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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Re-homing as an option? Help! I want to stay.


Dear George,
I’m Ginger (as you can tell by my looks) and one sunny day I just showed up at my humans’ door. I knew there were two other cats in the house ….but my problem is that I don’t recall how did I know about them or even about these humans. I don’t recall any other human pets I had and I know for sure that I didn’t live on the streets. I find this “lapse of memory” quite strange and I wonder if I got in some “mind control” program. But, who would show an interest in me? I know I’m handsome but still! Could be the dogs?  Maybe the  humans? Or….the ET’s? I recall I was cat-sited by a gorgeous woman who thought she did not like cats. I mean, she is 100% positive she’s not a cat person….but I can tell you that she’s one nice, purring cat at heart! My problem George is that my current human pets are not happy with me because I’m teasing the older cats. All I want is to have some fun, I don’t mean any harm. But they are in big distress because they are loyal to the older cats? Since when seniority is a priority in the cats’ world? Why humans favor seniority? Why not go for the cutest (which I definitely am)? George, what should I do? Re-home myself and make them feel guilty for the rest of their life or risk to be re-homed by them and live with a broken heart for the rest of my life? Oh, man! I love them so much and I love their leather couches (as you can see in the photo). George, I desperately need your advice! Maybe you can share some tricks I can use and stay with these human patents, I mean pets? PLEASE!
Ginger

Dear Ginger,
At least you are off the street in a nice warm place. Whatever happens next is not going to be nearly as bad as trying to survive outside in the cold without human help. Any human who has taken you in will be responsible enough to rehome you somehow, even if it does mean a stay in a cat rescue pen for a bit.
Humans have an old trades union rule which is First In, First Out. For once, these human pets have the right idea. The interests of older resident cats must come first. When you get older, yourself, and have lived in a home for years, you may appreciate it more. Nothing is more irritating to us middle aged or elderly cats than a manic adolescent feline chasing us and generally harassing us.
I am not sure if it is any use telling you to control yourself, to stop the chasing, to leave the other cats alone. You may not be able to do this. Have they made arrangements to help the other cats avoid you? Time sharing space perhaps. Putting you in the spare bedroom at night so the older cats have time out from you? Adding cardboard boxes for them to retreat to? Making sure there is one litter tray per cat (and one over if necessary), in different locations. Installing two seperate feeding locations so you can't ambush the oldies. Has enough time gone by - ie about 3 months - to make sure it won't come right? Do they give you enough games with fishing rod toys to tire you out?
If all this is done and they rehome you, it won't break your heart. I tell you now cats break their hearts over humans rarely if at all. Humans just aren't worth it. You are so gorgeous you will find another home, hopefully one which you can have all to yourself. As long as the food is good and the house is warm, one human is much like another when it comes down to it.
George.

Friday, February 15, 2013

She’s installed a Guillotine!

Dear George,
When I last wrote to you I was singing my pets praises. I would now like to retract all I said…she appears to have gone on strike and worse still wants to want bump me off.
She has installed a window at the bottom of the door and seems to want me to dice with death to get out of the house rather than doing her duty of opening the door for me. I established the danger of this device this morning, 10 days after she installed the death trap, which was apparently my Christmas present. I wanted to go outside and she refused to get up to let me out. So you can imagine my horror when with one paw and my head outside I realise it’s snowing. I do what every self-respecting cat would do and retreat….then it strikes; tries to decapitate me, behead me! I scream like Anne Boleyn probably did in her final moments and what did she do – laugh!
Horrified and almost beheaded,
Jake xXx
 Ps – As you can tell from my photo I prefer a bag over a box!

Dear Jake,
What is the world coming to?  It is a sad sign of modern times that humans do not understand being in service. Their duties are clear - cooking and serving food to us at regular intervals: providing warm spaces on the bed throughout the night: and, of course, opening and shutting doors. In my more despairing moments I wonder if we could do a fictional TV series called Cat Abbey, where we see the humans doing proper servant duties, as they ought to be done.
Stay calm. She is not trying to kill you. She is merely trying to avoid work, the hard work that is every human pet's duty. And with typical human stupidity she actually thought you would want to go out in the snow. They just don't think like we do. 
Ignore the window altogether. Sit by the door, just as you used to, when you want to go out. Sit by the door outside when you want to come in. If this means sitting in the cold take a quick peek though the window and (if she is not in visual contact) nip back in through the new device. If she is there, sit and ostentatiously shiver, mew and look very very pitiful.
I have a cat flap - what you call a window device. But mostly I ignore it. I used it when she is out. But when she is in I go in and out of the door. It's a question of being strong minded and not letting her get away with it.
Yours sympathetically
George. 
PS. Like the bag. Nice use of available human stuff.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Cat beds - our ideas of what makes a good one.

Dear George,
I don’t want to take too much of your time but I have one question or maybe two.  You know that I’m a very spoiled kitty. However, I trained my humans surprisingly well for a young, little rescue that I’m.  For example: they let me taste the water they drink (directly from their glasses), food they eat and when they are playing cards …..I have a special chair so I can sit and watch them playing. When it comes to sleeping arrangements….I usually sleep on my mommy’s chest until she’s sound at sleep and then …..I slide down slowly between them. Well, lately they gifted me with so many cat beds (as in the photos) that I don’t know what to think. I have a bed in every single room of the house including kitchen. As I find this a bit strange, my question to you is: what could they be up to that they do not want me in the bed between them at night or are they trying to show me with respect that I’m the Alpha cat and run the show? Should I accommodate?
Yours truly but ….a bit confused
Zoe

Dear Zoe, 
Your humans are doing the right thing. We cats cannot have too many beds - their idea of beds and our idea of beds. Their idea of a cat bed is like the one in the photo. Warm cosy, with nice soft material and high sides so that it avoids drafts. But your dratted humans, I see, have put it on the floor. The ideal cat bed is sited a bit higher up. We like to look down rather than up at our pet humans.
Our idea of cat beds is, of course, rather more diverse than theirs. The following are cat beds: the double beds which we allow our humans to share; any other large beds in the house; sofas; armchairs; piles of dirty laundry; piles of clean laundry, preferably in a warm airing cupboard; any open drawer full of clothes; the surface of any chair pushed under the table; the surface of any chair anywhere; all windowsills; inside any cupboard where the doors are left open; the top of a kitchen cupboard if we feel like it; the top of the wardrobe if we feel like it; the side of an Aga or any wood burning stove; any kitchen surface that takes our fancy; in front of open fires; empty cardboard boxes of all kinds; the desk area next to the computer; the keyboard of the computer when we feel like it; the top of the stairs... You get the idea.
What your humans think they are doing is a bit more puzzling, as we have to allow for their limited cognition. My guess is that they might feel they would like more room on your double bed at night so have put a cat bed in the bedroom. This is ridiculous, of course. If you are kind enough to share your double bed with them, they must take the space they are given and be grateful for it. Do not accomodate them: it is their duty to accomodate you and your preferences.
The alternative possibility is that they really have understood that we like a lot of choice. If so they are pets in a million.
Yours thoughtfully
George
PS. Add your own suggestions....

Saturday, February 02, 2013

The art of boxes - boxing up, fitting in and sleeping

Dear George,
I have a new box. It came crammed with goodies for Christmas, but she tells me it is really a shoe box. As you know I am on the large size. Well found. Well covered. Unkind people might even call me fat. I stood in this box for lengthy periods while my human seemed amused. There was nothing funny going on. I was seriously occupied in assessing, measuring,calculating, and eventually I fitted myself into it - to her astonishment.
I admit a bit of me sort of bulges over the side, but my legs and tail and head fit more beautifully. I stay in it for an hour or so in daylight hours and then get out and got for a little constitutional round the coffee table, followed by a snack and a short jaunt into the garden. When I return I settle back to sleep but on my folded blanket which is roughly three times bigger than the box. She offered to show me a photo of a human contortionist in a box but I declined. I am no contortionist. I am a cat. We do this sort of thing.
Yours 
Vincent.
PS. This is me in a larger box.

Dear Vincent,
This highlights the lack of flexibility and inability to use space in the human species. They have to have specially trained acrobats to get into small boxes. We just do it. Here is me in a box waving my paws at the camera. And one of my friend Tilly having a nap.
We just do it. Easy peasy.
However, for a large cat to fit into a shoe box is an achievement of which any feline would be proud. That elongated shape might fit a small kitten stretched out but it is not designed for the shape of a cat. As we can see from all these photos, cats like something nearer a square box if the fit is going to be tight. The photo of you in a large box shows how there is plenty of room - not like your shoebox.
There's something I enjoy about the confinement of a good box. It is nice to have ones legs and paws braced against the side of it. Nice too to have the top of the head against the cardboard. I have always been passionate about having the top of my head gently rubbed. The contact with the cardboard gives a pleasurable feel.
My friend Bob from Northern Ireland suggests diversifying. He finds plastic laundry binds are an agreeable fit (see photo).  If there is some nice smelling clean washing in them, that makes a soft base! Of course he uses traditional boxes too. 
But humans don't get the point of boxes at all. I have never seen my human use a box. She just throws them away.
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