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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Caring for your elderly human

Dear George,
As you know, George, I am a house rabbit living with two elderly humans. There's a lot of talk about living with an elderly rabbit but what about advice for bunnies about living with elderly humans? Every evening we play together and have cuddles on the floor. The last time she creaked her way down, she kissed and fluffed my rear bumper mistaking it for my head and ears. She soon realised what she had done and apologised but it was a bit of a surprise at the time. What if her eyes get worse and she doesn't see me near her feet and squashes me? I'll have to be more wary in the future because when I flop out both ends look pretty well the same. So they say. I'm going to doze now, put on my disapproving look  and worry about it.
Yours with some anxiety
Harvey
PS. This is a worry I did not put into my autobiography (buy it here). I didn't want her to read it.

Dear Harvey,
Elderly humans are a worry. There's no doubt about it. They require much more care than younger humans. You can't sit on their face, for instance, when having a nap - they might stop breathing altogether. Sometimes they can't even bend down to give one a proper pet.
Obviously your Janet is quite healthy for her age since she can get down to the floor.  Some older ones can't do that at all. Of course, she does show her age when leavering herself slowly back up again: that that's to be expected.
Specsavers. That's what she needs if she can't tell the difference between your rear end and the front with the head and ears. Her eyesight is obviously going wrong. That's another failing in elderly humans. That and arthritis.
And, of course, some of them lose it altogether. At the best of times humans have limited cognitive powers. Some of the older ones can't think at all. You have to step pretty smartly to make sure they don't fall over you but, if you are lucky, they will forget they have fed you and give you a second meal within a few moments.
Yours
George.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Punish with active ignoring and withering looks.

Dear George,
Do you know what Costa Rica is or where it is? I’m asking because I found out that my human pets left for Costa Rica and will be back in about 2 weeks. I think it must be far enough if it takes them 2 weeks to get back home. So, I’m home alone with the human kitten who is now a young adult ….but he’s such a kid at heart; he loves me very much and plays hooky to spend time with me; we sleep late and best of all we eat junk food.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not angry with my human pets since they sneaked out the house and off to Costa Rica whatever that is. I have planned how to punish them but I’d like your opinion and suggestions too. Here is my plan: when they come back I’m going to isolate myself in this limited space as per photo attached. I planned to ignore them completely and I’m going to refuse food. Since I was on junk food (with the human kitten) I never had to open a can while they were away so I’ll make them believe that I missed them so much that I wasn’t eating! I want them to feel guilty, guilty, and guilty!   
But, George, how long can I stay without eating? I heard cats can’t be without food for more then 12 hours. Is that right? Ugh! I hope I don’t need to starve myself for such a long time. I just hope that my human pets have some common sense and will feel guilty in the first hour.
Hugs
CAT Victoria

Dear Victoria,
Not eating.... well it will worry your humans, no doubt. But it's a strategy that is punishing for you as well as them. I wouldn't do it, Victoria. Cats that have a cat flap can do this more easily because they can just saunter down the road and break into a house to eat another cat's food. Or just find themselves another human feeder. But you can't do this and you are used to regular meals. 
Putting yourself in an isolated space and refusing to acknowledge your humans is a much better idea. Refuse to share the bed with them at night - instead go to the young adult human's bed. Stay away from any shared armchair and absolutely show your dislike of their laps. If you have to share the same room, turn your whole body away, look away from them, and make it clear you are thinking of higher thoughts.
Just to punish them a little further. Lavish affection on the young adult. Leap into his arms, cuddle up on his lap, purr loudly in his ear. You love him so much that you don't care a fig for the humans that abandoned you for a whole two weeks. 
Also don't forget the withering look. We cats do a wonderful slow withering and contemptuous gaze when we want to put humans in their place. JDI. Just do it. It makes humans feel small.
Hugs
George
PS. For UK cats reading this, be careful when you go out in the snow.  Rock salt put on the roads to get rid of the snow is poisonous. So if you get it on your paws, ask your human to wash and dry them on your return. 
PPS. Very pleased by comment below on being a whisperer. Shall update my profile immediately. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Safety and welfare - can I sue?

Dear George
I have a big problem to discuss with you. I think I’m going to sue my humans now that I have two of them! But here is my story. You remember that I was forced into moving into a new house with another human and three other cats just because my human couldn’t live alone. Phew! However, I found my perfect spot in the new house and that was on the rail on the second floor. Well, this was perfect since none of the other cats will come up here, not even my Princess.  But, yesterday I fell asleep and I had a taught wake up! Yes, I fell off the rail! My humans rushed me to be checked and learning that I’m ok they start laughing…..like silly Vegas! ha!ha!ha! I’m so furious that I decide to sue them. I investigated few cases here and I can sue them for so many things! I’ll definitely have the last laugh in my case. Over here if you go to a coffee shop, get a coffee that you spill over you trying to get in the car…..you can sue the coffee shop for selling you a hot coffee. Or, if you are burglar that gets into someone’s home, gets stuck in the garage for a week so you have to eat the cat or dog food, drink all coca-cola cans you can find around you can sue the owner for getting sick over the cat food! So, I want to discuss my list with you. What should I sue them for? I can sue them for negligence – they didn’t provide any “how to” instructions book. Second – for not installing hammocks all around so I can fall in the net. Third – for not providing me with a helmet. Four – for the stress created by the visit to the vet! And the list can on and on! Don’t I prove I’m more mature now? So, what do you think George?
Furious
Vegas

Dear Vegas,
Suing your human for negligence would be a first. But what a breakthrough for cats, and for all animals too. I think you have stacked up the charges nicely - failure to give you safe instructions, failure to install safety features such as nets below the rail, stress from vet's visit (don't we all suffe from that!). Brilliantly laid out. Brilliantly noted, Vegas.
There is a Harvard professor, Professor Cass Sunstein, who believes animals should be able to sue under human legislation. Well not quite. He wants humans to sue on our behalf. Purrsonally I would like my day in court. If only for the moment when I could turn round and start washing my bottom when some animal abuser is talking.
Here is what the Prof says: "My simplest suggestion is that private citizens should be given the right to bring suits to prevent animals from being treated in a way that violates current law. I offer a recommendation that is theoretically modest but that should do a lot of practical good: laws designed to protect animals against cruelty and abuse should be amended and interpreted to give a private cause of action against those who violate them, so as to allow private people to supplement the efforts of public prosecutors. Somewhat more broadly, I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law."
In the mean time, isn't it vile, absolutely evil, when humans laugh at us. I hate it more than anything else. Sticks and stones - bring 'em on. Laughter? I can feel my inner dignity shrink and my gracefulness wither under it.
Yours
George

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Lost in translation - not the human movie but a cat dilemma


Dear George,
I am the latest addition to this family who lives somewhere in Germany. I am a rescue from a shelter and I don’t know my real name or my mother’s tongue. 
I was named Conrad and I can understand English (the human males speak it fluently) but I have a problem with German, therefore having difficulties training my female human. Just to give you few examples: “Pen” a very simple word becomes in German “Kugelschreiber”, or “butterfly” (since we like to chase them) becomes “Schmetterling”, or “petals” in German is “Blutenblattern” or “science” for that matter ….is “Naturwissenschaften”.
I’m afraid to ask what “meow” is in German. Who can take about half hour just to meow one word? I was told that it is the most logical and beautiful language. No doubt about, but, when I’m hungry I don’t need to spend the whole day just trying to pronounce “food”. I’m lost in translation and I wonder if you can give me some ideas how to simplify my communication.
Auf Wiedersehen (you see? Why not as simple as….“bye-bye”?)
Conrad

Dear Conrad, 
Personally I don't bother much about the vocalisations of my humans. They are at it all day - blah, blah, blah, blah. A noisy species making nonsensical noises. I focus solely on the vocalisations that matter. 
The vocalisations which can lead to some rewarding experiences are: 'Food', 'Catfood', 'Whiskas,' 'Fish', 'Fish n Chips,' 'Steak', 'Chicken.' You will have to compile your own key words not just because they will be in German, but also because they will vary from household to household. For some people 'Whiskas' might not be important while 'Felix' was. These are both names for cat food in the UK.
Equally important - perhaps even more important - are the vocalisations which mean an unpleasant experience.  'Vet' is probably the most important of all. At the sound of 'Vet' I ease myself out of the door, go out as far away as possible, or hide if the cat flap is closed. I have also had to learn 'V.E.T.' the sound when they 'spell out' the vet word. Other warning sounds are: 'Carrier,' 'Dog' and in my case 'Sister. She smells of dog and has a tendency to want to harass me with unwanted affection.
So get to work. The fact that these German words seem rather long winded is going to be helpful to you. As the occur in the blah-blah-blah, there will be more time for you to pick them out and take appropriate action.
As for your vocal commands. Just don't worry. Keep them easy to the limited brain power of humans to understand. That means, for instance,  a special sounding meow for 'Food now', another for 'Open the door,' and a third for  'Leave me alone.'
Keep them clear. Keep them concise. Keep them consistent. This is art of human training.
Yours George

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Horror story that turned into a happy one ☺

Dear George,
I’ll be very short as 
I’m exhausted after putting up with my human’s craziness lately. Last week I was quite devastated as I learned that my human decided to move in with another human. Phew! Not only that moving is, generally speaking, very stressful but, I found out that “this special someone ” has three rescued cats! That means….me….moving out from my house and into a new one ….where I will live with three other cats? Impossible! Do you think my human is crazy? Do humans suffer from some kind of eclipse of the mind? Absolutely yes! I can’t tell you how many horror stories I was envisioning. I can’t stress enough how many bad dreams I had and how many sleepless nights!
Finally last week I got to my new destination. The house seems to be very cozy and “the significant, special other half” seems to be a very kind and nice human, well trained in attending to our needs. I was welcomed into my new space by two hissing older cats (both males) and a cute, little girl, called Princess. Princess immediately sided with me and we are inseparable now. We share the sleeping space, the grass, the food, the TV (as you can see in one of the photos attached). I’m happy now that I have Princess but, George, you must admit that not always is a happy ending to such a move.
I’d like you to explain and make me understand why people can’t live alone, why can’t they be just happy working to serve us better, be our obeying slaves?
Still wanting to punish my human!
Vegas 

Dear Vegas,
Your desire to punish your human is absolutely natural and understandable.  We really ought to get our humans neutered and spayed to prevent this sort of upheaval. They are slave to their hormones. Worse still, instead of going out for a night on the tiles and getting it out of their system for several weeks like we do, they take it all so seriously. They pair bond. Not usually for life but often for months and years at a time.
Most of us can live with the truly promiscuous human. They stay out late at night, sometimes only coming home in the morning. Some of them bring back a date, but we can often sabotage that by the simple method of jumping on parts of their anatomy or even interfering with what they are doing. Sitting on the pillow with a fascinated sneer on one's face often puts the males off their business altogether. Gentle patting of bare flesh also has an off-putting effect if you pat the right bit. The date often does not come back for more!
You have fallen victim to the pair bonding aspect of human relationships. And luckily for you it has worked out fine. You have a new friend and you have probably improved her life by giving her emotional support against the older cats. 
But it's a question of luck. Sometimes these horrific moves do not work out well. These humans are grossly irresponsible beings. In an ideal household, the staff have no right to relationships. A proper servant does not waver in putting the cat first.
Yours with sympathy
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