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Friday, April 27, 2012

Make your human feed you - a new method


Hello George,
It’s me again, Rakishi.
I thought I would share with you a ploy I’ve been developing which gets my humans to give me extra food without any effort at all on my part. The idea may not be entirely original, but I’ve been refining it with some remarkably good results. It utilises the Making Guilt Work principle which you explained so well to Natasha.
In between what they call my “mealtimes” ( I ask you, would you catch a mouse or vole only at specific times each day?), I often get a bit peckish, so I go into the kitchen and sit silently by my empty bowl, facing the doorway, putting on a sad expression. This is a room they go in and out of quite often, so I usually don’t have to wait too long until one of them comes in. I get almost immediate results. They feel so sorry for me that out comes something, usually tasty enough.
They have tried their own trick of giving me something they think I’m not fond of, with the female muttering about my not getting fat. But I eat it any way, as it’s important to keep the pressure up. And, if I think they’re slipping, instead of sitting by my bowl, I lie down next to it. This is nice and restful, and I find I’m tempted to doze off – but I have to keep alert so as not to spoil the effect. This is a real winner. The female in particular gets quite bothered, and gives me extra tuna, which I love. (It’s always served with lots of tuna-flavoured water which is really yummy; she thinks it’s good for me to drink more liquid and I’m happy to oblige.)
So you see rather than expending energy hanging about them and nagging for food, I have a nice rest while at the same time getting them to do what I want. Lord, what fools these mortals be, as a great cat poet once wrote.
Hope you are keeping well and the hunting is good. Personally, I don’t bother much. I don’t really feel the need.
Rakishi

Dear Rakishi,
Thank you for another helpful training tip. I shall mention this in my forthcoming monumental and much researched work,
A Cat's Guide to Humans. This particular method of training humans to give food is, as you say, marvellously effortless. Feline indolence, I once read in a science paper, has to be taken into consideration when studying cats. Many hours of observation or of videoing merely result in a human watching or recording a cat sleeping.
You are quite right in thinking that humans fail to feed us properly. We cats like a mouse-sized portion about 10 to 15 times in 24 hours, depending on the size of the notional mouse. What we often get is a large meal, equivalent to about six mice, twice a day. Or, if we are lucky, food left down all the time - easy to eat but somehow not very exciting.
Celia decided to feed my friend Tilly, the ugliest cat in the shelter, ad lib. She put down a huge bowl of food, equivalent to at least a day's grub, and Tilly ate it all immediatly. So she put down a similar amount, which Tilly had finished about three hours later. Celia, now alarmed, put down another similar amount - and that too was eaten up. All in all, Tilly ate three days food in approximately eight hours. The experiment ceased and Celia went back to feeding Tilly twice a day with proper portion control.
It is always satisfying when cats outwit human plans in this way.
Thank you for your valuable contribution to knowledge of the cat-human relationship. Good hunting.
George



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Friday, April 20, 2012

Mabel, the retail cat, speaks out....


Dear George,
I am a cat with several homes – all of them in the shopping areas of a Cotswold town. I sleep at Thomas Cook’s, the travel agents, which has a low level letter plate which I can easily open. During the day I favour the Cheltenham and Gloucester Building Society, then Milletts, then Five Valleys Leisure, then Clarks, then Blue Cross charity shop or one of a dozen other shops. These are all really good places to eat and rest during tiring shopping hours.
For lunch on Fridays I visit the market where Ken the cheese man gives me a ham dinner. (He has very good ham). Most of my stops have some cat food ready for me. They make me very welcome.
Officially I adopted two humans , Jen and Ron. No, I don’t live with them. They are nice people but I prefer a more exotic lifestyle. They come an
d feed me and give me a cuddle in dark evenings when the weather is bad. I like to feel they are checking out my accommodation.
It has taken a certain firm mindedness on my part. At first people would ring Ron or Jennifer and ask them to come and fetch me. When they did so I took no notice of their attempts to make me into a stay-at-home. I just persisted in my chosen lifestyle.
Yours
Mabel.


Dear Mabel,
What an inspiration. Yours is a story which proves the strong mindedness and persistence of the feline personality. Not for you the quiet fireside and the stable domestic life. Instead, you have chosen a life on the road.
I also admire your humans who have sensibly decided to go with your decision. One of their relatives told me that Ron goes out every evening to feed you and make sure you are OK. This pair of humans is very special. Wish they were all like that.
I should also celebrate your interest in retailing... Some people, pointing at Ginger the Cat who kept a shop with Pickles the dog (in the Beatrice Potter tales), have claimed that cats make lousy shopkeepers. They forget that Mrs Tabitha Twitchit, who refused to give credit, had an astute grasp of economics. Moreover I bet the shops get more people in when they see you sleeping in the window. What an advertisement.
From looking at your photo I can see that you do not run short of food. You have purrsuaded half the human shopkeepers in the town to feed you, not forgetting Ken and his ham. We black cats are the tops!
Wooooooo….. well done Mabel.
George
PS. The morning I posted this answer, there was a queue of four at Clark's shoe shop waiting for the shop to open. There were three human ladies and, in front of them, Mabel queuing for her breakfast.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I want to bite humans.... they bring out the worst in me


Dear George,

I desperately need your help as I think I’m in real trouble. I’m too young to know better but you as a human behavior specialist can help.

My problem is that each time my human has guests in the house I have this urge to attack, bite and scratch them. Of course my human doesn’t like it and I really don’t care if he does or not since he never bothered asking me if I like all these noisy people on my territory. George, why people make me do this? Why do they bring out the worst in me? Now, my human planned another trip and he invited over a friend to move in and stay with me while he’s away. This “live-in” guest is afraid of me now and I’m afraid that she won’t move in and she won’t take care of me. George, do you see my problem? I can’t risk being home alone for two weeks without a human feeding me or cleaning after me. What should I do? How can I assure her that I’m not going to attack her?

Any suggestion will be highly appreciated as time is of essence right now.

With gratitude

Vegas


Dear Vegas,

Are you just hunting them? Without any mice in the house, some of us cats turn and hunt our humans. Life indoors is so boring without any hunting opportunities, we treat humans like mice. We ambush them round corners, leap on them from a height, and enjoy hearing them scream as our claws go into their bare legs. Sensible humans wear thick clothes, ignore us (thus ruining the fun), and give us lots more to do by way of hunting games with string. Get your humans working on giving you hunting alternatives. Or just keep hunting them. It's good fun and they enjoy it really.

Sometimes we bite because we are just scared. And it's the humans' fault. They will harass us - pick us up, cuddle us, "make a fuss" of us, and generally treat us like a soft toy. If we are anxious cats, then we strike out at them. It works very well. Once bitten or scratched, the human harasser usually stops behaving in this way. But some persist....

Purrsonally, I feel safest with humans that let me take control. I go to them: they don't go to me. I choose if I will accept affection from them. They do not offer it unless I make it clear I want it. We cats feel best in control. Humans don't understand cat manners, so they don't realise how rude it is to harass us. It is our duty to try and teach them by tooth and claw.

Have you ever noticed that the humans who hate cats have purrfect manners. They ignore us. They stay away from us. They may even try to avoid us. It's really, really attractive. I love humans like that. I jump on their laps. I purr all over them even while they are shuddering with distaste for me. That's amusing too, of course.

If the live-in guest cleans your litter tray twice a day and puts down food and water, that is all she has to do. The less she interacts with you the better. She should let you decide if you want petting or any other kind of body contact.

Control..... Cats like it. Dumb humans don't understand.

Love George


Friday, April 06, 2012

It is better to arrive than to travel.... crossing borders


Dear George,
My name is Bowie and even if I came before Easter ….I’m not a bunny, I’m a stray cat from the streets of Mexico. A kind family vacationing in the Mexico found me looking for food near a resort. They took me in and alerted all their friends trying desperately to find me a house before their return to their country. I understood they have a rescued cat home as well. One of their friends who lives in Mexico adopted me already and took me to some man (they call him a vet) who checked my whole body like I was crossing the border!!! And then he gave me a shot. Nothing was painful but I was scared and didn’t understand why all this was necessary. I didn’t ask for a visa….I just asked for food!

Anyway, I’m now a happy camper, with plenty of food and attention.

But, I worry because I don’t know if this nice lady will keep me for good (I wish she would as I like her a lot) or I’ll be heading soon to another country to live with the family who found me and their other rescue? What do you think? How can I find out?

Happy Easter to all!

Bowie


Dear Bowie,

Yes, we cats usually aren't too keen on travel. We are natural home bodies. We like nice safe core territory in a human house, and, if we can get it, a hunting range outside in the neighbourhood's gardens. So it is natural that you must feel rather worried.

Will you be settled for life? I hope so. There are lots of cats here in the UK who discover that their home is being broken up -- divorce, moving to rented accomodation that won't allow cats, getting lost, or just sheer bad look. Then they need homes all over again.

Some cats, however, find their own homes. Magic, a Maine coon, went missing in Kingston on Thames and so his human pets knocked on the door of every house in their street. They found Magic on the sofa on one of the houses. He had been regularly eating and sleeping there in the daytime for several weeks. And, three other humans in the street, admitted that he popped in regularly to them for a snack.

So it is not all one wway, Bowie. Humans like to think they are in charge, but more often they discover they are not. You may find that you can re-home yourself if you don't like the accomodation offered by your current pet. Or, just add another human home or two for extra petting and food when yours is absent.

A beautiful white cat like you will never be short of humans to adopt. If you like the one you are currently with, just make sure you give her plenty of attention. Humans are suckers for a cat that purrs, nuzzles and rubs up against them. Make yourself indispensable to her happiness. Charm her. Schmooze her.

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