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Friday, June 29, 2007

Boundaries, collars and the famous Mr Lee


Since we got out of gaol, William and I have been checking our boundaries, updating our marks by rubbing our chins against tings, scratching tree trunks, and putting well aimed urine sprays at key points. Boundaries are everything to a cat. With them, we feel safe. Without them, we get very anxious indeed.
Celia is too stupid to know where most of them are. Humans are sense challenged in many ways. They can see but they can't smell anything. All our chin rubs go unnoticed and even our spray marks in the open air aren't strong enough for her. She does notice the scratch marks on the tree trunks. And even though she is visually competant, she loses sight of us very easily. Most of the day she doesn't know where we are. Which is how we like it.
Some humans are crafty. There's a cheeky human who has attached a camera to his cat's collar. Mr Lee is the cat and his privacy has been completely invaded. The camera takes regular photographs showing his every movement - when he sits under the car, his meetings with neighbouring cats, his excursions in the forest, his boundary walks. It's all on www.mr-lee-catcam.de I asked Mr Lee's permission to post his photo on this entry. Here he is. Of course, it's shocking that he allowed his human to photograph his life but it's interesting too.
I wouldn't let Celia put a collar on me. Neither would William. We don't approve of collars ever since we met a thin wounded stray with her paw caught in her collar. And it's a question of pride. Dogs wear collars as sign of their inferiority to humans (if you can believe any species could be inferior to homo sapiens). As cats are superior to humans, a collar would not be appropriate - though I'd quite like to see Celia and Ronnie in one. They'd look sweet.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

William's nose was put right out of joint


William is not a cool cat. Couldn't be. Not at his age, which is practically an OAP age for cats. (OAP stands for old age pensioner - for cats like Oscar Snuggles across the pond). Only young lean mean hunting machines, preferably black, can be really cool in catdom. Street cred for tabby and white is low, fellow cats. That white and black female next door knew that when she flashed her tummy at me.
William has not been honest about our stay in the cattery. He was frightfully upset by the cat the other side of our chalet, the one in the picture here. He was a look alike - semi long haired tabby and white with markings like W's. Only bigger. Much bigger. Don't let anybody tell you that size doesn't matter. You can't be a cool cat if you are pretty, longhaired and small. Which William is, compared to certain lean black cats. And, worse for him, small compared with the tabby and white next door.
William just tried to ignore him. Then he told me he thought the cat looked like Hitler. Boy, did that show his paranoia. Or it was a pathetic attempt to smear the cat's reputation. Any cat can see for themselves on www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com that Hitler cats have to be black and white. They can't be tabby and white even if they have a small tabby moustache. Tabbies can't do Hitler.
Nor can black rapper street cats. Black is Beautiful. Black Pussycat Power. Slogans for cats... that's another blog entry.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The female prisoner next door ... William writes


She did it again. Banged us up without mercy for several days. George, for whom I have little time, behaved a bit better this time. He seemed more resigned and spent less time involving me in unworkable silly escape plans that would have made my life in prison even worse than it was. I didn't have to bite Gill the Cattery once, because he didn't set me up to it like last time.
George spent most of his time prancing up and down striking attitudes to impress the white and black cat next door. She seemed pretty unimpressed, I thought. She was bigger - and fatter- than him. I think he found it difficult to accept that a female wasn't interested. Obviously we are all - me, George and her, neutered and therefore on the side lines of the sex war. But there is a frisson of sexuality none the less.
She seemed more impressed by me, I thought. Something in the way she would stretch up full length when she saw me. Some females fancy the older tom. We are calmer, more tolerant, less reactive. I let George strutt his adolescent stuff which included some very rude goggling. I concentrated on more sophisticated eye contact. I didn't stare. Staring is bad mannered as all cats (and a few knowledgeable humans) know. I just did a quick eye flash and then lowered them, as if to say "I am the sort of cat that might be friendly, if you played your cards right." I think we came to an understanding - distant but warm.
There was another neighbour cat. I didn't think much of him. He had a moustache like Hitler. But I must let George have his say.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Do robins make cats sick?

Going back to robins. There aren't many left in my garden. I have had three of them. Celia knows about two of them because she found the complete corpses. She was very upset. She doesn't seem to mind about hedge sparrows but dead robins really distress her. She was even more upset when she found some feathers and a long thin leg which looked like a robin's leg. She assumed (correctly) that I had eaten the rest of the bird. Was it a robin? I really can't remember. My interest in birds is a foodie one, not a taxonomic one. Some species taste better than others, of course, but I can't say I take much interest in the differences otherwise. So I eat some and I don't eat others. Depends partly on my mood and what else I have eaten that day.
I do not eat shrews - ever. Foxes and weasels and stoats may eat them and I suppose if I was starving I might manage a nibble. The problem is that they taste awful. There are fatty glands on their flanks which produce a vile secretion. It's stuff to mark their territory as they pass through the grass. Read by another shrew it says "Keep off. This territory already has a shrew in residence." Of course if the shrew is male, and a female is passing by, she might take a sniff and think "Handsome fellow. Might stop for a bit of rumpy pumpy." But to me the smell simply says: "Don't eat me. I taste bad." That's good news for the shrew, of course.
So do robins taste good? I may have eaten one and I have certainly caught two others. Celia says that it might have made me sick even though she can't remember that particular pile of sick (there are quite a few). If any of you cats out there have eaten a robin (the English kind) please add a comment, remembering to say whether you sicked it up or not.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cat flaps - not as simple as you might think


Cat flaps are a boon to the active cat. I can come and go as and when I choose during the day time. Sometimes I pop in and out several times in an hour. Other times when I am on a long range hunting mission I may only use it to go out and come back after three hours for my midday nap on my bed. (With a bit of luck Celia is not on it - she takes up an awful amount of room and seems to think it is her bed.)
Rushing in and out sometimes makes a bit of play time for me. I like the rattle of the flap as I smash through it. Some days I proceed very cautiously first poking a paw to see if it is open, then pushing through with my head. When you think of it, using a cat flap is quite a clever thing to do. Because I have used one since I was a kitten I took to it quick and easily.
William didn't have a cat flap until he was 11 years old. Celia taught him by putting on a wooden clothes peg to hold it open. The nearer the peg to the hinge, the more open the flap. Then when he had gone through, she had to put the peg on the other side. It all meant a lot of human intervention and it took about three months before he really really got it. Even so, he prefers to be let in and out by the door. This is partly because the catflap is quite high off the ground outside. It has to be because the kitchen floor is higher than the outside. Celia tried to help him by putting in a sort of movable step but he hated that and just leaped over it. For an elderly gentleman cat this was rather a strain. Getting a human to open the door on command is an elderly cat thing.
The great thing about a cat flap is the choice it gives me. I can choose when to use it.

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