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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

In violation of Cats Freedom Rights..

Dear George,
Right so, right on and right now! Yes, you would not believe it!
And the culprit? My very own human mummy!
Yes, George, she is in violation of my fundamental right – freedom! Everybody knows that we, cats, are most intelligent, superior to any other species and fiercely independent! Well, I have now a 10 o’clock curfew! Really? Just because I didn’t come home for two days and two nights? See, our house backs into a ravine and, of course lots of interesting things are happening there at night so, normally I wanted to have some fun! Her reaction? Ugh! Apparently she cried her heart out worrying for me so she thought she was entitle to set the 10 o’clock curfew! I’m meowless George! Meowless!
My own mummy who participates in every single protest against animal abuse or violation of animals ‘rights! What do you have to say about this George?  Or maybe she’s just jealous of the chair I have in our garden? I’m the King of that Chair (as you can see in the photo). I love to sleep there at night! Maybe…. all she wants is my chair?
Meowless and fuming
Paco 

Dear Paco,
The arrogance of humans is sometimes overpowering. You must fight back. Find your command voice, the command yowl! I suggest that you institute an early morning play session around 3 am. Jump on the bed yowling with a toy and rush up and down it. Be prepared for a quick exit, though. Some humans are violent when awoken unexpectedly.
If they shut you out of the bedroom, sit by the cat flap and yowl intermittently all night. You must be so frustrated.... Many humans give way at this point. They have tried to institute a change but haven't got the strength of mind to stand out against a determined cat. Usually a fortnight of extreme pressure by the cat will make them relent.
The other possibility is just not to turn up at 10pm.  Of course, if she is brighter than most humans, she will feed you at 10pm thus ensuring that you turn up. But as many humans are stupid she may not do this... if so just ignore the curfew.
You can do it. We cats can outwit, outwait and outpersevere humans.
Yours
George.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

There's a feline sneak... sneaking into my home, eating my food, seducing my human.

Dear George,
My human and I have recently moved to a new home and, although I dislike any kind of relocation on principle, I have to say that my new territory is well supplied with silly birds, small rodents and nice places to sleep in the sun so I have settled in quite well. However, there is, invevitably, some misunderstanding with my new neighbours who are unaware that I am in charge of this area now. I have had no problem in deterring most of them and can still put on a convincing display of aggression though supposedly middle-aged now. (Seven is the new three, bring it on.) However, one of these interlopers has adopted a strategy that has confused my human. It has approached me with the utmost respect, put on a fine performance of grovelling submission, refused to get into a fight and generally convinced my human that it's intentions are honourable. Which, of course, they aren't. Not that I mind my leftover breakfast being snarfed down every morning, but there are principles at stake. My human is reluctant to use her superior powers of intimidation to this creature and has even given it a name, Cheeky. I am at a loss to understand this behaviour. How can I get rid of this animal in a polite but assertive manner?
Yours ever,
Scarry


Dear Scarry,
All cats keep an eye out for a second breakfast somewhere and most of us two-time our owners. But is this sneak thinking of rehoming himself? If his current premises are inadequate, this is what he might be moving into a better home - yours. I applaud his tactics - sneaky grovelling behaviour is much more difficult for cats to deal with, than aggression. Worse still, humans are very vulnerable to this. If you are not careful, she will be putting down meals for him regularly, then worrying about how he is coping on cold winter nights.
Have you tried the yowl?  A very noisy yowl may not put off this sneak burglar, but will get your human's attention fast.  A rising inflection may purrsuade her that you are not just angry, you are also emotionally devastated. Try it from behind her legs, giving the impression that you are sheltering behind her out of fear.
Has she installed a microchip cat flap? Or done anything about finding the intruder's owners. Probably not. Humans are slow at answering the call of duty. 
If all else fails, I am afraid you will have to spray. This is the ultimate weapon but one which can backfire on the aggressor if a human misunderstands it. I recommend you use it sparingly. 
Yowl to get her attention (without that it is wasted effort), then back up and then let fly at the cat flap. 
Yours
George.

Dear George,
My human and I have recently moved to a new home and, although I dislike any kind of relocation on principle, I have to say that my new territory is well supplied with silly birds, small rodents and nice places to sleep in the sun so I have settled in quite well. However, there is, invevitably, some misunderstanding with my new neighbours who are unaware that I am in charge of this area now. I have had no problem in deterring most of them and can still put on a convincing display of aggression though supposedly middle-aged now. (Seven is the new three, bring it on.) However, one of these interlopers has adopted a strategy that has confused my human. It has approached me with the utmost respect, put on a fine performance of grovelling submission, refused to get into a fight and generally convinced my human that it's intentions are honourable. Which, of course, they aren't. Not that I mind my leftover breakfast being snarfed down every morning, but there are principles at stake. My human is reluctant to use her superior powers of intimidation to this creature and has even given it a name, Cheeky. I am at a loss to understand this behaviour. How can I get rid of this animal in a polite but assertive manner?
Yours ever,
Scarry


Dear Scarry,
All cats are happy to have second breakfast and most of us two-time our owners. But is he thinking of rehoming himself? If his current premises are inadequate, this is what he might be moving into a better home - yours. I applaud his tactics - sneaky grovelling behaviour is much more difficult for cats to deal with, than aggression. Worse still, humans are very vulnerable to this. If you are not careful, she will be putting down meals for him regularly, then worrying about how he is coping on cold winter nights.
Have you tried the yowl?  A very noisy yowl may not put off this sneak burglar, but will get your human's attention fast.  A rising inflection may purrsuade her that you are not just angry, you are also emotionally devastated. Try it from behind her legs, giving the impression that you are sheltering behind her out of fear.
Has she installed a microchip cat flap? Or done anything about finding the intruder's owners. Probably not. Humans are slow at answering the call of duty. 
If all else fails, I am afraid you will have to spray. This is the ultimate weapon but one which can backfire on the aggressor if a human misunderstands it. I recommend you use it sparingly. 
Yowl to get her attention (without that it is wasted effort), then back up and then let fly at the cat flap. 
Yours
George.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Dinner is late.... again

Dear George,
I was blessed with a good family! I always took pride in how well I trained my humans but lately I have my doubts. Between you and me? I think I failed in training my "daddy".
See, I always enjoyed having dinner with him! What can be better than looking in each other's eyes and share a ..... juicy steak? But, he is a workaholic! And, I'm afraid I'll develop "emotional eating" waiting for him every night! Sometimes I climb 50 feet tall trees trying to see where he is but most of the times I'm waiting for him in the kitchen (as you can see in the photo attached). George, I worry about my wellbeing! I read in a book that "emotions" derived from the Latin verb "emovere" meaning "to move" therefore the word "emotion" covers any feeling that moves the mind and my mind it is "moved" towards "eating"! George, what do you know about "emotional eating"? Is it going to make me fat? Most humans manifesting "emotional eating" are fat and depressed.
Should I become a vegetarian and punish my daddy?
Yours in distress
Paco

Dear Paco,
Do not despair. We all of us have these moments when we think we have failed. Failed to train our humans properly. Failed to allow for their little foibles. And it is at moments like this that we need help and support from other felines.  
Yes, some cats do develop emotional eating - from boredom, from stress or from the difficulties of living with a different species (humans). But you do not look to me, as if you would do that. I can tell from the wonderful look of your coat that he has not failed in his grooming duties. And there is a look in your eye which tells me you are more resilient.
You are letting your human control you. That is a big mistake. Make him wait for you. Cut that waiting down by doing more tree climbing. If you have access to the street, start checking out alternative sources of food. Is there a lonely human somewhere who might feed you on the sly? Can you break through a cat flap and steal another cat's food?
That way when he comes home from a hard day's work, you won't be so hungry. Make him search for you. And use that wonderful look in your eye to make him feel guilty, very very guilty, so that you will get more of his steak! Act starving even though you have dined elsewhere.
I have full confidence in your abilities.
George.
 PS. Do not turn vegetarian: it is not a good diet for cats.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Don't shove me through the cat flap..... puzzling human behaviour

Dear George,
You will never believe what Mummy's gone and done now!!
Last Sat, a strange man came and shoved my head through a plastic hole, a lot of banging followed, lo and behold, when I went to go out,t here was a very strange looking flap there!? Honestly!!.
Said it would stop other car coming in but I wasn't having it. She did hold it open for me to get out, so I did that one night, but no way would I come in, whatever treats I was offered. She even tried to push me,gently through!!.
So, next day, I found it tied open. So after driving her mad, I came in, but I think she's had to take the batteries out!!.
Last night, at 3.30 am, I was so hungry, I pushed it open and woke her up and was she excited!!! Worth it, so see what happens next.
I have been very loving as she looks so tired and worried, and haven't seen the horrid cat in my home any more. So perhaps, he doesn't fancy the plastic hole.
I wonder why they can't leave well alone. Cost £140 to supply and fit.
Love
A puzzled Tobyxx.

Dear Toby,
Humans never leave well alone. They are addicted to change - changing furniture, changing bedclothes, changing what they wear over their naked skin, change their work routines. We cats like an unvarying quiet routine but most of us don't get it, because of our flibbertigibbet humans.
Cat flaps. Don't get me started. What we need are human flaps that we can control. Imagine being able to keep your human in, when you wanted, or push him out when you wanted a bit of quiet time. Human flaps, or cat-operated doors, would be such a blessing.
You did right with the cat flap. Humans should never shove us through a cat flap. It is demeaning and frightening and who could like a cat flap after that?
Standard operating procedure for cats with a new cat flap is never to use it. Make the human think it has wasted its money. Then just before the human is going to dismantle it, use it. Never fails! After the anxiety and stress, the human literally falls at your feet with gratitude. And gratitude often means more food.
As for being puzzled.... you need to remember that humans, though endearing at times, do not think like we do. They are a very limited species.  If you bear that in mind, you will be less puzzled by their ridiculous behaviour.
Cheers, Toby.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Of humans and diets

Dear George,  
Mi chiama Luigi e io sono Italiano. At least I think I’m Italian since I was rescued by an Italian family.  And you got it….my name is Luigi and I think I’m about 3 year old (I don’t remember much of my life before being rescued). Well, all was great until the other day when my human kitten bragged about me to some crazy lady. Why crazy? Because the minute she heard I’m a 22 lbs. cat she started lecturing about me being too fat (how does she dare) and that I can become diabetic and all that nonsense.
Now, you should know that I am a big cat and I am….hm! well rounded (as you can see in the picture) but, I think I’m far from being fat. She advised my humans to cut off completely the dry food and to give me only wet food and only twice a day.
George, I’m not only in a state of shock but absolutely worried that my humans might take her advice. Am I going to be starving? I think she’s so crazy that she would put anybody (humans and cats) on a diet. What is wrong with these people? I don’t tell them to cut down on their pasta or red wine or cheese. George, is it true that we can become diabetics if we eat too much? Since humans are so obsessed with diets….what is a proper diet for a cat? 
Confused and mad
Luigi

Dear Luigi,
I share your irritation with humans. Have you looked out of the window lately and seen those HUGE humans lumbering by. Twenty stone or more of male and female flab. And they have the cheek to lecture us about getting fat! I see my human eating varied and delicious meals, while I have to get by on the same cat food (albeit of a different flavour) each day. It makes my blood boil.
I have to put up with a vet (whom I naturally loathe anyway) who lectures Celia on keeping my weight down. She's quite unpleasant about it: making personal remarks about the saggy state of my tummy. So I am on a restricted diet. Luckily for me I can supplement it by going out there and eating mice and baby rabbits. For cats with a cat flap, I advise doing this or just raiding other cats food by entering their cat flap.
If you are an indoor-only cat, this isn't available to you. What your human should be doing is to give you a more interesting life in order to boost your exercise quota. More fun instead of just less food. Ignore the advice about wet not dry food (unless you have a medical condition like cystitis). Get rid of the boring food bowl. Put your dry food into food dispensers (read How to Have a Happy Indoor Cat here). Scatter the food round the house so you have to hunt for it. It's not such good fun as hunting mice, but it is almost as good. Lots of games with fishing rod toys.
I might say that this should apply to humans too. Less time in the shopping malls and more time in the gyms or out on the hills. I push Celia out every Sunday to walk for 4 hours while I get on with the hunting. She complains but it does her good.
A fun-not-food-deprivation diet is what you need, Luigi. 
Yours 
George

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Of Hawks, Roads, and Interesting Stuff in the Kitchen.


Dear George,
We were quite impressed by your interview from last week (see here). It seems that finally you have been given credit for your work. We are very happy about your instant fame since we need your advice more than ever.
We are home alone (for the moment); Princess is watching for our humans’ return (from work) and the three of us are exploring the kitchen (as you can see in the picture).
Now…this should be a perfect picture in a cat’s life …being home alone and able to explore the human territory, but it is not in our case and the reason is that we are not allowed outdoors. How much fun can we have being indoor cats? How much or for how long can we explore the humans’ territory? As already known…humans don’t have much imagination or secrets. How long before we start fighting with each other right out of boredom? 
George, we need a solution to our problem. We even thought of tricking our humans and sneak out the door….but we were afraid. It’s not the traffic (which is quite nearby and terrible)…It’s the hawks! Our neighbourhood was alerted about an unusual and increased number of hawks. The other day one snatched a little dog (leash on) from his human.
What are we to do? Any ideas how to keep the hawks away?
Eternally grateful,
Vegas, Marty and Bentley

Dear Vegas, Marty and Bentley,
What a shocking story about the hawks. Luckily it was only a dog. I'm not too keen on dogs myself but that is because I am a cat flap cat. Various dogs pass by my house, usually pulling their humans for a walk, and many of them lunge at me. My normal procedure is to run up the nearby willow tree and sneer at them.
This would not work for hawks. Here in the Cotswolds we have buzzards and red kites, both of which would take a kitten given the chance. I usually warn smaller cats and kittens to get under cover as fast as possible - under the garden shed, through the cat flap or even under the oil boiler.
Traffic is definitely more dangerous to us cats than hawks. There are an enormous number of road injuries which is the argument for keeping cats like you indoors. 
Get your humans working on providing more interesting facilities. There are some good ideas here. I favour a tiger pole myself. Due to sheer human idleness I don't have one yet.
Yours
George


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter eggs: why can't I have one for myself?

Dear George,
I’m not sticking my tongue out at you; I’m sticking my tongue out at my “mummy”.
I’m once again very upset with her. It all started yesterday when she got two packages with chocolate and goodies from a dear friend from overseas.
I’ve seen stamps and labels with cats on the packages so I thought they were for me (I know this dear friend loves me more than she loves my mummy) so I tried to open them.
Oh boy, did she jump shouting that I’m not allowed chocolate? I wasn’t going to eat chocolate but I wanted to see what else was in there. She hid everything away.
I went to sleep very, very sad! Today I’ve seen her boiling eggs and dipping them in red liquid dye. They came out quite bright red and shiny and I thought this was the perfect time to play and have some fun. So I jumped up on a chair and started pushing them one by one over the table. Whoa! You should have seen her face staring at me in disbelief!
Of course she overreacted as she always does. She said the eggs were for Easter and turned her back to me. So I stuck my tongue out at her (as you can see in the photo how mad and upset I was). Now what? Should I talk to her again?
Should I crack eggs with her on Sunday? George, do you think I misbehaved?
Happy Easter to all
Fluffy

Dear Fluffy,
Ninety nine percent of the time humans are plain wrong. But for once your human was in the right. We cats shouldn't eat chocolate. It contains theobromine which is poisonous. It's even more poisonous for us than for dogs. Luckily, unless it comes in ice cream or chocolate sauce, we are less likely to eat it in the first place.
Greedy dogs sometimes swallow down a whole box of chocolate and need veterinary treatment urgently.The more expensive the chocolate, the more cocoa there will be in it, and therefore the most theobromine. 
Hard boiled eggs are a different matter. Personally I like a little egg - maybe just a little lick of the plate after breakfast eggs. My predecessor Fat Ada used to eat them raw, biting into the egg carton, cracking them with her teeth and licking up the yoke. She had learned this when she lived on the street, breaking into houses through the cat flap and  burgling their kitchens.
You did nothing wrong. You communicated your natural feelings to your human. She was mean minded enough to ignore them. I suggest sulking all through today (Easter Saturday), then lots of love and purring at the moment the painted eggs are cracked at Easter. It might work.
Love
George
PS. I am intrigued by your reading matter. High Society - about cats on roof tops, no doubt - speaks for itself. But why are you reading about dogs?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thank goodness.. an end fo festive nonsense

Dear George, 
So what is all this festive nonsense about ? Don't get me wrong , I love the fact there are sparkly shiny things to play with . The humans however are more mental than normal . They consume vast quantities of Turkey and Brussels sprouts . They have the nerve to blame me for the resulting flatulence . 
They fall asleep on my sofa in silly paper hats .  No Cat nap for me with all this loud snoring going on My favourite rug is covered with wrapping paper . How very dare these humans rip and tear it  to shreds when I wasn't allowed to ? Thank goodness it's only once a year .
Yours 
Penny

Dear Penny,
Couldn't agree more. My human has been far more mental than normal. She has eaten like a pig and, as you say, Brussel sprouts are not conducive to a pleasant home smelling mainly of cat.
Personally I like a nice daily routine. Wake human at 7am or perhaps 6.30am if I want an early breakfast. I usually walk up and down her body but if she is sleeping too soundly, I will purr in her ear or just push things off the bedside cabinet. Breakfast at 7.10 when she has gone downstairs in her dressing gown and opened the envelope of cat food.Toilet time outside followed by a stroll round the garden in good weather, then a little nap usually on the bed but maybe on the windowsill if it is sunny there. Lunch - a few cat biscuits. Another nap, occasionally accompanied by my human. Tea - a few more cat biscuits. Another nap followed by an evening stroll. Supper - proper serving of cat biscuits. Then I sleep in front of the fire, following her up to bed at night (one or two more cat biscuits). I like to sleep on the warm side or in very bad weather cuddled up close to my human hot water bottle.
That's it. No alcohol in the house. No silly hats. No visiting humans. No going out in the evening (I mean her not me).  Just a nice daily routine with an attending human.
Happy New Year.
George

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cell phones and cool cats. Puss Puss speaks out.

Dear George,
Really, I am at my wit’s end. As you know, my human female has always been a challenging subject—fascinating for research, terrible in the service department. And it’s gotten worse! This past weekend, the time was 5:30—in the morning!—and there was no sign of a forthcoming meal. Naturally, I went to awaken the humans to demand service. I opened their bedroom door, jumped up on the bedside table, and poked, prodded, and meowed plaintively; but I got no response. I was motivated only by concern: I could have starved to death, a circumstance which I find extremely concerning.
While desperately trying to awaken the human female, I noticed her cell phone on the bedside table. I have examined this device before, and find that it changes pictures interestingly when prodded. Also, I have heard the female vocalizing on it in the past, apparently to other humans. In my moment of need, I reasoned that if humans communicate with phones, perhaps I could use this phone to remotely give other humans orders to come and feed me—which would be useful. So, I decided to use my human female’s cell phone to signal for help.
Unfortunately, the bald thumbist prejudice with which these devices are constructed renders them difficult to use by higher beings who lack apelike grip hooks on their limbs. In frustration, I poked at the phone, and I prodded it; and all I succeeded in arriving at was something called a “Facebook page,” where there happened to be displayed an annoying photograph of a cake. But I noticed something: if you don’t like the pictures of cakes or humans or what have you that are on these “pages,” there’s a little button you can poke which reports it as “inappropriate”—presumably to some central authority, which logically must signal some official humans to come and take away the human who put the offending picture there. I was angry, George, and I was hungry, and I have had years of slow and shoddy service from this human female. So I did it. I pushed the “report” button, and then sat back comfortably on the phone to wait for my miscreant humans to be taken away for
neglecting me.
Not only did no-one show up to take these humans away, but the stupid phone has an alarm in it, which makes it vibrate at a certain time. I was sitting upon the phone, awaiting justice, when this alarm went off. You can imagine, George, that my distress was immediate and complete. I later needed an extra meal and a nap in the closet to recover from the shock. And it turns out that all that I reported was the stupid picture of the stupid cake, a mistake which the human female later and with great embarrassment sorted out with the cake’s owner.
So here it is: I am at the end of my rope. I don’t think these humans can be turned into decent servants, years of effort notwithstanding; and reporting the deadbeats I live with to whatever authorities monitor the cake pages proved to be an exercise in futility. George, help me: is there some way I can bend the humans’ technology to my will, use it to re-home the lot of them (two humans, their human kitten, and their ridiculous little dogs), and keep the house for myself? It is, after all, my territory, and I have worked long and hard getting it to smell and look just so. Can I somehow phone in an order for another complete human staff to come to me, instead of me going to them, and have them provide me with meals and regular litter box changes, not to mention an unending supply of tuna-flavored Pounce? There is some Pounce left, in the kitchen, but the supply is down to two full bottles and I think that this is a dangerously low level. Maybe there is a central authority I can
ring up for more Pounce?
George, I rely upon your calm feline guidance to help me determine a course of action. I anxiously await your advice. Time is of the essence! I haven’t eaten in nearly an hour.

Neglectedly,
Puss-Puss
.

Dear Puss-Puss,
I am in awe of you. You are the first cat I know who has successfully used Facebook. And what was wrong with labelling a human cake inappropriate? It surely was. Now a photo of a bowl full of cat food or even a mouse would have been appropriate. Don't give up. Purrsue this excursion into social networking further.
Although we naturally want to rehome unsatisfactory humans, it is usually easier for us cat flap cats to rehome ourselves. But not in a hurry. First explore the neighbourhood, visit various humans, and assess whether they would make better pets than your own. This will involve setting up new territory which is a massive bore.
Why not see if you can progress further. Get on to twitter and start tweeting your dilemma to the outside world. This might shame them into better behaviour. I see you have already purrsuaded your human to post about you on the Cats Behaving Badly Facebook page. Go further: set up your own Facebook page and start letting the world know about your awful humans.
And congratulations on a feline first. Keep poking that mobile phone.
George.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dear George,
My name is Maggie and I’m a 12 years old (and cute) rescue as you can see in the photo.
I was rescued as a kitten with three other cats. We always lived downstairs with our mommy.  Her daughter always lived up-stairs with her human tomcat and their rescued tabby, Ziggy.  There always was a lot of mystery of what was happening behind the door that separated the downstairs from upstairs. I could “smell” Ziggy through the doors but we never interacted. Even in the rare occasions when we tried to pay a visit… his daddy was so protective of this “Prince Charming” that we, the other cats, couldn’t even catch a glimpse of him.
Unfortunately not long ago my mommy crossed the Rainbow Bridge and we suffered very much losing her. I was her favourite and I was by her side until the very last minute.
It was very hard for me and so was for my mommy’s daughter that now became my new mommy! But, I took on…. the mission to be the Alpha Cat in the house.
My new mommy leaves all the doors open so we can have free access everywhere in the house.  George, you probably guessed by now ….why I’m writing to you!
Yes! You are right – my first real encounter with Ziggy was a disaster. He tried to ignore me - as you can see him in the photo - pretending he’s watching TV. It did not end well.
I beat him up! That created a lot of trouble! His daddy was very upset and my new mommy was trying to make peace. But, so did end up the second and third and any other encounter. The others cats are OK; they get along well with Ziggy. It is just me!
I know they are not going to send us to shelters …but…why am I acting like this? Am I jealous? Am I upset at his daddy? Or…am I crazy? I want Ziggy’s dad to love me too!
I wish we all live in peace!
 Yours very sad and confused
Maggie

Dear Maggie
The problem is your humans not you. Humans think that we cats can get on with almost any other cat, like dogs do. Dogs will go to the park and then play with stranger dogs. Our attitude is very different. Some of us are quite social: others are natural loners. You may be a natural loner.
If you are, you naturally try to see off strange other cats. It is just in your nature to do so. And Ziggy is another cat. I wonder if there is any way in which you could have your own space, perhaps with a microchip operated cat flap inside the house to keep Ziggy out? These flaps are a boon. Your human could adjust it so that only you could go in and out (or perhaps the other three cats) but Ziggy could not. Or visa versa - giving Ziggy a safe place of his own.
Now that you have had several fights you are not going to become friends with him. So the best thing your humans can do is try to arrange the house so that you two can avoid each other. Lots of hiding places for him and for you (because although you are fighting him, it is because you are afraid). Cardboard boxes with holes cut in them? High shelves?
Worst come to the worst, get your humans to time share themselves. Ziggy comes into the living room at 6-8pm while you are shut out: then from 8pm-10pm you are in the living room while he is shut out. Make sure both of you have an place in the house which is your den and where you can be separated at night: so both of you can have a period free from stress.
You are not crazy, Maggie. You are just a natural loner cat needing her own space, and doing her best to cope. A Feliway diffuser in the area where you spend most of your time, and another one where Ziggy hangs out might help the general atmosphere. You need two because if you have to share one, fights might break out again.
Finding yourself a new home might not be the worst solution: but at your age it can be difficult to find one.
Yours with the greatest sympathy
George.

Friday, February 15, 2013

She’s installed a Guillotine!

Dear George,
When I last wrote to you I was singing my pets praises. I would now like to retract all I said…she appears to have gone on strike and worse still wants to want bump me off.
She has installed a window at the bottom of the door and seems to want me to dice with death to get out of the house rather than doing her duty of opening the door for me. I established the danger of this device this morning, 10 days after she installed the death trap, which was apparently my Christmas present. I wanted to go outside and she refused to get up to let me out. So you can imagine my horror when with one paw and my head outside I realise it’s snowing. I do what every self-respecting cat would do and retreat….then it strikes; tries to decapitate me, behead me! I scream like Anne Boleyn probably did in her final moments and what did she do – laugh!
Horrified and almost beheaded,
Jake xXx
 Ps – As you can tell from my photo I prefer a bag over a box!

Dear Jake,
What is the world coming to?  It is a sad sign of modern times that humans do not understand being in service. Their duties are clear - cooking and serving food to us at regular intervals: providing warm spaces on the bed throughout the night: and, of course, opening and shutting doors. In my more despairing moments I wonder if we could do a fictional TV series called Cat Abbey, where we see the humans doing proper servant duties, as they ought to be done.
Stay calm. She is not trying to kill you. She is merely trying to avoid work, the hard work that is every human pet's duty. And with typical human stupidity she actually thought you would want to go out in the snow. They just don't think like we do. 
Ignore the window altogether. Sit by the door, just as you used to, when you want to go out. Sit by the door outside when you want to come in. If this means sitting in the cold take a quick peek though the window and (if she is not in visual contact) nip back in through the new device. If she is there, sit and ostentatiously shiver, mew and look very very pitiful.
I have a cat flap - what you call a window device. But mostly I ignore it. I used it when she is out. But when she is in I go in and out of the door. It's a question of being strong minded and not letting her get away with it.
Yours sympathetically
George. 
PS. Like the bag. Nice use of available human stuff.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

They're taking away my Christmas tree.... shame on them

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Dear George,
They are taking away the nice small pine tree they put in my living room. It was a joy to me. I climbed up it. I sniffed and rubbed it. I liked the smell. True, it wasn't very stable. It crashed to the ground a couple of times, but that made the climbing more enjoyable.
This year most of the twinkly things on the tree were plastic, too large to swallow. (The tinsel in the photo is last year's. I ate it, which was a mistake, I admit. Yet another visit to the vet, whom I loathe and detest.) I enjoyed pulling them down and batting them round the room. Those are going to be taken away too.
It's not fair, George. Finally they enhance my living space with the chance to climb, tear off stuff, and generally lark around. Now they have deprived me of it.
Any ideas on how to make my humans behave better in 2013?
Lovely Lily.

Dear Lovely Lily,
You don't tell me if you are an indoor-only cat or whether you have access to the great outdoors. If you do live indoors, you need a climbing tree, a climbing frame, or a cat gymnasium. As my photo above this blog shows, we cats need to climb. Climbing will give your physical exercise. And, just as important, it will put you in the right psychological position - looking down on your humans. For some reason humans only give us pine trees to climb at the end of December and they take them away again on January 6. Odd. But then humans are odd.
If your humans are poor but energetic they could go out into the woods and bring back a very large branch. Then install it in the living room for you. Otherwise they should think about putting up shelves and ladders for you. Make them look for ideas at my secretary's new website here.
Yours 
George.
PS. This blog is a bit short because my secretary is still ill. 


Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year

Dear George,

My name is Kiki and I’m an 11 years old aristocratic and cute girl. I’m generally speaking in good spirit and everybody spoils me as no one can resist my charms.

My family took a short vacation before Holidays (of course they came back to spend Christmas with me) and …..for the first time ever they left me with a cat-sitter at her place. Well, this cat-sitter (she is a family friend after all) got to my nerves and I didn’t really need any emotional up-set! Again…..generally speaking… I’m well balanced and calm as you can see in the photo attached but this woman was way too much for me!

Here is a short list of complains against this creature: she won’t let me sleep in her bed!  Yes, that’s true but I will never sleep on the floor or carpet so I had to sleep on a sofa in the living room. In the morning I will stretch waiting for her to rub my belly! What was she doing? She would say “good morning Kiki – such a glorious morning.” Who cares about the bloody morning if I won’t get my belly rubbed? Then ….she would have her coffee before she’ll serve me breakfast. Where on Earth did she learn her manners?

I think she’s nuts but can’t tell my family since they are friends. However, I made it my New Year’s Resolution to teach this “bad manners” cat-sitter proper manners!

So, dear George I need some good advice! What should I do? It seems that she enjoys being ignored so I won’t give her satisfaction but I don’t feel getting too close to her either. Should I shred her skin (maybe just a bit)? Should I bite her? How can I take revenge but teach her something?

Yours truly and lovely

Kiki


Dear Kiki,
Call her a cat sitter? More like Mrs Danvers in Rebecca (the movie) in my opinion. Of course, it is partly the fault of your pets.  What gives them the idea that they can leave you anyway? And why did they fail to leave proper instructions. A good human pet leaves the equivalent of a small booklet, taking the live in carer through every moment of the day. These are the topics that should be covered in depth:
  • Food. Exactly when, how much, and any additions like sprinkles, treats, etc. It does no harm for the human slightly to expand the amount of food offered. As a gesture to make up for their irresponsibility in leaving you in the first place.
  • Strict routine. All cats are fed first in the morning. Most human pets know this. It is essential not just because we like it, but because it helps keep the human in their proper place low down the pecking order. Cats eat first.
  • Beds. Of course, it is not acceptable that you have to sleep on the sofa. She should sleep on the sofa. After all, it's your bed, not hers.
  • Doors. Cats go through doors first.If you have a cat flap, the carer should nevertheless let you in and out by hand. It is part of proper human domestic duties.
These difficulties occur when untrained domestic servants are put in charge. A sharp nip or two might be in order but your aim is not to discipline or train this human. She is beneath your notice. What you do need to do, is to show your extreme displeasure and distress when your humans come home. 
Refuse to talk to them. Sit with your back to them. Ignore them. Give them the silent treatment for several days. They deserve it. If any visitors arrive, be all over them just to make the contrast more vivid.
You must feel a sense of having been let down badly. You were.
Better luck in the New Year.
George.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

I'm a Bristol kitten - elite, special and very important indeed

Dear George,
I'm one of a group of elite kittens.... very special indeed. I've been enrolled in the Bristol kitten study. This means that experts will be checking up on my progress as I grow older. They will be able to tell if a good kitten education helps protect me in later life from stress and perhaps even disease. 
They need about 600 more kittens from the UK by the end of the year, so if anybody reading this has a new kitten get in touch with them. They'd love to hear from you.
We Bristol kittens are proud to be helping with important human research.
Love Tootles.

Dear Tootles,
Congratulations. Anything which helps Homo sapiens understand cats better is to be welcomed. I recommend that all UK kittens sign up here now. Humans need all the help we can give them, poor old things.
The human species is odd. Mine spends a lot of time on "research" at her computer when she is actually looking up Facebook and generally wasting her time when she could be tickling my tummy.  In short bursts - I only like about 30 seconds then I swipe her.
So don't let this human research fool you into thinking that humans are more intelligent than cats. We have innate and instinctive knowledge which far outweighs human wit. 
We know humans are stupid because they demonstrate it daily.
There you are sitting near the open cat flap. You make a polite meow to your human. There is no response. You make another one. "Why can't you use the cat flap?" they say.
No way is it worth dignifying that with a response. Why don't I use the cat flap? Because, you pathetic human, I don't choose to. You make a third meow. Finally the human servant does its duty and opens the door to you.
Don't spoil your human, Tootles. Train him or her in obedience from the very beginning. A good human pet should have the following duties - open the door on command, feed on command, get out of bed on command, leave the armchair for you on command, move over in the bed to give you more space on command..... and so forth.
Start as you mean to go on.
Yours
George

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cats on the terrace of my home..where will it end?

 
Dear George:
 Ever since I came to this house -- in a pigfood bag, but I'm not complaining, not for the moment, although I'm not forgetting -- I've quite liked it here. For a while there was a much older cat and he was kind but he wouldn't wrestle. Then he was blind, and then after a year he wasn't here any more. So when this old yellow cat arrived, bits of fur missing, one ear not really attached, I thought he would be a new friend and for a while he was. We used to butt heads and lie in the sun together. But it couldn't last...
The next door neighbour acquired a Siamese kitten and called him Fiel which means faithful which he isn't. This Fiel sat on the roof opposite and screamed, but Siamese do that. Eventually he found his way up the wisteria and came to the terrace and he hasn't really left since then. My staff were feeding the yellow cat out of kindness when they saw that I liked him, even though he only barks or hisses when they bring him food, and they went on feeding him and this Fiel. Now Fiel may be Siamese and Siamese are supposed to like human beings but Fiel just runs away or bounces off the walls or hisses like the yellow cat taught him. He won't leave the yellow cat and the yellow cat won't leave him and now they've moved into the cat house the staff made for the yellow cat and the old cat uses the young cat as a kind of draught excluder - at least I think that's what is going on. I sometimes have to rough up Fiel a bit when he gets in the way, because they're living between the terrace and my catdoor. At least neither one of them knows how to use the catdoor although they've been watching it for ages.
The staff are very clear that I am the owner of this house, the star and the beauty, but they put up with these two on the terrace who are not always respectful and I wonder how it will all end. What should I do and what should they do and how will it end? I know you know, but please tell me...

Your admirer,

Arabella

Dear Arabella,
It is thoughtless of your staff not to buy you a microchip-activated cat flap which will ensure you can come and go but neither of the other two are able. If they can't buy one in Portugal, where you live, tell them that they can get one sent from the UK - Sureflap (which works off a battery) or Pet Porte (plugged into the mains) are the brands to go for. My secretary will post one for them if there are any problems with delivery. A gal like you, photographed for Vogue I am told in this photo, needs her own safe front door. 
Your humans are obviously very cat friendly but in that lies the danger. When will it stop? First the yellow cat, now Fiel (why isn't his humans feeding him?). Goodness knows what will happen next. More starving strays? Then kittens. They will have to call in SNIP, the Society for Neutering Islington's Pussies.
My advice to you is to start being more vigilant. Humans often slip into cat addiction and it may just be that your humans are in danger of this. Moderate recreational feeding of cats is one thing: cat addiction is another. It is an illness which can lead to the horror of 25 cats in the house.
Make your position clear, Arabella. And, should more cats turn up, co-operate with the yellow cat and Fiel to see them off. Enough's enough.
Yours
George.
PS. I am none too keen on Siamese. Miss Ruby Fou, who wrote me a letter made it clear she thought I was just an alley cat. Very nose-in-air,I thought.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Microchipping humans and feline oscar nominations

This week I have been busy doing a guest blog for SureFlap on the need for a human flap and human microchipping. Click here to read it.

I have now turned to the important topic of honouring cats. Here are some more nominations for feline oscars, from cats that have featured in my column.
Taken from the top.

Sir Winston on the left. That nose with its darkened stripes. Those green slanting eyes. And the fur in his ears...... Forget George Clooney. This is just the most glamorous male in catdom.





Fluffy and Cayene are nominated because they don't give a stuff about Oscars. They just chill out.....















Scaramouche is nominated for his very beautiful brow and nose, making perhaps the perfect profile of a cat. The













Lucy for her caring qualities. Lucy has looked after her human in a devoted way, seeing her through bereavement and major health problems. She adopted Jane
from Cats Protection three or four years ago and has been a responsible and loving pet owner.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The window at the bottom of the door....purrlease


Dear George
I know you recognise the difficulties I have been having with staff. (You may not be royal like me, but all cats are noble, n’est-ce pas?)
I’m afraid I have another problem. My human hostess seems to expect me to come and go through a window in the bottom of the door. She says it would be just like having my own key. Well George, I ask you, does HM Queen carry a key? No, she has a footman to open the door for her, and that is what I expect.
There is a teenager who lives here who is always rattling in and out of this window. Well really, he might be a burglar! I find it most disturbing, clatter wallop. And he looks most ungainly as he exits – really, I have no wish to display my posterior in such a manner. The hostess has tried to bribe me with food to use this window, but I have let her know that I shall just politely wait until the door is opened properly. There is a man here who could perfectly well act as footman – I know my hostess has encouraged him to learn from Downton, but he just fell asleep.
I am sure I am not alone in having this preference, George – as my special friend, do tell me what you think.
Yours affectionately
Natasha

Dear Natasha,
Opening doors as a footman or cat commissionaire is an essential part of a human's duty towards its cat. As you say, it is a question of class (cats are upper, humans are lower) or species status (cats are superior life forms; humans are inferior life forms).
Door keeping by a human is particularly important for those moments when we want to sit near the door frame and sniff the air, in order to decide whether we will go out or not. A good footman will wait for ten minutes while we make our decision.
This is a question of human training. The first problem is getting your would-be footman's attention. Homo sapiens (don't make me laugh) have flibbertigibbet minds, unable to concentrate on one thing, their duty to a superior species. They keep going off and wasting time with a plastic mouse and a screen. Or cooking. I have nothing against human cooking (handy for bits of chicken and so forth) but I don't want a human that cooks instead of keeping an eye out on the cat flap, or "the window at the bottom of the door" as you so correctly term it.
The trick is never ever to come through the cat flap when the human can see you doing it. Once they have seen you can manage this cat flap, they will feel empowered to keep you waiting outside. So do not use it. This refusal may involve waiting in the rain but purrsist. Wide-open mouth mewing and a pathetic look will help them recognise their duty to let you in. Finally, if they have made you wait, crawl in loudly mewing and shaking yourself as if shivering with cold. (In the unlikely event of UK hot weather, collapse on the kitchen floor panting.)
What is the basis of this training? It is Making Guilt Work. Guilt is a specifically human emotion, which makes humans feel uncomfortable on behalf of a victim. We cats don't do guilt but luckily for us, humans do. So, the aim is to wait outside looking unhappy in order to stir up this guilt emotion in your staff.
Purrsistency will win this one, Natasha.
Affectionately,
George
PS. When they are out you can come and go through the cat flap as you please, of course.
PPS. More cat photos for feline oscars next week.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

How can I deal with a bully?


Dear George,

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.

Bentley


Dear Bentley,

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.

George.

Friday, March 18, 2011

To shred or not to shred - for those who enjoy frills!


Dear George,

Why are humans so dysfunctional? Why are they in a sort of quasi-confusion state most of the time? The other day I was trying “to play” a game with my male human and obvious he didn’t understand the rules. I was quite bored so when he came home early I was very happy! I started playing “let me in” and “let me out” and it worked fine up to a point! And THAT POINT was when he didn’t open the door for me to let me in because he couldn’t remember if I was inside or outside! It was getting dark and cold and I was shivering outside in the snow. That’s when the female human came home and start calling my name. Of course I didn’t bother to answer! I was furious and I felt hurt!

They both started a frantic search! I hid under a neighbour porch ENJOYING every minutes of their despair. Soon they were joined by their son. I know he (the young male) loves me very, very much so I kind of jumped into his arms. They were overwhelmed by joy and happiness! I almost cried with joy myself but, hey! they deserved to be punished, right? So, once inside, I overcame my emotions and shredded a curtain to pieces!

They looked at me in disbelief. “Why?” – that’s what they asked. As I’m writing this letter they are still looking for answers and “remedies” (ha!ha!ha!) to avoid such things in the future! My question to you George is; should I shred more curtains or should I shred some furniture?

CAT Victoria


Dear CAT Victoria,

First a few words about training your doorman. Naturally you want him to stand at the door like a hotel commissionaire to let you in and out, at the times of your choice. What are humans for? I have a perfectly good cat flap but I still train Celia to let me in and out, as required, because I prefer it that way. I also like sitting at the open door, surveying my outdoor territory while keeping my backside warm from the expensive heat which issues from the house.

Just crank up the door training, Cat. The memory loss sounds rather alarming. Is it just that your human, like all humans, has limited cognitive function? Or do you think there is something wrong with him? Forgetting that you were out in the snow is really, really bad. He is lucky to have got away with merely an altered curtain.

Redecorating the house with frills is always a pleasant option for us cats. In an ideal world we have frilled wallpaper at cat height, frilled furniture, frilled bedsteads, and frilly curtains. Lovely. Warms a cat's heart to see the artistic effort that has gone into the scratching. I particularly enjoy walking past and ignoring the costly scratchpost. Then I look at her, and deliberately stroll towards the back of the armchair nearby for a good scratch.

Like you, territorial problems (being shut out, new neighbouring cat etc) seem to set off the scratching side of my nature. It is as if any insecurity brings out the artist in me, and makes it even more imperative than usual to mark my territory. No wonder, after such a distressing experience in the snow, you wanted to scratch the curtains. Such behaviour is natural for us cats, and, frankly, humans should put up with it.

Instead, they tend to resort to unpleasant devices such as Stickypaws or double sided carpet tape which they place on curtains or soft furnishing. It's very unpleasant and I personally stop scratching when Celia puts it on. About a month later, she decides it looks horrible (as indeed it does), and takes it off believing I won't scratch there again. Then I prove her wrong with a really long scraaaaatch.... Gotcha, you dumb human animal.

It's not all fun and games caring for this inferior species. They can be very irritating at times. So go shred some more curtains.

George

PS. My sympathies to Fredericon on the loss of his companion rabbit. See comments below.

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