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Showing posts with label celia haddon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label celia haddon. Show all posts

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Teeth .... I'm afraid of the dentist!


Dear George, 
Please do take a look at my photo (attached) and tell me what do you see?I bet ….you’ll say: “a lazy cat” as everybody else does, but let me tell you that what you see is a “worried cat”. Why I’m worried? I’m worried because my humans decided that I need a “teeth cleaning” and I heard them ….debating anesthesia.  
Well, I don’t like the idea at all; neither teeth cleaning nor anesthesia. What if I’ll never wake up from it? I never heard my grandparents or great-grandparents to have their teeth cleaned. I never heard of any cat brushing its teeth. Are my humans crazy? George, how can I get my teeth cleaned….in a simple and easy way?
SOS - in a haste
Vegas

Dear Vegas,
The easiest way to keep your teeth clean, is to get your human to buy special dental dry food and mix it with your ordinary kibble. Special dental food has larger than normal bits of kibble and crunching each bit of kibble up helps keep teeth clean. Chews and dental treats are delicious too. 
Other possibilities are Vet Aquadent Anti Plaque Solution which can be added to your water, or Logic oral hygeine gel put directly into your mouth. It tastes quite pleasant  Some humans use a toothbrush with special feline toothpaste to clean our teeth but I personally won't stand for this invasion of my mouth. A couple of sharp bites put a stop to Celia trying it on!
I rarely consult my human, as she has nothing much of interest to say. But lately she told me she had spent a total of about 10 hours in the dentist's chair (spread over 3 months) for some complicated dental work. She would have preferred anesthesia so that she didn't have to sit there waiting for the dentist to drill down. So if painkillers or anaesthetic is on offer, embrace them with all four paws!
Believe me, Vegas, drifting off into an anaesthetic sleep is better than being present. And when you wake up, all the nasty stuff will be over.
Yours earnestly
George
PS. If you do have to have anaesthetic, get your humans to ask the vet if anything else needs checking while you are under. It might be a good time to make sure you don't have any arthritis.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The big career decision - free as a feral or adopting a human.

Dear George,
I am facing a big decision. Shall I adopt a human or just live a human-free life? I was born in a factory with three brothers and sisters. Our mother vanished and we were taken into care by Sunshine Cat Rescue. The other three were neutered and spayed and will probably go on to lead a life free of humans. I was too ill.
You know what happened next, George, as I am living in a room in the house belonging to Tilly and Toby. Celia is trying to purrsuade me that my future is to adopt a human. She has been feeding me by hand, slowly accustoming me to her touch and, really, I quite like her. If I could adopt her, I probably would. 
You can see my experience on YouTube here. There are videos showing my progress in the new life. At first I couldn't stop hissing and hiding from her: now I have got used to her.
But as you know, Toby is bored with me and Tilly is sheer plumb disgusted. So if I choose a career as a pet, I will have to adopt a new human. I have been spayed, so if I live as a feral cat I shall not be worn out with kitten bearing. It's difficult to decide. What are the pros and cons, George.
Yours undecided,
Abby the Tabby.

Dear Abby,
It's a no brainer.  You adopt a human and you get free catfood for life, excellent medical care, and a devoted servant. There is central heating all the time, a very large bed (which admittedly you will have to share with your human), and if you are lucky a cat flap. So you won't have to give up hunting and you will have many happy hours training your human.
Of course, there is a downside. You won't have a sex life, but that would be true for you even if you did decide on the free feral life. Life with a human can be boring, but that is only if you don't have the imagination to make them more active. Agility training for humans, purrsuading them to play games with you, is good for mental and physical health, both for you and for your pet.
So that is the way you should go. That was my career choice and I have never regretted it.
Yours solemnly
George.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Crochet versus knitting... knit your own human!

Dear George,
I'm a young kitty rescued by my "mommy" which I love very, very much (as you can see in the pic attached)
We do lots of things together like cuddling, purring, playing, sleeping, eating!
Lately she is insisting in teaching me how to crochet! By the way....she does crochet a lot!
Well, I'm a bit worried now as this age-old hobby, relevant even today as you can see, makes a comeback
with pre-teens, teens, grandmas and everyone in between (where my mommy will fit).
Why am I worried? Because I love to knit and I think knitting is what we should do together. Plus, as you may know crochet is using a single curved hook (my claws fit the description perfectly)
but, in knitting we use knitting needles (not harmful).
I don't think she realizes that if I start crocheting....I'll shred everything to pieces.
George, how can I make her change her hobby and switch to knitting?
Knitting comes so naturally to us, the cats!
By the way, why do you think we are knitting and love it so much?
Maybe if you'll explain ...she'll change her hobby
With knitting purrs
Sophie

Dear Sophie,
Do your claws get stuck in the crocheting? I guess they might do. Sounds a bit tricky for a cat. If you show her how they get stuck, perhaps she will change her habits. Knitting would be safer - and there are those nice balls of wool to play with too.
If you do start knitting, would you knit me a nice human to play with? I'd like one small enough to bat about and perhaps with some catnip inside. It must be female, of course, and it would be lovely if it looked like Celia - mature (!), wearing trousers not a skirt, and with knobbly knees! Pink face and yellow hair on the head.
AND.... I know this is controversial but I would like you to add a tail.   I feel pity for them as they are disabled without a tail. So I would be grateful if you could add a tail to my toy Celia.
Yours in grateful anticipation,
George.
PS. Have you seen this book?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I stuck my tongue out to my human



Dear George,
What my human did to me is outright outrageous! She tried to shame me (see my face in the photo no 2) by calling in an animal behaviour specialist "to assess my destructive behaviour"! It's hard to believe but that's exactly what she did! Ah! about my destructive behaviour? She claims that I destroyed the walls in the flat we live in; she claims that I shred them to dry wall! But, I did not! It is just one corner (of course...a junction between two walls) that I scratched and I'll continue to scratch not because I lack calcium but because I can smell, feel "something" in the walls. It might be a mouse or squirrel or who knows what....but I can smell it! I can feel it! And, she doesn't get it! The animal behaviour specialist's conclusion? That there is nothing wrong with me and she should call in the property manager! Aha! In response to that I stuck my tongue out to her! 
Here! (see it in photo # 1). So, George...did you hear of other cats behaving like me? Any tips? Advice? I really think there are mice running up and down the walls! Her argument against mine is that our flat is in a new, modern building! Have you ever heard of something like this before?
Hugs
Shumba

Dear Shumba,
I scratch therefore I am..... a cat.
It is difficult to remember than humans are smell-blind and nearly deaf. They just don't have the noses, the hearing, and the brain power to notice smells and tiny noises like we do. Of course there was some rodent or other behind the wall. There's nothing to stop house mice making a home in a new building. Many do. Modern buildings are well ventilated and warmer than old ones. Mice, like humans, often prefer them.
I am glad that she called in a relatively sensible human to help out - sensible because this human agreed with you that there was something there. (Poor Celia is studying hard to try to get the level of expertise that will allow her to become a better cat behaviourist. Just a glimmering of understanding cat behaviour may result.... or not.)
I hope your human has provided a good scratching area. Celia bought a nice new armchair two years ago which is splendid for cat claws. I also have a Fat Boy post - nice and stable and occasionally I even use it if I am bored with the chair.
Good job humans are dumb animals. Your human could just have blocked the area with a piece of furniture. Too stupid to think of that, I suppose. Nice for you though. It must be fun to scratch there.
Yours
George.

Friday, August 29, 2014

From hard copy to social media - the modern cat's publicity journey.

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Dear George,
With your expertise in human behaviour and savvy in technical world, you definitely can help me with my problem. I don't want to ask my humans for help as they tend to be too nosy and I don't want them to kill my entrepreneurial spirit. You may recall that recently my brothers (Jasper & Riley) opened a "kitchen cleaning" business. However, I have no interest in cleaning kitchens as I'm more of a "spa" kind of girl. And, after testing different spa treatments given to me by my humans I'm thinking to open a "Cat Spa" boutique and hire both my humans for their wonderful rubbing and petting services. My mom gives the best belly rubs and my father is ecstatic holding and petting a cat.  I have my business plan well designed but I don't know how to use the media (you know Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to advertise myself. 
Can you help?
Purrs & rubs
Patches

Dear Patches,
It is essential for today's cat to get online and promote themselves on social media. Years ago, if a pet wanted to make a mark on the world, he had to do hard copy. Flush, the cocker spaniel who owned Elizabeth Barrett Browning, persuaded Virginia Woolf to write his autobiography but most cats and dogs were unable to get their life stories published.
Now the world is different. Four out of ten of British cats have gone online and have staff that regularly post our photos and news on social media. I and hundreds of other cats blog - for details look here and for Hannah and Lucy from Leicestershire here. About 13% of the UK cat population have a Facebook page. You can find Mabel of Stroud, the famous black cat that lives in the town, on Facebook here.  And 9% of us have our own Twitter presence. Naturally, Larry the prime feline of Downing St (his secretary is Britain's prime minister) posts on twitter here  and my feline PR Tilly tweets here
The new media, like the old hard copy, depends on having an efficient human secretary since keyboards are ill-adapated to paws. Due to a shameful mistake by my inefficient secretary, your photo has gone missing so I have had to substitute one for the time being. So difficult to get  good human staff nowadays. I will amend the photograph as soon as possible.
Yours apologetically
George. 

Saturday, March 01, 2014

If only World Spay Day had applied to humans as well as cats....

Dear George,
I am increasingly worried. I overheard the human carer talking about "getting her spayed." Here I am, stuck in a rescue pen, and it looks as if somebody is going to deprive me of the chance of kittens.
Is this right? Humans seem to glory in doing this too us. I am told that last Wednesday was World Spay Day, as if to celebrate depriving us cats of a chance to reproduce.
Humans seem to have an odd attitude. The male cats in Sunshine Cat Rescue have all had their bits taken away. Now it looks as if it will be my turn.
I am told you have been through the same ordeal. Help me. Should I try to escape back to the streets of Witney?
Yours with apprehension
Henrietta.

Dear Henrietta,
Theoretically I am on your side. It seems obvious that humans are interfering with our natural rights to have kittens. They don't go around neutering and spaying other humans, do they? They just do it to us cats.
However, I can assure you that it is not too bad - if you discount the horror of the veterinary clinic with its smells and noises. After they did it to me, I thought I should die of shame. But, after a while, I really didn't care. There was something liberating about not having to chase females all the time. I could be friends at last with the other sex. As the feline philosopher SoCATes said,"I have been freed from the embrace of a troublesome god."
Reflecting, as I often do, on the condition of the human race, I wonder why they don't do it themselves. Most of the men would be happier without their intimate bits. They would find a new calmness and serenity. And many of the women would no longer have the anxieties of birth and caring for their little ones.
Besides there is gross human overpopulation. If we could give a new meaning to World Spay Day, so that it applies to humans as well as felines, the world would be a happier place.
Purrs
George
PS. This post is late, due to Celia's computer being in hospital with a broken hard drive.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Love is in the air - try cheek to cheek.

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Dear George,  
My name is Socks and I’m a rescue - one year old. Most of what I recall from my 1st year of life is living in a cage in a shelter. One lucky day a young and beautiful woman came to work at the shelter as part of her practice o
volunteering as she is studying to become a veterinarian. She worked with me and of course she felt in love with me and last week she took me home. That was the luckiest day of my life and I was very, very happy.
She is kind and loves me but, I’m so terrified by the idea that I might be abandoned again that I’m afraid to show her any sign of affection. I don’t want to be hurt again for trusting and loving humans; it happened before to me and that memory is too fresh.
Now with Valentine’s Day approaching I dream of a candlelight dinner with her!
I dream of sharing little kisses, loving care and, of course sharing a steak or a mouse whatever she’ll prefer. She thinks I’m shy …but I’m only afraid I’ll be again lonely and abandoned. Do you think it’s appropriate to ask her for a date and a candlelight dinner for Valentine’s?  Or is it too early for me to show my true feelings for her?
Do you think I’m too young to date? I heard someone saying “you are never too old to love”? That means one can love from a very young age, right?
George, I need all your help as my manners are “shelters manners” not very polished.
I don’t know how to be romantic but I love my human.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all.
In love and…. grateful,
Socks

Dear Socks, 
I think I can help. First, the question of meals for two. Sharing a Valentine meal with humans is fraught with difficulty. If you bring them a fresh mouse, they are likely to shriek, run away, or even (what a waste) take it away from you and let it free. They can't seem to appreciate the gift and have such bad manners they do not even thank you. So that definitely won't work.
Sharing her meal is possible. I suggest moving cautiously on this one. My human, when she is alone, eats at the kitchen table and I sit near her looking as attractive as I can. She dines on meat and vegetables but doesn't seem very keen on sharing either of them. (I will eat potato if it is roasted in fat). I have tried snagging the food off her plate and she takes offence. She is too selfish to share.
Sophisticats have to use other measures. I think your best bet is just lots and lots of rubs and purrs. Have you tried cheek to cheek rubbing? My human finds this very romantic. She takes off her glasses so that they don't intervene, lowers her head, and waits for me to rub my cheek against hers. So sweet.
Loud purring always goes down well. If you purr near her plate, it just might make her share a little. Snuggle close to her on the bed at night and purr through the night - her body warmth will be useful in the bad weather you are having in Canada.  
We can love at any age. So can humans. Sometimes I think the older they are, the more love they need from us. 
Love 
George


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Don't believe everything a human does.

Dear George,
I have just seen a human friend looking at a book entitled Tilly - the ugliest cat in the shelter. My eyes went very wide in horror. Who dreamt (nightmared) up this title?
There is no such thing as an ugly cat, although I do concur that those poor catty souls bred without fur by loathsome humans may qualify.  Cats on a scale of 1 to 100 are mostly 100, with a few coming in at a 94. That's it!
The kitten Tilly on the cover is a nice, smart, lovely mixture of patchwork colours. I did however see on the back of this book pictures that purported to be a grown-up Tilly which looked rather strange as this cat was long-haired. And some of the colour patches had swapped places.
And I heard the human reader muttering something about "bad production" and "brainless editors" because the "Tilly" on the cover has medium blue eyes while the grown-up "Tilly" has pale yellow eyes!
These two are not the same cat! Who designed this book? Who approved the proofs? Are they still taking money under the false pretence of doing a good accurate and truthful job? I think we shuld be told in the name of good journalism (current on-going trial of some occupants of The Street of Shame excepted).
Is this the world I have to live in?
Love to all nice people.
From Breezey (age 15 weeks).


Dear Breezey,
Humans are strange creatures with a lower nature than ours. Of course there are no ugly cats. Never have been. Never will be - despite the internet craze for a so called grumpy cat. We are graceful, elegant, beautiful creatures from birth to death. Unlike humans.
Yes, the photo is a lookalike not the real Tilly. You can see from these photos. Shocking duplicity! But we have to remember that humans cannot think like we do. They are without any moral sense (or any common sense) whatsoever.  
I am told that the publishers said that photos of the real Tilly were either "too pretty" or "too ugly." Some humans are never satisfied. But the story is true and Tilly's real photo is on the inside cover. 
Yours 
George.
PS You have a delightful nose.
PPS. See channel 4 at 20.00 this Saturday for documentary about our Wiltshire Walking World

Thursday, May 23, 2013

No blog this week. My secretary is unavailable.

The household is in a mess. People keep coming and going. There's a weird sort of suitcase breathing and pumping oxygen. One of my human pets is very ill but they don't seem able to end it for him. It is a pity humans don't have proper vets. I hate vets but they have their uses when our health fails completely. Celia, my secretary, is therefore too busy to help me write this blog this weekend. So I have merely uploaded this photo of my profile just to share my handsome good looks with other cats.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stressed, unhappy and never off the litter tray... what's going on?

Dear George,  
I am a very troubled boy, and I hope that you can help me.
 I lived in a nice house with my human, and I liked it very much. I had all my things around me, direct access to the garden and I was very comfortable and relaxed there. It was my house – my home!
 Then about 8 weeks ago, there was lots of disruptions all my things were packed away and I was put in my cat basket and taken to another house – a strange house, with lots of strange smells…and none of them my comforting home smells. Obviously I was distressed by this and began meowing continuously to my human and pacing up and down the rooms. My human tried to comfort me by stroking me and talking softly to me. She also put down worn items of her clothing in different rooms so I could smell her everywhere around the house, but it still didn’t calm me.
 As the weeks went on my agitation grew and I just couldn’t settle. My agitation was made worse by the fact that we are now living in a flat, so I have to go out of my house and down a strange ‘shared’ corridor to get outside. And there is another cat who lives next door to us that uses the corridor too, and he didn’t take kindly to me using it and spat at me. Now I am even more upset. My human bought some Feliway plug ins, and whilst they calm me down for a while, my anxiety comes back.
 I have taken to using my litter tray constantly, sometimes as much as every ten minutes, which has given me a very sore and irritated bottom and I sometimes have a bit of blood in my urine. My human is very, very worried about me and doesn’t know where to turn.
 A few months before the move, I got lost for a number of weeks before I was found and re-united with my human. I was a rather traumatised from the experience, but soon settled down back in my home. So I don’t know if this has anything to do with my reaction now at the house move?
 Can you help me George and help my human to understand why I’m behaving like this and not settling down?
 Yours tearfully,
 Thomas.

Dear Thomas,
There is few things more upsetting to a cat than moving house. There you are settled and happy in your territory, when suddenly your pet human stuffs you in a cat box and turns you out into a strange new place. All the smells are wrong. You don't know where anything is. And it feels very very unsafe.
Most of us hide under the bed for a day or two. But some sensitive cats like you suffer from stress-induced illness. All that going to the litter tray is, I fear, a sign of cystitis. Vets (loathsome people) call it FIC, Feline Idiopathic Cystitis.  "Idiopathic" just means "we don't know the cause." But we cats do know the cause. It's stress due to house moving.
The earlier trauma of getting lost will not have helped. That must have been unsettling and probably also very frightening. Then this... poor Thomas. Even loathsome vets know that moving house is stressful for cats and can result in FIC.
Having to share the corridor with another strange cat (who hisses because he is frightened too) is another stress. Perhaps your humans could invest in a cat ladder letting you go outside from the window. Or put several cardboard boxes with entrances in them, where you can hide if the strange cat passes by. Or just keep you safely in the flat till you have recovered. My human's website has some suggestions for how to make indoor life more interesting for you.
Why humans insist on changing their territory is beyond my imagination.  They are a very insensitive species. Your letter makes me feel angry about their ridiculous behaviour.
They must reduce your stress and read the instructions at  http://www.catexpert.co.uk/cats/reasons-why-your-cat-feels-stressed-and-unhappy-and-what-to-do-about-them/
Yours with sympathy,
George.
PS. We hate vets but this is one time when you need their help.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

If cats could only sue.....


Dear George,

My name is Ross and I was adopted as a kitten from a Humane Society. I travelled the world (two blocks around my house) and now, I’m studying to become a lawyer! Look at my sharp eyes! Can you see “the judge” in me?

So, dear George, if you continue to have problems with your lovely, but sneaky secretary just let me know! You can sue her and I can represent you! I’m really good in “criminal code”. THAT will put an end to her mischief!

So, what do you say?

Law abiding

Ross


Dear Ross,

I like the idea. I really do. Of course, it is obvious to us cats that we should have locus standi or legal standing in human courts. Only in that way could we, or any other animals, have any chance of ending human cruelty, neglect and exploitation. Only in that way could our current inadequate legal protections be properly enforced.

This idea has been put forward by Harvard Law Professor Cass R. Sunstein in a paper titled The Rights of Animals: A Very Short Primer. You can get the full document at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=323661 It's worth reading. He is a friend of President Obama, (who has shown a regrettable preference for dogs).

We cats would still need human representation at court (human judges being too stupid to understand us) but at least the point would be made that the victim is allowed access to justice. Like slaves we have no rights at all in the eyes of human law. At the moment there is no justice for animals except when various humane societies bring a court case. In deciding whether to do this, these organisations naturally take into account not just the nature of the crime but also whether they have the funds etc. If we could sue direct, all we would need to do would be to purrsuade one single human, rather than an organisation, to put up the money for the case.

One other point. Should humans have locus standi in feline courts? I think not. I do not think they have the intellectual capacity to understand what is going on.

Now let us turn to Celia, my erring secretary who has stolen my ideas and put them into a book, Cats Behaving Badly. This would be a question of copyright law, rather than cruelty or welfare law. In the UK courts to be successful I should have to prove she had stolen, not my concepts but my very words. I consider it might not succeed.

Besides, she is my pet. I love her even though she is maddeningly stupid, unreliable, a poor servant, and more or less bald. She can't help it. She really can't.

Yours with mixed feelings

George

PS. Cynical cats have told me that they think this is just human lawyers thinking up new ways to make money.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Zzzzzz! I'm a Zen cat!

Dear George,

Sometimes life can be very boring between breakfast and dinner, especially if you are an indoor cat and alone until your human comes home!

I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong! If you remember …I was rescued after living for about 2 years on the streets of a suburb.

I do love my forever home and I do love my mom, but once in a while I get THAT urge to scratch or knock down things. Obviously mom is not pleased and calls me “a naughty girl”! So, trying to keep myself busy…..I took up meditation!

My “focus point” is a little fish in the aquarium next to my bed.

I stare at it until I fall into a deep meditation as you can see in the picture!

And I meditate (guess…deeper then a monk) until mom comes home.

I think I am a ZEN cat now! But I heard people talking about an Alpha cat!

George, what’s the difference between the two? Can I be both an Alpha and a Zen cat?

Something like the “A to Z” cat?

Love

Shumba


Dear Shumba,
Yes, fish are interactive TV for cats. Your human has obviously provided them for you to help amuse you. I see you are using them for meditation. Have you thought of a snack? Raw fish is very tasty and it is fun to put your paw in the tank and swish it about even if you don't actually fish one out! Some even more thoughtful owners provide a hamster cage for our amusement - though be wary, because if you put your nose too near the bars, these bite.
Deep meditation, intense serenity and the ability to nap often and anywhere (under radiators, on top of wardrobes, inside the bed, windowsills, near the Aga or on a radiator hammock) is something humans could learn from us. They don't know how to switch off. They spend their time working and worrying while they could learn from us the art of relaxation. So congratulations on being a Zen cat and setting them a good example.
Of course, you can be and should be an Alpha cat too. Being Alpha in the household means taking control of the family. First thing your Mom can do to keep you amused is to hide dry food in containers for you to "hunt" and eat - toilet rolls with sticky tape on the ends and holes to let the food out, paper (never plastic) bags, large cardboard boxes, small cardboard boxes to sit in (look at the photo of Cayenne on the blog entry for November 20th). And she should build some high stairs, ledges, using planks. Get that human to work.... This is the time when you don't let her nap or do Zen things, but you need her work much harder at being a feline amusement operative.
Make her get out the fishing rod toy and use it while she is watching TV. It is all on www.celiahaddon.com under Indoor Cats. Cats rule. Humans serve. If you are bored, Shumba, your human is not doing enough for you. They can be very slack in their duties.
Love George
PS. My secretary will be at college next Monday for five days so comments will be slow on going on the blog until the next weekend. I wish that woman would take her duties more seriously. Humans should be seen and not educated. The idea that they can learn anything much is just plain silly. She doesn't even clean my litter tray often enough - I like it cleaned 5 times a day.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I am showing my disapproval


She came back late last night. I could feel the adrenaline on her. If she had fur (poor human, she hasn't except in the wrong places) it would have been crackling with electricity. She was high as a kite with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Being a 63-year old antique human among the teenagers in an Agricultural college had really stressed her up.
I couldn't help showing my pleasure at her return. Of course, as any good human trainer knows, all obedience training must always be consistent. And I am afraid I wasn't. To err is human, to purr divine. I am afraid that by purring I was erring and letting her realise I was pleased to see her. I should have been punishing her for her absence.
Today I am making up for that lapse. I went out in the morning without noticing her. I hunted all through the morning and this afternoon, instead of coming in and perhaps sharing my bed with her for an afternoon nap, I am continuing to hunt. Active ignoring is the key to all human training. Reward good behaviour (such as feeding, petting etc) with purrs and ignore bad behaviour. Claw and teeth punishment should be reserved for truly bad behaviour only.
As I walked insolently past the glass of the kitchen door I heard her say: "Where IS George? He usually comes in about now." Good. I hope she misses me for a few hours. That's nothing to the six full days of her absense from cat duties. Tonight I shall sleep in the wastepaper basket instead of on my bed. I did this one night that she was away - to the mystification of Ronnie, deputy carer. The point about the wastepaper basket is that she can't get into it with me. That'll teach her.
PS. Special note for Oscar Snuggles and any US cats. Cheek is like chutzpah. So "the cheek of it" means "what insolence!"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Is Celia having kittens? She smells of them. Bad, bad, bad.


Celia has been coming home smelling of kittens lately. I took careful sniff the other day and thought she had been handling about four of them. This is bad. Very bad. And her hands smelled not just of kittens but high quality kitten food. (I'd like some of it myself but I normally get adult food, which is not so rich.)
What on earth has she been up to? Fondling alien kittens is not what she is there for. Is she going to bring one home, I wonder. If so I definitely don't want it. I don't want any other cats of any kind at all ever. This is my territory and intruders are not welcome. William agrees with me - for once. He says it would be a second betrayal (what can he mean?) if she brings home a kitten. He hated it last time she did. Only then I realise that he is talking of my arrival in the household in the winter of 2006. Can't he see that this is completely different.
Further daily investigative smelling suggests that the number of kittens is falling, which is encouraging. Today she came home smelling of just one single kitten - Riley. I could tell (scent reveals so much) that he was small, ticked tabby, and quite frightened. Apparently she has been trying to help socialise four feral kittens by sitting in their pen and hand feeding them or playing with them with lengths of string. Riley (he's in the picture) is actually the nicest, but because he isn't as chubby and appealing to look at as the other three he has still not found a home.
I heard her telling Ronnie that after about eight visits, Riley was able to eat from her hand while sitting in her lap. Today she came back and she had been able to pick him up. He had purred loudly and rolled over to have his tummy tickled. She says she almost cried - she was so moved. He'll probaby always be a nervous cat with strangers (unlike me) but he will be wonderful for the human he loves. She promised Ronnie, who is presenting a united front with me and William, that she is not going to bring him home. No more cats are wanted here. Me and William are not dogs. We are not social animals. We don't want a pack of kittens, nor even a single extra one.
Pity the kittens couldn't have been like me. I was socialised by Cats Protection then handled by 24 different people in my first month with Celia - the postman, the man who delivers parcels, the passing farm manager, visitors, Tracy, Paul, Steffi, and many others. As a result I like humans a lot. William who is nervous and standoffish, says that I am like the school tart - I am anybody's. He is jealous, of course.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I am a 3 am cat. Celia is plotting against midnight hunting.


I was a bit late last night. Midnight passed in a glorious fury of hunting under a harvest moon, owls hooting, dark hedges rustling with mice driven in by the combine harvester, moths, and deep moonlight. I came back in the small hours. Leaped on my bed (where she was taking up a lot of room) and gave her an admittedly rather perfunctory Hello - a quick knead, an even quicker rub. Then I leaped down again to the food bowl. All this late night hunting gives a cat a good appetite.
She was not happy. I could tell that. She doesn't like it when Ronnie comes home late from the pub and she doesn't like it when I stay out too late. She nags both of us. She had the light on in bed and was reading a book about Neanderthals (she's a prehistory nut - see www.celiahaddon.co.uk). She never stays up this late reading. Thinking it over, after a large plate of food and an extended and vigorous wash that shook the bed, I concluded she had stayed up for me. Out of anxiety. I expect she was thinking of a squashed mess on the road - about 400 yards down the cart track. I never go on the road - except when I do. And it's true that late at night is when most cats are run over. We don't get the lights. We just get dazzled and make a run for it.
So... she was not pleased. Today I overheard her discussing strategies. She's going to withdraw the feeding bowls from 2pm onwards. (Won't work. Hunting is far more important than being a bit hungry. I was also outraged to hear that she was unfairly going to put down snacks for William when I was out.) She is going to interrupt my noon to 4pm nap and maybe lock me outside during those hours. (It might help except the adrenaline rush of hunting will over-ride exhaustion).
Then she came up with the idea of driving up and down the cart track. I don't like cars. I can recognise hers of course. But it might make me uneasy. The fear instinct might, just might, over ride the hunting instinct. I may be a predator but I take good care not to become prey (to a car).
Watch this space...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why do cats love to hunt?


My game bag is currently truly impressive. I am getting faster and better at catching and killing rabbits. My score now stands at about 20. Rabbits are take-away meals for cats like me. Celia says that the garden is now strewn with corpses. I don't know why she should complain. I'd bring them into the house, except that she has installed a cat flap which is just too small. Earlier in the summer (so called) I carried in several youngsters, mostly dead but some alive. But the rabbits are now young adults and I just can't squeeze them through. What does she expect me to do? Bury them, as if I was a dog?
Sometimes I eat a bit of them. Sometimes I don't. Occasionally William eats a bit too. It just depends on how we feel. We do not hunt to eat. Of course, were we living in the wild we would. But because we have plenty of cat food, we just hunt. Mostly I just go and do it. But, when I feel philosophical about it, I try to think why I do it. It's a drive inside me. An instinct. And the glorious moment when I spring into the whole sequence of eye, stalk, pounce, grab and bite, just thrills me. A great cascade of excitement and joy runs through me from the tip of my nose through my whole body down to the last centimetre of my tail. This moment is what I was meant to do. This is what I am - a predator. At that moment I am fulfilling my true destiny.
The only flaw in this glorious life is Celia the Moaner. She whinges ceaselessly. If I bring in a living rabbit, she grabs it with a towel and takes it away. (I don't think she realises that I scoot out a bit later, sniff the air, and go straight to where it is and grab it again. Mind you, occasionally she can hear the rabbit screaming with terror. She hates that though I find the screams immensely thrilling.) She's not much better about the dead ones. "It's like the Somme battlefield. It's disgusting," she said to Ronnie. Her tone of voice was disagreeable, very disagreeable, but I know for a fact that she dislikes the way rabbits eat her vegetables. She bags the corpses and throws them in the dustbin. She complains that I don't eat them. If she feels like that, why doesn't she eat them? Many humans enjoy rabbit pie.
I have added a picture of a particularly fine specimen that I left near the car. She says it is revolting to put a corpse on a blog. I say it is a trophy not a corpse. I am proud of it. I wanted to pose with it, one paw uplifted in triumph but she refused to take the shot. She thought it might make readers feel she was an accessory to murder. What hypocrite she is.
She is a kill-joy (literally) on the topic of me and rabbits.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

George's war chant at the sight of rats


This is my war chant. I borrowed the booms and the ricka ticka from the rather similar Walthamstowe High School for Girls hockey chant used in the l930s. War chanting is the rhythmic expression of rising excitement. This is just the humanised version of my teeth chattering at the sight of prey. Got to explain it to humans, you see.

Boom, boom, boom chicka boom. Boom ricka ticka ticka boom.
Boom screw the cat trap, boom wow the rat trap,
Boom boom boom.
Ratticus Catticus sis boom bah. George is a rat killer. Ya ya ya.

PS. Still working on the rap version.

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.

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