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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Of human idiosyncrasy - hairless and whiskerless by choice!

Dear George
I know you are one of the best human behaviorist and I need your guidance in understanding humans! I’m not sure if you wrote any books on the subject but, definitely you should as your advice, I’m sure, will be appreciated by other felines as well. But, here is the story and the reason why I need your help! A while back I have adopted this family of fine, fun people. Of course I got engaged in their daily activities! For example; with the human kitten I started listening to music and watching movies! With my human daddy I started watching games; he’s all into sports and I found this one game as being very, very entertaining – few men divided into two groups- one man hits a little ball with a bat and another one is supposed to catch it. They usually miss and the two of them run like crazy in circles. That makes me laugh my head off as I can beat them and catch that ball in an instant! Yes, I like this game. But nothing compare to my time with my human mommy! You see, she’s a make-up artist and we watch together TV programs about beauty and beauty trends, etc. Well, here is where I have a problem understanding humans. I mean what can be more beautiful than big, bushy whiskers? Right? Well, not quite so based on their opinion! I’ve watched on TV females waxing their whiskers! Ah! such a pity as there were some great opportunities! I’ve watched some of them waxing their legs! Why would they do such think?
After that their legs look like chicken legs! Ugh! When I look at my sisters in the feline world and see them fluffy, with big whiskers and lots of hair I think nothing can be more beautiful than that!  So, why would a woman shave her legs or shave her eye brows just to have them draw with a pencil?
That’s crazy! I’ve even seen men growing big whiskers but shaving their heads! Why? What’s wrong with humans?
More than amazed and totally perplexed 
Pepe

Dear Pepe
I share your amazement at these strange humans; they are as weird as naked mole rats! I began by being sorry for them and their inability to grow fur, except in odd places and on the top of their heads. Then I saw the males shaving their whisker pads and their female shaving hair under their armpits.
It dawned. They enjoy being hairless. They choose to be that way, poor deluded creatures. Mind you, their whiskers do not work like ours do: they can't move them forward and back or use them as an extra sensory tool. Still, why shave them off?
Now there is a human trend to shave the whole head. You just might be able to change your human's mind by climbing to the back of the sofa and giving him a vigorous grooming on his bare pate. But it probably won't work, as humans are difficult to train out of some of their weird behaviour.
We just have to content ourselves by laughing at these silly dumb animals.
George. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Can binkying Easter bunnies train humans? No but they taste good.

Dear George,
With Easter fast approaching I have a very simple question: why do bunnies get all the attention at Easter time? Why are they called “The Easter Bunnies”?
They are not Easter gifts and, definitely they shouldn’t be! They require a lot more attention than us - they are needy …we are independent!
I know from my experience that humans can be very silly and dress us up for Christmas but never for Easter.
Why is that? Do they purr when happy? Do they train their humans helping them evolved to a higher level? I don’t think so – I’ve never seen a bunny training a human! And yet, I’ve just heard mine saying: Oh! I LOVE a “Binky Bunny”
WHAT on Earth is a binky bunny? I sure hope I won’t get company for Easter! 
George, why the fuss about bunnies?
Happy Easter to all cats and their humble servants
Foxy 

Dear Foxy,
This Easter thing confuses me too. I love bunnies....to hunt and eat. Yet there is this whole human thing whereby they do rabbit models in chocolate and eat those instead. And they pretend that rabbits lay Easter eggs (also chocolate). Really, these humans are odd.
Do rabbits train humans?  I don't think they can: too busy eating hay, swallowing their caecotrophs from their bottoms, and trying to get out of those horrible little hutches they live in. Rabbits are fast food not just for cats but foxes, coyotes, stoats and even weasels. If they didn't taste so good, I would be sorry for them.
My human has a completely different attitude. She hangs out on the local common trying to photograph or video them here. Binkying happens when a rabbit literally jumps for joy. She didn't manage to catch that and the camera jumps when she is stung by yet another horsefly. If I'd been there I wouldn't have been videoing. I would have been stalking them.
Happy Easter. Don't be tempted by chocolate. It's poisonous for cat.
Yours
George.  
PS. Some humans do dress up. Here is one. Stupid human. I wouldn't let anybody dress me up as a rabbit. Too humiliating. 

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Why are these cats pressing a bell? And who's in control?

Dear George,
I’ve been a long time follower of your blog but being very shy by nature I never got the courage to write or post a comment. Lately, as I start coming out of my shell I kind of see the world in a different light – not only more colorful but more playful as well! My humans are more playful and quite happy to entertain me! But what troubles me is one video they keep watching again and again and then…they try to copycat it. Here is the link to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clm826hHxoA  George, please watch it and tell me ….is it just human silliness or what is it that people enjoy so much that they keep bribing us with treats? What exactly is the purpose? I’ve seen videos with Celia apparently training Toby and Tommy (here and here)! Why? Can you explain this to me?
I don’t get it!
Gratefully yours
Princess

Dear Princess,
They only think they are training us. We are training them. This video shows two cats proceeding to a higher level of training. By doing something silly like pressing the bells, they have trained their humans to give them treats. How good is that? Humans think they are training us: we know we are training them.
Most humans cannot be trained to this level. They are too dumb. They simply cannot credit what we cats can do and so they don't even try to respond. They just give us treats for nothing.... but it is sometimes more fun to do something funny to get a treat. The easiest silly-thing-to-do-for-food is to sit up on your hind legs.  Do this near a meal and there is a very good chance indeed you will get something tasty from the table!
From there it is a short step to doing all kinds of antics that will result of food. Try it. It's good food fun, particularly for indoor cats.
Yours
George 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Microchipping - what's the use and why can't we microchip our humans?

Dear George,
I'm Ricardo and Bubbles is my twin brother! Look at the photo attached! Bet you can't tell us apart! No one can; not even our humans!
And what's most exciting about us is that we do everything together -like really good brothers often do-  we cuddle together, we hug while sleeping, we eat together. We are inseparable. I know it's rare in the feline's world but that's what we do.
George, I'm writing to you because I have a question and nobody else to ask! I heard my humans talking about micro chipping us!
I don't understand why? We are indoor cats; what is the chance to "go missing"? None!
Then, why am I supposed to suffer an "open skin" surgery? Who will benefit from it? The vet? putting more money in his pocket?
My humans? Finally getting a easy way to tell us apart? Who? Cause I don't see any benefit to me or Bubbles.
Oh! Yes! I've heard about that "run away" cat from California who ended-up in a shelter in Canada!
But, let's be serious! Do we look like the type to gang-up with truck drivers and have an escapade?
I don't think so! Then.....why?
Yours .....quite confused
Ricardo

Dear Ricardo,
There are many ways a cat might get lost . You might jump or fall out of an open window: the cat carrier might break open as you are being taken into the vet surgery: you might just sneak out into the road as your humans open the door to leave for work: you could be cat-napped by a burglar: or just let roam by a negligent cat sitter or even a negligent cattery owner. I have heard of all these accidents. Without microchipping, your human pets might never be re-united with you. 
I have been thinking of how I could microchip my humans. It would be useful for when they desert me for a"holiday." They could be found and returned to me early.
Yours 
George,
Interesting that you look so alike. Most litters of kittens have more than one father, so often kittens don't look at all alike. We cats are sensible. We don't do jealous. We queue up for a chance to mate without any inter-male violence! So unlike humans.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I'm handsome and affectionate - so why can't I find a home?

Dear George,
My name is Chilli - but I am gentle not peppery. I'm loving. I'm handsome with wonderful white whiskers but here I am stuck in a cattery without a human pet. 
Can you give me any advice on how to get out of here.  And how to purrsuade a human to be adopted.
I want to get back into the real world again.
Yours 
Chilli.

Dear Chilli,
The first step is to get noticed. As people pass your pen, you must make them stop to take a look at you. This requires you either to walk to the front of the pen and miaow. Or  if you are sitting on a ledge nearer human eyesight (which is uncomfortably high) as well as the miaow you must do something unusual. Sitting back on your haunches might work. Or better still standing up on your hind legs.  Putting a paw to your eye, as if wiping off a tear, might also work.
Once you get their attention, you can begin purr very loudly indeed. You already have your tail in the correct tail-up position - the position which tells them that you like them. If you are near the wire of the pen, go right up to it and rub. 
If possible roll over and expose your tummy to them, always giving them eye contact at the same time. 
Miaow some more. And some more. In between the purring. Humans do a lot of vocalisation so this is likely to appeal to them.
Yours cheerfully
George

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I’m my Mama’s boy! How to keep it that way.

Dear George, 
Yes, I’m my Mama’s boy and it feels sooooo good (as you can see in the picture).
But, I’m in a fierce competition with my brother Rocky; not that Rocky cares, not even for a faint second, who in fact is the mama’s boy! He just wants to annoy me! And he does! Rocky is such a mischievous cat! I know our Mom loves us both but I was her first rescue! I was her first “fur baby”! So, in the name of my “rescue right” I expect to be recognised as my Mama’s boy and I want everybody else in our household to acknowledge it! George, what do I need to do to maintain my Status Quo?
Any tips or tricks?
Cheers,
Stanley

Dear Stanley,
That is a cute pose - tongue out, paws up, and tummy exposed. Few humans could resist that one! It feeds into their innate maternal instinct for cradling.
Purr loudly and purr often. They love to listen to purring. It soothes and pleases them. Miaow in moderation. The frequent and intense miaowing made by Siamese is not to every human's liking. So use miaows less frequently than purrs. But they still work well to get attention. High pitched is better than low sounding. Run a few tests. Do your humans like one long-lasting miaows or several short ones?
Tactile signals are cute too. While your human is lying in bed rub your cheek against hers. That's a no brainer! A gentle purr at the same time will seem even cuter. Rubbing against the legs and arms is fine too. Slow blinking is another great sign of affection too. And don't forget the slow little paw pat on the face as a wake-up call (claws firmly retracted for this one).
A little gentle play with whatever toy is around will please them too. Show off your graceful pouncing. It is our cute looks that seem to turn them on. Why else have cats taken over the internet, a visual medium if ever there was one. Charm never fails.
Do all this, and you keep Rocky into second place without  doubt. 
Yours admiringly
George.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The SNIP....why do we have it and why don't humans?

Dear George,

I have been rescued few days ago and my new humans instead of taking me to my forever home they took me to a place called “clinic” where I was given a shot and there I went dreaming. When I woke up I was wearing this terrible thing around my head (as you can see in the photo) and didn’t understand why. I meowed them asking what’s going on? What happened to me? Are they going to harm me? They laughed and said “No, baby, we will never harm you! We adopted you because we love you so much”.
Then, they went on saying that “this is snip month” and it’s only going to benefit me! Well, as much as their assurance is comforting to some degree …I feel I’m missing some “parts” of me now. Quite perplexing as I still don’t see how all this is going to benefit me?
If March is “the snip month” ....do the human males get snipped as well? Is this snipping
thing going to benefit them too? Uh! George, I’m too young to understand all this!  
Can you explain it to me, please?
Very curious,
Misha

Dear Misha, 
The same thing happened to me. I lead a celibate life of my own choice due to surgical alteration at an early age. It's a calm life without fights (with the risk of catching FIV), without roaming in search of sex (with the risk of a traffic accident) without urine spraying (which keeps my human happy). Even feral cats are healthier after neutering and spaying.
But one thing troubles me. If we are happier after this, why don't humans practice it worldwide on themselves? Surely their own lives would benefit. Human overpopulation would fall, the natural world would flourish better with fewer humans. Men would get into fewer fights and women would not be exhausted or even killed by repeated child bearing. We need a worldwide campaign to neuter and spay humans!
They call us selfish but if you want to find a selfish species you only have to look at Homo so-called sapiens. They blame us for killing wildlife, but who has been slaughtering elephants, big cats, and ruining the habitat for wildlife. Not us.
Yours indignantly
George.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Of cats training their human pets.... "cat paralysis"

-->Dear George,Last week letter and Tommy’s story inspired me to write this one from my own experience. If you remember about a year ago I was rescued from the streets by this couple with their clear intention to take me to a clinic and treat my many wounds (both physically and emotionally) and then to put me up for adoption. I saw them screening very carefully everybody manifesting a wish to take me in.
Of course in the process they fell in love with me and today I’m running their house! Even more, I didn’t need to train them through the “reward & punishment” cycle as they were quite well trained already but I started training them in what I would call “cat paralysis,” meaning I jump on one’s lap and that person can’t move until I get tired of sitting there so I leave….releasing them to freely move around! For whatever reason it didn’t work well with mummy (she can’t stay still – quite unnerving) but worked wonders with daddy (as you can see in the photo attached). What it’s very rewarding in fact is that I can get as many treats as I want and as often as I want. Why? Because they think they outsmart me and when daddy goes really numb from staying still he’s asking mummy to give me some treats hoping I’ll be tempted to jump down from his lap so he can move! The whole scenario makes me laugh my head off as I get everything I want this way…..being loved, cuddled up and eating treats!
Ah! I love my human pets! So, George what do you think? Maybe we should write a book about this special training program so other cats will benefit from it? With cheers & a good laugh  
Chico

Dear Chico, 
I am always keen to learn about tricks that can be taught to humans and about new techniques for doing this. "Cat paralysis" is a really good idea, not unlike the way humans teach dogs (poor idiots) to "stay." You seem to have cured that particularly irritating human behaviour of shifting around when we are sleeping on them.  Well, at least you have your male pet trained. Now start working on the female.
I wonder if you could transfer this technique to the bed. I suffer from the way my human, whom I generously allow to share the double bed with me, will thrash about in her sleep. I have to keep waking up and moving to get out of her way. If you find you can stop your male human moving around in the bed, please let me know urgently.
Yours
George. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Reward and punishment (occasionally) are the key to a good relationship.

Dear George,
I have adopted a new human family - male, female, and two human kittens about half grown and therefore a sensible age. You know my background growing up which turned me into a growling, biting and scratching adolescent.
This is my third home - first the bad one, then with Celia, and now this. Of course, I can adapt. I don't miss Celia at all though I miss the games I had with Toby. Within two days, I was sitting on the male owner's lap and (good news) he was keeping his hands away from interfering with my grooming routine!
So these are sensible humans. I have taught the children that if I sit up and beg or jump over a stick, they must give me food. What else should I do?
Yours
Tommy.

Dear Tommy,
Reward and punishment are the basis of a good cat-human relationship. In the first month of your new home, you should at all costs avoid punishment. This is the time to reward them with cute looks, lots of purring, rubbing and making them feel loved. As Barnum said: "You gotta get the suckers into the tent." These humans need all the reassurance and kindness you can give them so that they form a deep bond with you.
After the first month you can lay down a few boundaries - no interference while I am grooming: no human thrashing about the bed I allow you to share: if you use your hands to play with me you must expect to be nipped; etc. These cat rules will vary from individual to individual and in the second month you should be training them to obey by very small nips. And don't forget to purr when they behave well.
By month three, all four should be trained into proper cat servants. The key is good timing and consistency. Good luck.
Yours
George.
PS. If you need to bite, you haven't made your rules clear to these dumb humans.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Valentine Cat.


Dear George, 
I will never understand why some people celebrate Valentine’s Day and some will not. It’s such a nice, romantic celebration….or am I wrong? Hmm! Guess, it’s more of a personal or cultural choice. Anyway, yesterday as I was waiting for my mommy to come home, I’ve read a little book entitled “The Valentine Cat” – very touchy, very romantic. 
It is the story of a little, black kitten with a white heart on its forehead. The kitty was abandoned in the woods by irresponsible, cruel people but after many “adventures” (some good and some scary) in the end the kitty got to live in the royal palace with the Princess and its rescuer, a young artist. I must admit… I had tears in my eyes reading the story but the happy ending made me feel very good and optimistic. 
I believe I am irremediably romantic. And I was thinking that we, the cats, could (and should) celebrate Valentine’s Day too! I mean probably not in the same way some humans celebrate it as we all are “fixed and snipped” but platonically involved in a nice dinner and meow-conversation. What do you think? George, I’ll be very bold now as I have to ask: would you be my Valentine? I set the table (as you can see in the photo) and we shall have fresh fish for dinner!
Romantically yours,  
Didina

Dear Didina,
Platonically? Yes, if time and space purrmitted, I would have been your Valentine. But they don't, which reminds me of the Andrew Marvell poem, the only mathematical love poem I know:
The Definition of Love.....
      As lines, so loves oblique may well
      Themselves in every angle greet;
      But ours so truly parallel,
     Though infinite, can never meet.
Purrsonally I think there are some humans that would benefit from the snip. It would make bedtime so much calmer for us - none of that irritating thrashing about which interferes with a cat's need for sleep. And no noisy human kittens pulling our tails. Why can't we just neuter them? Make Valentine's Day platonic for them as well as us.
Yours in a grump
George 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cookies for cats?

Dear George, 
You might wonder…..cookies for cats? You bet! Yummy, fresh, homemade as you can see in the photo attached! Made fresh by my Mommy using fresh eggs, sardines and sometimes tuna! Mmmm! Sooo yummy! And the best part? I can eat as many as I want as I don’t have to worry if I’m a size 2 or 4 or 6! I can be size 10 – what the heck! At my age? I’m 18 years young! I grew up with my Mommy, I mean we grew up together.
She is the most beautiful, lovely, fit mother any cat may wish for. But, between you and me, George? I think she sneaks in the kitchen at night and steals some of my cookies. I don’t mind; we share so much love that few cookies here and there it really doesn’t matter. One thing though! She plans to add some catnip to the next batch and I worry …is this going to affect her behaviour (in case she sneaks in the kitchen again)? 
What do you think George? Any suggestions?
Yours… a cookie lover
Angel

Dear Angel,
I am delighted to hear that you have acquired a good cook, devoted to producing fine feline food. I have the misfortune to employ only one household servant, who is incapable of cooking for me. She insisted that I eat take-away food out of envelopes or dried pellets from a large bag. Meanwhile she cooks herself delicious dinners of chicken, fish, and even sometimes beef. 
Theft among household staff is always a worry but there is little that we can do about it. When you adopt a human, you have to put up with their funny ways.  So I think your attitude is sensible.
Catnip in your food? A small amount should do no harm. Unlike humans who use and abuse their drugs of choice, such as alcohol and weed, we are always moderate in our appetites. When I sniff catnip, it is true that for a moment or two I may behave in a relaxed roll-about fashion: but humans become drunk or stoned for hours at a time. Catnip will make no difference to your human: it's not strong enough.
I think you have a real prize. If she steals a little, so what.... just enjoy the cookies that are left.
Yours enviously,
George

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Of humans, cats and hair hygeine


Dear George,
As you can see I'm all packed to go to the groomer. I personally don’t think I need to go anywhere as we, the cats, are the cleanest species on Earth. We groom ourselves daily for hours not like some humans who don’t shower for years (or so I’ve heard). Mommy told me that this is the latest trend for humans to not wash their hair or clean themselves for months. Phew! Stinky!
Anyhow, my mommy goes to the other extreme! She goes both mornings and nights behind a certain curtain and lets “the rain” run all over her. She is extremely clean and she always smells soooo good! Yummy! But, I think she goes a bit too far when come to my grooming. Now she wants to buy me a “grooming machine”! I have no idea what that is but just the name of it makes my hair raise. I can only think of something similar to a “car wash” where you get in dry and you have all these huge brushes spitting all over you water and shampoo making you fluffy but scared. George, is there a grooming machine for Persians? How does it work? Is it scary? Isn’t the classical brushing enough? On daily basis? I love to be brushed! George, help me stop my mommy from buying that machine! Give me some basic hygiene rules so I can convince her.
In you I trust   
Punbukh 

Dear Punbukh,
You need grooming daily - with incredible care, gentle kindness and a lot of food rewards throughout, stopping if you are showing signs of fear. Otherwise your fur will mat up no matter how much you groom yourself. Humans have "designed" Persians like you to have unnaturally long hair which cannot be kept in order by the cats themselves. if your human cannot groom you daily, you need regular appointments with a professional groomer. Make sure your human stays with you while you are groomed so that she can see if the groomer is being rough or painful. (Some are.) There's a useful video here.
Grooming machines? In principal, these are basically like the machines that humans use to groom horses or to cut their own hair. But they vary. Some of the cheapest ones come from China and may not be reliable. ALWAYS get your human to read the reviews before they buy. It probably pays to buy a more expensive one. They should be silent so as not to worry you.
Finally, using a grooming machine also takes patience and skill. It might even be a good idea to get a lesson from your local vet nurse or groomer first. Your human should start by giving you treats when you are on table.  Further treats should be delivered at regular intervals so that the experience is a good one.
Purrsonally I feel sorry for Persians. I have a natural face shape, short fur, and a normal shaped body. It makes me much healthier.
Yours with sympathy
George.
PS. Read about hereditary diseases in Persians and other pedigree cats at www.icatcare.org    
 


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