness of others. Not all humans are cruel brutes. Just some of them.
The other problem with dogs is that their ridiculous deference to human beings. Difficult to believe they can do this. They think humans are their leaders. They have this absurd pack instinct which makes them seek out their social superiors (in their eyes) and obey them. Instead of training humans, they are trained by them. They are naturally codependant so the average dog is a dog that loves too much. If they are beaten and abused at the hands of the truly inferior species, humans, they come back for more. We cats won't take it. We just push off down the road to rehome ourselves at better accomodation. It's well known that dogs look up to humans, and cats look down at humans. Of course. Dogs can't even survive in the wild, like we can. They are completely dependant on human society. They actually want to be loved by a human. Who'd be a dog?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cuddles

Personally I like cuddles. Lou Kirby of Cats Protection used to cuddle me a lot when I was in the kittens' pen there. She called it socialising. They say it must be done before the age of eight weeks, in order to get a friendly cat. But Celia took me on when I was nine weeks old and she continued the process. She handed me to 24 different people over the next four weeks. In the vet's surgery, she handed me to all the nurses, some children waiting there with a hamster, and all the adults one after the other. The postman got a cuddle. So did the man delivering mail order clothes. The people next door got lots of cuddles, so did visiting friends and relations. I was cuddled by her nephew, her neice in law, a total of six visitors, and the man who came to mend the lawn mower. Ronnie said people wouldn't like having a kitten thrust at them, but they all did. All 24 of them. Of course they liked me. Everybody loves a squeaky clean little black kitten with yellow eyes and a cheeky little miaow.
Do it to all kittens, as soon as you get one, say I. I am thinking of calling myself Gorgeous Cuddles George. I think the extra name has rather a l920s debonaire ring to it. Like Stroky Jackson or Binkie Beaumont. And I am dressed in an all black DJ. Not unlike Fred Astair but with more hair and elegant whiskers. He'd have looked better with a bit more hair too.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sundays and human sloth

It's Sunday and for some reason Celia considers this day to be one in which she is allowed to fail in her housekeeping duties. She thinks she can sleep longer and keep me waiting for breakfast. But discipline must be maintained, as a character in Bleak House put it. (I pride myself on being a bit of a literary cat). On Sundays harsher measures are needed to wake her up. Usually I just jump on the bed (if I am not there already) and wake her by nosing against her face in the feline friendly rub. If I do this one or two times, her eyes usually open sleepily. I then dribble a little just to make the point. She is rather touched by the dribble. She thinks its a sign of love. Actually it's a sign that I am hungry. Four or five cheek rubs later and her eyes are open. If they close again, I sit on her face, or as near to her face as I can get. That usually does the trick but if it doesn't I roll on my back and wave my paws in the air, which makes her laugh. If I've got her laughing, I've woken her.
On Sundays, however, she seems determined not to respond. She just hunches herself further under the duvet. Duty and responsibility are forgotten in sloth. Today I bit her nose. I don't like doing it but sometimes these things have to be done. I'd tried charm and it had failed. It was time to see what pain would do. It was very effective.

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