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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Delay in posting

Due to human incompetance, and a power surge disabling half the electrics in my house, my secretary has been unable to post my blog for this week today (Saturday). She assures me she will do so tomorrow (sunday).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A war between breeders - a stud cat's tale.


Dear George,

My life story is based on lies, sex and money! I was caught in a war between the breeders. My name is Yogan and I am a pure breed. You might wonder what I’m doing here among rescued cats, but, in way, I’m a rescue too. I was born in a breeder’s house being destined, of course, to a life of sex and lies; I mean I was supposed “to produce” many, many kittens who would be sold for big money. Quite before I was supposed to “meet” my first “wife” I was sold to another breeder. I don’t know what exactly went wrong between the two, but I heard something about lies, money and papers. And, that’s how the war between them started. In between the court appearances, the one who bought me decided to neuter me so, if she can’t breed me ….no one ever would! I got “fixed” in “revenge” and not as a responsible, sensible solution to cat overpopulation!

In a way I’m happy I got the snip since I wouldn’t like to know my kittens being abandoned on the streets by some irresponsible humans. But I was (still am) appalled by the breeder’s motivation! That’s just another example of human greediness and irresponsibility. Soon I was up for sale again! But this time I was “rescued” by my “mommy” Jackie. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for more; she is well behaved, well trained in attending to my wellbeing and absolutely lovely. She lives for me! She loves me immensely! I’m writing to you George because I want you to make my story known – may be we all can learn something from it. What do you think?

Still appalled

Yogan


Dear Yogan,

You have had such a lucky escape. Most stud cats are kept in a cat chalet and never come out. If the breeder is ethical, they may have a spayed female cat for company. If the breeder really loves cats, then they will usually only be kept at stud for a year or two before being neutered and homed as a pet. But, in bad hands, the loneliness of the long-captived stud cat is awful. They cannot be kept in the house because they are so smelly. Some of them develop behaviour disorders like pacing walking up and down their small cages like suffering zoo animals.

The plight of the un-neutered tom on the street or in the countryside is different. He does have all the pleasures of freedom and the fun of mating. But with that goes a high chance of disease. Un-neutered toms do more fighting than neutered cats and fatal diseases such as FIV are spread by bites. They also roam far more and are more likely to be run over, lose their homes (if they had one) and end up battered and starving on the street. Many of the male stray cats that we at West Oxon Cats Protection pick up are in this condition. (If you go to the website, you will find Arthur there who needs a home). If their original owners had only had them neutered they would be safe and well at home.

Add to this that there are too many homeless cats, and you will see how important it is for cats to be neutered and spayed if they are going to lead the domestic life. Every single human that breeds kittens is adding to the overpopulation. Frankly, I think it is horrible. And I also think that irresponsibly breeding any animals from a very limited gene pool (mating within relatives for instance) results in some hideous disorders. Don't believe me? look at hereditary disorders in pedigree cats at www.fabcats.org.

You have now escaped the immense boredom of the stud cat's life and come home to live with your pet human. Congratulations. Please try to purrsuade all humans to adopt unwanted cats from animal shelters rather than from breeders. If they want a pedigree cat, they can adopt a rescue from the rescue arm of the relevant pedigree cat club. Or settle for a lovely moggie.

Love George

PS. I only wish we could have a neutering and spaying campaign to stop human overpopulation. This intellectually limited species is difficult to influence.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Shocking news about giving animals electric shocks

Dear George

I'm very worried. Brian Blessed, the famous actor, foghorn and national treasure, who I had down as being a real champion for animals, seems to have gone bonkers.
He's touring the UK asking people to sign a petition asking the government NOT to ban Invisible Electric Fences. These horrible fences give an animal wearing a "special" collar, a painful and frightening electric shock on their neck if they go too near a boundary where the electric underground "fence" is laid.
I can see such a device being useful in training our thick skinned, rather slow apes not to go too far from home and be late feeding us, but for the sake of COD no such nasty method would ever work on cats. No ape has ever put a collar on me and this makes me ruddy sure they never will.
George, how can we get our friend Brian Blessed well again and back to being our friend?

Yours in shock

Whicky Wuudler
Here is the link.
http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/news/Brian-gives-blessing-pet-collar-campaign/article-3431420-detail/article.html

Dear Whicky,
I am shocked and horrified too. Animal-loving Brian Blessed has been misled. Readers can tell him so on his Facebook page but be nice about it, as he has done a great great deal for animal welfare. He may have been misled by the fact that a cat welfare charity campaigned in the favour of this cruel fencing system. Giving electric shocks to dogs and cats is cruel and unnecessary. These electric shock fences (they called the shock "mild correction") leave cats exposed to even more danger. If a fierce dog comes into the territory, the cat cannot run away. If it is does run, it is shocked as it passes the invisible barrier. For some cats this will bring on complete breakdown.
The charity, Feline-Friends, www.feline-friends.org.uk, has even placed an advertisement in a cat magazine in favour of this cruel fencing. Electric shock fencing is opposed by the RSPCA, Cats Protection, Dogs' Trust, and many other welfare charities. What on earth is this charity doing? There's a huge amount of space on their website devoted to this kind of fencing. Why? They've even got a petition in favour....
You can find out more about this charity by looking at the government's Charity Commission where you will discover it only started up in 2009, is based in Chesterfield, and is a newcomer to the charity scene. The accounts can be downloaded from this site and the trustees are named. There is a link from the charity's website to an organisation Dogfence. This link can only help Dogfence sales. If you believe that campaigning in favour of these fences runs contrary to cat welfare, you can email the Charity Commission to point this out.
Electric shock collars and fencing are widely used in the USA and Dogfence seems to be some kind of UK offshoot of this company. Similar products are still legal in England but I look forward to the day when they are made illegal. They are no substitute for proper fencing.
Whicky, thank you for bringing this to my attention. We cats need to act together.
George
PS. Apologies if a fencing ad appears under Google ads. It's an automatic thingie. I can't stop it. Ignore it. Do not click on it.
PPS. From a paper reviewing the use of shock collars in dogs:
"With the use of increasingly complex equipment there comes an increased potential
for malfunction. Whilst a solid fence guarantees containment and the exclusion of
people, a boundary system using a shock collar may fail to function due to damage to
the boundary wire, worn out batteries, improper fitting of the collar, problems with
the receiver collar or transmitter or extraneous radio signals (Polsky, 1994). Some
bark activated electronic collars have been affected by ambient noise, resulting in
eventual habituation (Wells 2001)....
There have also been reports of physical lesions on the neck caused by high intensities
of shock (Seksel, 1999), especially in wet weather, although these have been
contended by proponents of the collars. However, when used in boundary systems the
close fitting collars are frequently worn for long periods, leading to the possibility of
skin irritation or contact necrosis (Polsky, 1994)"

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Difficulty educating humans

Dear George,

It has been a while since I last sent you a letter but I was busy trying to educate my human pets with, I must admit, not much success! Considering your expertise in human intelligence I need few tips to handle my daddy’s questions. Not that I cannot answer his questions, but he drives me to the edge of darkness! How many times do you think a human can ask exactly same questions? Any guess? Of course not! But, I can tell you that the symbol is that horizontal 8 (yes – Infinite). So, George, here are the questions – may be you’ll be able to answer in such a manner that he’ll understand.

The first is: “why are cats knitting?” followed by his “rationale” – I bet no one knows!

Of course we know; cats are highly intelligent, well educated and well versed in almost any topic!

The second is: “why does she (he means ….me) squeeze my hand while purring”?

Asking such question is absolutely insulting, don’t you think so?

But what drives me insane is that all this time my “mum” is giggling giving the impression that she’s somehow superior and knows! Bet she has no idea! Human arrogance! The other night he asked again, so, I looked him in the eyes and asked him: “why do cats purr, daddy”? He didn’t know! He still stares in nothingness! Can you believe it? George, do you think there is any hope with my humans? They are agreeable pets after all.

Love

Fluffy


Dear Fluffy,

I won't dignify human idiocy by giving them the answers in this blog. Education should involve the student finding out knowledge, not just being given it in spoon fed form. (Trust humans to need spoons: we have the natural spoon of the tongue.). So put your thinking caps on, you human readers, and see what you can do with these interestingly enigmatic questions.

How can you handle your human's questioning? How can you remain calm when these questions are repeated over and over again, due to the limited nature of the human intellect. The answer, Fluffy, is compassion for lower forms of life. Humans are evolutionary dead-ends, lower down the tree of life than us. Their function is doubtful (destruction of our world perhaps?), the cause of their behaviour even more doubtful (we cats haven't managed to put them into a neuroscience lab yet), their life development (ontogeny) mysterious as they seem to remain for ever childish, and how they evolved this way (phylogeny) downright weird. They are down there with the bower bird and the peacock.

Makes you wonder if the Higher Feline Power, which we cats call Cat, designed them as a sort of joke. That's the other way to handle their insistent questioning: laugh. Humans think we don't laugh but we do. Ours is an inward and rather superior chuckle.

So, if you remain compassionate, let yourself laugh silently, you will manage to keep your temper. Alternatively, sit on his head or bite his ankles. There's nothing wrong with a bit of claw and order discipline in the feline classroom.

You have beautiful eyes. Beautiful.

Looooove

George

P.S. This question was answered rather late as my secretary was busy digging a large litter tray for me (which she called a seed bed) in the garden. Must get out there and use it, otherwise she will be hurt.



Saturday, April 02, 2011

A lionheart or a lynx? Yet why did they give me the snip?



Dear George,

I’m a confused (by human’s behavior) young kitten in need of guidance. My name is Richard (not my choice) and I’m about 6 months old. But, let me tell you how I start getting more and more confused. First of all, I didn’t expect to be named Richard. Richard who? Gere? Chamberlain? May be Richard The Lionheart? Yes! I decided that Richard the Lionheart would be quite appropriate since I’m fighting for my territory, especially the master bed. I’m taking good care of all my servants (quite a few in this household) – they all are well trained or so I thought until now! Not to mention my army of toys – all displayed in strategic spots all over my territory! However, the human kitten called me a wild animal. What did he mean by this? He said that I must be a Lynx! I didn’t respond to his provocation since I didn’t know what a Lynx is! Hope it’s not something derogatory! George, what do you think it is? Do you know what a lynx is? But, let me tell you more! Lately I start having different “feelings” and “urges” and I was meowing more then usual. Instead of showing gratitude for my vocalization, my humans took me to a horrible smelling place and all they said was “snip-snip”. Now, I’m okay but I don’t feel like meowing any more, I feel confused . Why do you think they did this to me? Did they want to make me be more like a human? I mean …..a male human? I’ve observed that most male humans are very quiet! George, I’m looking forward for your input and guidance

Confused, but brave

Richard

Dear Richard,
It's good to be called a lynx. Very good. They are large wild cats, well relatively large. They are superb hunters with wonderful tufts of hair on top of their ears. Beautiful animals which need conservation help.Take a look at this photo here.
You do look rather like a lynx - your markings are similar.
You should feel proud.

I am sure that they called you Richard because of Richard the Lionheart, a famous English King who was brave and (probably) gay. He conquered a lot of territory but stayed too long absent from his own, England, where his younger brother John, known as Bad King John, had too much influence. So much for human history - a story of failure and blood lust.
Lions, however, are a great deal more sensible and clever than most humans. They are the only truly social big cat, hunting in family groups to pull down big prey. So there is definitely a compliment in being called Lionheart. To humans it means courageous and kingly.
Richard, let me be frank. With your beauty and brains, it is possible that your humans have given you the snip because they are just jealous. I mean, who would look twice at them if they saw you? This neutering and spaying us is an aspect of human behaviour us cats find difficult to forgive.
If you give it any thought at all, it is obvious that humans (rather than us) should be neutered and spayed. Their sex lives are completely out of control. There are so many of them in the world, that the big cat species like lynxs and lions are dying out. Humans spread concrete everywhere. Humans use up huge resources. Humans hunt cats, big and small. Humans pillage the whole world. They slaughter their own species, for goodness sake. If only we could take them to the vet and get them fixed, the world would be a happier place.
I mean, what would you prefer? More lynxes or more humans.
Sadly
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