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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cat burglary - is it a good career and what should be our swag?


Dear George,

We recently read about Dusty, the cat burgler from San Mateo, California. He became an overnight sensation! Literally…that’s exactly the time he steals from people’s houses! You can find read about him on http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2011/06/19/BAIN1JVID8.DTL

Dusty was adopted from Humane Society and no one knows why he steals or why or how he developed such hobby! He loves 2 piece swimsuits and he makes sure he takes both pieces J He was such an inspiration that we decided to follow in his steps and develop same “recreational hobby” ……stealing!

But, let us introduce ourselves first: we are the “belles”, the flames from the South – Blaze & Lea! We were born in a window well and rescued by an animal lover. Later we were adopted by our current humans. Blaze loves company and everything colorful and shining. I, Lea,…I am running away from company and I love simple things, especially a white curly ribbon. We enjoy eating together, playing together but we can easily become bored. Our humans give us unconditional love but we find them a little too protective.

Reading Dusty’s story inspired us to try having some fun and start stealing from our humans first. We could steal little things like wedding rings or watches or make-up and, then, hide them in the house, in places where they don’t go so often. We think mice and little pieces of food from dinner would be nice too. Or could this become a criminal case? In Dusty’s case all charges were dropped off and the police stopped the investigation.

What do you think George? Should we continue perfecting our plans or should we look for other ways to have fun?

Blaze & Lea


Dear Blaze and Lea,
Cat burglary, as a career choice, has a lot going for it. It is the alternative sport which mimics hunting. You can search, eye, creep up, and pounce on your prey. In urban areas, where the rats are too big and bold for most cats, stealing stuff gives a chance for natural cat activities. For indoor-only cats, it is a very good way indeed to pass the time.
It can also make you into a celebrity. The late Minnimore was named
Daily Telegraph Cat Burglar of the Year in l998. He had stolen three feather dusters with 2-foot long handles, a polo neck sweater, a fur tippet, a fur hat, 6 teddy bears, 3 stuffed bunnies, a Mickey Mouse, a panda, a kookburra, a musical tortoise, a whale, a skunk, a gorilla and stuffed dinosaur. Here's a photo of him proudly bringing home the dinosaur.
Other cats have starred on TV and are now on YouTube. Take a look at Dusty known as the Klepto Kitty, or Jack who at one year old is beginning a career of crime. Click here on their names. These cats now have thousands of human fans. Who says crime doesn't pay? Cat burglars, thanks to YouTube, are now world famous!
Look at it this way, Blaze and Lea. If you bring home mice, birds and rats, like a good cat should, your humans will scream, jump on chairs or even scold you. If you bring home next door's underpants or lots of stuffed toys, they will laugh at you, video you and put you on TV. Minnimore, after the initial newspaper article, starred in a programme about wayward pets and was psychiatrically diagnosed and treated on camera. The programme claimed he was reformed and was going straight. He didn't of course. Stolen stuffed toys began turning up again. He had relapsed.
There are other interesting possibilities in burglary - frozen chickens left on the table to thaw out, chops from next door's barbecue, live goldfish from the pond across the way, even the occasional hamster.... Yes, I know of cats who have brought home all of these.
So GO FOR IT.....
George
PS. Thank you, all contributing cats, for your interesting letters and wise comments, especially Fluffy and Cayenne for their letters, Harvey for insight from another species and Whicky Wudler, he of the wonky ear, for his sharp comments. Thanks to your input, and the collective wisdom of us all, this blog has been chosen as one of the favourite cat blogs by Online VetTechPrograms.org





Saturday, June 18, 2011

A kitten's cry for help.

Dear George,

I don’t know if I should be more worried about my wellbeing or my human’s wellbeing!

I’m Vegas (yes! just like in the famous Las Vegas) and I’m about 9-10 weeks old kitten. I was rescued from Humane Society by a kind human after he took a trip to Vegas.

I don’t know what happened there - you know….what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! but, I’m really happy I found a good home. My problems started shortly after I moved into my new home and I realized that my human had a very limited vocabulary. I really think that all he knows is “no”.

If I jump on the counter ….I hear “no”. If I scratch the sofa….I hear “no”. If I want to sleep on his face …I hear “no”. If I bite his fingers I hear a big “no”. What do you think it’s wrong with him? Do you think he’s having a hangover? How can I train him to replace “no” with “yes”!

Worried

Vegas


Dear Vegas,

The aim of all us cats is to demote humans from leader to follower and from owner to slave. This can be done, initially, with charm. Think human and think sneaky. Head-to-head opposition doesn't work too well for us cats. We need to take over by stealth not force.

So try some of the following. The melting upward look of apparent adoration. The roll-on-back don't-hurt-me move. The gentle nuzzle-in-the-ear move, while positioning yourself to sleep not on, but as near as you choose, to his face. A little kitten pat on the cheek with claws retracted seems to charm humans too. Another good move is to climb on their lap, then move upwards towards their face, and nuzzle their cheek or chin.

Use your voice. Purring as loud as possible somehow pleases humans greatly. So does the prrrrp kitten calling noise that some mother cats make. Tiny little kitten mews, as if hurt, usually make humans worried or even guilty. Use these noises to reward or punish. Humans are very vocal. Because their vocalisations are meaningless, they respond well to our superior vocabulary.

What else charms humans into compliance? Laughter. Try chasing a piece of paper, a fly, a toy mouse if you want their attention. Once they are looking, you can dash about the floor. Jump in the air. Investigate their shoelaces. Sit on their newspapers. Play with your reflection in the window glass.

Jumping on the kitchen counter is allowed by many humans but some stay firm on this. The solution is easy. Show no signs whatsover of being interested in the kitchen surfaces while they are in the room. Once they are out of the house, you can jump up and eat whatever you find there, being careful to jump down before they get back.

Sneakiness pays... Charm pays off well too. After a time they will be putty in your paws.

George



Saturday, June 11, 2011

Prime ministerial cats rule!

Dear George,
We’d like to congratulate the Prime Minister of Canada for the latest addition to his family. He and his wife adopted a kitten from Ottawa Humane Society.
Mrs. Harper is well known as an animal lover and she always adopted cats from shelters.
We don’t know how many cats they have but probably more then one.
A poll through Mr. Harper’s Facebook page was created so Canadians could vote for a name. The winning name was Stanley (like in the Stanley Cup).
This is another victory for feline’s world. First Larry in UK and now Stanley in Canada!
He is a sweet, cute grey kitten who made it to the top and this is just wonderful news! Congratulations Stanley!
Fluffy & Cayenne

Dear Fluffy and Cayenne,
This is wonderful news. At last we felines are finding our way up to top rank of political power. We have always known that we were worth it but our humans have had an unfortunate tendency to think of us as second to dogs. At last this outdated idea is being shown up for what it is - nonsense. Cats rule!
However old habits die hard. There was an unfortunate incident last week in Downing St, when the policeman at the door of Number Ten, booted Larry into the house. Larry was merely doing what all we cats enjoy - dithering on the doorstep, while the door was held over for him, deciding whether to go inside or outside. He has already trained the police to open the door for him: now he merely needs to train a "stay" so that they hold the door open long enough. How long is long enough? As long as it ta
kes for him to make up his mind. This will be particularly important when the bad weather comes and Larry wishes to hover in the doorway out of the rain and sleet.
Proper police training will be particularly important when he comes home with a mouse. Will they let him in so that he can give to our David Cameron? Or will they try to take it off him first? What about a rat? Similar dilemmas will face Stanley in his new home.
I tried to offer Larry some advice via a popular newspaper, but they had no space for my words of wisdom. Such are the problems for cats wishing to publish. My book on human behaviour is also stuck in the doldrums, despite it being a ground-breaking volume on coping with and training this popular pet species, Homo sapiens (don't laugh at that last word).
We cats face an uphill task but now we have paws in high places it may become easier.
George
Nice photo of Stanley on the left.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Human harassment - is the answer exercising your human more?



Dear George,

As you already know, I celebrate my birthday on Victoria Day here in Canada because that was the day I showed up from nowhere in my human pet's garden.

This year they threw me a surprise birthday party; totally unexpected since the day started a bit rainy and grey, but by the afternoon it was sunny and nice! They invited some of my buddies but they invited some of their friends too.

George, how can I avoid unwanted attention? All their friends wanted to hold me, kiss, etc. And they all brought me colorful, little balls (as you can see in the picture).

That much for human imagination! What can I do with a dozen balls?

Do you think I should use them training the humans? Should I train them to fetch the balls?

CAT Victoria


Dear Victoria,

Your problem is a common one. Humans will harass cats. Picking us up, cuddling us, kissing us. It's good for them but some of us find it demeaning and many of us just downright hate it. What can we do about it? Well, we can wriggle. When we cats wriggle, we wriggle good. A powerful wriggle will simply extract us from this unwanted human behaviour. I called these unwanted human advances affectional harasssment.

Will giving them more to do help? Well sometimes it does. A bored human is a badly behaving human. They are terrible couch potatoes and giving them a good exercise regime will always help. Probably the best way to do this is to get their attention to a ball. They like playing games with toys. Walk up to them and look as if you are going to play fetch. When they throw the ball, you run after it but you don't pick it up. Then they will have to run after it to in order to pick it up and throw it again for you. They think they are giving you exercise but in reality you are giving them exercise. Sometimes humans are pretty dumb animals.

Training them to fetch small pieces of meat, prawns, and dried cat food is also a good idea! You are probably, without realising it, already doing this. I get their attention by rubbing round their legs,and putting on a particularly loving and expectant look on my face. I don't feel particularly loving: I often feel very impatient at their slowness to catch on to what I want. But it works

Keep up the good work. A trained human is a happier human.

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