Friday, March 23, 2018
I have been having troubles with a neighbour, who comes in through my cat flap and eats my food in the utility room at night. Worse still, he left a urine message in the kitchen.
Naturally, I over-marked this, to make it clear that the house is my core territory and I do not appreciate feline intruders. Particularly those who leave mark in my house.
This has happened several times and several times I have felt the need to remark my territory. Not just at the original site but also under the window where I can see him lurking on the wall.
My humans have started shouting at me, when they see me doing this!
Help. It's not my fault but they are blaming me.
Your behaviour is right and natural. It is your humans who are in error. Their behaviour is grossly unfair. They simply do not understand the level of social insecurity which is making you mark. Indeed, they are so hopelessly scent blind they cannot even smell that there are two messages - one is the intruder's and one is yours.
What to do?
Somehow you have to purrsuade them to buy a microchip cat flap - as a start. So you will feel safe indoors. It will also help if they clean up properly - no disinfectant, just enzymatic washing liquid on every single site. Then a squirt of Feliway Classic daily for at least a month. There are more instructions here
It may be necessary for them to get help from a cat behaviour counsellor if they can't understand. This is a huge dilemma for you. I do hope they get help.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
I’m Captain Von Trapp and, yes, I can meow but I can’t sing. And thanks God….I don’t have 7 or 10 children but, I was blessed with a housekeeper, an assistant and two human pets. Of course, we are rescues! As soon as we got to our new headquarters I took over the command of the household. Thanks God my human pets are easily trainable and willing to please (as you can see in the picture). They are of good nature but I don’t think they know Von Trapp family’s story. They named “my Maria” (the housekeeper) “Queen Abby” or something like that (I’m too upset to even remember) and now she really thinks she’s the Alpha cat. Instead of taking care of my needs she runs up and down the stairs like a tornado and she won’t listen to my meows. Another problem is my assistant! They named him “Storm” – is this a proper name for an assistant? I don’t think so. And, to make things worse…Storm has no skills. I think he is a gypsy at heart! He wonders far from home and gets everybody worried. I don’t know what to do!
George, I need your advice! Do you think “yodeling” will be more appropriate to make my needs known?
One of the mysteries of feline life is that it is so easy to train human females and so difficult to train feline females! Many of the techniques we use on humans - loud purring as a reward, scratching as a punishment - are not so effective on other cats. Other cats are likely just to scratch back. I have my doubts about yodelling as a technique..... It works well for humans: less well for feisty female cats!
Within our own feline community, the best way to cope with others is to use spacing and time sharing of resources. Work out your own space in the household - where you like to sleep, when you use the litter tray, what time you sleep on that patch of sunlight in the windowsill and where you have your space on the human bed. And stick to this.
Train your humans to put down enough litter trays and at least two different locations for food and for water (not too close to each other), and avoid Queen Abby and Storm as much as possible. If you refuse to play the game of who-is-top-cat, she can't play it without your
participation.Their idiotic activities are not your concern. Ignore them both.
Live your own life within the household. Keep the humans focussed on your needs. And leave Abby and Storm to get on with it. Detachment is the key to feline serenity.
Purrs and rubs
PS. Apologies to my fans. I missed last week's deadline due to my secretary being ill. I thought about firing her and rehoming myself then decided to be more patient with the poor thing.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
My brother Marti is a bully and it seems that my human either doesn’t realize it or doesn’t know how to deal with it. If you remember we are the three cats (Marti, Bentley and Princess Penelope) rescued from the same shelter. Marti has this crazy idea that he is somehow special and can bully the rest of us. I personally think he’s having an identity crisis. I think he’s having some self-confidence issues and that’s why he behaves like some “diva”. But, he can get away with pretty much everything!
He managed to stress Penelope to the extend that she won’t use the litter box properly.
He’s constantly stressing me by “pushing” me off the sofa or eating my food.
I’m very calm by nature and don’t like to put up a fight unless absolutely necessary.
I don’t like the idea that Princess P or myself will be taken back to the shelter because “we don’t behave”! I’d like to learn some ways to put Marti in his place. I’d like to be able to communicate to my human my concerns. And, George, between you and me, if it’s someone special in this house….then, it is me (as you can see in the photo) So George, I really hope that you and other cats on this blog can share some wisdom.
Being bullied is really awful. We cats deal with it by careful avoidance. Can you find yourself a place where you can retreat from him? Something like a sitting place high up? Or hidey hole where you can sit and guard the entrance - so that he can't get in. A covered cardboard box with an entrance hole cut into it makes a good retreat. You can sit inside with your head inside but looking out and he can't get at you.
Humans are dumb about cats because they are a promiscuously social species - they think we make friends and like company. They can't see that living with a bully is extremely stressful. Usually they only discover this when we get stress-induced cystitis, spray in the house, or have fights. They don't notice our unhappiness.
When we don't get on, we cannot share resources. So there has to be at least one litter tray for each cat and the trays should be in different locations. Poor Penelope must be able to get to the litter tray safely when she wants to. Sometimes bully cats sit outside litter trays and ambush us when we have to go in.
There should also be more than one food location - at least two in a three-cat house, preferably three. We cats hate having to eat close to each other. It's just not natural for us yet humans make us do it. Water bowls should be in several locations too. And there should be lots of cat beds and hidey holes.
Some people just separate the cats - with one cat living upstairs, one living downstairs. Installing a Petporte or Sureflap microchip operated cat flaps within the house can allow each individual cat to retreat to a room on its own. Or humans can operate a time share wherebye one cat spends 6-8pm in the living room, while the other spents 8-10pm.
Frankly, Bentley, if Marti continues to bully, your humans should think about rehoming him. Some cats cannot live in groups and it is best to find them homes where they can be on their own. If something isn't done, your health will suffer.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I’m writing on behalf of my friend Miss Penelope. She is too shy and embarrassed to post her picture or write herself but, I think she has a problem and I need your advice.
Miss Penelope is a rescue from a local shelter and she was adopted with two other cats. She was ok until one of the cats started “bullying” her. I don’t know if she is scared or has a health problem but lately she stop using the litter box. She “goes” in most unusual places through the house.
What it is very unusual ….she kind of peeing standing! Her human is worried that she might have some health problem even if all tests came back normal. Did you ever hear of a cat peeing standing? Can this be a health issue? May be some lower back problems? Hips? What do you think?
Many thanks & love Cat Victoria
I think Miss Penelope is trying to tell her human that she is very very anxious. Standing up to pee is the way we cats mark our territory rather than just relieving ourselves. This is scentmarking and it's rather like a post-it note to ourselves to tell us that something worrying is round this particular corner. My friend William used to do it against a box tree (they smell like cat pee to a cat) and also at the corner of the field where the foxes would come past on their way to hunt rabbits. It reminded him to take care.
We mark our territory when we think it is under attack or when we are feeling anxious about it. So if our stupid humans punish us, we get even more anxious and mark even more. Also once we have marked, we top up the place to keep our scent there up to date. The smell reminds us. So does the smell of disinfectant put down by humans. Disinfectant smells just like cat pee to us. My secretary Celia tells me that instruction on how to clean up cat pee, and a list of reasons why cats get stressed is on her website at www.celiahaddon.com
If Miss Penelope is not getting on with the other cats, she needs help. We are not human. Humans are absurdly social - they eat together and spend time together. Most of them like being near other humans - pubs, parties, holidays, hobbies etc. But it takes between 3- 6 months for most cats to settle into a group. We cats deal with social problems by spacing, keeping a decent distance between each other.
So her human can help her by making sure there are plenty of cat beds, that food is put down at at least two locations (a tea-tray with food can be put in the bedroom), that there is at least one litter tray per cat. Don't just put the litter trays in one location - there should be at least two locations. The idea is that cats can do all the things they need to do - eat, sleep and eliminate - without having to come close to each other. Miss Penelope needs to feel safe from the bully.
If she is being severely bullied - wounds, fur everywhere etc - she may just need to live in a separate part of the house. A Petporte cat flap into a room of her own might help. Some of us are really anti-social and just are natural loners. There's more on Celia's website about that too. Or in that ridiculous book of hers.
If only we could purrsuade humans to think cat, rather than to assume that we will like the same things as us.
PS. My secretary is trying to make a Facebook group titled Cats behaving badly but so far she has made a group but nobody seems able to join it. What is she doing wrong? Answers to her on Facebook please or via the website www.celiahaddon.com
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Help. This is me, William the Tabby and White, George's house mate (not friend). This is a strong protest and a cry for help. George is bullying me. He waits around until I start moving and then pounces on me. He shoots across the garden at high speed knocking me over when I am having a quiet dig. Normally I lie down quickly with all four paws and claws at the ready to stop him, but lately I have been losing my nerve. I just can't bear it. I run. This is making him worse. And I have developed a worrying problem with my waterworks. I need to go more often and it hurts when I do so.
Celia, after years of study of cat behaviour, hasn't done too well at solving this problem. She has tried yelling at George which has no effect at all though it does warn me that he is coming. She has tried diverting him in full pounce but she's too slow. She did wonder if giving him attention was making him worse but she has heard my protests when she is not in sight and has decided this is George the bully, not George the attention seeker.
I could have told her that of course.
She took both of us to the vet, because at first she wasn't sure which of us was doing the little bits of urine in the litter tray. Both of us got a clean bill of health. Then she locked up George all night and as the little bits of pee were deposited, she concluded (rightly) that I was the sufferer. She gave me wetter food which made me a little better, but then it started again. So off to the vet again. I was so upset I started purring loudly in the waiting room - a cry for help or (as the behaviour people put it) a "care eliciting call." Of course I was known as Mr Purr to Tina who worked at the Elizabeth St Veterinary Hospital. This is the first time I have purred at Cogges Veterinary practice. (Normally I bite, particularly if anybody puts a thermometer near me. Last time the vet nurse had to do pin-down on me when they wanted to do the unspeakable and stick it up my bottom.)
This time the purr led to better treatment. No visible problems, said the vet. But he sent Celia home with some granules, and a pipette. She left me in the main room with the litter tray with the granules, came back last night, used the pipette to get the urine, and this morning took it in its bottle to the vet. Am I suffering from stones? Or is it the unbearable stress of living with George, who ought to have an ASBO.... watch this space.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Another Sunday. Celia has come back from a Feline Advisory Conference and has decided William is under stress -- from me. To reduce competition around the kitche feeding station (I need more than he does because I am still growing and I am also greedier) she installed two extra feeding stations yesterday evening, one on the landing and one in our bedroom. That is the bedroom that I share (cats don't really share but we both use it) with William, one on each spare bed. This is a good idea. More food, as much as I like when I like, must be better. It gives me freedom to eat and how much (a lot) to eat. I feel no longer dependant on her putting down food for me. We cats like choices. So just to make the point, both William and I spurned the soft food she put down in the morning. We told her we had already had our breakfasts at the much more convenient hours of 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am and 7am. We don't need her. As a kitchen maid she is now irrelevant to our lives. Her job is now elevated to that of parlour maid, ie of serving food in the three separate areas. Or should that be a housemaid, as two of the food bowls are now upstairs? I need a stately home cat to fill me in on the proper hierarchy of human servants. As for William, I can of course still elbow him out of the food bowls, only I shall have to try to keep an eye on all three. It is going to mean some strenuous running up and down stairs to do so.
Maybe hunting is more fun than bullying him. I hoped to bag another partridge yesterday but had no luck. I shall keep trying.