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Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My new toy.... the TV zapper.

Dear George.
I have discovered a new toy, the TV zapper. There are two games I play with it. The first, and easiest one, is just to push it off whatever surface it lies on. Here on the sofa, I give it a good shove on to the carpet, then push it under the sofa.
The fun is seeing my human on her hands and knees trying to poke it out from underneath.
The second game needs all my Maine coon strength. I press it with my front paw. It has to be a firm press so usually I stand on it, rather than just poke. 
The result is very satisfactory. The moving picture on the TV changes. The humans get very aroused and angry about this. It's amazing how that square TV can wind them up.....
I recommend these two games to all cats, though small ones will only be able to do the shove-push-and-hide game.
Yours intelligently
Bob.

Dear Bob,
It is always good to hear of a new game, especially one that arouses humans from their lethargic gaze at the TV. Their visual addiction is one of the most irritating habits, though it may allow a quick whisk round the kitchen and a quiet crunch of anything edible on the high surfaces there.
My own way of interrupting TV addiction is to leap onto the top of the TV (if it is an old fashioned one) and drape my tail over the picture. If that is not possible, and nowadays modern TVs are designed to stop this, I go as near as I can to it, sit below and make meow noises at the screen.
That usually gets their attention.
Yours
George.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I want to have a career in Feline TV


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Dear George
Have you noticed how many cats there are on television these days? From motivational speakers to singing cats, every ad seems to feature a furry feline. It’s got me thinking – how could I get in on this action and start my career on the screen?
I’m a pretty handsome, lively young boy – if I do say so myself – so I think I’ve got what it takes to be a TV star, but how do I convince my human? While I await your reply, I will practice strutting my stuff!
Yours,
Joe x

Dear Joe, 
It is your lucky day. I happen to know of a TV company looking for feline stars in the UK. Chalkboard TV say they are looking for Britain's "quirkiest cat owners."  
Decode that and it means cats with the best trained owners - the sort of owners that give you the biggest side of the bed, that don't mind you sitting on their heads, that let you share the shower, are grateful to be woken up by their toes being bitten under the duvet, and/or generally run the household. If your owner is like that contact lorna@chalkboardtv.com  with a photo of yourself.
Send that email now!!
George 
PS. Let's hope they don't put cat addicts on the show, the sort of people who are cat hoarders.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The perils of feline publicity... can I cope with stardom?

Dear George,
I am about to become a celebrity and I am very worried about my public image.  As the hero of Toby the Cross Eyed Stray, a biography of my adventures so far, I am not happy about some of the revelations in the book. At the time it was being written I trusted the writer; now I am feeling very let down, very disappointed, and very betrayed.
She says I am like Bradley Wiggins, the sports star. Fair enough. He's an attractive famous human and a ginger. Then she adds I am more "like a spotty teenager imitating Bradley Wiggins?" Is this fair? No. Can I help having acne under my chin? No.
There are other wounding comments about my liking for kitchen scraps and my ability to seek out food in unlikely places. She calls it cat burglar. I call it foraging.
Can I sue for libel? How can I cope with this unpleasant publicity.  I was thinking of lending my image to cat food companies - now I think this is out of the question. Who wants a cat with acne on their food label? She has contaminated my publicity.
Yours anxiously,
Toby.
PS. I am possibly going to be in the tabloid press too - Daily Mail. Oh the angst of it all.....

Dear Toby,
Celebrity status, of whatever kind, should be embraced and enjoyed. So called "reality" TV shows with humans have made it clear that imperfections, flaws, even downright wickedness is no bar to making a living out of being famous. All publicity is good publicity.
You don't have to do anything. Just smirk if your photo is being taken. Glory in your "foraging" abilities. This is cat misery memoir.... make it work for you. I have coped with my feline agony aunt publicity by enjoying it.
I will volunteer to be your agent (10% of everything), if the offers come rolling in.
Yours hopefully,
George.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

George's obituary of Harvey the Inspirational House Rabbit

 Harvey the Inspirational House Rabbit was a shining beacon for rabbits everywhere. "He took over our lives as soon as he arrived," says Janet, his pet and primary care giver. "From the start he decided firmly what would be his own lifestyle, limitations and place in the family set up."
Luckily for other rabbits who are thinking of moving into a human house, Harvey left a record of his training methods. "It's not all cabbage and carrots being in charge of two humans and a house," he admitted. He monitored all visitors,  and enjoyed watching TV.
His diary of daily life can be purchased here
Harvey also busied himself with a little redecorating - putting frills on the sofa arm, and adjusting the carpet fringe a little. "It was all done very tastefully," he remarked, "They could have shown a bit more appreciation in my opinion."
Like all good trainers, Harvey recognised the importance of showing displeasure when training a human. "If they try to blame you for something, turn your back. If you want to object to anything at all, turn your back and sit tight."
His chapter on the importance of watching feet should be read by all house animals. It is an important insight into the world of humans. He realised that feet were the key to predicting human activity within the house.
He will be much missed. His legacy is his blog and the written version of it in a book. He also contributed photos to Celia's website.




Thursday, March 20, 2014

It takes two to tango - a cat and a human!

Dear George, 
I got so encouraged and inspired by your answer and, of course by the comments made by other feline friends in reference to my last letter that I felt it was my duty to up-date you on the latest development of training my humans.
Between your advice to train them without them “knowing” and CAT Victoria’s mentioning of “Dance me to the end of love” (which, by the way…it is a Leonard Cohen’s song) I came up with this brilliant idea…I’ll teach them “tango”!
Why tango? Because it’s passionate! It’s dramatic! It has the “wow”…the “joie de vivre”! I’ll teach my female human how to tango! She’ll love the passion. She’ll love the rose between my teeth (as you can see in the picture). I’ll make my male human jealous! I’ll make him forget about Bach! I’ll make him change the “tune”. I’ll make him love tango! Good plan? What do you think George?
Tango…..anyone?
Lenny

Dear Lenny,
 After a bad week, having lost my cool with Toby's boast about his whiskers, your letter came like an inspiration. What a caring cat you are. And what a truly wild idea - teaching your human to tango. And that photo! So romantic!
Do you in Canada by any chance have a TV programme called Strictly Dancing? We do and it shows human celebrities competing for a dancing trophy. If your idea catches on we could have cat celebrities teaching humans to dance? Here in the UK we could start with Larry the Downing St cat teaching David Cameron to dance human cheek to feline cheek. 
Over the pond it's probably too late to get Socks, the former White House cat, involved. He retired from politics altogether, though I always thought that President Clinton would have avoided a lot of trouble if he had spent more time with Socks and less with interns.
But there is one problem. Are humans capable of learning a pas de deux with cats? I have my gravest doubts about President Clinton or David Cameron. Nor do I think your Canadian mayor Rob Ford would manage too well: he'd probably fall over.
Keep us informed on our progress, Lenny. This could be the beginning of something big.
Yours
George



Saturday, September 28, 2013

My snooper human is invading my privacy and exploiting me

Dear George,
It’s me CAT Victoria! What am I doing under a garden table?
Well, I’m “watching” my human mom! As she behaved really strange lately I knew she was up to something.  I found out what she was up to and now I’m really upset!
I’m seeking legal counsel as I think my privacy was broken by her.
I caught her snooping around when I was sleeping and taking photos with me sleeping in different positions (some quite innocent others less – you know what I mean).
I caught her stalking me in the garden on many occasions spoiling my hunting or bird gazing! I was wondering what was wrong with her – was she losing it and becoming a nut case? Well, not at all!
My dear mommy was “using” me (without my consent) as her “muse” for her latest art show! Even worse…..she’ll have her “grand opening” this weekend quite far from home so I won’t be able to attend and see her paintings!
George, is this fair? Is this legal? How can I protect my privacy in a media invaded world? Knowing her…..I’ll soon be on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Horror!
Should I sue her since I won’t benefit from her art show profits?
And above all…..should I crash her grand opening? What do you think?
Yours, but very frustrated
CAT Victoria


Dear CAT Victoria,
Humans never seem to respect our privacy. They take photos all the time. Mine even does photos of me when toileting under the pretence that she needs it for her website or lectures. And they interfere when we hunt. They insist on stroking us when we just want to nap. Some even interrupt with strokes while we are eating.
As for Facebook and Twitter they are now crawling with cats and my human is one of the worst for putting on photos. Never asks my permission. Never gets me to sign a paw on a copyright or release document. Just puts them on. The only cheerful though for me (and perhaps you) is that they haven't yet started posting videos on YouTube. But it can only be a matter of time, I fear.
One of the more subtle ways of interrupting photography is to walk straight towards the camera and rub on it. Unless your human is a professional, they will find this makes it difficult to get the shot. Or, if the human is crouching or lying down to take the shot, jump on them. And jump hard.
Legal redress? Well we haven't got the chance to do this yet - though there is a movement towards this. If all else fails remember claw and order tactics - walk towards and instead of rubbing, just bite or claw the human. And after the photo session is over knock the camera off the table. I have killed two cameras that way - smashing a lens once and once just making the whole device stick fast. 
Best of luck
George.
PS. Don't crash the opening. You won't like it. It is full of humans getting high on their version of catnip. They are shudderingly boring when high.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What's the big square noisy thing in the living room?

Dear George,
I have currently moved into a human home, having spent the last 10 months living rough on a housing estate. It beats living under cars, scrounging dustbins, and trying to break into houses to eat other cats' food. 
But I am very worried by a curious flat upright rectangular device in the living room. It sometimes stays silent but in the evening it breaks into human vocalizations and some odd wailing music. The rectangle also has coloured moving shapes on it. Sometimes I see the outlines of humans or even animals.
What is it? Why does it make this noise only in the evenings? It is safe to be around? Why do the two humans in the house sit looking at it all evening? It's not nearly as interesting as the possible mouse living underneath the cooker. So why are they so entranced by it?
Yours anxiously
Toby.


Dear Toby,
Some cats, and even some house rabbits, get interested in this rectangle, mostly if there are wildlife noises or animal shapes on it. I have added a couple of photos including me as a kitten. I used to be mildly interested then.  But like most of us, when I grew up, I learned to ignore it. It is just so boring. Lots of meaningless humans vocalising.There are no enticing smells coming out of it.   If you look behind the rectangle, as I have a couple of times, there is nothing there.
Humans call it a "TeeVee". As they have practically no sense of smell but overdeveloped vision, the shapes are exceptionally interesting for them. You can sit them in front of it and know that they will not get up to mischief. Harvey the house rabbit watches TV, purely to show his solidarity with his humans.
While humans are watching TeeVee it is a good time to investigate the kitchen, check up on any food on the floor, see if the butter dish is covered or open. You might find things to eat on the kitchen surfaces or the kitchen table. Always worth a little of your time.
Or you can take the chance for an uninterrupted zzzz on their laps or next to the fire. If I was you I would check up on that mouse beneath the cooker. This might be a good time to catch it.
Yours
George.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Hsss..... growl.....that's what I think of celebrity cats....

Dear George,
Celebrity culture really annoys me. It's bad enough when humans do it. I'm a Celebrity Get me out of Here, for instance, shows the innate trashiness and lack of intelligence of the human species.
But now cats are muscling in - Doing the Rounds with Oscar. What's so special about Oscar? Just a cat that lives in a nursing home.  A street cat named Bob. There are thousands of cats on the street so why highlight just one of them?
The latest celebrity memoir is Tilly the Ugliest Cat in the Shelter. This really infuriates me as it seems she is proud of being ugly. We cats are graceful and beautiful. Why sink so low as to be proud of being bad looking?
Yesterday, I felt I simply had to express my feelings about this ridiculous trend in celebritising cats. I sank my teeth into the offending book!
Tore it to pieces. I felt better after that. Sort of purged.
Yours
Disgusted of Brixton

Dear Disgusted of Brixton,
I share your loathing of celebrity culture. Its meaningless and the pathetic humans that take part in it. I don't know even who they are most of the time. My interest in TV is focussed solely on wildlife programmes and I usually just sleep through the rest of it. MIndlessness may appeal to humans: but not to me.
I am less sure about this trend for feline memoirs. Is it a step forward that, for the first time in years, cats are becoming celebrities? In one sense I think it is. Putting felines in the forefront of literature must be a good idea. True, we have had Saki's short story about Tobermory, and several Thomas Hardy poems about cats, but the idea of cat personalities has never really made it into the lower forms of popular literature. Till now.
Like you, I feel some of these books are frankly undignified in their appeal to those dumb creatures who are our pets. Yet humans, intellectually limited as they are, really seem to like these stories. I am not sure why but I feel we should encourage our inferior species to study us. And these books usually contain one or two necessary bits of information, the pill below the sugared surface so to speak.
Yours still pondering,
George.





















Sunday, February 22, 2009

Favourite TV programmes for cats.


Dear George,
My humans purrsuaded me to watch a Garfield movie the other day. I didn't think much of it. They seem to think I should enjoy watching another cat. I don't. What I enjoy is wildlife - preferably small and squeaking but flappy and twittering will do. I was inspired by the picture of Cayenne on the TV to send you this photo. You can see that I am interested but only mildly.
William


Dear William.,
I share your TV tastes. My favourite TV programme used to be Wildlife on One. Now that the winter is gone, or nearly gone, my interest in TV is very limited. Small and squeaking is far better in reality than on a screen and the same goes for flappy and twittering.
My predecessor Fat Ada, a large black and white that had livedon the streets of London where wildlife was limited to pigeons, was once given a video called Cool for Cats, invented by Peter Neville of cat fame (see www.coape.co.uk).She was not much taken with the goldfish scenes (though cats with aquariums tell me the goldfish are as fascinating as interactive TV), though she occasionally enjoyed snooker - balls going into mouseholes rather like mice disappearing.
Mac, as beautiful and black as I am, used to adore Big Cat programmes. He was entranced by lions chasing zebras or leopards pulling carcases up trees. He would sit growling at the Big Cats, as if to warn them not to come out of the TV and into his living room. Then when the programme stopped, he would look satisfied. He had growled and they had - eventually - gone away. He was Some Bad Cat to have seen off lions.
Personally Gafield leaves me cold and I have never enjoyed Tom and Jerry cartoons. They are a slur on the feline species. Mice don't win. They may escape but they don't win. I think the man who invented Tom and Jerry was a rodent.
Yours
George, mouse exterminator.

PS. What do other cats watch?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Interrupting human computer behaviour


Dear George,

My human housekeeper, Jilly, is failing in her duties. Her time should be spent caring for the four of us, keeping the wa
ter bowl clean and filled up, renewing the dry food in the kitchen feeding bowl, heating the house to a tolerable level for cats, turning down the beds for us, providing a warm lap at all times and providing emotional support at all times. It's not much to ask. She doesn't have specifically to cook for us. Although we appreciate it when she shares her meals, we don't demand cooked food for every one of the 12 or so meals we like to take through the day and night. However, her care is substandard. She is spending a lot of time staring into a square lighted box, where a series of mouse tracks appear. I think it may be obsessive compulsive disorder or a kind of stereotypy. Any ideas of how to prevent this stereotypic behaviour in humans?
Blaireau.
Dear Blaireau,
There are several stereotypies or obsessive disorders in humans. As you say, one of them is the compulsive vigilance associated with the square screen of a computer, across which mouse tracks are seen. I am told that 30 years ago, this kind of behaviour was almost unknown, as computers were not found in the territory that humans share with cats, ie the household home. Such installations, with their ability to turn humans into computer addicts, were only found in the human hunting territory, ie the so called office, and then rarely.
However, for many years, there has been another square screen. This can be black and white or nowadays in a black and white version with some semi-coloured green and red version. (Humans appear to see a wider range of colour than us as they describe this as "coloured" TV.) The screen has a series of very small flickering dots through which we can see vague shapes and the humans appear to see as definite shapes. Humans also watch this obsessively.
The human obsession with TV is relatively easy to live with. First, the screen emits interesting noises such as mouse squeaks, bird song and occasionally (on Animal Cops Houston, my favourite programme where very large women rescue very small kittens and cops turn up armed to the teeth to help subdue animal hoarders) cat noises. There are also snoo
ker games with moving coloured balls, just about clear enough for us cats to follow. I take an intermittent interest in TV programmes, myself, though obviously I am not an obsessive watcher like my human.
However, we can also use TV-watching time for my own interests. Humans have an unfortunate habit of being busy around the house doing displacement activities when they should be cat caring. A human watching TV offers an inviting lap and, even though humans are not as intelligent as cats, they are capable of doing two things at once - stroking us at the same time as watching.
TV watching can be interrupted by jumping on top of the set and looking cute. Angling a tail across the screen, attacking the screen, sitting in front of the screen and mimicking the human compulsive viewing. This activities will often distract the human and make them attentive to us again. I have added a photo of myself on top of the TV to show the sort of thing.
These can also be used to interrupt a human at its computer. Other possibilities involved the keyboard, a device which seems to influence the mouse tracks on the screen. Press this with your paws. Anywhere will do.There will be a satisfying change on the screen. If you simply stand immobile on the keyboard, a series of identical tracks will appear from left to right continuing downwards in ever increasing lines.
Then there is the "mouse". I have not mastered feline use of the computer mouse. Any suggestions for this or other TV games?
George.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Major TV network reads this blog.


I blogged the floods with a picture (blog below this one) and gave my survival tips. NBC, the major (and best) American TV network, read it and sent a camera crew to do those ridiculous labradors.....
I've been on the TV, of course, before this. But not on camera.
Maybe a presenter's job beckons...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

TV - the case for smelly television


I used to watch quite a lot of TV when I was a kitten. The flickering screen sort of interested me and I quite liked moments when a shape seemed to pass from one side to another. Of course, the picture wasn't sharp -- too far away for my eyes to focus most of the time, except when I got on top and looked down at it. Colours - well we cats see some colours but colour is not our thing. What interested me on TV was the movement. We cats are very focussed on tiny movements - for obvious reasons.
Some cats take to TV. Naturally they prefer programmes about mice and birds but those that do go in for TV viewing are often interested by wildlife in general. Mac, a black cat like me only less handsome, took up TV late in life when he retired from a life of crime and passion on the streets. He got fixated by big cat programmes. When a lion or tiger growled, Mac would chatter his teeth with excitement. I think it may have reminded him of when he, himself, was a big beast on the block. He felt akin to these big cats. He had a lofty indifference to any pet cats on the screen. It was only the big wild ones that he identified with.
As for me, now I am older, I have given up watching TV. I see what a waste of time it is. Very little to see - a lot of faces of homo sapiens (boring, very boring), lot of human vocalisations (even more boring), a poor imitation of caterwauling at times, and only very occasionally, during the nature programmes, a mouse or a bird. Nothing to pounce on at all. I investigated the box, itself, when I was a kitten just in case there was a bird inside it. But there wasn't.
Worse still, there's no smell. Nothing at all, except an odour of plastic slightly heating up. Now if there was a smell to the bird picture, I think I would be entranced. Smelly TV would really turn me and other cats on. But as it is there's no real life at all in a TV.
However, there is something useful about television. If you want to get your human's attention start pawing at it, sitting on the top and looking down, or just tastefully drape your tail over the screen. It never fails. Even the most stupid human reacts mostly with laughter and very occasionally irritated comments. It proves something. Real life (if it's black and beautiful like me) scores over TV every time.

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