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Showing posts with label cat diary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cat diary. Show all posts

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...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

How to survive flooding - take to the beds



Rain, thunder, stormy winds and floods hit Oxfordshire. I did the only thing a cat can do. I found a nice dry place and settled down to sleep through the crisis. William and I took to the beds, not the boats, as sensible cats do in these circumstances. I bet that the two cats in Noah's Ark were tucked away somewhere warm sleeping out the journey - perhaps behind the Aga in the Ark kitchen.
I expect Noah had trouble with the dogs, specially if they were labradors. What ridiculous creatures they are. During the flood they were jumping in and out of the water, getting in the way, and generally enjoying the crisis. (You can just see them in the picture). They could have got on with rescuing cats from drowning but instead they went chasing after balls and making fools of themselves. But when they left the water and shook themselves all over their humans, they gave me an idea I hadn't thought of before.
We napped and the rain pounded down for hours. We gave up going outside and started using the litter trays. After all, that's why they are there. Who wants to venture out in driving rain or sink paws into the wet earth in the soaked kitchen garden? There were small floods on the paving just outside the cat flap, larger pools near the garage and a lake near the garden shed. The pond overflowed, as usual, and the garden was boggy throughout.
Later, when the storm became a little less fierce, I ventured out, got very wet and rushed back inside. This was the only fun moment in the day. I leapt on to Ronnie's lap and shook myself. His reaction was gratifyingly extreme - loud shouts of "Get that bloody cat off me."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rumours of an oriental asylum seeker next door


There are some ugly rumours around of a new cat coming to live next door. Up till now Steffi and Paul Next Door have been ideal neighbours. Both William and I have been welcomed at any time and given rather nicer cat food than we get with Celia. Beds have been provided for me, George, when I felt like a sleep over in the afternoon. When builders and other human intruders were in the house, Steffi's bed was a very nice alternative.
Moreover they seemd to have a proper attitude towards me. Steffi valued my mousing prowess and at one time wanted to borrow me to get rid of the mice in her London flat. They also had a suitably humble attitude. All this now seems to be at risk.
The first sign of a possible intruder came when I rubbed against Steffi's ankles. There was a distinct smell of cat. Worse still, the smell of an oriental. The only interesting, and possibly less unpleasant aspect to the smell, was that it was female. Do we want a female oriental immigrant next door? No, we don't. She has been living on the street and indeed gave birth there when she was rescued by West Oxon Cats Protection. We feel sorry for her but we don't want asylum seekers like her in our backyards. William and I agree, for once, that while we have fellow feelings (after all we were both Cats Protection kittens) we think she would be happier somewhere else. Perhaps in the village across the fields. Or, since she has been on the street, in the nearby market town. She will find overflowing dustbins from Thai restaurants are available there - the sort of food she has been used to no doubt. More suitable for her than the huntin' rattin' and sportin' countryside, we feel.
Not In My Back Yard. Purrlease.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

William's nose was put right out of joint


William is not a cool cat. Couldn't be. Not at his age, which is practically an OAP age for cats. (OAP stands for old age pensioner - for cats like Oscar Snuggles across the pond). Only young lean mean hunting machines, preferably black, can be really cool in catdom. Street cred for tabby and white is low, fellow cats. That white and black female next door knew that when she flashed her tummy at me.
William has not been honest about our stay in the cattery. He was frightfully upset by the cat the other side of our chalet, the one in the picture here. He was a look alike - semi long haired tabby and white with markings like W's. Only bigger. Much bigger. Don't let anybody tell you that size doesn't matter. You can't be a cool cat if you are pretty, longhaired and small. Which William is, compared to certain lean black cats. And, worse for him, small compared with the tabby and white next door.
William just tried to ignore him. Then he told me he thought the cat looked like Hitler. Boy, did that show his paranoia. Or it was a pathetic attempt to smear the cat's reputation. Any cat can see for themselves on www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com that Hitler cats have to be black and white. They can't be tabby and white even if they have a small tabby moustache. Tabbies can't do Hitler.
Nor can black rapper street cats. Black is Beautiful. Black Pussycat Power. Slogans for cats... that's another blog entry.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Do robins make cats sick?

Going back to robins. There aren't many left in my garden. I have had three of them. Celia knows about two of them because she found the complete corpses. She was very upset. She doesn't seem to mind about hedge sparrows but dead robins really distress her. She was even more upset when she found some feathers and a long thin leg which looked like a robin's leg. She assumed (correctly) that I had eaten the rest of the bird. Was it a robin? I really can't remember. My interest in birds is a foodie one, not a taxonomic one. Some species taste better than others, of course, but I can't say I take much interest in the differences otherwise. So I eat some and I don't eat others. Depends partly on my mood and what else I have eaten that day.
I do not eat shrews - ever. Foxes and weasels and stoats may eat them and I suppose if I was starving I might manage a nibble. The problem is that they taste awful. There are fatty glands on their flanks which produce a vile secretion. It's stuff to mark their territory as they pass through the grass. Read by another shrew it says "Keep off. This territory already has a shrew in residence." Of course if the shrew is male, and a female is passing by, she might take a sniff and think "Handsome fellow. Might stop for a bit of rumpy pumpy." But to me the smell simply says: "Don't eat me. I taste bad." That's good news for the shrew, of course.
So do robins taste good? I may have eaten one and I have certainly caught two others. Celia says that it might have made me sick even though she can't remember that particular pile of sick (there are quite a few). If any of you cats out there have eaten a robin (the English kind) please add a comment, remembering to say whether you sicked it up or not.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cat flaps - not as simple as you might think


Cat flaps are a boon to the active cat. I can come and go as and when I choose during the day time. Sometimes I pop in and out several times in an hour. Other times when I am on a long range hunting mission I may only use it to go out and come back after three hours for my midday nap on my bed. (With a bit of luck Celia is not on it - she takes up an awful amount of room and seems to think it is her bed.)
Rushing in and out sometimes makes a bit of play time for me. I like the rattle of the flap as I smash through it. Some days I proceed very cautiously first poking a paw to see if it is open, then pushing through with my head. When you think of it, using a cat flap is quite a clever thing to do. Because I have used one since I was a kitten I took to it quick and easily.
William didn't have a cat flap until he was 11 years old. Celia taught him by putting on a wooden clothes peg to hold it open. The nearer the peg to the hinge, the more open the flap. Then when he had gone through, she had to put the peg on the other side. It all meant a lot of human intervention and it took about three months before he really really got it. Even so, he prefers to be let in and out by the door. This is partly because the catflap is quite high off the ground outside. It has to be because the kitchen floor is higher than the outside. Celia tried to help him by putting in a sort of movable step but he hated that and just leaped over it. For an elderly gentleman cat this was rather a strain. Getting a human to open the door on command is an elderly cat thing.
The great thing about a cat flap is the choice it gives me. I can choose when to use it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Intriguing... mmmm.... inside the lavatory


When I first came across the big white water bowl I was a kitten. Naturally I jumped on the edge to investigate, then fell in and had to be pulled out by Celia. After that she kept the lid down. Later, when I was a teenager I jumped in again just to see what happened and jumped out by myself. Something about the big white bowl always intrigues me.
Of course, now I know it is a litter tray rather than a drinking fountain. Humans only put their head in it after a very late night. Most of the time they are well trained to use it for both pee and poo. Strangely, the species uses water instead of sand, though I am told in desert areas they sensibly use sand instead of water. Better for the environment, of course. Humans could, if they chose, turn round, have a good look, sniff and cover it up. In Germany, apparently humans do some of this. They make a deposit on a sort of shelf, turn round, take a good look, and even sniff a bit before pulling the chain. In the UK they tend just to deposit and flush.
It's the flushing bit that intrigues me. You see the deposit disappearing down a hole, propelled by a whoosh of water. Not unlike a mouse disappearing down a hole, only mice don't need water. I can't resist watching it. I'd like to do a bit of research into the earlier part of this procedure but humans get embarassed if you try to see what is going on by putting your head down the loo between their legs. I suppose that's instinct. They choose seclusion (not unlike us) for evacuating their bowels. Probably goes back to the days when they were prey for large felines like lions. I mean when you are defecating you are unable to run away.
I am not a lion or even a black panther. But at heart I am a feline hunter. Maybe Celia and Ronnie have an ancestral fear when I lurk round their litter bowl as they are on it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

William reports: "I am feeling better."

I am feeling a bit better. George is still behaving like an adolescent lout, chasing me at all opportunities, lying in wait for me and trying to ambush me on the litter tray. Celia managed to stop him doing the latter this morning. She caught him in mid leap. She's taking a great interest in my deposits. I turn, look, sniff and cover it. She undoes the top, looks at it, sniffs, sizes it up, and takes it away instead of covering it up, as a good cat would. Then she crumbles the clump to see if there is blood in it. There isn't. She was frightfully pleased because I did just one big pee that night instead of lots of little ones.
I had a peaceful night. George is now locked up with his own litter tray, food and water in the spare bedroom. He seems OK about this but it doesn't stop him wanting to chase me. It just means I have the hours of darkness free from worrying. Mostly I wait till half way through the night and join Celia and Ronnie on the bed. Three in a bed, like three in a marriage, is one too many so sometimes Celia leaves to join George. It's not unlike an Edwardian house party at times in this house. Tobermory would have had some thoughts on this.
The living room smells sort of reassuring. There's a plug in (Feliway since you ask) which is beginning to smell nice. George was awful last night - wouldn't leave me alone. But nonetheless his behaviour is just a tiny bit less worrying for some reason. Oh yes and Celia has put my out door basket, where I used to sit to keep away from fierce elderly Mog (more of that another time) on a little raised dais. The idea is to stop George looming over me while I am in the basket. I have spent a lot of time this morning in the basket, feeling a little safer now it is higher up. I also ate some delicous expensive cat food made into a kind of soup - to increase my water intake, says Celia. She chased away George who wanted some. He doesn't need it, she said, but she let him lick the bowl clean. I am to have this day and night.
Perhaps my interest in my health is getting into a sort of hobby now that I am getting older. If you asked me how I am today, I might tell you in detail. I take a pink pill (to fight off urinary infection) morning and evenings. It doesn't taste too bad. This is medication for my waterworks trouble. The tests showed an infection - though it might have been bacteria from the litter tray rather than a secondary infection from cystitis. She is crumbling it with a Vetsyme tablet and I am eating it without needing it forced down my throat. We senior cats can't be too careful.
I'm still worried in general, but I am less worried. Lets hope it stays that way.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A cry for help from William - George is bullying me


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.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

No sense of proper territory - that's humans

The trouble with humans is that they have no sense of territory. OK so they have what they think of as home, a core territory in which to sleep, scratch and lounge about without tension. But it's not home territory as we cats know it. They invite other humans right into it, to share the space and sometimes to spend the night. They even invite them to share their meals. Share? No sensible cat does that. We don't share hunting so we don't share the prey either - not if we can help it. We don't share territory either except for relatives.
Once again Celia has shown that her territorial feelings, so necessary for a decent cat, are all awray. She is going away. Not just on a one day hunting trip to London (prey being clothes, shopping, books etc) but a three day hunting trip. This time the prey is even more ridiculous - static, non-living standing stones, often in rows. They just stand there. They don't move. They are cold and inedible and what on earth is the point of them, I ask. Something in her head is very disordered indeed.
This will leave me alone with Ronnie, a good man but not a first class cat wrangler. He can't bend down to pick me up. I don't much care for being picked up, what cat does, but I like the attention. Ronnie can't pick me up and he wobbles alarmingly when I wind round his ankles or his walking stick. I am somewhat afraid I may trip him up. I still rub against him however. It's my friendly nature to do so. He will have to look after himself. I am not a dog for the disabled. He is on his own.
He can, however, throw down food. So he can feed me and William, which is his main duty. This doesn't make Celia's conduct excusable or acceptable. Her duty is to serve us cats and this weekend she is failing in it. It's a disgrace.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Late again. She's getting pretty upset.

"You come in late. You just walk in without any explanation in the small hours and think you can crawl into bed with me without so much as an apology." That was the accusation that met me last night when I popped back through the cat flap after a night's hunting. I've noticed her saying much the same to Ronnie too. It's a habit of human females.
OK so it was little late - 3 am. I just hadn't realised the time. I was having such an exciting time hunting rats in the old piggery down the farm track. Time flies when you're having thrills. It's not the caterwauling female cats out there that make me stay up late. Hunting I love but love I laugh to scorn, as the bard said - more or less. Celia thinks, with Dr Johnson, that "it is very strange and very melancholy that the paurciy of pleasure should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them." She's wrong. Badly wrong. She tries to shut the cat flap so I can't get out into that dark world of excitement, cruelty, blood and death.
She whines and complains when I get back late. All she thinks about is how I might get eaten by a fox or run over by a car. She doesn't sympathise with, and doesn't want to hear of, the pleasures of waiting near a rat hole, the mysterious whispering and squeaking that goes on in the night, the dark shadows where you might see a tail slipping by, the cry of the hunting owl, the bark of the hunting fox, the quiverings, the pouncings, the crunch of bone as my teeth sink into a furry neck. The night is alive with hunters of all kinds and full of dark cruel doings. Moonlight and shadows play in a world of predators and prey.
I was late. And I was rather late the night before. And the night before. The delights of the fireside, the bowl of food, and the touch of a human hand, are nothing to the fierce excitements of the night. Just thinking about the world of the dark makes me quiver with anticipation. She just doesn't understand me.

Monday, April 09, 2007

My own conservatory


Celia must be feeling guilty about the imprisonment - see earlier diary. She's made my very own conservatory. Admittedly it is made of plastic not glass but it's nicely placed in the vegetable patch to catch the sun. Underneath the plastic she has carefully dug the earth and made it friable. Just right for rolling in or for digging a hole for you know what. She's really tried hard with this one and I appreciate all her hard work.
That said, it has several uncomfortable features. It's hardly big enough to turn round in. No room to swing a mouse. For some reason she has made it long and narrow, rather than rectangular. I mean I shall enjoy sitting in it in the sun, but the shape is not ideal. Further more she has added doors either end - well, more like barriers. I shall either have to shoulder my way through these or kind of creep below the plastic. It will be quite possible but a little uncomfortable. What was the woman thinking of?
And, the final touch. You can see she was trying to make the conservatory nice by decorating it. She planted two rows of small broad bean plants but she planted them ALL along the conservatory taking up valuable room and getting in the way of my digging. Broad bean plants smell mildly pleasant and very pleasant when in flower. But they have no place in a feline conservatory. I can't tell her that. She would be too upset. She meant well.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Free at last.... just checking territory boundaries

We are free. No more prison. No more horrible strange Persians within a whisker of us, unnaturally close for comfort. No more Gill the Cattery. Regrettably, no more cooked coley at lunchtime. (How can I convey to Celia the idea that she should cook for us, not just open yet another tin.) The relief is enormous.
Getting back home required a lot of energy. I went right round my hunting territory boundaries, past the evergreens near the pond (useful for amphibian prey), up past the unused owl box (unused by owls but now home to some pigeon prey), along the side of the ploughed field past the Dutch barn where the brambles are (good for mousing), down the track towards the old piggery (also good for mousing) then up the other side of the hedge towards the rabbit holes (best of all, a lagomorph killing ground.). All the territorial smells I had left from chinning had gone. I renewed them. I left new scented scratchings on the apple tree and the plum tree and that bit of hedge near the rabbit holes. If you don't make your boundary marks, some other cat may take over your territory. William used to stop and spray at various points but he seems to have neglected to do this lately. So far I have not bothered to spray. Maybe as I get older I will start doing this. Spraying is a useful way of leaving "George was here" marks.
The first night back I slept very close to Celia all though the night, and woke her several times for a bit of cuddling. Not that I needed reassurance, you understand. Nothing of the kind. I am just trying to rebond her so she doesn't do that to me again. If a bit of cuddling up makes her feel guilty so much the better.

Friday, March 30, 2007

More escape plans


Next door is a very posh Persian. The length and glossiness of his fur puts William's to shame. His pedigree is longer than my tail even if he's not very bright up top. William, who I think is jealous, claims he is stupid and that his face wears a perpetual sneer. I had a look at it. I mean it's all snubbed up and it may interfere with his breathing, but actually he looks just a normal sort of feline chap apart from that and the fur. I asked him if he could make a diversion just at the moment that Gill the Cattery opens our cage - give us a chance to slip out. He said he would but he was being collected within the hour. And so it turned out. It made me feel almost ill with misery to see him in his human's arms.
Still, nil deperandum. Plan C (or is it D? or even E?) is to gnaw through the wire. I have paced right round to see if I could see a weak spot. No such luck. Did about ten minutes gnawing and my teeth hurt so much that I decided to move to Plan D ( or E or even F). An escape tunnel. Mice use them all the time. The best tunnel would be sized-up rodent tunnel but there are no mice at all here. Not a whisker of one or the tiniest flick of a mouse tail. No rats either. So I tried scratching, like one does in the litter tray, but the concrete just hurt my paws and wore my nails down to the quick. Tunnelling is for rodents only.
Plan F ( or G or H). Make a pair of wings and fly out. Birds do it all the time and we can actually see them from here. They fly in and out of the courtyard where there is a bird table. If I could get to them, I could tear off their feathers and stick them on my shoulders. But could I fly out? I lay on my back to see if I could see any weakness in the roof and wire. Nothing at all visible. And no feathers, either. So I turned to Plan G (or H or I) - feigning illness. William suggested I simply stop eating. Of course I would do so like a shot, only I think he will just eat my share and that won't help at all. I suggested he stop eating but he wasn't keen on it. He said, and it was rather hurtful, that he thought I would just eat his share. In the end I persuaded him to lie on his back and breathe heavily as if he was poorly, when Gill the Cattery came in, while I tried to sneak out.
He did but she tickled his tummy and he bit her. Again. End of Plan G (or H or I).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Documents - for sitting on


Documents spew out of Celia's printer all the time - white paper with little tracks on them rather like the markings left by very very small birds only far less interesting. Their use to a cat is to sit on. I learned this pretty quickly as a kitten and I might add that I have left my muddy paw mark on many of Celia's documents.
Why are they useful for sitting on? For one thing the paper is smooth and gets nicely warmed up with feline body heat. Unlike carpets there is no static electricity even if it's not quite as warm as carpet. But mainly documents are useful as a way of catching your human's attention.
As most of you cats reading this will know, humans spent an inordinate amount of time staring at a screen or watching paper come out of the printer. Mildly interesting as it is not unlike something coming out of a hole. I sometimes poke the printer when the paper is coming out and Celia says that Fat Ada (my black and white predecessor) used to sit on the printer in the days when they were big rectangular devices. Usually the printer ground to a halt, suffocated by the sheer weight of cat. Ada was large, very large.
I don't sit on the printer much. It's sort slanted and not very comfortable. I sit on documents. This never fails. Celia looks at me and laughs, or swears sometimes. Then she leans over and picks me up and gives me a cuddle. She can't resist.
It's so easy.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

William has his say on using catnip moderately.


George has unfairly described me as cautious when it comes to doing catnip. I am not cautious; I am a simple recreational user who knows when to stop. I can control my drug use (unlike some cats) and I use catnip moderately. At the age of 11, I have discovered that bingeing on catnip doesn't suit me. I prefer a more sophisticated approach of savouring it slowly and sort of rolling it round my nasal passages analysing and enjoying the odour. Besides, if I binged like he does, I would in danger of becoming a victim of feline violence - from him, who else?
As I have explained before, George is an intemperate and silly adolescent. He keeps pouncing on me even when it is absolutely clear that I resent this harassment. So when the catnip mice arrived, I had a nice little sniffter. I indulged in a couple more and then I decided enough was enough. George, on the other hand, went on to take a skinful of the stuff. He rolled, chewed, kicked and generally behaved in a ridiculous way. He was completely stoned. He admits to being a bit of a catnip junkie - which I think is truer than he lets on. It's a good job there weren't any small kittens about because it was a disgraceful exhibition.
As I said, I had a sniffter or two and that was enough. I felt very relaxed. And then I felt sleepy. It was rather hot near the fire, so I fell asleep, as I sometimes do, on my tummy. I had a very pleasant dream of being the only cat in the household.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Something very interesting in the post


Today there was something interesting in the post. Almost every day a lot of square bits of folded paper come through a slot in the front door. As a kitten I was quite interested by this - after all, it looked rather like a rectangular mouse hole and things came out of it. But I got less and less interested because the bits of paper weren't particularly rustling. Just square bits smelling of nothing but computer ink. After opening a few, I stopped bothering.
Today was different. Very different. A large but light envelope arrived. It smelled wonderful. Very intriguing. A sort of catty smell which made me feel positively light headed. This was one to open. It was even addressed to George and William. So I investigated it. I rolled on it. I turned it upside down and sideways. I rubbed my chin against it. I tore bits off it until it revealed the treasure inside. A wonderfully shaped item smelling strongly of catnip.
Finally I managed to tear the whole thing open and pull out the catnip thingie. It had a nice little string attached to it to pull around. It was PACKED with the highest quality stuff. I sniffed and sniffed. I rolled on it. I licked it. I chewed it. I threw it around. I scratched it with my back legs. I lay on my back wriggling with pleasure completely stoned. Humans do skunk and smack and coke. I do catnip. I'm a bit of a catnip junkie. Boy, was it strong. William then got interested and pulled out another one. But he's more cautious about doing drugs than I am. Just does a bit and stops. It may be he's scared of losing control around me.
Oh, it was so goooooooooooood

Friday, January 19, 2007

Felix roasted bits - it's war between me and my human

More Felix roast bits. I don't like them. I will eat the gravy around them but I don't like the bits themselves. So I eat the gravy and then William, who is less fussy than I am, eats the bits or at least some of them. At the moment there are two half eaten bowls of this particular Felix. Visible evidence that I don't like them at all and William doesn't much care for them either. Now it is a battle of wills. Me against Celia. She bought them on special offer. Cheapskate behaviour. She didn't save on her free range roast chicken by buying a special offer frozen one from Thailand. Why buy my food on special offer? And why were they on special offer in the first place?. I think I know why. They just don't taste as good as the more expensive Felix food.
If William had a greater sense of solidarity with me, we could present a united front against her. Then there would be two bowls of roasted bits minus any of the gravy just sitting there. Alas, he has eaten some of them. Of course if he had a sense of solidarity with fellow felines he wouldn't be a cat. He'd be a dumb stupid dog with too much altruism for his own good. We cats don't do the pack perversion bit. We have the selfish gene. (Well dogs have the selfish gene too but it is routed via their altruism - great for wolf packs, not so great for Labradors, poor saps.) So I can't rely on William to hold firm any more than he could rely on me.
What I can rely on is my own inner persistence. If there's one thing we cats pride ourselves on, it is persistence. Humans don't know the meaning of it. Celia has never sat waiting at a hole for a mouse for two hours in wind and rain. She gives up when something doesn't work and tries something different.
So if it's war of waiting over the Felix roasted bits, I think I can hold out longer. Maybe I can't win today. I notice she has failed to fill up the bowl of dried food which I have been eating in preference to the roasted bits. She thinks she is going to be firm. But I know she isn't going to be. Sometimes tomorrow, or the next day, she will weaken. Watch this space.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Do cats forgive humans?

Re-reading my last blog, I wondered if I had forgiven Celia for her negligence about the garden shed? Do we cats have a forgiving nature, like dogs. Dogs forgive easily. Indeed they fawn on their abusers, creeping back with tails wagging sometimes urinating a little out of fear and appeasement. It's the pack instinct. Dogs are social animals and they have an enormous need to stay within their human family, so much so that they will put up with too much. Celia's remembers a poor labrador which was taunted and teased by a teenager. Its adult owner, female, used to hit it every time it urinated out of fear. Every morning she would come down to the kitchen to let it out into the garden, and when it crept towards her urinating out of frightened appeasement, she would hit it. "It knows it has done wrong. That's why I punish it," she told Celia. Nothing Celia could do, would persuade her that its urination was out of fear of punishment and it had no idea that this was making her punish all the more. We cats would never behave like that - not that creeping towards punishment each morning. We don't do appeasement gestures. We do, in extremis, urinate out of terror. As the SAS say, "Ă…drenalin is brown". That's why sensible humans, put a layer of plastic between the car seat and any cat carrier which doesn't retain urination. We don't apologise for it. We would never ever go towards a human who is going to hit us. One hit and we are off. And we never forget a really terrifying traumatic experience.
So do we forgive? Yes, we do when the bad experience isn't that bad. But we don't forgive physical abuse like dogs do. We leave home. That morning I got shut in the shed, I considered taking one of Celia's red spotted hankerchiefs, wrapping up several envelopes of Felix, putting it over my shoulder and walking off to the nearby village to see if I could find a better home. But then I thought about how warm it is here, and how the Felix in unwrapped for me, and I stayed. If forgiveness is letting go and moving on, I have forgiven her. But she'd better watch out. I might feel differently if she does it again.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The negligence of my personal staff

We cats expect a certain level of service from our humans. In return for our beauty and company, we expect doors open, regular meals , warm beds (which we are generous enough to share with them), and thoughtful personal service with proper attention health and safety. I am sorry to report that Celia has failed badly. She has been astonishingly negligent in her duties. She has failed to carry out a proper risk assessment of the garden shed. And she utterly forgot its obvious dangers to a healthy active cat (me). It happend early in the morning when she went out in her dressing gown to get the floating device for the garden pond - it stops the pond icing over and allows animals in the water to breathe because gases don't build up below the ice. If she had done a proper risk assessment she would have identified the high risk of my getting shut inside the shed. Obviously when she goes into the shed, I follow her - to check territory, to see if mice are living in the shed, and to make an assessment of whether there is anything else interesting there - spiders, frogs, wood lice and so forth. As is my wont, as could be expected by a better member of staff, I went in there and was nosing around. She shut the door on me without a thought. Worse still she walked off. I was there for three hours until Ronnie saw my angry face at the window and set me free. Worse still, I had not had time to perform my morning toilet in the nearby seed beds. So there was an ugly rush to the vegetable patch, a great deal of frantic digging, and I finally squatted down with enormous relief.
It was very emotionally upsetting. Tramatising even. I expected better of her. She is an unreliable woman and she is lucky that I didn't just leave home. I have not forgiven her.

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