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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Do they think I am a hamster? They've bought me a wheel.

Dear George,
I am an indoor cat and I have to admit life can be very boring at times. My humans are out half the day and I am left alone with nothing much to do except stare out of the window. 
But now they have bought a cat wheel. This huge item is stuck to the wall and they think I am going to get in side and walk around like a hamster. I am completely stunned by this development. It's cost them a fortune, they say.
What should I do? Try it out? Ignore it altogether? At the moment I am punishing their cheek by resolutely refusing to go anywhere near it.This is worrying them a great deal - which is as it should be! But I am tempted....
Yours in a dilemma
Caspar

Dear Caspar,
Steady on.... you did the right thing. We cats should always refuse to use new equipment that has been bought for us. New bed? Don't sleep on or in it. New cat toy? Ignore it. The greater the expense of the gift, the more we must shun it.
It's a matter of timing. Ignore and shun the new item.  Wait till you hear your humans talking about getting rid of it - then use it. This way of winding up humans puts them on their toes. Keeps them waiting for our approval. Makes them keener to try to try harder.
As for the wheel, well I must say it did surprise me when I saw the photo. I have seen them, of course, in those frustrating cages that contain small rodents. The little furries seem to love them but I have always found the noise of a hamster in his wheel very irritating. I want to get in there and stop it, or rather get in there and eat it. Hamsters are such delicious snacks.
As for your wheel, I suggest that you try it surreptitiously when your humans are not in the house. You might find you like it. Apparently it has been tried in zoos and some zoo animals enjoy using it. Rather like one of those fairground wheels that humans pay money to use. You can use it while they are out: and keep them waiting before you let them see you. Then, if you like it, you can use it at 3 am. I bet it makes a noise that will irritate them!
Best of luck and please report back. I'm lucky to be a cat with a catflap, so I am never bored.
Yours with interest
George
PS. My internet friend Harvey has published his book. He beat me to it. Buy one for £6.50 incl p&p UK from Figaro Publishing, 20, Meadow Lane, Little Houghton, NN7 1AH, UK

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Another embarassing problem.....

Dear George,
This is the first time we have written a letter together but the latest developments in our household have been quite upsetting for us and our humans. The subject is "private and sensitive" but I think we can all learn from each other. It is about constipation in cats. We don't know what contributed to it but we both got constipated lately and our humans just freaked out. We are on a super, premium canned food. Cayenne is drinking more water than me and she is not enjoying the canned food as much as the raw but mummy needed to hide her medication in food. We understand that constipation in cats is a completely undesireable and dangerous condition but what do we have to do to avoid such episodes? In a matter of three days we almost ate a whole tube of constipation remedy, more than a tabespoonful of pumpkin puree, grated apples and carrots. Psyllium husk was added to our food and one of us even got a baby glycerin suppository. We don't want this to reoccur but we don't want to turn into rabbits either. Not that there is anything wrong with rabbits but eating carrots and apples is not our cup of tea. 
Tonight Cayenne was switched back to her raw food, but I refused to eat it. I will continue with my canned food. What do we do next? George, we need a few tips from you. We read there are cats that only go every second or every third or every fourth day, and up to a week. Is this normal?
Love Fluffy and Cayenne

Dear Fluffy and Cayenne,
In that interfering and maddening way that humans have, a human, Karen Overall,has studied this and says that pet cats urinate 2-4 times daily and defecate 1-2 times daily. "Defecation every other day can be considered normal." Treatments seem to vary from country to country but here in the UK a malt flavoured laxative for cats comes in a tube and I can assure you that it is very tasty. When some is put on my lips, I lick it all off with enjoyment. There is more information at www.fabcats.org
One reason for constipation can be that the litter trays are not to our liking. Is your human cleaning them up daily or (better still) twice daily. Are there two trays? Personally I like one for pee and one for poo. I just don't like mixing the two in the same litter. Have your humans given you the litter you like best? Humans are notorious for slacking off. Get them up to speed on litter box hygeine to help you go more often.
Are you drinking enough? If you only have one water bowl and it is placed next to your food bowl, you may not feel like drinking there. Get them to give you a second bowl somewhere. It's not natural to have food and water in the same place. Yes, I know it is natural for humans to eat and drink at the same place but we are not humans (thank goodness). Dehydration can lead to constipation.
And are they brushing you enough? If you are shedding and you are not being brushed daily, you will ingest a lot of hair as you groom yourself. Hairballs slow down the gut - though it is fun sicking them up near the bed so that your human steps on one with his naked foot first thing in the morning.
Luckily I have never had to have a suppository. French humans have these all the time instead of pills. My friend William absolutely loathed having anything put up his backside and would bite the vet each time the vet tried to take his temperature. That's the only time he would bite a human. Have you thought about giving Michelle a sharp nip if she tries it again. It worked for William.
Yours with sympathy,
George

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Am I really a serial killer? And who are the mass killers?

Dear George,
I was horrified and upset when my human described me (on her Facebook page no less) as "the serial killer with whom I share my bed." How could she be so hurtful? She had been upset because she'd let me out into the garden in the morning and I had shot across the lawn and bagged a bunny. Quite a large one too. As you can imagine, I felt an enormous sense of achievement. 
But somehow being described publically as a serial killer upset me. Should I try to resist my hunting urges?
I might add that she has already labelled me as "the Ugliest Cat in the Shelter".  Personally I think she is very ugly, like all humans. For a start they are bald. And for a follow up, she can't kill rabbits like I can.
Yours in disgust
Tilly.

Dear Tilly,
We do our best for humans, don't we? And then what do they do. Shower us with gratitude for being efficient pest operatives? No such luck. They scream when we bring in mice. They almost faint when we bring in a rat (as I did once). And, as you have discovered, some of them are unhappy about rabbits too.
The latest human survey put cameras on cats and claimed that (in the USA somewhere), our hunting bag consisted of 40% lizards, snakes and frogs, 25% mice, chipmunks and small mammals, and 12% birds.  OK, humans. So live with that. That is what we do. Stop pursing your lips.
Who are the serial killers? Well we are. We kill a mouse. Then we kill another one. But that is nothing to the mass killings by humans. They have completely destroyed the wildlife habitat of various islands by importing rats (as snacks) in their canoes. They have concreted over vast tracks of wild land. They have fouled up rivers with their waste. Now they are destroying the fish stocks in the sea.
They even mass kill their own species. Remember the Hitler death camps? The Stalin-imposed famines? The humans dying in Syria, in North Korea ....
Then what do out pet humans do? Blame us for killing wildlife one by one, while their species kills in the thousands, tens of thousands and millions.
Yours in equal disgust
George

Saturday, August 04, 2012

I am black and beautiful but I still need a home of my own.

Dear George,
Here I am in a Cats Protection pen, waiting for somebody to adopt me. I was heavily pregnant when I was turned up in somebody's garden - luckily they got help for me. 
I have five beautiful kittens, three of them black - two with me in this photo. The problem is that while my tabby kittens are easily adopted, fewer people want black kittens. Worse still, even fewer of them want black adult cats like me.
But look at me - I am sleek, with gleaming fur and an affectionate disposition.
What can we black cats do to change human attitudes?
Yours hopefully
Rosie
Dear Rosie,
Yes, you are black and beautiful. Wonderful golden eyes in that elegant black face with its long whiskers and a really nice whisker pad. (The whisker pad is such an improvement on the bald human cheek!) Humans really are odd.
Not content with discriminating against black people of their own species, they do the same to animals. Black dogs, sometimes known as BBUs or Big Black Uglies, are the last to be chosen in dog shelters. Black cats are almost the last to be chosen in cat shelters (though ugly brown dark torties like my friend Tilly are even slower to be chosen.)
Here in the UK black cats are thought to be lucky. It's even worse in the USA where black cats are thought to be unlucky. Maybe we could find a National Association for Black Cats or start a Black Feline Panthers.
Black cats in the world unite to change human attitudes!
Yours
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