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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Human whiskers - they've vanished!


Dear George,
My male human used to wear a moustache! Recently he shaved it (I think he tries to please someone). What I’ve noticed since….is that he’s no longer able to give correct directions when asked for. Could this be because…. he shaved his whiskers?
I’m really concerned! I wanted to ask him directions to a “sushi place” (Ah! those tuna sashimi – so yummy!) but I’m afraid that he’ll send me south instead of north and so on!
What can I do? How can he grow back his
whiskers? Should I water his face? Implant?
Worried,
Sir Winston

Dear Sir Winston,
Shaving off whiskers. What on earth does he think he is doing? This is one of the most worrying habits of humans. They self mutilate by shaving off the fur on their face - almost the only fur they have. They also shave off the fur under their arms and (sometimes) below the navel. You'd think, as they have to little of it, they'd want to keep all they have.
The only furry area they want to keep is the area on the top of their head. And that falls off somewhere around middle age. Some cats have tried grooming on the bald top of the head, sitting on the top of an arm chair so they can reach it. It doesn't work. Fur never re-grows though - and this is truly pathetic - some humans wear a little wig up there to hide the baldness.
Facial hair? One reason why humans shave it off or pull it out(female are particularly committed to the latter) is that their facial whiskers are so inferior to ours. The whiskers sometimes grow long and strong, but they can't DO anything with them. Their whiskers do not send messages to the brain - except for an Ouch if they are pulled too hard!
Our whiskers function as an extra sense. When we catch a mouse, the whiskers automatically move forward, touching the struggling rodent. That we, we can tell how much it is still moving and at what angle it lies in the mouth. We also have whiskers on our legs, so that when we hold down a mouse, we can measure its struggles. I have added a photo of these.
Whiskers don't just help us keep hold of our prey, they also help us measure the size of holes or small places. If our whiskers can get through, the rest of us probably can.
Love George
PS. May I say that yours are particularly fine, Sir Winston.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Help me find my “inner kitten”!


Dear George,
I’m often told that I’m too serious; too much reading and studying!
But I can’t be laying on my back waiting for my humans to rub my belly
or rolling over making that “small talk” (meow-meow) noise like my sister Fluffy does!
I know she makes them laugh, but I can’t be frivolous! I have an important mission! I have to solve all kind of crisis! I was a cute, playful kitten – see picture attached (Fluffy and me when we were 7 weeks old), but I grew up and I’m more interested in helping other cats and animals. I wish I could manifest more “joie de vivre” in a sense that I could be more like my sister; worry free and always looking for excitement!
George, help me find my inner kitten ☺
Cayenne


Dear Cayenne,
The first change is attitude. Cultivate an attitude of cattitude. This includes taking for granted all human efforts on your behalf. We cats find that gratitude (if we are strange enough to feel it) simply weighs us down in our cat-humanpet relationship (or as Wicky Wuddler puts it cat-ape relationship). The food, the beds, the caresses are our due. Cat worship is what these apes/humans should be exhibiting. Train 'em harder if they are falling short.
Once you have floated free from gratitude, play. This is the inner kitten bit. Everything that exists is a potential cat toy, from a fallen bean on the kitchen floor, to the hair of your human. Poke, prod, jump, roll, nibble, groom and throw it.
The whole human body is a potential adventure playground for cats. Jump on the groin first thing in the morning. Bite the toes that poke out of the duvet. Place yourself on the abdomen in the small hours and have a thorough wash. Sleep on the lap. Share the shower. Sit on the side of the bath and play boats with any human bits protuding from the foam. Play with human hair from the safety of the top of the armchair. Ambush your human on the stairs, on the sofa, from behind the door....
Tease them. When they have friends over for a meal, dig loudly in any litter trays nearby and mew while you poo. Jump up on the table and start eating the butter. Play with shoe laces. Experience the pleasure of a good ripping noise as you claw your human's tights. Thrill as you rub your fur against their best trousers.
JDI, Cayenne. Just Do It. You're worth it.
Love George

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mice training for humans - my brilliant idea


Dear George,
I've trained my human to catch mice and other little furries! All you have to do is bring them indoors still alive and squeaking, then drop them and wait. The male human generally shouts out for the female one, then goes round shutting doors, and usually picks me up and takes me away somewhere while the female has to chase the mouse. She's getting quite good at it, but I don't know why her paws aren't any use - she always has a towel or a duster or something that she drops on the prey. I don't quite know what she thinks she's doing with it after that, but she goes out to the other end of the garden where it's a bit wild near the fence, and comes back with the cloth flapping. It may be clever of a human to catch things but it's really stupid to let them go! Why not try a taste? I recommend mouse or vole as a starter, though shrew isn't worth eating, and rat is only any good when young. It's funny how I feel hungry after eating my catch, and usually top up with a lot of biscuits. Humans just don't get it, do they?
Love Foggy,
PS This is me and Pansy on the bed.


Dear Foggy,
Training humans to chase mice is a good game. It's very amusing to see them blunder about crashing into the furniture, lying on their tummies poking mice from under the cooker, and generally doing their poor best. Some even jump up onto chairs and scream. Very satisfying.
There are other amusing things to do with a dead, or even a living mouse. Probably the best is simply to carry it into the bedroom and push it under the bedcovers, where it can be discovered later on in the evening by the human. Usually this results in a scream and jumping out of bed fast.
Other places to put a dead mouse include paper envelope files (my predecessor Fat Ada left one there), into the handbag (if it is left open), pushed down into shoes where it will not be discovered until the foot goes in, or - this is the big one - put it into the toaster. Your human will discover it when she comes down bleery eyed in the morning and if she only puts in one slice of bread, the smell of toasted mouse will waft into the air. Yes, it has been been done though I have forgotten the name of the brilliant cat that did it.
Meantime, have you trained your human to EAT the mouse? Bet you haven't.
Love George.
PS. My companion cat William has joined twitter and is boasting about his prowess. Find him on http://twitter.com/WilliamTabby

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Can you mend a broken heart?


Dear George,
I'm in a difficult situation and here is why. About a year ago we (me and my humans) moved into a new place. Soon after, one day when I was home alone on my favourite armchair, I heard someone "tip-Toeing" around.
I wasn't afraid. Don't get me wrong! I was an abandoned kitty and grew up on the streets (even if I am a Maine Coon) until I was rescued by "my mom" at the very young age of six weeks or so. So not much frightens me. I knew that the main door was locked and only the door to the balcony was open, so I was wondering who could possibly be in the house?
I opened my eyes and to my complete surprise I saw this tiny cute tabby! I looked at her and ... she smiled back to me! Of course, she instantly became my best friend. We found out that she lives next door and she's lonely! She comes and goes, but she spends most of the time with me. My humans don't mind; actually they like her very much.
Then last week I found out that we are going to relocate overseas! That news broke my heart. I don't know what to do with my little, dear friend. Sh
ould I say "goodbye" or should I kidnap her and take her with me?
A broken heart,
Jimmy Boy.


Dear Jimmy Boy,

It's sad to lose a friend, but your humans need you. Of course if the little tabby doesn't have a human pet of her own, you can take her with you but it sounds from your letter as if she has. You have to go with the humans even though we cats don't like change of any kind - least of all to our nomal territory. Moving house is one of the penalties we pay for having domesticated humans. We have made them into pets so we have to give them continuing care, even if they do things we don't like.

Your dear little friend, Tabby, is obviously an ingenious cat. She has probably worked out that her humans are out at work five days out of seven, the house is empty, There are no laps to lie on, and the heating (if it is needed) is off. She has done what thousands of cats do - found herself an extra home. You made her welcome and she therefore spends time with you.

Two timing humans is our right. Many cats, who live in suburbs or towns, have discovered they can set up two or three homes. One home is their original family, the second home is the place where the old lady feeds them, and the third home is the house where the old age pensioner keeps the heating on all day.

There's a black cat near me called Smudge who lives in a small hamlet. His official owner thinks he is hers. Four houses down the road is a family who told Celia that he belongs to them. And five houses up the road is a woman who told Celia "He's not really my cat but he spends a lot of time here and sleeps on my bed in the afternoon." Celia decided not to tell the three "owners" about each other. What the eye doesn't see.....

If Tabby is lucky, a cat lover will move into your home. Or she will find another welcoming house in the street. Have faith in her ingenuity. We cats know how to look after ourselves. If you are a friendly cat, you will probably find another feline friend.

Love 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