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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to all cats!


Hola, George!

Hope all Vincent Brown’s Christmas wishes came true! I didn’t even know what Christmas is until I read your blog.

See, I was rescued from the streets last summer when I was about four weeks old.

The family that rescued me is a funny one! Each of them is calling me a different name! Thanks God I know who I am!!! Anyway, my favorite is the male human; he’s a sweetheart! He can stay up all night waiting for me to come home

The boys are good but strange – one is calling me Fifi and the other one Diego.

I personally prefer Diego even if I’m a cute girl J

But, George…I have major problems with my female human. She’s stubborn, she has a mind of herself and everybody has to obey to her orders! I believe she thinks she’s a cat! I have to address this and I need your help! I want her to completely obey to me!

Oh! Almost forgot! Regarding the Christmas tree ….that was a scare!

Tell you the truth I thought that my humans brought a tree in the house to keep me inside during winter since I always want to spend the night out (I’m a gypsy at heart) J

Well, I discovered that I can have much fun “decorating” the tree – at litteram (see the picture). Anyway, George I need your help in dealing with my female human.

As much as I want all cats and their staff to enjoy Christmas I want my female human to be put in her place and learn that ….cats come first!

Please help

Diego

PS. Feliz Navidad to all gattos and gattinos and their humble staff!


Dear Diego,

You look great on the Christmas tree. It must be a whopper or else you are a very slender cat! How kind of your human to be so thoughtful as to get a tree big enough to climb. It's really quite touching. She may be untrained but obviously in her limited human way, she does want to please. This should encourage you.

Christmas is not the best time to start a human training plan. Humans get very distracted by eating too much and they become over-excited by other human visitors. They can't really concentrate. Many of them also are drug users - instead of catnip they drink something called alcohol which seems to make them high. Unlike us cats, they don't know when to stop. I mean I like a catnip sniff, but I can take it or leave it. I don't sit there and sniff it about nine times, as I saw a visiting human do last night. Nine glasses is at least seven too many.

Have you also noticed how bad tempered they are in the morning? Boxing Day does allow the pleasure of a special wake-up session with your human. You will probably have noticed snoring and some digestive discomfort during the night. Now is your chance for a really thorough wakey-wakey routine - biting toes under the duvet, landing with a jump on the tender part of the lower stomach, patting the cheek or even lifting one of the eyelids. Have a go. It can be fun but be ready to spring backwards fast if any human is so hungover that it becomes truly savage.

It is always interesting for us human behaviour experts to see this dysfunctional species at close quarters with their families. It is often not a pretty sight! Human behaviour is so very primitive. They quarrel so easily - unlike us cats who merely avoid each other wherever possible rather than fighting. And the noise! Caterwauling is nothing to the noise of humans shouting at each other.

No. Training will have to start when normal life resumes. It is always a mistake to start on a sour note. As similar human excesses also take place at New Year, you will have to be patient, Diego. Training a human is a long term project and patience with this pathetic species is essential, if you are to make anything of them.

Happy Christmas.

George


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I want for Christmas by Vincent Brown

Dear George,
Reverting to Christmas presents. I think it might be wise to let all kindly people know what I really want. To avoid disappointment on either side.
I do NOT want the following items:

* Bells and squeaky toys. No. I am deaf.

* Catnip. No. It leaves me cold

* Scratching posts. No. I have an adequate supply of curtains, carpets, furniture and wallpaper.

* Pussycat pellets. No. I give these to the Cat Next Door (and may they choke him).

But please choose from the following selection:

* Chicken, raw or roasted.

* Kippers, boned.

* Salmon, fresh or smoked or as Manuka pate.

* Slivers from the joint

* Cream
Fur ball medicine (for some reason delicious)
* Yoghurt, plain.

* Mild cheddar and perhaps a little Brie.

And maybe a length of string or a rumple of paper, a dangle or baubles, and ping pong balls.
I know full well that most of the above comestibles are banned. But just for once. Just a smidgeon. Just for Christmas Day.
Thanking you from the bottom of my heart,

Vincent.


Dear Vincent,
Interesting letter which I find mildly disturbing. It suggests that you wait to be given these items by your owner, Pam. Why? I have found that this is not a good idea, where human beings are involved. The species does not share. They say cats are selfish but there is nothing more selfish than a human. Normally they think in terms of giving stuff that either they think you will like but you won't (silly new beds, expensive toys that are too heavy to move, etc) or even stuff they think is
good for you (organic cat treats, tooth brushes, horrid spikey brushes). You must move on to new ways of thinking....
Christmas offers interesting food items to take. Notice, I say take. Do not wait to be given. Think cat burglar rather than cat beggar. Not only are there the normal pieces of food dropped on the floor, but there are also large food items left unguarded. Keep an eye out for the smoked salmon waiting on the plates for the starter course. If you walk casually and quietly into the food area, you may find that these are just there. Hop on the table and help yourself.
On the kitchen surface, people put down food like hot turkey, cold turkey, sausages (cold and hot), little meaty nibbles for humans, fishy nibbles for other humans, little bits of spilled gravey and spilled goose fat. Then there is that old standby - the butter. Butter always tastes good. Humans use it lavishly and I have never understood why they are so mean minded that they often cover it up so that we can't get the slightest taste. They wouldn't miss just a little lick or two of it.
Now is the time to expand your idea of food. French cheese often comes in sort of squidgey, creamy forms like Brie. There is a kind of ground up meat called pate which tastes very good indeed and is easy to lick off the plate. Not forgetting cream, brandy butter, custard, and yoghurt. Don't wait to be asked. Don't wait to be given.
Just go for it.
My motto, when considering humans, is what's thine is mine and what's mine is my own.
Happy Christmas
George.
Don't forget the tree. It's quite good fun to spray on it. Mark it as your own



Saturday, December 12, 2009

La Dolce Vita - the amazing joy and awe of being rescued

Dear George,
I'm one lucky cat who got "to live" not one but two of the late Maestro Frederico Fellini's movies. Well, my life started with my mom being an alley cat. She was rescued by a good woman, Adriana, who took her in her house. My mom was pregnant and had three kittens. Adriana (who already had three cats of her own) kept us until we were eight weeks old. She found each of us new homes. I know she liked me the best.
Anyway, I ended up with a family that kicked me out when I was no longer a kitten (about one year old). I survived for almost a year (and a bloody cold winter) on the streets. Somehow Adriana found out about this and asked the family that adopted me to bring me back to her. Here I was once again in Adriana's house! And once again she was looking to find a good home for me. Right on my 2nd birthday I was adopted by Rita-Mae and Francesco. They were my "angels' - what a wonderful birthday gift!
Oh! I forgot to tell you that my name was Freddy! When Francesco first saw me he said 'We'll take the cat but his name will be Frederico." Destiny! What better birthday gift .?
And so began my "Dolce Vita". I spend most of my time in "dolce far niente"!
First thing in the morning I bite Rita'Mae's toes so she''ll "wake up and serve me breakfast. Later, I read the newspapers with Francesco. Then ... I watch the birds, cars, and all the crazy things you can see outside. Sometimes... I play with Tutu - the house rabbit.
George, isn't this amazing? Quite a journey from "La Strada" to "La Dolce Vita", from "Freddy to Frederico". Do you think I might have a karmic link with Maestro Fellini?
In awe
Frederico.


Dear Frederico (formerly Freddy),
Your journey from suffering to happiness, from pain to pleasure, from human cruelty to human love,
is awesome. That journey is wonderful for all of us rescued cats. At Christmas I think of Lou (www.westoxoncats.co.uk) who took me in as an orphaned kitten, bottle fed me, and gave me a happy home. I also remember all those poor cats on the street (at this time of year in dire straits because of the cold) who need human angels like Adriana.
I looked up the karmic link idea on the web and it says it is metaphysical attraction between different souls, according to their karma. So it is often a kind of link of love that attracts people. I think I have a karmic link to Lou. I hope I don't have a link to the cruel person who thrust my mother out into the cold when she was pregnant. It must be great to have a karmic link to Maestro Fellini, maker of great films. Pity that he is on the other side. We could do with a really really good film about cats - not one where the cat is the baddy.
Dolce far niente is my motto too, with one exception which is hunting. But when the weather is heavy rain and wind, as it often is in the UK, my day goes something like this - woke up, eat food out of bowl, nap, eat food out of bowl, nap, investigate flies on the window, nap, eat food out of bowl, nap.... Of course, if it is a dry cold day I am out there hunting, checking my territory for any change, sniffing at the rabbit poo, seeing if any mice are around. After hunting, I nap and nap well.
Christmas -- I hope there is not going to be any silliness about putting a Christmas hat on me, like some years. I don't appreciate this human stupidity!
Love George.

PS. My housekeeper/butler/cook is back. Keeps talking about statistics. That woman has no sense at all.



Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Zzzzzz! I'm a Zen cat!

Dear George,

Sometimes life can be very boring between breakfast and dinner, especially if you are an indoor cat and alone until your human comes home!

I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong! If you remember …I was rescued after living for about 2 years on the streets of a suburb.

I do love my forever home and I do love my mom, but once in a while I get THAT urge to scratch or knock down things. Obviously mom is not pleased and calls me “a naughty girl”! So, trying to keep myself busy…..I took up meditation!

My “focus point” is a little fish in the aquarium next to my bed.

I stare at it until I fall into a deep meditation as you can see in the picture!

And I meditate (guess…deeper then a monk) until mom comes home.

I think I am a ZEN cat now! But I heard people talking about an Alpha cat!

George, what’s the difference between the two? Can I be both an Alpha and a Zen cat?

Something like the “A to Z” cat?

Love

Shumba


Dear Shumba,
Yes, fish are interactive TV for cats. Your human has obviously provided them for you to help amuse you. I see you are using them for meditation. Have you thought of a snack? Raw fish is very tasty and it is fun to put your paw in the tank and swish it about even if you don't actually fish one out! Some even more thoughtful owners provide a hamster cage for our amusement - though be wary, because if you put your nose too near the bars, these bite.
Deep meditation, intense serenity and the ability to nap often and anywhere (under radiators, on top of wardrobes, inside the bed, windowsills, near the Aga or on a radiator hammock) is something humans could learn from us. They don't know how to switch off. They spend their time working and worrying while they could learn from us the art of relaxation. So congratulations on being a Zen cat and setting them a good example.
Of course, you can be and should be an Alpha cat too. Being Alpha in the household means taking control of the family. First thing your Mom can do to keep you amused is to hide dry food in containers for you to "hunt" and eat - toilet rolls with sticky tape on the ends and holes to let the food out, paper (never plastic) bags, large cardboard boxes, small cardboard boxes to sit in (look at the photo of Cayenne on the blog entry for November 20th). And she should build some high stairs, ledges, using planks. Get that human to work.... This is the time when you don't let her nap or do Zen things, but you need her work much harder at being a feline amusement operative.
Make her get out the fishing rod toy and use it while she is watching TV. It is all on www.celiahaddon.com under Indoor Cats. Cats rule. Humans serve. If you are bored, Shumba, your human is not doing enough for you. They can be very slack in their duties.
Love George
PS. My secretary will be at college next Monday for five days so comments will be slow on going on the blog until the next weekend. I wish that woman would take her duties more seriously. Humans should be seen and not educated. The idea that they can learn anything much is just plain silly. She doesn't even clean my litter tray often enough - I like it cleaned 5 times a day.

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