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Friday, November 27, 2009

Hi, I'm Bella. I'm a dog.


Dear George,
My name is Bella and I am a 5 month old Shitzu girl. I''m so cute that I can pass for a kitten.
Mommy is so proud of me that she is inviting all her friends over to see me.
I enjoy very much all the attention, gifts and treats, but I'm a bit concerned since some of her friends have cats. The other night they were telling my mom about your blog.
What if they suggest her to get a cat too? I really don't want to share the house with a cat. Cats can be bossy and I'm too cute to be bossed around.
George, what exactly cats don't like about dogs? What can I do to make sure that no cat will come to live with us? Sorry, I know I sound selfish but, cats don't like to share houses with dogs either.
Tanti baci,
Bella.

Dear Bella,
To us cats, dogs are ridiculous. They actually look up to humans, as if they thought humans are superiors (surely they can't!). They obey commands. They do what they are told. Dogs have masters. We cats have staff. That's what our humans are for. They are our butlers, housemaids, cooks, secretaries, grooms and nurserymaids. A dog makes a human feel like a god. Not a good thing. Humans need keeping in their place - as bottom dog not alpha superior.
There is only one safe rule - which is that CATS RULE. You are right that we often boss around dogs. We have to. If we become the underdog (or under cat) we are in danger of our lives. Dogs often hunt cats. Even small dogs like Shitzu's could wound us severely. In fact small dogs like terriers are more likely to chase cats than labradors (more gentle by nature).
Usually it all starts when a cat is introduced to a strange dog. Heaven knows, we cats don't like strange animals. We don't even like strange cats, let alone strange dogs. So normally if that happens, a cat that doesn't know about dogs just makes a run for it. The dog runs after is and Voila! the relationship is fixed into that of prey (cat) and predator (dog). So naturally we cats don't want dogs coming into our homes.
The only exception is if we have been brought up in a home with cat-friendly dogs. Dogs learn how not to chase cats when they are young puppies and we cats learn how to love dogs while we are young kittens. The best way to have a cat and a dog (scientists have proved this) is to get a cat first, then add a puppy carefully and safely. Preferably a nice gun dog type not a terrier or a guard dog sort.
If your Mom is determined to get a cat too, she needs to get one now while you are still young enough to adapt to being underdog. A good rescue shelter will know if a cat is used to dogs and find one for her. But better still don't let her... Oh I forgot, you will do what she says.
Love George
PS. This sums it up nicely. You need to read right to the end. It comes from David the Dogman - http://www.thedogman.net/

Where
do pets come from? It is reported that the following edition of the Book of Genesis was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. If authentic, it would shed light on the question, "Where do pets come from?"
And Adam said, "Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with me everyday. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me." And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will know I love you, even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish and childish and unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself."
And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. And it was a good animal. And God was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail. And Adam said, "But Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and all the good names are taken and I cannot think of a name for this new animal." And God said, "No problem! Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."
And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him. And Adam was comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail. After a while, it came to pass that Adam's guardian angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved, but no one has taught him humility." And the Lord said, "No problem! I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not always worthy of adoration."
And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam. And Cat would not obey Adam. And when Adam gazed into Cat's eyes, he was pleased. And Adam was greatly improved. And Cat did not care one way or the other reminded that he was not the supreme being. And Adam learned humility. . And God was pleased. And Adam was greatly improved. And Cat did not care one way or the other.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Help! - my beautiful Hollywood cat career in ruins


Dear George,
With the current economy being so slow both Cayenne and I decided to help our humans increase their household income!
So we thought of different sources of revenue such as "modelling", "knitting", "hunting", "lulla-purrs for kittens'' CD, 'yoga for cats"video - something we'd enjoy and yet making money. We had quite a few good ideas but none was as tempting as a commerical for panetone. Panetone is a sweet Italian bread that you cat eat "as is" or with coffee, milk, etc. Some humans will have it with cappucino; some with red wine! Anyway we created our own little scenario, music, decor, etc.
I was soooooo excited, but.... Cayenne ruined it all!
The day we were supposed to do the comercial, I realized that my sister Cayenne gained too much weight (probably snacking on panetone), so we won't fit in the box together as we were supposed to. The whole thing was a fiasco!
Look at me in the box, so lonely and sad! What kind of ad is this?
Who would want to eat panetone now? And the worst thing is that Cayenne is laughing! But if she doesn't lose weight fast.... she is going to ruin by career (our mooomy won't let me go alone to Hollywood)! Please help!
Love Fluffy.


Dear Fluffy,

You look beautiful. Any advertisement with a cat in it is a good advertisement. Human beings are programmed to notice animals more than anything else. Evolutionary psychologists (dedicated to trying to find out how human brains are programmed by evolution) have experimented with showing flash pictures of animals, buildings and cars. Even though these humans are fixated by cars and houses (in the UK, at least), they notice animals the most. This seems to be left over from the days when humans were as clever as animals, and spent time trying to avoid being eaten and trying to find animals to eat. In those days they were like intelligent cats.

Since then they have become like naked babies (neotony is the name for that). They have lost their conscious abilities to think as sensibly as we do. So don't worry about it, Fluffy. You look wonderful in that box. The humans will notice you maybe even if they don't know they are. The only problem might be that they forget to read the name on the box because you are so much much more attractive than panetone.

Are you sure that Cayenne WANTS to lose weight? And are you sure you WANT to go to Hollywood? Apart from The Cat From Outer Space (a Burmese) there aren't great career prospects - though maybe readers can add some more cat movies.

I think we all ought to be on YouTube.

Love George


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scraaatch - the way to get attention from these humans

Dear George,
I wish to pass on a good way to get attention from these absent minded humans. I expect, like me, you get irritated by their inability to
concentrate on what really matters - me, my food bowl, my sleeping places and my need for fun. Too often they will spend their time selfishly doing things for themselves - eating (better food often), sleeping, watching TV or even going out shopping without bringing back Whiskers. So get their attention fast - choose an antique chair, look at them, and then while you have that nano second of their attention, scraaaatch.
Love Jaffa

Dear Jaffa,
I can see that you have it down to a fine art. I particularly
admire the use of the left front paw, holding it up as a asign to "collect" their attention, rather in the way a conductor holds his baton just before the orchestra starts with the music. Then the quick swivel round and the double scratch downwards. That shiny covering material - is it brocade? - must have been expensive. All the better to make your mark.
Other good places to leave the sign of the velvet claw include the side of the bed - this is often upholstered with a satisfactory cushion effect. A few downward strokes help wake them up in the morning like a speaking clock. "At the third scratch, it will be 6 am. At the next s
cratch it will be 6.03am." Makes a change from biting their toes under the duvet.
Scratching also has its place in the garden, particulary the rockery. For years dogs have marked and killed small focus conifers planted on rockeries. We can do our part too in improving their garden design either with claw or spray.
Have you tried scratching the carpet? I know that it is rather boring to have to do a horizontal rather than a vertical scratch, but it becomes quite pleasureable once you have broken down the carpet so that the strong hession backing is showing. Masterful horizontal scratches near doors will stop them ever shutting you out again. "We can't shut him out - he just ruins the carpet."
Finally, don't forget curtains. Some cat-wary humans don't have curtains down to the floor, because they know what will happen. Others, in a spirit of optimism and folly, buy long expensive brocade or velvet ones that sweep downwards. Not only are these delightful for kittens doing climbing exercises, but they also have good adult cat potential for scratching.
Let them have it, Jaffa.
Love George

PS. Sign the Canadian petition against declawing at www.petitiononline.com/bandec/petition.html
PPS. Rabbits do it too. Here is a photo of Harvey - read his remarks in Comments below

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Many toed polydactyl cats - six in all or even more

Dear George
I am one of two black brothers in the care of West Oxfordshire Cats Protection (www.westoxoncats.co.uk ). As you can see we look very much alike - apart from four interesting features. My paws are bigger and (I think) better because they have six digits not just five. You can see the difference in the photo of me (higher up) and my brother and see how it looks from the detailed photo of my back paw. Some cats have seven digits.
Love CP Kitten

Dear CP Kitten,
Impressive. I see that your feet look sort of large when you are sitting down and there's an odd sort of bump sticking out. I can only count five on the bottom photo of your paw close up, but, of course, the sixth digit is higher up the leg. I can just see the dew claw
on the bottom middle of that picture. I like the way the paw pad has got a little extra bit on the left hand side (in the bottom photo). Normal cat feet have four digits at the bottom and the smaller one up the side of the ankle (so to speak).
A scientist who studied more th
an 100 polydactyl cats reported that extra digits were more common on the front than the back paws, though you have them on both. Also sometimes there were seven digits in all - ie six on the main pawpad. Sometimes the extra toe is just an extra dew claw higher up rather than a full toe. Just occasionally the claws on the extra toes retract differently on the back paws from the normal claws.
Extra toes are the result of a domi
nant gene (according to C. H. Danforth author of Morphology of the feet in polydactl cats,American Journal of Anatomy, (1947) 80, 143-171 available on Google Scholar). Exactly how many extra toes and their size and shape varies from one individual to another. Six or seven toed cats aren't going to have any great advantage, so that evolution isn't going to encourage them to flouish at the expense of ordinary cats.
I guess we cats just have to be grateful that cat breeders aren't interested in this variation. There are always humans interested in the bizarre who are breeding bald animals, animals with stumpy legs, animals with floppy ears, huge animals or tiny animals. I have even seen photos of bald guinea pigs.
Humans can't mind their own business. They start with some unusual animals, breed them to each other, keep breeding them with each other and, bingo, there's a new breed with a tiny gene pool (unhealthy). Luckily six toed cats have escaped the attention of these humans and so, because they are not inbred, are as healthy as normals. Let's hope it stays that way.
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