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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why don't humans have proper hair?


And another thing. Humans don't have proper hair. They are, to put it baldly, more or less bald. If you look at them they look a bit like Chinese hairless dogs. There's a top knot of kinds, a bit of hair between the back legs, some under the front legs or armpits, and then a tiny scattering on the chest with the males. Males have a bit more body hair but their top knot goes manky in old age and sometimes vanishes altogether. Human hair also fades with age and eventually goes white. It seems to me absolutely mad to wear your hair at the crease where the leg meets the body. Most of us cats have a less hair there rather than more.
We cats vary, of course. There are the sleek short hairs like me, gleaming black all over except for a very tiny two or three white hairs on the chest. Then there are the long haired beauties like Catherine in the photo. And the semi-beauties like elderly William my companion. He is semi-longhaired with shorter tougher hairs on his back. Finally there are cats like Dragonheart (see last blog's comment from her domain at http://dragonheartsdomain.blogspot.com) who have no hair at all. She doesn't have ridiculous tufts of hair in her armpits. The result is far more beautiful than the bald but tufty humans.
The way feline hair varies is due to humans. They have selectively bred us for long, or no hair at all. They do this by restricting our right to choose partners over several generations. They bang up stud cats in a chalet to make them service females which are not chosen for them. Sounds good? Well it isn't because most of the stud cats sit around in their pens with nothing to do but occasional sex - no hunting, for instance, little human contact. It's a deprived life. They'd get much more sex, with partners they chose, if they were allowed out onto the tiles like the feral toms.
If humans can do this to cats, why on earth don't they selectively breed themselves for better hair? They would look far more attractive if they had short glossy fur all over their bodies like me, long hair like Catherine's or even be properly hairless all over like Dragonheart.
instead they have these pathetic tufts. They fuss endlessly about the tufts on their head. They brush, comb, fluff out, shave it all, cut it, dye it, condition it. But they're not willing breed selectively in order to develop nice glossy all over fur.
No sense at all.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Black is beautiful - and superior for survival


This is me up a tree doing my leopard act. I want to grow up to be a black panther like Bagheera. I used to think I could catch birds this way. Nowadays I just do it to amuse and alarm Celia. She stands underneath saying "Pleeeeease George, come down." She remembers when I climbed up as a tiny kitten one frosty December day, and was only rescued when a passing Human Hero got off his tractor, climbed up 30 feet, grabbed me and climbed down using only one hand.
My colour - black is called melanistic by scientists - may give me superior health and survival skills. Stephen O Brien (see earlier blog on 7/2/07) and Eduardo Eizirik, of the Cat Genome Project at the US National Cancer Institute have tracked down the melanism gene in 11 of the cat species. I have it in common with black panthers (melanistic leopards) and jaguars and jaguarundis. "Perhaps the selective pressure that allowed these mutations to survive in cats may not be camouflage. Perhaps the mutations cause resistance of the cats to bugs," O'Brien told Reuters in 2004.
Interestingly many stray cats are black or black and white. It is theorised that this happens because humans dislike black and therefore are more likely to adopt "pretty' strays - tabbies or tabbies and white like my elderly companion William. They just leave the black kittens to grow up wild and hungry. (Honestly, there is so much to dislike about humans. Colour prejudice is one of their more disagreeable traits.) And the black cats stay longer in rescue establishments because nobody wants them.
But maybe there are more of us on the streets partly because we survive better. I ought to try to contact the Italians who are holding Black Cat Day in November (see blog 8/27/07) to tell them this. We black cats are lucky not unlucky. Black power rules in catland.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My ten things a cat dislikes about humans


Here are the ten most irritating things about my humans.
1. They keep wanting my attention when I am busy. Why don't they fit in better with my schedule? They wake me up when I am sleeping or napping. Or pick me up when I am hunting.
2. Celia takes up too much room in my bed. Why can't she sleep on the sofa?
3. She varies her own mealsbut she expects me to eat the same food more or less till the packet is finished.
4. She wants to hug and cuddle me. I don't mind a bit of a cuddle but she would do it all day if she could. She has no restraint. It is cuddle harassment.
5. She won't let me eat from the butter dish.
6. Humans keep vocalising on and on and on and on. They don't understand body language and they are more or less smell blind. Dumb (in the mental sense) creatures. Their hearing isn't up to much. They can't hear mice footfalls like I can.
7. They have things. Possessions. I live light - just me and my four paws, razor sharp claws and teeth, and sleek fur. They fuss about things a lot of the time.
8. They take away the mice I bring into the house and they don't even eat them. What a waste. Celia even screamed at the rat I brought in.
9. They sleep at the wrong time of day - ie night. And they wake all through the day. I like a long midday rest, an early dawn start and a dusk to midnight hunting schedule. But they lure me in before midnight and lock the cat flap.
10.They really don't understand me.... which accounts for much of my blog.
What do you hate about humans?

PS. This is a picture of Cusco - don't you like his tooth!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Death - another human strange reaction.


Celia sat crying at her desk this morning while listening to Cat Lullaby a sad song Fred Moolten wrote when a favorite cat had to be euthanized. A web page with the song is http://bluesandfolk.com/catlullaby-sbnv.htm Something about humans means they can't accept death. Celia put a picture of a rainbow and the words of Rainbow Bridge on her website (www.celiahaddon.co.uk) when my predecessor Fat Mog died.
I don't think about death. I live in the day. I do not worry about the future or the past. Odd that human's can't do this. I suppose it is just part of the way they are spiritually less evolved beings.

Friday, September 07, 2007

She smelled deliciously of rabbit.


This is Celia's friend, Janet. She picked me up when she came to visit. I have got used to humans picking me up. They just can't resist me but it still sometimes makes me want to wriggle away. It's not that I am shy. It's more a question of feline dignity. I don't go round picking up humans so that their legs dangle in the air.
However, something about Janet intrigued me. She smelled of rabbit. It was all over her - a sort of human-rabbit hybrid smell. She would probably have tasted absolutely delicious. I considered having a bit of a nibble at her nose, but then when I eyed up how HUGE she was, decided against it. Giant rabbits I might have a go at. But Janet was a giant human-rabbit hybrid. I might regret it if I started eating her. There is danger in biting off more than you can chew.
Later when she'd gone Celia explained that she smelled of Harvey, her house rabbit who blogs like I do on www.harvey-diaryofaninspirationalbunny.blogspot.com. He lives in the house just like me and William do. Sleeps on the sofa. Watches TV. Uses a litter tray. I would very much like to meet him - he smelled very good on Janet. Tasty. Very tasty indeed. But whether he'd like to meet me is a bit morer doubtful.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I am a 3 am cat. Celia is plotting against midnight hunting.


I was a bit late last night. Midnight passed in a glorious fury of hunting under a harvest moon, owls hooting, dark hedges rustling with mice driven in by the combine harvester, moths, and deep moonlight. I came back in the small hours. Leaped on my bed (where she was taking up a lot of room) and gave her an admittedly rather perfunctory Hello - a quick knead, an even quicker rub. Then I leaped down again to the food bowl. All this late night hunting gives a cat a good appetite.
She was not happy. I could tell that. She doesn't like it when Ronnie comes home late from the pub and she doesn't like it when I stay out too late. She nags both of us. She had the light on in bed and was reading a book about Neanderthals (she's a prehistory nut - see www.celiahaddon.co.uk). She never stays up this late reading. Thinking it over, after a large plate of food and an extended and vigorous wash that shook the bed, I concluded she had stayed up for me. Out of anxiety. I expect she was thinking of a squashed mess on the road - about 400 yards down the cart track. I never go on the road - except when I do. And it's true that late at night is when most cats are run over. We don't get the lights. We just get dazzled and make a run for it.
So... she was not pleased. Today I overheard her discussing strategies. She's going to withdraw the feeding bowls from 2pm onwards. (Won't work. Hunting is far more important than being a bit hungry. I was also outraged to hear that she was unfairly going to put down snacks for William when I was out.) She is going to interrupt my noon to 4pm nap and maybe lock me outside during those hours. (It might help except the adrenaline rush of hunting will over-ride exhaustion).
Then she came up with the idea of driving up and down the cart track. I don't like cars. I can recognise hers of course. But it might make me uneasy. The fear instinct might, just might, over ride the hunting instinct. I may be a predator but I take good care not to become prey (to a car).
Watch this space...

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