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Saturday, January 29, 2011

What can I do? I don't like being a home alone cat

Dear George,
I think I need your help again. I'm worried (as you can see from my photo) that my human may be trying to leave me. She's doing this "phased return to work" thing an
d she's nearly at the point where she leaves me alone all day!
Back in the summer (I think the humans call it A
ugust) my female human disappeared for a full week and came back stinking of the human vets. She was very weak and couldn't do all her normal human duties, like feeding me and keeping my tray clean and she slept a lot. The male human took some time off work to look after her, but only a few days then the task was left to me.
I settled into the new responsibility incredibly well, even if i do say so myself. I would sit and watch her as much as I could. She spent a lot of time watching TV, on the com
puter or doing sitting down hobbies so I would try to get her involved in fun running and chasing games to keep her exercised. She seemed to enjoy this but would tire easily, so I'd give her a quick check over (you know, when you stand on them and sniff their whole face, paying lots of attention to the mouth and eyes) to make sure she was OK then we'd have a sleep together. I even checked out all the human vets that came to visit her, making sure none of them had thermometers in their bags and watching them closely, I wasn't going to have them check MY human's temperature! Gradually my care worked and she started to get better.
Then one day she started to get all excited about going back to work, just a few hours a week to start with (and as it was really cold and snowy out she made me a heat pad before she left!) but now it's every day and shows signs that she'll be gone for longer!
George, how can I show her that although I enjoy the new toys and treats she's bringing me, I do not want her going just when she's well enough to pay proper attention to me? It's just not good enough! OK so she always make sure I have tasty treats hidden around the house to keep me entertained as I try to get at them, and on cold days she'll put that heat pad in the big bed for
me, but it's just not the same as being able to ignore her in person!
She and the male one make sure the spend at least an hour every day doing fun chase and pounce games with me, but I want one of them here during the day! What can I do to keep myself entertained (remember, I'm an indoor cat), and then REALLY let them know it's just not good enough when they get home?
Always your fan,
Mog.


Dear Mog,
What a typical sneaky human trick - to desert you after you have put so much time and care into helping her recover. Humans are moral morons. No wonder they are lower down the evolutionary tree than us cats. It would be easy if you had a cat flap. You would just wander down the street and find a stay-at-home senior human with good central heating and spend your days with h
im. These lonely humans are pathetically grateful for any attention and may even provide a superior brand of cat food.
Humans belong in the kitchen and the bedroom, serving us and not gallivanting about outside the home. You need a proper purrsuasion campaign to show them how bored and lonely you are.
The first part of your campaign is to greet your humans with apparently pathetic enthusiasm. Yes, I know you are angry with them but dissemble. Be as sneaky as they are. Wind yourself around their legs, on the laps, climb on to their shoulders and flop all over them all the time. Do this while they are on the lavatory, while they are preparing food, while they are doing anything at all. Stick to them like a burr and interfurr with everything they do. If you can manage a sad little kitten mew, that will help too. Remember, this is a challenge to your acting ability.
If that doesn't work, start an "ignore and claw" programme. Ignore the scratching post, and claw the sofa and chairs. Tear up any paper found in the house and distribute it throughout the rooms. Move all small objects off shelves and surfaces. Hunt down and eat any food in the kitchen. If you have the strength to do it, push the cover off the butter container and lick. You want them to get the message that you need supervision.
The next part of the campaign is quite good fun. Hunt them like mice when they have gone to sleep. Jump on their feet, their groins an
d even their faces. Chew and pull their hair. Nibble their toes. Run up and down their prostrate bodies. Roar round the flat making as much noise as possible at about 3 am. The three fold message is - I miss you very badly indeed, I am bored during the day, I want to play more games with you. Night time is the only time I have with you.
If this doesn't purrsuade them, the potentially-suicide option is to spray. But I have known cats rehomed because of this, so it is a weapon that cannot be used lightly.
Best of luck,

George
PS. Fluffy and Cayenne have contributed this picture with the comment: "Just sit on her coat so she can't leave."
PS.My secretary has posted stuff about how to keep indoor cats busy on her website. It's cheeky of her but some of the suggestions might give you a better lifestyle. Also read some ingenious suggestions in the comments from Whicky Whudler.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Are outdoor cats being outlawed by these human laws?

Dear George,
I’m deeply disturbed by an article published in a local newspaper over the weekend. The article was about a City by-law that’s going into effect soon and I’m afraid it will affect cats’ freedom and well being. According to this new by-law all cats’ owners (how ignorant of law makers to think we have “owners”) will be fined $100 plus some additional fees if a cat is found roaming around or it is brought to a shelter.
What I’m afraid of ….is that this by-law will give too much room for interpretation and abuse. For example….some neighbor who doesn’t like the cat living next door can easily call the animal control people who will take the cat away from its own backyard and fine the “owner”. Many cats will end up in shelters and many people won’t be willing to pay the fine to get them back. It’s a rather sad situation.
Even if it’s true that indoor cats live a safer life, some of us are simply “indoor-outdoor” beings. We like to go out to check our territory and then come back inside to eat or sleep. Now, some will end up on a leash (like a dog with restricted mobility) tied up in the backyard or, in the best scenario, their humans will get a cat enclosure for the backyard.
Are we going to live in a cramped box (see my picture) from now on?
Don’t get me wrong; this by-law will be good and protecting the cats if we would deal with an educated public, but how to educate humans in such a short time?
George, what are your thoughts on this? Any ideas from your or other cats?
In distress
Cayenne

Dear Cayenne,
Humans are always trying to control us, aren't they? I am horrified by this law - details of which can be found here. Humans who let their cats go outside will be fined $105. This means
if a cat ends up in the local cat shelter in Oakville, near Ontario, Canada, its human will be fined if it retrieves it. Humans are not known for responsible behaviour. It will be cheaper for it to get another cat. So the law will penalise the responsible humans and do nothing to stop the irresponsible ones. If anybody knows of a petition against this Canadian bye-law let me know and I will sign it immediately. So will many of the cats I know.
Here in the UK, we cats are treated as wild animals. It is acknowledged that humans cannot control us so there are no leash laws, no requirement for registration, vaccination or microchipping. We cats are free to roam, if our humans give us a cat flap. There
are laws, thank goodness to make sure our humans do not mistreat us.
There are disadvantages, however, in the law's recognition that we cats cannot be controlled. If there is a road accident, the car driving human does not have to report it. They do have to report an accident involving a dog. So our grieving human pets cannot ask the police if a cat accident has been reported. And, of course, with no requirement for microchipping or registration, people can keep cats at will without any identification. I mean obviously we can identify ours
elves but these poor dumb creatures need help from a microchip.
I cannot approve of a law that forces us to be kept always indoors. I like the outdoor law - the stealthy hunt after mice, the territory to be patrolled and marked, neighbouring cats to be chased or greeted, as I choose. Yes, I know there are dangers but for me life without risk is not worth living. Long live the cat flap.
Love George

PS: Terri has been kind enough to do this nice portrait of me, surrounded by kittens (not mine due to human interference with my love life! Wish they would give themselves the snip). I think her tribute to me deserves a wider audience.
PPS. Nice box. Must get my humans to purrchase one.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are our humans creating a toxic environment for cats?

Dear George,

Guess… we need help with the definition of a “toxic environment”. May be we don’t have a proper understanding of the term since our place is squeaky clean and all products used in the house are “natural”, “eco”, “bio”, “ pet friendly”

Just pronouncing these words you feel the energy flowing! Got the rhythm?

We can dance with the mop! Our litter is “natural” Swheat scoop” (it smells really nice when you pee), clumps and it’s not “clogging” the upper respiratory track (whatever this is). Our food, of course, is natural and organic and as fresh as it can be!

BUT, last night we heard our humans talking about the danger of second hand smoking.

Do you think…they meant......a poorly “ham smoking” system? Also, they were reading an article about the danger of anti-freezer and pets! Pets don’t freeze (unless neglected), so WHY an anti-freeze? George, we know some apes (!) worry about 2012, but do you think we should worry about a “toxic environment” (we heard the term last night)? Do you think there are “unknown” dangers out there…ready to get the cats? We worry for our feline world.

Breathless (too worried to inhale)

Fluffy & Cayenne


Dear Fluffy and Cayenne,

I can see from the gorgeous sight of you both relaxing that at least your environment isn't toxic. But for many cats this just isn't true. The ridiculous human habit of lighting a stick, putting it into their mouth and puffing the smoke may give cats a higher chance of developing malignant lymphoma. There's disagreement among human scientists about it and I will give the references below my signature for those that are interested. We cats know, however, that tobacco smoke is directly disgusting. We don't like it one bit - and that's a very good reason for humans not to do it in the first place.

The other danger from human interference with the environment is asbestos. This is a highly dangerous substance that these dumb creatures used to use in their buildings. Nowadays they don't. But the danger is still there in older buildings - in pipe lagging, concrete roofing, bath panels etc. Usually this building stuff is covered up with wall plastering and so forth.

But pin your ears back, Fluffy and Cayenne. Humans just won't let their territories be. We cats like our territories to stay the same (perhaps a few extra mice would be good) and we check them daily to make sure we know where everything is. Humans are always doing stuff to theirs - pulling down walls, slapping on horrible-smelling paint, adding lofts, conservatories and fancy kitchens. This in itself is deeply distressing to any sensible cat. Some of us protest by spraying.

Worse still asbestos causes malignant mesothelioma in cats. You can read more about it at www.mesothelioma.com (though this site is doggist when it describes mesothelioma in pets) and more about cancer in cats at www.fabcats.org . Mesothelioma in cats is rare but it does exist. You can find a free scientific journal article on feline mesothelioma at www.sage-hindawi.com/journals/vmi/2010/396794.html

So, if your dumb humans are about to redecorate or generally ruin your territory by doing building work on an older house, spray like mad at the first opportunity. With any luck they will put you in a cattery, a safe haven from asbestos, during the building work.

Love George.

1. Bertone, E. R., Snyder, L. A. & Moore, A. S., (2002), 'Environmental tobacco smoke and the risk of malignant lymphoma in pet cats,' American Journal of Epidemiology, 156, 268-273

2. Dension, K. W. E., (2002), 'Environmental tobacco smoke and the risk of malignant lymphoma in pet cats,' American Journal of Epidemiology, 158, 1227.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Our New Year Resolutions....


Dear George,

As 2010 came to an end we reviewed the most important (and not so important) events in our life ….we decided what we want to change in 2011. Here is a list with our New Year’s resolutions:

1) EAT HEALTHY – we mean …more fresh meat like in a juicy, fresh mouse!

Say “no” to tasteless kibbles or canned food. If “fresh” mice are not available

insist on gourmet food ….cooked just for us/cats!

2) RELAX more and work less – we worked hard on different combinations/plans to either secured or to “recession proof” our food. We really think that economy didn’t go that bad…so we can relax more in 2011

How about letting humans worry about economy and expecting them to provide for us? After all ….THEY screwed up the economy, not the cats!

3) BE MORE ACTIVE – there is a lot of effort jumping from bed to bed, right?

After such effort…..a nap is a blessing in disguise!

4) STRETCH every time we roll/turn from one side to another during our nap.

We hope you agree that stretching is quite beneficial and we, cats, do master the art of stretching.

5) DO NOT STRESS over human incompetence or their lack of intelligence.

We should adopt a more “humane” attitude towards our human pets and ignore

them completely ….unless they bag us (with treats) for forgiveness.

We may have some more ideas, but we’ll stop here and wait for other cats to join us and come with their list J. So, George, what do you think? Is our list good ?

A Happy and safe 2011 all cats (and their humans)

Love

Fluffy & Cayenne


Dear Fluffy and Cayenne,

Your wonderful letter set me thinking. What kind of resolutions should I make for 2011? You both set an example in 1010 when you recession-proofed your food. Now your resolutions can act as an inspiration to other cats. So here are mine:

1. I shall try to be more understanding of the human need to sleep on my bed. True, Celia has a perfectly good bed downstairs (it's called the sofa) but she obviously has an emotional need to sleep where I do. In 2011 I will share it with her. My efforts to push her off completely weren't working anyway.

2. Eat more. I am supposed to put up with tinned cat food and biscuits. If I sit closer to her plate, while she eats, I can help with her consumption of steak, chicken, lamb, fish and pork. She can eat the vegetables and I shall eat the protein - much healthier for both of us.

3. I will practise a more active survelliance of the kitchen - in particular, the trash can, the food preparation surfaces, and the floor near the cooker. I will also help with washing plates before they are put in the dishwasher. This is part of resolution no 2.

4. I have my eye on the old age pensioner across the field (fond of cats, good central heating but with no cat). Perhaps I will stroll over and see if he would like to offer me a meal. It would be making an old man happy and would contribute to resolution no 2.

5. Nap more often and nap in imaginative places - spread over the computer mouse, on the printer, just near the dishwasher machine (see no 2), curled round the phone, linen cupboard (of course), in the in-tray, on the lap of any visitor who hates cats.

Readers please add their resolutions in the comments section.

Love George

PS. Photo of my friend Harve, to go with his comment below.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Teasing my human on the toilet.

Dear George.
I love your blog! So impressed that you have your human trained to transcribe it for you. I tried it once but my humans were too dense to keep it up.
In revenge for their stupidity I have discovered that one of my habits is infinitely confusing to them. I should first explain that as an indoor cat living in a small house, my litter tray is tucked away in the bathroom next to the big porcelain one the overdeveloped apes use. I wait until the female is using her litter tray and then wander in to use mine. Of course I have to drape my tail over her leg while I get myself in position, then, as I go I can gaze up at her. This REALLY confuses the human. If she tries to move before I'm done to get her hands wet (why do they do that, can't they keep themselves clean without involving water?) I'll tell her off, maybe even swipe at her leg, and then start again. If I don't need to go then I can just sit between her feet. It's best if she's wearing trousers as then I can get in them and control when she can move again.
Most importantly I rarely do this with the male one, only the female. They are really confused and, even better, occasionally unnerved by my behaviour.
My problem - which I have considerable difficulty admitting, even to your good self - is that the truth of the matter is that I have absolutely no idea why I am compelled to do this. I was wondering if you had any ideas?
Yours,
Mog

Dear Mog,
We are in deep waters here. On the one hand you are teasing your human in a splendidly creative, possibly even a triumphant way. I particularly like the inbuilt punishment if she moves before you want her to. And that splendid little addition of climbing into her trousers and sitting there to stop her moving. This is cat control at its best. I congratulate you.
However, I also understand that you are worried about this.... and I can see why. All of us get used to a certain ritual around toileting. Humans, for instance, often feel the need to read at the same time. We cats often have digging rituals - one dig to the right, one to the left, for instance. Some of us turn round before: others turn round afterwards for inspection. Some insist on using only one side of the litter tray. And so forth. Your ritual now involves a human.
What I fear is that this may become a dependency. If you get too used to the human presence, you may begin to find it difficult to eliminate when she is not there. And, of course, though it is only a relatively unimportant question of human rather than feline welfare, the same may happen to her. You may both find a certain difficulty in performing without the other's presence.
Be warned. Do not take this splendid game too far. We cat must never ever become dependant on human affection or even a human presence. Independance on the toilet, as well as elsewhere, must be maintained. So try to keep this human tease within moderation. Use your litter tray at least once a day without her presence.
Happy New Year to all Felines
George.
PS. If you will forgive a personal remark - what splendid white whiskers you have.

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