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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Purrs and Claws - what a kitten needs to know


Dear George,
I'm a 14 weeks old rescue and this Christmas I have adopted a family with a big house and two human kittens. My new family seems to be lots of fun; the human kittens are older than me; they go to university where they learn how to take care of me.
My human mommy must be an excellent mother as she keeps the house clean and neat and makes sure the food is always fresh! I dream of my first steak! Yummy! My new human daddy is a bit strange but, I'm sure he can be trained to become my loyal servant or so I think!
I was told that I'm a Blue Russian mix - photo attached! I know all cats are Royalty but don't you think that having "extra blue blood" makes me "extra royal"?
Definitely they sense I'm special! I'm allowed to sleep in any bed I want and I can run up and down the stairs as much as I want (which is such a relief after being in a cage for 3 months). George, I need some tips on house manners, how to behave so they will be happy with me! I'm a bit concerned since this is my first "forever home" and I'm their "first cat ever"! It is a first time experience for all! I've seen my daddy ordered a book on "how cats think" - yes, quite laughable as no human will figure us out but I told you he's nuts! Do you think this book will teach him how to obey my orders? Or how to feed me? Shouldn't he be getting one of your books instead? Today they were talking about new year's resolutions!
What is that?
Immensely grateful,
Leo-Liam 

Dear Leo-Liam,
Training a human is ridiculously easy. Most kittens do it automatically. The principles are that you reward behaviour that you want and you punish behaviour that you do not want. Rewards are purring, snuggling up close, rubbing your cheek against the human, and (if you fancy doing so) giving a little lick. Some cats enjoy grooming their human's hair too. Punishments are claws, teeth, disdainful ignoring and running away. 
What you have to remember is that humans are not clever enough to understand our body language. So you have to respond in an exaggerated way to make things clear to them. Both rewards and punishments must be administered as soon as possible (within seconds preferably). Humans vary in their reaction to punishment. For some a lofty look of disdain will make them cease whatever they are doing. Others need a sharp nip or even a hefty claw on their bare skin.
If you are having difficulty, purrchase a copy of 100 Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train its Human.
Happy New Year
George
PS. In an ideal world all humans would be adopted by rescue kittens. That would be my resolution for cat welfare this year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

George's Christmas message and the 12 days of Catmas.

I was going to give a Christmas message about the importance of kindness to the lower animals, humans, (excluding mice, of course). Dumb creatures that they are, humans need our help at Christmas - dressing the tree, pulling down the tree, eating up spare bits of turkey, generally cleaning plates and vaccuuming edible bits off the floor
But instead I thought I would pass on this feline carol. My human insisted on the ridiculous photo of me in a silly hat.


THE TWELVE DAYS OF CATMAS


On the first day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
A tear in your precious settee!

On the second day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!

On the third day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!

On the Fourth day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!


On the Fifth day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Five furry things
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!


On the Sixth day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Six strays a spraying
Five furry things
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!


On the seventh day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Seven trays a brimming
Six strays a spraying
Five furry things
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!


On the eighth day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Eight fishheads reeking
Seven trays a brimming
Six strays a spraying
Five furry things
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!



On the ninth day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Nine fleas a leaping
Eight fishheads reeking
Seven trays a brimming
Six strays a spraying
Five furry things
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!

On the tenth day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Ten toms a wailing
Nine fleas a leaping
Eight fishheads reeking
Seven trays a brimming
Six strays a spraying
Five furry things
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!


On the eleventh day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Eleven kittens mewing
Ten toms a wailing
Nine fleas a leaping
Eight fishheads reeking
Seven trays a brimming
Six strays a spraying
Five furry things
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice
And a tear in your precious settee!


On the Twelfth day of Catmas
There came a gift from me
Twelve vet bills coming
Eleven kittens mewing
Ten toms a wailing
Nine fleas a leaping
Eight fishheads reeking
Seven trays a brimming
Six strays a spraying
Five furry things
Four feathered birds
Three fur balls
Two headless mice

And a tear in your precious settee!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas is coming..... food, trees, and catnip

Dear George,
Christmas is coming and I don't know if it's a good thing or not given the high level of anxiety experienced by my family. I don't even know if it's anxiety or excitement. Lately they went nuts - they cook, they bake, they decorate the house, they stay up late and all these are disturbing my sleep. I don't exactly know who Christmas is and how it looks like or how Christmas will get to our house but I don't want anybody invading my territory! All I hear all day long is "let's share....it's Christmas" or "be nice.....it's Christmas" or "in the spirit of Christmas" over and over again! I remember last year about same time we got the house full of my humans' family and friends and I had to hide for a full week. I don't want this to happen again so I got up high on the roof watching my territory (picture attached). But....should I really chase Christmas away if I see it coming to my house? To tell you the truth George.....I like how the house is decorated, I like the smell of food and cookies, I like the festive atmosphere....so what should I do?
I like that everybody is jolly and they wish each other Merry Christmas!
Maybe if you'll explain to me what Christmas is all about and how I can best enjoy it....I will stay up high and...welcome Christmas in my territory!
A very meowy Christmas to all....
Zoe

Dear Zoe,  
It is not easy to explain Christmas. Humans are so inconsistent. On the one hand it is boring for cats - lots of strange humans coming round, too much liquid catnip consumed, humans quarrelling or laughing inanely... And, boy can they eat - turkey, goose, ham, bacon, sausages, pudding, brandy butter, custard, cream, bits on sticks, bits on binis, smoked salmon, unsmoked salmon, prawns, pasta, .... enough to make a sensible cat sick.
Feast well but a note of warning. Yes, there is a lot of food on offer. You can sneak into the room where they are going to eat and if you are quiet just fill up on whatever is there.You can steal stuff off the kitchen counter. You can gobble up fallen bits of food on the kitchen floor. You can pull down the trash can and eat what is inside it. You can even go out in the garden and eat some of the food they put down for the birds. 
Avoid the liquid catnip. There are cats who have overindulged and fallen off the mantlepiece breaking a leg or two. Avoid the Christmas pieces of string or tinsel - they can get wrapped round your innards. Avoid grapes, onions, avocado, raisins and chocolate - all poisonous. There's no need to make a fool of yourself. Humans will do that for you.
Christmas trees are fair game. Liven up the party by climbing up them. Or by pulling them down. Take a look at some creative felines adding to the Christmas fun here
Have a happy Christmas.
George



Saturday, December 13, 2014

My human has gone stark staring mad.... she thinks she is training me.

Dear George,
What do you do about a human pet that has gone mad. Stark staring bonkers. She has started a regime of feeding me on a mat.
OK, you might think there is nothing wrong with this. But there is. It is the way she is doing it.
At first she more or less fed me when I was sort of half on the mat. Then she stopped doing this which upset me terribly. I didn't know why the rules had changed. Now I think I have got it. I have to have all four paws on the mat before the food will be delivered to me.
But she keeps changing things. She moves so that she and the mat are in different positions. So I feel anxious and worried. Will 4 paws do the trick in each new position? Each time I have to experiment to find out. She looks pretty fed up as I gingerly put one paw, then two, then walk away several times before putting all four on.
She is also videoing me and I feel like Len, who earlier complained, that I have no privacy. What I can't work out is why she is doing this. And I get confused because she is rather inconsistent and sometimes gives me some food when I am not doing it.
What on earth is going on?
Toby, the Cross-Eyed Stray.

Dear Toby,
Your human has fallen victim to the illusion that cats can be trained. It's a sad insight into their delusional thought processes.
I suggest that you turn the whole project round. Train her. Four paws on the mat, look up appealingly, food is produced, another appealing look and with luck more food will arrive. This looks like co-operation but in fact is cat training a human to dispense food. What does she get out of it? Nothing except a lousy video. What do you get out of it? Food. It's a no brainer.
Yours George
PS. This YouTube intrusion into our privacy get worse every day.  It's cat porn for cat addicts.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Movember - the annual festival of whisker envy.


Dear George,
Here we are -  worried about our male human's behaviour and deeply contemplating (as you can see in the picture) the idea of getting him some professional help.
Therefore you were commissioned by us to help us understand his behaviour and eventually help him get back to his senses. We have to alert you thou that he does this ONLY in November. He did it last year and he did it again this year. Although he is not delusional we think he firmly believes he is in some sort of competition with us.  
What make us think so? Well, the fact that he's trying to grow "whiskers" each November. We truly believe he is jealous of our beautiful, long whiskers and he desperately is trying to beat us with his "whiskers" but all he grows is some ugly, bushy hair under his nose. Nothing compared to our elegant, long whiskers. He is not trying to grow hair on any other part of his body; at least we did see it. Such a pity! We tried to show him how to groom properly; we "licked and washed " his face, his head, we tried "to pull" the hair from under his nose and we could tell he did not appreciate our efforts. By the end of November he got rid of that bush under his nose. Why? What was the purpose? Could this be a "November syndrome" that our daddy is suffering of? Is there any treatment? George, what do you think?
In gratitude
Blackie &Spokie

Dear Blackie and Spokie,
This is a very sad case, isn't it! Humans have a deep unconscious whisker envy. Whatever they do, however long they try, they cannot produce cats' whiskers. Even the longest ones are floppy rather than properly stiff and they have no feeling in them at all. They are a poor excuse for a proper whisker.
But the deep whisker envy makes them keep trying and a good cause such as Movember (in favour of male human cancer) gives them an excuse. Each year thousands of male humans try to grow whiskers. They concentrate their efforts between the mouth and nose, where a proper whisker pad, of the kind we have, might be expected.
They grow a pathetic half inch or so. Then they realise that this is fundamentally thick fur, rather than proper whisker. There is no feeling and no movement in it. We can move our whiskers forwards and back and feel the struggles of a mouse we are carrying. They can do nothing of that.
So at the end of November, they give up - pretending that they meant to do this all along, denying their own whisker envy.
Be kind to him. He has suffered a grievous disappointment.
Yours pityingly,
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