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Friday, January 29, 2010

Can we cats trust dogs?




Dear George,

I know Dumas wrote a sequel to “The Three Musketeers” something called “After 20 years” or “20 years later” – I’m not quite sure, but…as I got tired of waiting for D’Artagnan, I decided to go ahead and live my life to the fullest.

Thanks to KattyCat and her mom….a lot of pieces from Dumas’ puzzle (novel) fell into place and now I feel free to do whatever I want.

But ….Cardinal Richelieu (my human) didn’t like my idea to live free and sent in a spy! Her name is Daisy and as you can see from these photos I caught her spying on me.

I made her surrender to the bravest musketeer of all (that’s me) and then we made a pact (whispered in her ears). My only dilemma George is ….can I trust a boxer?

How can I make sure that Daisy is not a double agent?

What do you think?

Porthos


Dear Porthos,

Dogs have a reputation among humans for being loyal and true and trustworthy. Humans call them their best friends. I think this sums up pretty well where dogs fit into the family. They are not the equals of humans, they are below them, so they are always going to be subservient to our servants. They are the servants or our servants. Work that out. Cats are alpha. Humans are beta. Dogs are delta. More or less.

So can you trust Daisy? Boxers are somewhat kitten or puppy like in the way they play and play. They don't really become adults - at least most don't. So as long as your human, Cardinal Richelieu, wants Daisy to be nice to you, Daisy will be. However, I don't think you can trust her too far. I think she will let the Cardinal know what is happening - either because she identfies with humans or because she is not very bright. Dogs are just intellectually nowhere near cats. So I would assume she is a double agent.

You can have fun with her. You can bully her. I like the way you are climbing all over her. You can steal her food and generally boss her about, but she is not a cat. Keep that in mind and you will be OK. Dogs obey humans. Yes, remember that.

I'm pleased to know that you feel free to do whatever you want. We cats do. That is our raison d'etre. We do our own thing. Always. No obedience classes for cats, I am pleased to say.

George.

PS. My human has a cold and flu and is not being very good with her duties.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

When you gotta go, 'tis best to ensure as much comfort as possible



Dear George,


As noted in your columns there are many ways by which our big friends can make life comfortable for us, of which one of the most civilised is that of a sound toilette, by which I mean the place where we can go for a contemplative dig, not a damp paw over our chops.
I feel that I have been fortunate in this department, for my helper provides a really large tray which is always kept filled with good clumping litter, which he, attentive and caring soul that he is, always cleans and tops up as soon as he notices anything, er, amiss, with the contents. Such as personal additions.
Not that I make a full-time habit of using it, for we live just inside a Dark, Dark Forest, which generally provides me with ample facilities for doing what must be done. Even so, in the current weather, hey, while that great big tray is so very inviting, a girlie puss feels sometimes the need to stretch her claws and feel the cool wind streaming through her whiskers, so once a day I think it only reasonable to brave the snow – which, if I stood still, is taller than me – and take a run outside. See photographs of me in the white stuff.
With my colouring I do stand out a bit, I know, so it was easy for my friend to tail me to a Private Place beneath a dense hedge on the end of his land (mine extends much further, of course) where there is some good-quality dry scratching to be exploited. Even so I did only a gentle squat, not wishing to befoul the landscape, something which I note that our brown furry vegetarian relations have been doing. Those little black currents and a rather bright orange tint to the snow. Still, at least they go outside rather than use their probably cramped quarters in the earth banks.
Duty done, with due regard to avoiding a chilly behind and with a degree of caution due to my normally good camouflage not being effective in this white stuff. Then there is nothing quite as satisfying as a leaping bound back home showing a clean pair of heels. Apart from a warm prawn. And a hot radiator. And a cushion. Quite a few things, come to think about it.
Love to all, and may many birdies survive to the Spring. A shame that we cannot have some inside to stay with us.

Purdey

Dear Purdey,
Your human has obviously been trained in proper cat care. Many of us cats prefer to go outside but there may not be proper facilities. Having to leap over the wall or through the hedge, into another cat's home territory, can be frightening for the more timid cat, and exhausting for the elderly who have a touch of arthritis. No wonder some of us show our dislike of this by insisting on an indoor facility like the back of the sofa, if no litter tray is provided.
I, myself, go outside most of the time, except when it is very rainy, the ground is frozen solid, or there is snow. Frankly, Purdey, I am more fussy than you. I just don't like snow at all. I admire your British spirit in travelling through it on the way to the area with good quality dry scratching
and seclusion (please note this, all humans reading).
Really thoughtful humans - and they are few and far between - provide an outdoor latrine as well as an indoor litter tray. The location should be under a hedge or shed, a dry area between buildings, or even under a busy shrub (no prickly ones, please). A generous helping of builders' sand, peat, or composted bark mulch will do very well indeed. I prefer the soil prepared for seeds, myself, but I will settle for the latter.
There are instructions on my human's website, www.celiahaddon.com for an outdoor feline latrine. However, when it is made this way, it does require proper maintenance - picking up poo every two or three days, and daily hosing down to prevent the urine building up. If your human does not do this, just stop using it when it gets too stinky. Training your human into a proper routine for this is essential.
Poor apes (thank you, Whicky Wuudler for the phrase) can also get it wrong by building the latrine in the wrong place. If your garden has been taken over by the local despot cat three houses down, or if the latrine is close to a noisy factory or road, or if it is just in a piece of scary territory, don't use it. Why should you? Go and do it behind the sofa.
You have to punish them if they refuse to learn.
Love George

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Waiting for D’Artagnan!



Mon cher George,

My name is Porthos! Of course …I’m one of the musketeers!

Cardinal Richelieu (my human) managed to get all of us together for a nice pre-Christmas dinner at his chalet. We all rushed “inside” to honor his invitation.

Athos, Aramis, Milady (actually there are two of them in the house), myself; we all are here ready to eat the famous (mouse) foie gras!

The only one missing from this reunion is D’Artagnan; he’s somewhere outside!

Guess (even after so many years)……he’s still fooling around! I thought he got “fixed” as we all had, but obvious our Cardinal missed this one!

Anyway, while waiting for D’Artagnan…a thought came to my mind.

We always have been four! The four musketeers!

Then …why Alexandre Dumas wrote about “The Three Musketeers”?

Couldn’t he count up to four? George, mon ami, what do you think?

A bientot,

Porthos


Dear Porthos,

I am not often lost for a response. But I am ashamed to say that I am now. I have not read the Three Musketeers. My secretary, who as an Eng Lit graduate ought to know, confesses that she hasn't either. She's seen some films about them and tells me they were dashing gentleman, swashbuckling with swords and a lot of expensive lace, long curls (probably from a wig) and generally very attractive. She seems to remember that one of them was fat but, if your delightful photo is anything to go by, not Porthos.

So why did Dumas write about four musketeers and then title the book The Three Musketeers. Perhaps he could not count? It's a possibility but most animals (even humans) can "count" up to four or five. So this seems unlikely. Besides, whatever his maths abilities, he had the right idea about cats. It was Dumas who said: "The cat, an aristocrat, merits our esteem, while the dog is only a scurvey type who got his position by low flatteries."

When he lived with his mother, their cat, Mysouff, used to escort him the first part of his journey to work and then meet him on the way back. And somehow Mysouff would sense the evenings when Dumas was going to be late and would not go out to meet him. Dumas considered this was a form of extra sensory perception. Later he got another cat, called Mysouff the Second, who was a stray that Dumas' cook took in. Dumas also had three tame monkeys. One day the monkeys raided the aviary where Dumas kept rare birds, let in Moussoff the Second who then ate all the birds.

I think it is a pity Dumas didn't write about four cats. He could have called it The Four Mouseketeers. Celia says she would have read it as she is much more interested in cats than men in lace roaming around looking for fights. Cats are as dashing, as beautiful, and as dangerous (at least to mice) as musketeers.

Miaouwwww

Love George

PS. My social secretary is off to college so comments arriving after Sunday noon may be a bit late on getting on to the blog, depending on whether she can access it from the very strange college computers. But they will be put on. She is making small but persistent noises about statistics. Humans do spend a lot of time thinking about useless subjects. Empty headed apes, as Whicky Wuudler would so rightly say.

PPS. Don't know where to find mouse foie gras but there is a company sells freeze dried mouse treats at http://www.petextras.com/pofdmo21gr.html




Saturday, January 09, 2010

I'm fat, I'm FIV positive... who will give me a forever home?


Dear George,
Can you help me find a forever home? I am now in the care of Celia, as her temporary foster cat but I badly need a forever home with a very special person because I have special needs.
For one thing I am FIV positive. I came from the home of a cat hoarder and picked up the virus there, where there were so many cats that there were often fights. I nearly lost my life when I was rescued, because the rescue organisation had a policy of euthanasing FIV cats.
Luckily I was passed on to Cats Protection (www.westoxoncats.org.uk) who home FIV cats as indoor only cats. I found a loving home but with an elderly human who could no longer cope with the way I dig so deep into the litter that the bits have a trajectory of three feet! (Well, cats like me enjoy a good deep dig).
Somewhere along the way I got fat. Not just fat, actually. Obese is the term used by the vet. I am so fat I can't reach my backside or the lower half of my tummy to groom. There was a deeply shaming moment on Christmas day when Jess, Celia's nephew held me, while she clipped away the soiled area of my bottom and cut out a lot of knots. Such an indignity, really upsetting experience, but I feel better for it.
Love Pusskin
PS I am helping Celia type this. At my size I can block the computer screen really effectively!

Dear Pusskin,
Thank goodness there are rescue organisations like Cats Protection that give FIV cats a second chance. Humans don't put down humans that are HIV positive, so why should they put down FIV cats just because they have the virus. FIV cats can't spread it to humans and many have good quality of life for a long time. They deserve some happiness too.
I can see that you are visibly on the portly side. I take the view that we cats can be fat if we choose, but (how can I put it delicately?) it looks as if you are too well found, too much
embonpoint, and just too much of you all together. Not being able to groom yourself is a deeply upsetting condition. No cat should be expected to live like that. We need to groom. It is part of who we are.
Has Celia done her duty and put you on an obesity diet? Is she being firm and not becoming a fatty enabler like some owners? And is she refusing your requests for more?
My recommendation to you, Pusskin, is to take more exercise. Don't just sit on that cat gymnasium device. Start jumping up and down on it. Hunt for bits of food all over the house - Celia will try to help with this - don't just eat out of a bowl. Chase flies. Chase bits of string. Make her play games with you as much as possible. Keep running up and down the stairs. Get fit not fat. Oh yes, and when you go to her to ask for more food, let yourself be diverted with a game not a cat biscuit.
Finally, there are people out there who will take on a cat with special needs. Be patient. Somebody will want you for your innate charm, your gentleness with humans. They will look with the eyes of love and not see that fat outer cat. instead they will see past the outside into the essential beautiful inner cat.
Love George
PS. A very helpful comment by Puss Puss below. Thank you, Puss Puss

Saturday, January 02, 2010

More on Christmas gifts and should humans dye their hair to match our fur.


Dear George,
Talking about fashion, Christmas gifts and human behavior!
I think I got my humans well trained, especially my mom. She is very “fashionable” and wants the same for me.
See, I got a blanket to match my eyes’ color and a little “snowman” mouse to play with. I have to mention that the mouse’s hat is blue too!
I know that actually she’s so much in love with me that she had her hair done to match my eyes too (I’ve seen some blue highlights on it) Now, how cool is this?
George, do you think I should ask my male human to have his hair colored blue as a token of love for me?
In wonder
Tom

Dear Tom,
Here in the UK the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals has taken a firm line when humans dye their pets to match their clothes or their furniture. They don't think it is ethical to do this, as they fear it makes animals into fashion objects. So I consulted the feline equivalent organisation, the Imperial Society for the Protection of Humans, (note that it is a bit up the social scale from the mere Royal of the human organisation), and their view was that it would be unethical to require your male human to change its hair colour.
Of course, we do keep humans as pets for our amusement, as well as love. Their funny little ways can be really entrancing at times and I, for one, much enjoy playing with them. They seem to appreciate the attention so much. It is sometimes quite pathetic to see their disappointed faces, when I show my disapproval by withdrawing attention. But how far should we cats go in adapting humans to our requirements?
After very careful consideration, my opinion is that you should fully enjoy the compliment of your female human. She is really showing her devotion by changing her hair colour to match your eyes. However, it would be going to far to make this a requirement by the male human. If he chooses, of his own accord, to make such a touching gesture, then naturally you will respond with purrs and rubs of the highest quality.
But, if he falls short of female devotion, and does not change his hair colour, then this must be accepted with a good grace. Forcing him to do so would be wrong. There is a move among the feline intelligentsia to admit that humans do have some rights. Of course, as a species lower down the evolutionary scale of things, their rights do not supercede ours. But we should allow them a few minor freedoms and I think hair colour probably falls into this category.
Happy New Year.
Love George.

PS. I have just heard of the death of Angel. For her obituary read: http://everycat.blogspot.com

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