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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Help! I just can't live with my adolescent daughter.


Dear George,
I had kittens a year ago. I have now been spayed but having kittens was a mistake for me. It all went well. There were six of them and five of them went off to new homes. But, alas, my human kept one of the females back. There are now to of us in the house and we don't get on. I spend most of my time outside, even in the cold weather, because my adolescent daughter is larger than me and a bit of a bully. What can I do? 
Beauty

Dear Beauty,
This is the result of humans thinking we cats are like them. (Luckily for our pride and dignity we are not!). Or worse still they think we are like dogs, always looking for other dogs to play with and desperately in need of doggy pals.
Fundamentally at the heart of most of us cats is a solitary hunter. We don't share. We don't pack. Some cats can live with their relatives but many can't. Actually humans often find out that living with a teenager is hard work, so it is ridiculous for them to assume we are so family minded that they can just assume we want to live with our relatives without asking us. Would your human like to live with her grown up daughter? Or her mother?
If you were living in the wild, you (or your daughter) would just move on and live in seperate territories unless there was only one place of shelter. That would be the natural way of life but humans have never grasped that they are asking us to live in very artificial surroundings. As it is, you are stuck with her. Have a careful think about the house facilities. If she is sleeping on the bed, could you find room in the spare bedroom, for instance? 
Could you persuade your human to put down two feeding locations so that you can eat in peace without having to be near each other. Probably not.  Humans get stuck in behaviour patterns and are not willing to change. They imagine we like eating side by side. We don't. We wouldn't be eating our mice side by side. We cats eat privately if we live wild. Luckily you obviously have a cat flap so you needn't share the litter tray with her.
The other obvious way out of this problem is to start visiting the neighbours. This is particularly important in winter. If you can find a suitable human, who will provide good food and has enough heating in the house, this may be the moment to re-home yourself. Plenty of cats do this. Or you can compromise and simply spend most of the day with the neighbour just coming home at night. Timesharing your company with another human might work out well.
George
PS No advice for a bit. My secretary is going away for two weeks to visit her brother. She certainly couldn't live with him for longer than a week or two without quarrelling.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why don't humans wash properly?


Dear George,
Have you noticed how rarely humans wash? They are really quite filthy. I wash at the following times -- after eating (and I do that several times a day); when settling down for a little nap during the day; last thing at night on the bed just after my humans are about to go to sleep (I make that a long wash),  at three am in the morning on the bed because I just feel likeit (my humans aren't too pleased), first thing in the morning about an hour before the alarm goes off; after breakfast; when I am sitting on a lap ( a bit uncomfortable for me but I think they appreciate it); and any time I think about it. When do they wash? At night and in the morning. 
Sammy

Dear Sammy,
It's not just when they wash (rarely), it's how they do it! I can never get over the fact that they don't have proper tongues. I have occasionally seen a small human kitten licking its fingers but never a full grown adult. They can't do it. They can't lick a plate clean - or, if they can, they don't choose to. It's not clear to me what their tongues are for.
Instead, they throw themselves into a large bath of foaming water. I find this extremely funny. I enjoy - as I am sure other cats do - walking round the edge of the bath while they are in it and patting the foam. The bubbles are good fun. They make a small popping noise. And I like the reflections in the water too. This is the moment when I realise that the human lack of fur is perhaps a good thing. Imagine if they had proper fur. They'd have to spend hours rubbing it down with the towel.
My human doesn't bath much nowadays. Instead she stands in a small cubicle and lets water rain down on her. Outside she avoids the rain like any sensible animal would, but indoors she actually turns it on. There's a lot of pother about the temperature, and foaming soap on her hair and her intimate bits. As if saliva wasn't good enough. It's always been good enough for me. Saliva, applied with a manipulable tongue, has antiseptic qualities as well as making a very good wash.
Sometimes I try to wash them myself. But there is just too much skin surface to do a proper job. I used to lie on their heads while they were asleep and wash their hair but they had an unfortunate habit of waking up and lashing out, so I have stopped that. I just let them stay dirty.
George

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How can I stop my humans interrupting my sleep with you-know-what?


Dear George,  
What is is with humans and their sex lives? Have you noticed how out of order their sexuality is? Most proper animals come into season once a year (perhaps a little more if they live in the tropics), have their babies, suckle them, nurture them, and  have a decide period of quiescent sexuality while they are doing it. The males wait for the humans to come on heat before getting rampantly sexual. When the females are not on heat, they don't bother them with sexual demands. Admittedly, because we have moved in to live with humans, we come into season more than once a year, but WE DONT DO IT ALL THE TIME! I wish they would stop it - it interrupts my sleep at night. Advice would be welcome.
Portia.

Dear Portia,
Human sexuality is shameless. Always has been. No self respecting animal would behave like they do. Something very weird has happened to this apparently intelligent (or so they claim) primate. They have lost the rhythm of nature. Their sexual behaviour patterns are haywire. They have sex all the time -- when the females are on heat, when the females are not on heat, when the females are too old to menstruate, when the males are too young to vote
Unnatural. That's what I think.  Unnatural and very weird. Frankly, humans are a lower form of life.
We cats are not perfect. Those of us who live the outdoor life on the streets or in the fields come on heat more than once a year but it is basically still seasonal. Any cat rescue organisation will tell you that kittens start turning up in March and stop turning up in the autumn. More or less, anyway. Where humans have interrupted our natural life, by taking us to live indoors or keeping us in breeding establishments, then kittens will be born out of season.
Even so, we don't do it all the time.
We have sex when the female is in a natural condition to do so. She has come on heat and that stirs up us males (well - a bit embarassing to say this, - but not this male. I was snipped). Nights of passion follow with caterwauling on the roofs and females flirting around the toms. Then peace returns, kittens turn up and there is a gap before it all starts again. But there's no let up with humans.
My advice to you is to take firmer control of the bed. As an Alpha cat you will already be sleeping in the centre of the bed. Finesse this slightly. Make sure you are sleeping BETWEEN your humans. Spread yourself out. Be ready to administer disciplinary claw and order in the middle of the night.
If that doesn't stop them, do a shriek. The female will probably push him away and attend to you instead.
I just wish we could neuter and spay them, like they do us. They would be so much happier.
George

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I am blind. Why don't humans adopt blind cats?

Dear George,
As you can see from the photo, there is something wrong with my eyes. Not that I can see anything wrong. Even if I could recognise myself in a mirror I couldn't. I am completely blind. I got cat flu as a kitten but I was rescued by a family that looked after me whom I loved very much. Then they went abroad so I was stuck in Wrexham CP for months before anybody gave me a home. I am happily settled (adored actually)in Janice's flat with 2 litter trays, 2 scratching posts and a cat gymnasium. Sometimes I use it just to show her that I appreciate all her efforts. Sometimes I pole dance on scratching posts to amuse her too. She's a good carer. But why do most humans turn away from disabled cats. I used to hear them pass by my cage, pause and then just walk on by. It was very hurtful.
Feely Felix.
PS. There's some information about cats like me on www.celiahaddon.com in the disabled animals section.

Dear Feely,
Humans are like that. They discriminate all the time. It's just one of the ways that they are inferior to cats. We aren't like that. We wouldn't refuse to talk to another cat just because it didn't have four legs or because it couldn't see properly. It wouldn't occur to us. Why would we? But humans do it all the time. They even discriminate against other humans.
Ever seen a human talking in a specially loud voice to some other human in a wheelchair - as if the wheelchair person couldn't hear properly or was mentally challenged? If you were out and about in the streets, Feely, you might come across this. It happens. Human beings are a pretty low form of life at times but we cats can sometimes bring out their higher natures.
So when they ignore, patronise or just euthanize disabled cats, it's more or less what they do to other humans (except for the latter). They don't believe that disabled cats have just the same rights to live and be happy as do entire and abled cats. So they peer into the shelter cages and notice the disability. Some of the nicer ones say "Aah, poor little pussycat" and then they pass on by.
Some rescue shelters don't even give us a chance of life. They euthanize us almost at once. They call themselves sanctuaries or rescue establishments but they are abbatoirs. In the USA about 70% of the cats handed into rescue are just euthanized - according to an American Humane Society survey. Luckily in the UK, the figures are much better and (with a few exceptions) many shelters give a second chance to cats like you, Feely. And it is getting better in the USA too with no-kill shelters starting up.
Cats Protection in Wrexham gave you a second chance. So did Jance. She's a special human being so cherish her, Feely. There are hundreds of disabled or elderly cats in cat rescue shelters desperately needing humans like her.
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