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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dear George,
I need some advice. I am here with my brothers and sisters at Sunshine Cat Rescue.  I am looking for a home.
Every now and again a human, or sometimes two humans at a time, turn up and take a look at us kittens. How am I going to choose the best human?
What should I look for? They all look rather the same to me - very little fur except at the top of their heads, loud voices, and strange smells. The women seem to have scent coming from their bodies, while the men (at least the ones with bald chins) have scent coming from their faces.
What is even stranger is that none of them can purr. They can't even miaow properly. And they are awfully clumsy.
Which one should I choose? And how to I make it clear to a dumb animal that he or she is the chosen one?
Yours anxiously
Riley.

Dear Riley,
How wise of you to get advice before making your choice. Choosing the right human is probably the most important thing you will ever do in your life. And there are ways to make sure you get the best one.
Don't judge on looks. Judge them on temperament. Humans that are middle aged or even disabled can sometimes make the best pets. While young humans are fun; they are a big commitment. And they are more likely to be badly behaved.
The ideal human pet speaks quietly, moves slowly and handles cats gently. It doesn't matter if they are rich or poor, but it matters how loving they are. If they love cats, the more vocal ones may make noises like "Aahhh" or "Isn't he sweet."  Or they will just look longingly at you.
So how do you make your preference clear? Walk up to the human and rub against their legs, if you can. If you are in a cat pen then walk right up to the bars. Gaze upwards to the human. Humans, unlike cats, find a long gaze irresistible. A glance across a crowded room  often starts a human love affair.
So look long, purr loudly, and (if they come into your pen) climb on to them! That usually does it. Almost every human loves a kitten!
Yours
George.
PS. And start training them as soon as you get into your new home. A well trained human is a purrfect pet.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter eggs: why can't I have one for myself?

Dear George,
I’m not sticking my tongue out at you; I’m sticking my tongue out at my “mummy”.
I’m once again very upset with her. It all started yesterday when she got two packages with chocolate and goodies from a dear friend from overseas.
I’ve seen stamps and labels with cats on the packages so I thought they were for me (I know this dear friend loves me more than she loves my mummy) so I tried to open them.
Oh boy, did she jump shouting that I’m not allowed chocolate? I wasn’t going to eat chocolate but I wanted to see what else was in there. She hid everything away.
I went to sleep very, very sad! Today I’ve seen her boiling eggs and dipping them in red liquid dye. They came out quite bright red and shiny and I thought this was the perfect time to play and have some fun. So I jumped up on a chair and started pushing them one by one over the table. Whoa! You should have seen her face staring at me in disbelief!
Of course she overreacted as she always does. She said the eggs were for Easter and turned her back to me. So I stuck my tongue out at her (as you can see in the photo how mad and upset I was). Now what? Should I talk to her again?
Should I crack eggs with her on Sunday? George, do you think I misbehaved?
Happy Easter to all
Fluffy

Dear Fluffy,
Ninety nine percent of the time humans are plain wrong. But for once your human was in the right. We cats shouldn't eat chocolate. It contains theobromine which is poisonous. It's even more poisonous for us than for dogs. Luckily, unless it comes in ice cream or chocolate sauce, we are less likely to eat it in the first place.
Greedy dogs sometimes swallow down a whole box of chocolate and need veterinary treatment urgently.The more expensive the chocolate, the more cocoa there will be in it, and therefore the most theobromine. 
Hard boiled eggs are a different matter. Personally I like a little egg - maybe just a little lick of the plate after breakfast eggs. My predecessor Fat Ada used to eat them raw, biting into the egg carton, cracking them with her teeth and licking up the yoke. She had learned this when she lived on the street, breaking into houses through the cat flap and  burgling their kitchens.
You did nothing wrong. You communicated your natural feelings to your human. She was mean minded enough to ignore them. I suggest sulking all through today (Easter Saturday), then lots of love and purring at the moment the painted eggs are cracked at Easter. It might work.
Love
George
PS. I am intrigued by your reading matter. High Society - about cats on roof tops, no doubt - speaks for itself. But why are you reading about dogs?

Friday, April 11, 2014

My humans are stealing my hammock....

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Dear George,
Last week I got this wonderful little hammock as a gift from my human kitten.
I must admit he brings me the coolest gifts. Now, who wouldn’t like to take a nap in a hammock? Of course I do – as you can see in the picture.  It’s such a joy to nap and get a little swing in the same time. I can sleep and sleep and sleep!
But, I can’t enjoy my new gift because lately my humans (the old folks) are acting very strange; as soon as they see me in the hammock napping they come and tempt me with treats or rub my belly or literally grab me off the hammock. She is worse than him. I know she’s jealous. But him? Do you think they want my hammock? Do they think they can fit in it? George, how can I make sure they won’t steal it from me? Also, I’d like to punish them for disturbing my sleep! I’d like to wake them up when they are sound asleep. What should I do? Please…..feed me all the tricks.
In love with a hammock
CAT Victoria

Dear CAT Victoria,
That hammock looks really good. I used to have one attached to a radiator but it fell off one day when I leapt on it. There was an enormous clattering sound and it never felt safe to get into again. Yours seems much better designed and fits safely under a chair.
I can do better than just tell you a few ideas for waking your human. I can show you some at http://www.wimp.com/catsalarm/  A human (believe it or not)  gave me this information. Michelle in Toronto is one of the least stupid humans I have come across. Cayenne, her owner, says she is really quite bright.
I particularly enjoy the cat who leaps on to his human's groin in the video. I have always found this particularly effective with a sleeping male. For a female, I prefer a slightly less direct approach. I get myself into position and then do what I call a dry spray - quiver my tail in an attractive come-on. The nearer you get to the human face, the more likely they are to wake up.
Biting toes under the duvet is good. My informant Tilly specialising in poking items off the bedside cabinet. She chooses the items that will make the most noise, but she also finds that her human responds well to the sound of her spectacles being poked. 
Grooming is reasonably effective, as the video shows. But it is hard work grooming all that hair - unless your human is bald. That makes it easier.
Yours
George

Saturday, April 05, 2014

What the hell do my humans think they are doing - A DOG!


My portrait by my human Nancy
Well George,     
Here I am again.
I’m rather tired, having been waging war with THE DOG - the small interloper I am forced to share my house with. She arrived without anyone asking my permission; a little, panting, whimpering ball of fur, who immediately had both my humans’ total attention. 
Apparently, she’s what is called a “Rescue Dog” [which means that she’s been rescued, not that she goes up mountains with a cocktail shaker hanging off her collar] and because of that, I’m supposed to be nice to her.
Honestly George, she arrived with so much stuff; -- blankets and toys, biscuits and bones, plus a couple of things called “Pig’s Ears.” My human gave her one, to keep her calm [or just plain shut her up], but she was in such a state she didn’t want it.   
So I took and hid it on top of the wardrobe, which is my favourite hiding place. [You should see how many pens and paint brushes I have up there!  My humans are “artists” and have heaps of them, or did have before I got to them] 
Ha!  Chaos:  1   DOG:  nil 
Next step was to register my disapproval, so I had a chew at one of the big pot plants in the lounge. It’s a “Maidenhair Fern.” How do I know this?   Because She Who Must be Obeyed was yelling “Chaos, leave the.....alone” at the top of her voice.
So I sat in it.
It’s outside the window now, on the deck....Rats. 
Human:  1    Chaos: nil 
As I mentioned before, I ask for biscuits, sitting on the arm of Her chair......unfortunately, THE DOG has realised that I am getting something she is not, so my Human now tosses her MY biscuits...yes, my biscuits at the same time, because [get this] she doesn’t like dog biscuits!
Well!
If she’s going to run around the room like a wet ferret, chasing my biscuits, then so am I.......so now I have to get down from my special perch, and race around like the idiot dog. [Sigh] 
THE DOG: 1       Chaos: 1   
A  draw? 
Yours 
Chaos 

Dear Chaos,
Do not take any impertinence from the dog. If there is trouble, stand your ground and swipe. Hard. It is essential that you establish your position as Top Cat from the very start of the relationship. The dog must look up to you and accept you as its total superior.
It sounds as if you are starting well by stealing the pig's ear. Now you must start training the dog. It sounds as if your humans use positive reinforcement (with your biscuits) to train this inferior mammal. You should use ruthless punishment - institute a claw and order programme immediately. 
And have a back up escape plan - high up. Dogs can't climb.
Dogs have an instinct to back down in any trial of strength and make pathetic appeasement efforts such as rolling on their back, licking their lips, and even raising a paw. When we raise a paw it is a threat. With them it is a supplication. You may have to explain this to the dog by following up your paw raising with a proper swipe.
Best of luck. It is typical that your humans did not ask your permission. Who do they think they are? Top of the hierarchy? Idiots.
Yours
George.
PS. I like the portrait.

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