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Monday, July 30, 2012

Do cats go to Vegas?

  Dear George,                                                   I’m having a big dilemma…. bigger than “to be or “not to be”! My dilemma is “should I go to Las Vegas or should I not”? I heard my human planning to go to Las Vegas (that’s true, he rescued me after his last trip there) and he might take me with him. All this because he’s afraid that I’ll bite the cat sitter again and now, she’s really scared of me. Well, if it’s up to me….then let it be…. Las Vegas – it sounds like lots of fun. I heard there are lots of rats there – this alone will provide hours and hours of entertainment. Someone mentioned sharks too – I don’t know what that is but I guess it is something bigger then a rat! Do you know if there are mice there too? Or are mice too small for this Cats’ Meow town? What else can one do in Las Vegas? I heard that what “happen” in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. Does that mean that…..if we “happen” there we’ll stay there? I don’t want to stay there nor do I want a brother or sister after this trip!
I’m confused! Hm! Guess…..I’m too young to understand all of this. By the way, how one gets there? Hopefully not by plane as I don’t like to be confined in a small cold space. I like to rest & relax as you can see in the picture. So, George, what do you think? Should I go or better stay home?
Vegas 
Dear Vegas,
Don't even think of it. You wouldn't like it at all. Have you ever seen that programme on TV called CSI - the one with lots of corpses.  Well, it's not so much the corpses that would worry you. After all, a dead human is much the same as a dead mouse only too big to eat or bat around. 
No, it's the fountains and the lights. Look at how the programme starts and you will see flashing lights all over the place in front of the casinos. You would not enjoy those lights. Or the lighted up fountains that suddenly come to life. Or the crash of the fruit machines. Nothing interesting  comes out of those. Just hard cold coins. There's not a mouse in sight in these places. True there is food of a sort - garbage, thrown away take-away food, and so forth. But the rats are huge. 
You were lucky enough to get away. Don't risk going back. We cats need to live in the present, not to bother ourselves about the past. Humans do that in their heads. They live in the past and the future so much they can't cope with the present at all. We are their superiors in this, as in much else. A cat has a clear head. Don't clutter yours with looking back.
Love George
PS. This posting is disgracefully late due to my secretary's irresponsibility. She had 48 hours away from her post, walking over the Peak District. Peak of disloyalty I called it. I made her feel really, really guilty about leaving me in the lurch. It's wonderful how we can make guilt work. As we don't do guilt, humans don't know how to get back at us on this one.
  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bats and cats and human hypocrisy

Dear George,
Have you ever caught a bat?   When a king pipistrelles started to alarm my human on Monday night by zooming around her bedroom, I naturally leaped to her rescue, thinking that those black wing bits might be quite tasty.  I finally got the pesky thing last night and was disappointed to find that it was quite unpalatable, so I left the evidence to show my human I’d tried and helped myself to a young rabbit instead.   My human was impressed, as she should have been, but two things about her reaction worry me.  She is muttering about worming tablets, but it is not long since her last visit to the vet for these stupid pills and I worry that I may become ill if she worms me too often.   And she seemed confused about which recycling bin to use for the dead bat.  Here in South Oxfordshire we have a wide choice – recyclables, land-fill or food waste are the most popular.  The latter seems to obvious choice to me.
And one last question.  Why was the bat indoors anyway?   The colony lives somewhere in the roof space and normally flies out over the garden without any confusion.   Were they trying to stay out of the rain? What do you advise?
Yours ever,
Scaramouche.

Dear Scaramouche,
Bats... mmmm. You are just one lucky cat, Scaramouche. I have to catch mice in the garden and bring them into the house, when I want an interesting game at 3 am in the morning. You've got a colony of bats waiting for you in the roof space somewhere. Hours of fun .... stalking them, climbing into the attic, poking your whiskers into various spaces in the rafters etc.
You could catch one and release it into your human's bedroom. If you are careful not to hurt  its wings, it will then zoom round the room.  That should give you and her hours of enjoyment. Wait for her shrieks of delight. Or just have fun of placing yourself on a wall and batting them as they come out in the twilight. Biff Baff. Another bat hits the dust.
I have never caught one but I thought they were just mice with wings. I'm surprised they don't taste good. I would have thought they were a nice crunchy meal.  I can see the wings would be too tough to eat, but I would have thought the plump little bodies were quite tasty.  Or perhaps because they eat insects, they taste vile - like shrews do. I catch shrews all the time but I never eat them.
Some humans, particularly naturalists (so called) get very upset by our tendency to catch bats. Bats have more friends among humans than ordinary mice or shrews. Not sure why. There are little groups of humans all over the country trying to save bats from other humans and from cats like you.
Humans are terribly hypocrites. Bats are endangered species because humans persecute them. Admittedly we take a few of them - but nothing like the numbers killed by humans using chemicals in their lofts or blocking entry into their rooftops. Even churches often try to kill them.
I envy you. I do.
Yours
George.
PS. We look so alike we could almost be brothers. Humans reading this can get bat information at www.bats.org.uk

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Celebrity and fame - will it change me?

Dear George,
I am now a celebrity - two huge pages about me in the Daily Mail. Possibly more to come from the Daily Express. A whole book title devoted to me - Tilly the Ugliest Cat in the Shelter. Admittedly the title is awful but the subtitle about how I rescued my human is acceptable.
I am mentioned on the internet and I am something like 7000 in the Amazon rankings for the UK - well, the book is. But the book is me.
Do you have any tips on how to handle fame? Do you think it will change me from a home-loving mousing cat, into a show cat? Will humans treat me differently?
Yours anxiously,
Tilly.


Dear Tilly,
You are experiencing a change in status which occurs to many cats. Most of us feline bloggers - and there are thousands now -- become celebrities. I consider that I have been a celeb since about 2009.
The temptation is to give up on your human. I know I went through this phase. I looked at Celia and I thought: "Who is this little person? This non-celebrity human! Couldn't I do better?"  I started sneering at her. Well, I have always sneered occasionally, but now I began to sneer almost all the time.
She seemed beneath me - not just below me due to her humble status as a mere Homo sapiens (LOL), but below me due to her lack of public recognition. Nobody knew who she was. She got no fan letters, no interesting emails. She just didn't have a public.
My attitude was a mistake. I admit it now. I got too big for my puss-in-boots. Luckily, she continued to serve me, feed me, act as doorkeeper, bed warmer and general factotum. I started to see that, while she was inferior both in species and celebritydom, she had her place, her humble place, in my life.
It is the mark of a gentlecat to be kind to inferiors. As you cope with the fans and the publicity, keep this in mind.
Yours sincerely,
George
PS. Mousing has never lost its appeal, despite my fame.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Finger snapping - not-so-good and mouse in the house - wonderful.



Dear George,
I don’t know if it was the Full Moon or your game with that artificial mind but we had quite few problems with our male human this week. But, first let me introduce myself! I’m Blackie (right) and my brother is Spockie (below)! We live with our adopted human couple and their two human kittens. I could easily say that we are a happy family! 
The only problem we have lately is “communicating” properly with our human daddy.  He is a computer wiz but has a very limited vocabulary! He doesn’t meow….he snaps fingers! One snap – the human kittens go up-stairs! Two snaps – cats go downstairs! Can you imagine this? Spockie takes off right away but I prefer, for most of the time, to simply ignore him! 
Now, we have another crisis! We got a mouse in a kitchen cupboard; in fact - confirmed by the loud screams of our human mommy! We were very excited to do what cats do! The human kittens were quite thrilled too to be part of the hunt….but our “human daddy” didn’t want us on top of the counters! What a pity! How does he think we are going to catch the mouse? Would he design some software or new application for this? Or is he expecting the mouse to open the door and say “hey, come get me”!?
George, what do you think we should do? Is it possible that our “daddy” got an artificial mind and maybe the wrong software installed in it? Or maybe he got a virus?  Can an artificial mind go bad? But, most important - how can we train him to meow?
Teaching him to meow correctly is of paramount importance!
Waiting for your advice!
Blackie


Dear Blackie,
The effect of computers on the human mind is troubling, very troubling. I understand the fascination of the mouse (I will get to the real mouse later), even though their computer mouse is hard, cold and smells of plastic. But what of that odd screen, rather like a TV only with tiny mouse tracks running across it.
They stare at it for hours and hours. I like to see humans doing human stuff but this is an obsession. Worse, they are ignoring us. 
I suggest a sustained campaign of interference with this activity. Both of you should interpose your body between the human and the screen. Lie on the keyboard (I do this - it's not too uncomfortable). Walk on to one of the digits so there is a trail of tracks like this one --wwwwwwwwwwwww...
The finger snapping behaviour (possibly brought on by computer obsession) should simply be ignored. Go downstairs by all means but never ever when you hear him snap his fingers. Training out this irritating snapping will take some time (humans have poor cognition)  and you should allow about six weeks before the activity stops. Be aware that in the first week he will snap his fingers more often and more frantically than before. This is known as the extinction effect as the pet tries even harder to get attention and results. 
I don't think you can train him to meow. Humans do not have the power of feline speech. They are dumb creatures. You have to accept their limitations.
Now the real mouse. Aren't you lucky little cats! Many happy hours of hunting lie ahead. The best times will be while your humans are asleep. If you are fortunate enough to catch the rodent, don't forget to run upstairs and deposit it upon the double bed. Your humans will be delighted at this thoughtful gift* and proud of your pest controlling success.
Yours
George.
PS. On second thoughts, having deposited the mouse on their bed, scram. Instead of being grateful, some humans are violent.





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