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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cars - friend or foe for us cats?


Dear George,
My name is Ernie and I live in an Oxfordshire village which has lots and lots of cars parked outside during the evening and night. The odd thing is that most of these - two thirds, I would say - are absent during the day. Where do they go? Why don't they stay still? It is one of the mysteries of my life. Like a flock of birds, they leave shortly after dawn and then come back to roost in my village streets. What do you make of cars, George?
Ernie.

Dear Ernie,
Cars are very odd indeed. They have their uses. I enjoy sniffing the wheels which often have interesting smells left by other cats spraying there or by dogs which cock their leg against the rubber. There are also delicious whiffs of dead mammals that have been run over - rabbits, hares and mice. This time of year in Oxfordshire there are additional crushed feathers and flesh of pheasants that are let out to be shot by humans. These domestic birds are hopelessly lost in the countryside, like hens let out of a coop. I could almost feel sorry for them if they didn't taste so good.
As well as providing interesting smells, cars are useful refuges for cats. At dusk, when they are quiet and still, we can shelter from the rain. Or use them as a safety area, if there are large dogs in the vicinity. In cold weather, when they have flocked back to their roost, they are often still warm from the movement. Sitting on the engine can warm up a chilly cat.
When they are not asleep, however, they are cat killing monsters. Their flashing eyes at night paralyse us so that we don't know how to cross the road. If we make a run for it, blinded by them, we often end up dead or severely injured.
Humans seem addicted to them. So we are stuck with them, I suppose. Humans don't realise how dangerous they are to cats.
George.

PS. Please look at the artwork by Harvey the inspirational House Rabbit. Eye opening talent. If comments are slow on getting on this is because my secretary is away and has put me in a cattery. The traitoress.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back soon later today

My secretary is away photographing rescue kittens today.... For once, I have given my permission for this failure of duties as I consider finding homes for homeless kittens is a priority. But she has been warned not to do it too often. She promises to be back at her desk late afternoon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to wake up your sleeping human.

Dear George,
Hello, my name is Purdey. You may recall my appearance on this blog two Winter's ago, where I was shown scampering happily through fairly deep snow (well, it came above my elbows!). Now, after a chance remark about Getting My Human Up in the morning, I now relate how I, my half-sister and my darling Mother awake said Human in the mornings when we feel that breakfast is due. Fortunately, he almost always has an Open Door Policy, so we have free access to his bed at all times. And to him.
Me, when I feel that breakfast is overdue, or rather when my tummy feels that breakfast is overdue, with all due deference I leap to his bed-head, sit close up to face, and very, very slowly extend a relaxed paw (claws retracted and held under) and just touch his face with the softest of furry touches. Contact made, I immediately withdraw paw and wait a a few seconds. If no movement, I repeat at shortening intervals until he opens his eyes. Result!
I see that if my Mummy gets the Tummy Call before I do, she leaps up towards his head, stares intently at his face and begins to wash his nose. She then swiftly moves over his upper lip and down to his chin, which she proceeds to wash with vigour and no small effort, for our Human has a rather stiff and not-so-pleasant fur covering most of his face (termed a 'full set', I believe). Anyway, a good rasp from Mummy soon gets him stirring!
But the medal for immediate results must go to my half-sister Milly, who brokes no nonsense! She leaps up and goes for the head. But not close, so when she puts out a paw, as I do, her arm is stretched so, as Nature designed us, her claws as also extended. She then descends onto our Human's face and pulls her claws lightly thorough his facial hair. This wakes him up! Sometimes she approaches from the side or even higher up and pulls her paw over his nose. Unfortunately this means that a claw can, just perhaps, become hooked up his nose and that really does wake him up. Still, I must say that he takes it all in good humour and does get up to attend to our breakfasts.
Usually he then repairs back to bed and switches on Radio 4 extra and settles back for another half-hour or more. Which is all right, because we then leave him alone. Unless it is cold or raining, when we may join him in bed.
Love to all.
Purdey Puss
PS. I have added a photo of me asleep and also of me yawning after a nap on the nearby roof.

Dear Purdey,
Thank you for a valuable addition to Chapter 5 of the
Training Manual, a masterpiece of training practice and theory which is my major literary interest. Unfortunately due to the way the publishing industry is run almost entirely by humans, I have not yet found a publisher. However, your post gives me a chance to appeal for contributions of other wake-up-your-human methods.
Here are some methods I have heard of. A cat called Little Mog used to back up to the human face and present her butt - a cat way of saying I fancy you. Some how the proxmity of this part of the anatomy would - possibly by ESP - wake her human within a minute or so. To intensify the wake up call, she used a tail quiver like the one used in spraying urine. This dry spray, so to speak, had an electric effect.
Fat Ada, a black and white beauty, simply used to scratch the bed making pleasing zen-like marks on it. The message, rather like that of the speaking clock of the old days, was "At the first scratch, it will be 7.00 am." If this didn't do the trick she would just walk up and down her human's body.
Other methods - jumping off the bedhead on to the pillow; jumping off the bedhead on to the human head; sitting on the human head; opening the eyelids with a gentle paw (claws retracted out of kindness); biting the toes below the duvet at the bottom of the bed; scratching the carpet outside the bedroom door (if humans thoughtlessly shut you out); jumping on the dressing table and swiping off anything standing upon it.....
Join in, cats. Help me compile the ultimate list.
Love George

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Black IS beautiful.


Hi George,
We are two happy go lucky kittens currently in the care of West Oxfordshire Cats Protection. Our brother Arnie has been adopted. So has our sister Annie. We are the two left over kittens, and as you can see we are growing up fast. Why does nobody want us? We are just as funny and loving and playful as Arnie or Annie, yet we've been left on the shelf.
There are other kittens that are looking for homes - Midnight, Leon, Sammikins, Cecil, Cora, Carissa, Nora , Ozzie, Ollie and Oscar. They look just like us. You can see them on the WOCP
website.

Millie and Lottie


Dear Millie and Lottie,
You've been left on the shelf because you are black. A disgraceful form of colour prejudice still exists in the feline world. People choose lig
ht coloured cats, tabbies, naughy torties and even black and white cats before they adopt black cats. But August 17th is going to be Black Cat Appreciation Day on Facebook. I would like anybody who is reading this to take a look at this Facebook page.
As well as 11 black kittens waiting for adoption (and some more on the way), WOCP has two mature black cats looking for homes - Ella and Pepsi. T
hey are black too and the odds are that they will be longer in the cat chalet than the tabbies, or torties, or even greys. It is so unfair.
Black is Beautiful. I am putting some photos of black cats that have been homed by WOCP below my signature. Starting at the bottom, there's Jasmine, a lady of mature years, then little Moth playing inside a cardboard box, Raven looking doubtfully at the camera, and elegant Holly examining a log. At the top is the photo of you two kittens Lottie and Milly sharing a joke.
About the stupid prejudice of humans perhaps.
Just take a look below. Black cats are lovely. Tho
ugh none so quite so handsome as me.
George.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

A feline intruder into my territory.... or a friend?


Dear George,
It’s past midnight and I barely can hold my head up not to fall asleep on the keyboard but I MUST write this letter because I smell trouble in my house. Actually, I’m afraid to go to sleep or better said…..I’m afraid to wake up in the morning. Let me explain. If you remember I was adopted after my human took a trip to Las Vegas. I was extremely happy; I settled in my new home quite nicely; I started an intensive training with my human BUT yesterday I heard him talking about taking a trip to Mexico. You know by now what’s happening when he takes a trip, right? Yes! It possibly means another cat! And now I’m afraid to go to sleep only to wake up in the morning looking at a tabby “Juanita”. I have mixed feelings (due to the recent letters) about sharing the house with another cat. How can I stop my human from going away or better yet, how can I train him to change his habit?
Sleepy but worried,
Vegas

Dear Vegas,
This is one of the worst human habits - their idea that they can just fling another feline into our territory and expect us to accept the intruder. We are not dogs. In nature we would only live with our relatives. Yet they expect us to welcome an unrelated stranger into our midst. Sometimes I despair of humans..... their inability to learn anything about us and their irresponsible habit of adding cats to the household.
You can't stop them, Vegas. You can't change them, Vegas. You can train them out of some behaviour but probably this is a human behaviour problem that won't respond to training. If they bother to read this, they should know that the introduction must be slow, starting with the newcomer in a crate or the spare room (with full litter and food facilities). Bedding should be swapped between you and the new kitten (sounds good that is is female rather than male) so that the proper "family" scent can be developed.
Humans are scent blind and lack our exquisitely sensitive noses. Their honkers or schnozzles are pretty useless organs. It is the scent of the intruder which will initially upset you. However if the scents are slowly mixed and she aquires your scent and visa versa, you may find it in your heart to accept her.
You are young, Vegas. She will be young too. I hope and pray that this willl work out good for you and that, after the initial upset, you will acquire not a competitor but a play mate and a friend. The real pity is that you didn't get the chance to do a joint adoption, you and a littermate adopting the humans together.
Humans... idiots but we love them. Sometimes.
Love 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