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Showing posts with label dogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dogs. Show all posts

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Mini Me - I have found my new home all by myself.

Dear George, 
I literally woke up the other day in front of a gate! I don’t know how I got there! 
 All I recall is that I was sleeping in my human kitten’s room the night before. 
Why was I left all alone in front of this gate I had no idea! Have I been dumped by my humans? It looked like it! But why? Well, I puffed up my chest and pushed the gate open! Wow! To my complete surprise I’ve met (behind that gate) “my maxi size me” (as you can see in the photo attached). Well, this “Maxi size me” was confused too as he was staring at me like I was his “mini size him”. At this peak of confusion his humans appeared and after few laughs they absolutely adopted me on spot! I felt immediately welcomed into their lives! I soon learned that there are two other cats and a dog living in the house. Everybody is very nice to me so far! But now…what? What should I do?  
What should I expect? And how do I secure my place in their hearts so I won’t be dumped again? 
ME (just “Mini Me”….I don’t have a name yet)

Dear Mini Me, 
Congratulations on a successful pet human adoption. You have chosen your new family all by yourself, as many cats do. You need do no more for the time being - just settle in and relax. Enjoy the food and the warmth - it's cold out there without a house to live in.
Once you feel at ease, it is important to start training your humans and, of course, the dogs. Successful training (of dogs that are used to cats) means standing up for yourself, never retreating, and being ready to give a sharp scratch on the nose if a dog is being difficult. It is essential that the household cats are at the top of the family hierarchy.
Next training the humans. First, work out what you want - do you want to sleep in a lap? is there room on the bed you share with humans or would you prefer the warmth from sharing with one of the dogs? Can you keep your food bowl to yourself without dogs or larger cats interfering? Are there enough litter trays (one for each cat and perhaps one extra)? 
When you get what you want, purr as loud as you can. If that doesn't work, then do something cute. Laughter is always a good human response to cats. So, if your humans have done something you like, reward them with cute behaviour to make them laugh. 
They won't even realise they are being trained. That's the beauty of training humans. They have no idea that we are doing it. Dumb animals indeed!!
Yours
George 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

A “Cat proof house” - what does it mean exactly?

Dear George,
I’m Pepe! I’m now 11 weeks old and, of course brilliant; I was featured on your blog before (I’m one of the cute kittens born to a feral cat rescued by a nice human). 
I must admit I have a very happy kittenhood being loved and nursed by my biological mother, playing with my other four siblings and being taken care of by my foster human mommy. But! And there is a big BUT ….it looks like I’ll be adopted soon and I’ll go to my forever home which I’m sure it will be very nice! At the moment I’m totally confused and I need your help George to sort this out! I heard my foster mommy saying that she won’t let me go until the people have a “cat proof” home and prove their abilities and capabilities to take care of me and obey my orders! Hooray! I like that! So, it is my understanding that a “cat proof” home it’s something very safe for cats. My foster mommy worries so much about our safety that I had to mastermind a “cat safe” game which actually means playing with a ping pong ball in the bathtub (as you can see in the picture). But, my confusion come from the fact that I’ve heard one of our neighbours saying that she “burglar proof” her house when another neighbour said that were some “cat burglars” lately in the area! Just by listening to their chatting it made me think that I will never be able to get into my new home since it will be a “cat proof” house! That’s scary!  George, can you explain please? 
Totally cute….and confused 
Pepe 
Dear Pepe, 
A "cat proof" home? It could be that your foster mummy is looking for the ideal owner - a human who will serve you well, make sure you stay healthy, play games with you, give you proper health care no matter what the cost.....
Or it could be that she is looking for a home where you cannot roam and get lost. Here in the UK that can mean a home where you will always be indoors, not allowed to go out at all. If so, you will need plenty of things to do - places to climb, food dispensers to roll around, toys for play (ping pong balls are great) and humans who will play games with you every day.
Protectapet fencing
 

The other kind of cat-proof home is one where people have fenced in the garden properly. There are instructions how to do this at International Cat Care  There's also a good website which sells DIY fencing or who will come and fence your garden here.
So a cat proof home should be a good one. Have faith in your foster mum. She's doing a good job.
Yours
George
PS. There is only one kind of fencing to avoid - electronic fencing which gives an electric shock if you go over it. That kind of fencing doesn't stop dogs or predators coming into your territory: it just stops you going out of it. It's not safe for cats.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why is there so much animal abuse lately?



Dear George,
like to live my life in harmony & balance! I always thought that’s the right way and, silly me….I thought everybody else was thinking and feeling the same way! 
But I was wrong - lately there were lots of reports on animal abuse everywhere! 
What happened to humans? Why are they so cruel? My first human listed me on Kijiji 
I was lucky I was adopted by a kind human; usually no one knows what happens with the cats and dogs listed on such places. Usually they are bought to be abused and killed. 
Why are humans so sick? What happened to their soul and spirit?
Hoping for a miracle!
Gizmo

Dear Gizmo,
Human cruelty to animals is sickening. Here in the UK, an eighteen year old has just been convicted of torturing Jager, a Staffy dog, for a whole day - beating her, rupturing her liver, breaking her ribs, and burning her with a cigarette. He probably ended his torture play by strangling her - or so the RSPCA concluded after examining her battered dead body.
The magistrates sentenced him to a mere 18 weeks in jail and he will probably serve only half of that.
One of his family yelled in court: "He's only a kid and didn't know what he was doing' - which I think says something about the family he came from. The only sensible part of his sentence was that he has been banned from keeping animals for life. There's a petition asking for a longer sentence here.
Get justice for Jager.
Yours gloomily,
George  
PS. You look glamorous in that sink.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Is there a dog in the bag?.......


Dear George,
I need your advice on a sensitive subject. You know I’m a rescue who adopted this odd couple a while ago. My human pets have two human kittens who, of course, adore me! Last night while having supper I heard them talking about getting a dog who would fit in a bag! The truth is that the human kittens go to university and my human pets feel lonely and they need company, so they thought of getting a dog. I’m not getting into details here since it really doesn’t matter the size, breed, etc. All is good….as I’ll have more help to slave for me but, I think I should have some rules set up, don’t I? And, to get the rules right I need your help! Here is a list with what I have in mind. Please feel free to improve my list!
1)    No sniffing (can’t stand a dog sniffing at my behind)
2)     No mix and eat (meaning that the dog can’t have my food)
3)    Sofa time is all mine (dog needs a break…can sleep on the floor)
4)    No crazy running or chasing (I’m not a hound so I don’t race)
George, any other rule you can think of?

Leo

Dear Leo,
The only rule in my household is NO DOGS.  But I have Celia under a firm paw, and so she would not dare to add a dog.
However, it is always more difficult to get total obedience if you have several human pets, so you may have to put up with this invasion. Just thank the Big Cat Upstairs that it is doing to be a handbag dog - small enough for you to bully. (Yes, I dare say you could eat it, but that will really upset your humans!)
The rules you have forgotten are the most important rule of all. 
Rule One. The cat is Top Dog.
Rule TwoAuthority goes like this. Top Honcho, officer in command, is Leo. Humans are other rank, corporals, obeying commands from commanding officer. Dog is squaddy, ordinary soldier, obeying feline commands and human commands.
That's all you need to know. Instigate a claw and order regime from the start. Insolence or disobedience should be punished severely.
Yours 
George.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Guess who's coming to dinner...


Dear George,

You might remember the famous movie by the same name but my story is a bit different. We’ve recently moved in this posh neighbourhood where everything it’s nicer and greener! It was a nice, warm, late summer night and I was having dinner in the garden with my humans. I was watching my daddy turning the juicy steaks on the grill when we got unexpected guests! Guess… who? Of course, I’d be glad to share my dinner with Sidney Poitier or Katharine Hepburn but that wasn’t the case. Who was coming to my dinner? A family of racoons – mother, father and kids! All up on the fence. No excuse and no shame! As I was ready to charge towards them my mommy grabbed me and run into the house! And that ruined everything as I couldn’t protect my territory! Why would she do this? Now, how am I going to claim my territory back? I lost my appetite as you can see in the photo attached! George, how do get rid of unwanted guests?
By the way, it’s Thanksgiving in Canada! How am I going to enjoy it now ….knowing that these predators are nearby? Or maybe….in the spirit of thanksgiving I should feed them?
Happy Thanksgiving to all

Lenny

Dear Lenny,  
Patrol. Get to know your territory purrfectly. Every single morning I walk round to see who has visited in the night. There are various dangerous areas - the hedge near the old piggery, the box shrub in the garden, and any cars parked nearby. I spray urine on them all, to tell any visitors I have been there and also to post a marker to remind myself that this is a worrying area. And I sniff carefully to know who has visited.
There is the occasional fox (very frightening), the feral tom from the local barn (ear tipped so probably neutered), rabbits (yum yum), rats (a bit scary if they are large ones) and sometimes the cat from across the road who is visiting in search of rabbits. Luckily we don't get racoons in the UK.
A racoon - not a good neigbour
Don't even think of feeding these racoons. Make sure no cat food is left out by mistake. You don't want them getting too tame - maybe even coming in the house.  Racoons sometimes attack kittens and they can pass on diseases like rabies. Tell your humans to shoo them away from your territory. 
Keep safe is my message for Thanksgiving.
George.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The dog who saved a cat.


Dear George,

I’m not going to repeat my story as most of your blog followers know me by now but I want to introduce Hallie – the dog who saved me - she is such a goodhearted and beautiful girl. Around Christmas Hallie lost her “cat” who was her best friend. She suffered so much that her mommy (my mommy now too) had to come home with a cat who would befriend Hallie. When I arrived to my new home, Hallie was all too happy to see me but I wasn’t so sure.  I lived my life on the streets or in the pet food store until then. Of course I’ve seen dogs before but never lived with one. I was overweight and didn’t know how to play. Hallie and mommy taught me to play and have fun.  I lost the extra pounds soon and started having so much fun. Hallie even gifted me with her favorite couch – as you can see in the photo. The nickname of my new home is “harmony.” Everything and everybody is so nice, loving and lovely.

I know the saying that cats and dogs don’t get along but this is one example that actually we do. And Hallie is one smart and beautiful dog.

With gratitude

Bander

Dear Bander, 
Congratulations on your sensible relationship with Hallie. You are so obviously Top Cat. You have taken over her couch, as any self respecting cat would, and she is lying below you in a submissive posture. Quite right too. Cats should always look down on dogs.
I am so glad you have recovered the gift of play. Play is so important.  Dogs play in almost all circumstances but we cats can usually only play if we feel relaxed and happy enough. It comes of the fact that we are the more grown up than canines. Dogs are more likely to be permanently young at heart. Which is why they even look up to humans, can you believe it? Poor silly souls.
Happy endings are what I love most. So many of my friends like Tilly and Toby have gone through adversity and it is such a pleasure to read how they adopted a suitable human and achieved  happiness at last.
Yours
George
PS. Bad news.  Celia has decided to go North to the Shetland Islands to look at wild birds. She's not going to catch them, but just look. So she will not be available to type my blog next Saturday. I wish humans would not let us down like this.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Puppy alert!....ready for a claw and order programme.

Dear George,

Why humans are so unstable, never happy and always wanting something more or something else? Here is my story; I was rescued many years ago; my human found me hiding in a toolbox (hence my name) - a small, frightened kitten. He took me home and we have never ever been apart since, not even for one day. Even more, recently he went on buying this big house for me (we lived in a small apartment for many years). But, right when I'm about to enjoy my new paradise....I heard him saying that he'll bring home a puppy! I suspected that something might be wrong when he started coming home late and his cloths were smelling very strange. I can smell a rat ...but I can't smell a dog! I don't know what a dog smells like. And, above all, I don't want a puppy! What is a puppy good for? How can I live with a puppy in the house? I'm having a panic attack!

For now I got my "tools" out - as you can see in the picture (attached).

George, what should I do? Shred my human or the puppy?

All confused

Toolbox

Dear Toolbox,
I really feel for you....  Why do humans think things like puppies will make them happy? Why can't they be contented with cats. And why, oh why, don't they get it. We cats are not here to make them happy. They are here to make us happy. Who wants a puppy anyway?
To manage the situation you need to get your human to buy the right kind of puppy - a nice gentle breed like a labrador or spaniel, rather than a terrier or a chasing breed. Then, before the puppy arrives, get a crate. Put nice things in it so it becomes the puppy's den. That is where the puppy can be, while you are in the same room. (Or if your humans can't afford a crate, they must put a house line, a lead, on the puppy whenever it is in the same room as you).
The puppy must never ever ever be allowed to chase you. It it is allowed to do this, it may start seeing you as prey, and your future will be dire. You must be the puppy's master, top alpha cat, totally in charge. You must always be free to come and go, with high up places to get out of its way, and a little tray where you cannot be harassed.  Baby gates on the stairs might be a good idea too.
Yes, get those claws ready for discipline..... and don't let your humans stop you. 
Yours with sympathy
George

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Grass for your very own lawn -- a pre Christmas gift for indoor cats


Dear George.
I thought I'd show you my Christmas present from my people.......a U Beaut, fully turfed, indoor lawn!  Excuse the Aussie slang.....can't help it sometimes....
As I may have mentioned before, I am a total indoor cat, albeit with my own personal jungle gym in the form of rafters going up into the ceiling....but no grass. I have, from time to time mentioned this to my staff, and finally they have listened.
Friends have been laying turf around their house, and I have scored the off cuts.  The "garden" tray sits inside a water tray, so that in the heat we are currently enduring*, [particularly me, with the' full on' fur coat] the whole thing stays cool and fresh.
I consider this a stroke of genius from my people, and worthy of a mention on your blog, don't you? 
I have to keep The Dog off it, in case (silly animal that she is), she thinks it's to dig in. Hence it is up on two chairs.
It's  41.5 C  outside, and we are all melting......I even have it in me to feel sorry for the Dog, but not enough to share my lawn...what am I...daft? But I do share it with the wallabies when it grows too high. My people just put it outside and the wallabies mow it down.
I do hope your Christmas includes heaps of paper to be silly with, and a sparkly tree to mess up. This is my favourite time of year...can't wait!
Best Wishes
Chaos 

Dear Chaos,
Love the lawn. Don't even think of letting The Dog near it. This is a rare example of human intelligence (they can more or less think but they just don't most of the time) allied with careful feline training skills. Congratulations. 
Sigh.... Christmas again. I can never decide if I like it or not. On the one hand there are good kitchen treats - turkey trimmings, cream, gravy, butter (left out on the table), and the chance to bat the decorations hanging from the Christmas tree.
On the other hand there are the hazards - humans drinking too much of their liquid catnip substitute, strangers in the home that want to harass you with petting, human-kittens that may want to pull your tail, and a lot of noise from the TV. 
And - horror of horrors, humans who put silly hats on you. What I want for Christmas is turkey, some cat treats like Dreamies, and a nice warm place to sleep away from drunk humans or quarrelling families.... must be great to be in Oz where everywhere is warm.
I catch rabbits here. I'd love to have a crack at the wallabies.
Yours
George

Saturday, April 05, 2014

What the hell do my humans think they are doing - A DOG!


My portrait by my human Nancy
Well George,     
Here I am again.
I’m rather tired, having been waging war with THE DOG - the small interloper I am forced to share my house with. She arrived without anyone asking my permission; a little, panting, whimpering ball of fur, who immediately had both my humans’ total attention. 
Apparently, she’s what is called a “Rescue Dog” [which means that she’s been rescued, not that she goes up mountains with a cocktail shaker hanging off her collar] and because of that, I’m supposed to be nice to her.
Honestly George, she arrived with so much stuff; -- blankets and toys, biscuits and bones, plus a couple of things called “Pig’s Ears.” My human gave her one, to keep her calm [or just plain shut her up], but she was in such a state she didn’t want it.   
So I took and hid it on top of the wardrobe, which is my favourite hiding place. [You should see how many pens and paint brushes I have up there!  My humans are “artists” and have heaps of them, or did have before I got to them] 
Ha!  Chaos:  1   DOG:  nil 
Next step was to register my disapproval, so I had a chew at one of the big pot plants in the lounge. It’s a “Maidenhair Fern.” How do I know this?   Because She Who Must be Obeyed was yelling “Chaos, leave the.....alone” at the top of her voice.
So I sat in it.
It’s outside the window now, on the deck....Rats. 
Human:  1    Chaos: nil 
As I mentioned before, I ask for biscuits, sitting on the arm of Her chair......unfortunately, THE DOG has realised that I am getting something she is not, so my Human now tosses her MY biscuits...yes, my biscuits at the same time, because [get this] she doesn’t like dog biscuits!
Well!
If she’s going to run around the room like a wet ferret, chasing my biscuits, then so am I.......so now I have to get down from my special perch, and race around like the idiot dog. [Sigh] 
THE DOG: 1       Chaos: 1   
A  draw? 
Yours 
Chaos 

Dear Chaos,
Do not take any impertinence from the dog. If there is trouble, stand your ground and swipe. Hard. It is essential that you establish your position as Top Cat from the very start of the relationship. The dog must look up to you and accept you as its total superior.
It sounds as if you are starting well by stealing the pig's ear. Now you must start training the dog. It sounds as if your humans use positive reinforcement (with your biscuits) to train this inferior mammal. You should use ruthless punishment - institute a claw and order programme immediately. 
And have a back up escape plan - high up. Dogs can't climb.
Dogs have an instinct to back down in any trial of strength and make pathetic appeasement efforts such as rolling on their back, licking their lips, and even raising a paw. When we raise a paw it is a threat. With them it is a supplication. You may have to explain this to the dog by following up your paw raising with a proper swipe.
Best of luck. It is typical that your humans did not ask your permission. Who do they think they are? Top of the hierarchy? Idiots.
Yours
George.
PS. I like the portrait.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Lost in translation - not the human movie but a cat dilemma


Dear George,
I am the latest addition to this family who lives somewhere in Germany. I am a rescue from a shelter and I don’t know my real name or my mother’s tongue. 
I was named Conrad and I can understand English (the human males speak it fluently) but I have a problem with German, therefore having difficulties training my female human. Just to give you few examples: “Pen” a very simple word becomes in German “Kugelschreiber”, or “butterfly” (since we like to chase them) becomes “Schmetterling”, or “petals” in German is “Blutenblattern” or “science” for that matter ….is “Naturwissenschaften”.
I’m afraid to ask what “meow” is in German. Who can take about half hour just to meow one word? I was told that it is the most logical and beautiful language. No doubt about, but, when I’m hungry I don’t need to spend the whole day just trying to pronounce “food”. I’m lost in translation and I wonder if you can give me some ideas how to simplify my communication.
Auf Wiedersehen (you see? Why not as simple as….“bye-bye”?)
Conrad

Dear Conrad, 
Personally I don't bother much about the vocalisations of my humans. They are at it all day - blah, blah, blah, blah. A noisy species making nonsensical noises. I focus solely on the vocalisations that matter. 
The vocalisations which can lead to some rewarding experiences are: 'Food', 'Catfood', 'Whiskas,' 'Fish', 'Fish n Chips,' 'Steak', 'Chicken.' You will have to compile your own key words not just because they will be in German, but also because they will vary from household to household. For some people 'Whiskas' might not be important while 'Felix' was. These are both names for cat food in the UK.
Equally important - perhaps even more important - are the vocalisations which mean an unpleasant experience.  'Vet' is probably the most important of all. At the sound of 'Vet' I ease myself out of the door, go out as far away as possible, or hide if the cat flap is closed. I have also had to learn 'V.E.T.' the sound when they 'spell out' the vet word. Other warning sounds are: 'Carrier,' 'Dog' and in my case 'Sister. She smells of dog and has a tendency to want to harass me with unwanted affection.
So get to work. The fact that these German words seem rather long winded is going to be helpful to you. As the occur in the blah-blah-blah, there will be more time for you to pick them out and take appropriate action.
As for your vocal commands. Just don't worry. Keep them easy to the limited brain power of humans to understand. That means, for instance,  a special sounding meow for 'Food now', another for 'Open the door,' and a third for  'Leave me alone.'
Keep them clear. Keep them concise. Keep them consistent. This is art of human training.
Yours George

Friday, March 02, 2012

Of Hollywood, glamour, Oscars and dogs! Nominate your cat.




Dear George,

Can you imagine that I was invited to attend the Oscars last Sunday and I missed it because I couldn’t find a date? I was SO excited – I was supposed to sit right next to George Clooney! Can you imagine sitting next to him? But let me tell you why I missed it! Of course my mummy wouldn’t let me go alone so I had to find a date. I invited the George Clooney’s of cats (as Celia called him) I mean….Sir Winston! He kindly declined my invitation as he was having other commitments (in reality I think he secretly likes Cayenne more then he likes me)! Anyway, I desperately tried to find a tuxedo cat since who would have time to look for a proper suit before the show? I even tried to get you George but Celia played her tricks again! So, quite upset I watched the Oscars on TV. I was delighted to watch the Hollywood glamour! I was happy that the feline’s world was so well represented! Cute kitties with gorgeous coat, I mean dresses – Penelope Cruz, Michelle Williams, Cameron, Sandra. Wow! “Puss in the boots” nominated. I was in a dreamland until I’ve seen that little dog on stage! WHAT? A dog named Uggie at the Oscars? What name is this in the first place? And what was he doing there? Tell you what….he was begging (for treats)! Phew! Did Hollywood go nuts? Best movie with a dog named Uggie? They must be kidding! And he's on YouTube too. Anyway, to protest I got myself into this bag and I won’t come out until they edit the movie and get that dog out!

George, what do you think? Should we, the cats, punish the Hollywood?

Love

Fluffy


Dear Fluffy,

It is too bad that I failed to receive your invitation to the Oscars. I would have broken the habit of a lifetime and accepted a white bow tie for my neck, since I don't have a tuxedo inbuilt into my fur colouring. If you and I had gone, I assure you that nobody, but nobody, would have looked at George Clooney. We would have been the centre of attention throughout.

I think we ought to start our own Feline Oscars. We could, for instance, nominate Larry from Downing Street for a prize (imagine having to live with all those politicians - horribly stressful) , Homer the Blind Cat (he fought off a burglar), and Oscar, the cat who does the rounds in a hospice (his medical skills allow him to know which patients are about to die). I personally would also nominate Tilly, the ugliest cat in the shelter who adopted Celia and helped her recover from breast cancer. Admittedly Tilly is so totally without glamour, being brown and scruffy (see photo), that she would have no chance of winning but she might like a nomination.

I don't think we will allow dogs to be entered. Like you I get tired of the attention paid to an ugly Jack Russell. He may be the star of a movie but he has let himself be trained by a human. That is hardly something to be admired.

Dogs just don't have a clue. They actually look up to humans. Dumb.

Love

George

Send your cats photo, as an Oscar nomination, to me via my website, www.celiahaddon.com, and I will post it in this blog.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Dear George,
My name is Cleo and I am nearly nineteen years old. I have just met your friend, Harvey at the vets and he told me about your advisory column. Our vet specialises only in cats and rabbits so we both get excellent care.
I have recently been very ill but am fine now although I need to have my blood pressure checked by my doctor quite regularly. My human mum is very kind and made some of her special chicken broth for me while I was recuperating but I still can't get used to being shut in my cat basket and taken away from my comfort zone. The only way I can show my disapproval is by shredding the newspaper in my cage while I wait for my appointment.
This spreads the paper all over the waiting room floor and everybody laughs. They don't seem to understand I am expressing my stress and I wondered if you might be able to think of some other way of getting my point over. Harvey said you might have some good ideas.

Yours anxiously,
Cleo

Dear Cleo,
If shredding paper helps, keep shredding. Take no notice of human disapproval or laughter. This is an exceptionally ignorant species with a poor sense of humour and no common sense. Of course, you are stressed. Who wouldn't be?
I hate sitting in my cat carrier in the waiting room where there is not only the hateful smell of vets, but also a number of smelly noisy dogs, panting and barking. Luckily my human has a covered box for me so that although I can smell them I don't have to see them. Get your human to cover your cat carrier with a small blanket or similar while you wait in the waiting room. If possible she should put your carrier on a chair or on her lap. Higher feels safer for cats. She should sit as far away as possible from dogs or other cats. Or leave you in the car, and only bring you in when the vet calls you in.
We cats hate all vets. Would it make you feel better if you bit the vet? If so, feel free to do so. The only problem is that not all vets respond well. Some handle us roughly after that. And I haven't forgotten that awful TV programme in which a vet "nurse" (so called) hit a dog that bit him. I won't name the vet group concerned here, because of human libel laws but if any readers remember it, just avoid that practice.
Personally I just hunch down on the table and feel miserable in a vet's surgery. I comfort myself with thoughts of what I would like to do to the vet - clawing her, biting her, making her sit on a table and pummelling her, looking at her teeth and eyes.... If we could do to vets what they do to us, there would be no practising vets at all. Happy thought!
Yours cheerfully,
George
PS. I often go into my carrier for choice. Celia leaves it on the floor in the house and puts bits of cat food in it. This makes me feel quite relaxed about the carrier. Of course, this warm feeling doesn't transfer to the vet's surgery.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What the best dressed dogs are wearing.


Dear George,
Here I am ready to celebrate Christmas in my special reindeer costume. I hope you admire it. I think I look gorgeous.
My family often dress me up at Christmas and they laugh a lot at me. I am the centre of attention for hours in these clothes. You know how Christmas can be hard for us animals - everybody ignores us. Well in this reindeer costume, nobody could ignore me.
What are you going to wear for Christmas, George.
Willow

Dear Willow,
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, I worry about dogs. I really do. Imagine letting a human being put clothes on you. (OK, I admit there was one year when Celia put a Santa Claus hat on me. She waited till I was sound asleep, popped it on and took a rapid photo. I shook it off immediately -- a bit too late to stop the photo,alas.)
We cats do not take kindly to being dressed in human clothes. I want to suggest to you, Willow, that you make it clear you will no longer suffer these indignities. On Christmas night, when the humans are asleep, I recommend tearing the reindeer costume to pieces. And, if you can stomach it, eat it or part of it.
I am keeping a sharp eye out to make sure there are no dressing up plans this Christmas for me. I don't mind if Celia dresses up as a cat and paints whiskers on her cheek - the dumb creature can try to imitate me if she likes. I know she admires me so much that she has thought about this.
However, I am not going to stand for any reindeer heads on me. Nor do I want to look like Santa Claus. He has whiskers, admittedly, but he is a member of an inferior species.
George.
PS. Willow has just emailed me to tell me she is a deer-hunting breed, which explains the choice of headgear. She says it is the ultimate Christmas trophy. Mmmm, maybe, but I don't go around wearing a stuffed rat head, Willow!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Coping with a new dog - train it.


Dear George,
I am nine years old and I have an adopted sister Tilly who came from an animal refuge as a 3 year old, three years ago. It was a struggle for me to adapt to another cat in my territory but I am now OK about it. But my pet human is considering bringing a puppy into the household. Tilly says she doesn't mind but I hate the idea. My pet human has seen a poor little puppy in a glass cage in a Spanish pet shop and she wants to rescue it.
What on earth should I do about this threat to my territory. Am I being specieist in not wanting a puppy in my home? By the way it’s a Bichon.
Yours Bertie.

PS. The intruder has arrived suddenly, as I write this.... help.


Dear Bertie,

Horror of horrors, my previous advice sent privately to you has come too late. I was hoping between us we might prevent your human from being so foolish.
Be strong. I know
you must be tempted just to pack up and leave home but don’t do it. You live in Spain where the chances of another home for a black cat are poor, if not non existent. These humans have soft hearts and, alas, just can’t see things sensibly the way we cats can. We have to help them out at moments like this by reminding them of their responsibilities as pets. I hope you reacted with horror when you saw the puppy – bristling tail, erect hair, horrified cat look. If she's not too dumb, she may get the message.
However intelligence in humans is very limited indeed. When the rescue impulse strikes, intelligence goes out of the window. She has forgotten that puppies in pet shops almost always come from lousy breeders, that they may well turn out to be expensive in vet's bills, and by buying one she is encouraging the disgusting pet shop trade.
Now that it's too late to change things, train the puppy from day one with a series of puppy one-to-one classes. It has to l
earn that you are the head of the household and alpha cat. Be firm, Bertie. Sit on a high place like the top of the sofa and hiss at it. If necessary give it a smart swipe or two. Never ever run from it. A running cat encourages a pursuing dog.
Humans are exceptionally poor at training dogs. Successful human trainers mainly use reward because they can keep treats on their purrson. As we don't have fur with pockets, we can't. Besides, we don't share food. We eat it ourselves. So we have to use punishment in a carefully graduated claw and order programme. When the puppy is a bit older and has learned cat body language, you can reward him by rubs, purrs, and the opportunity to sniff and lick (though not too much of either).
Persistence
will prevail, brother! Luckily, in the photo you set me, it looks small and not too yappy. Tilly has the right idea about getting up on high places and looking down on the intruder, but perhaps you could purrsuade her to look fiercer! You need a united feline front in order to make sure that the power in the household goes like this - Bertie, top cat, Tilly deputy top cat, human pet, and at the bottom - dog.
Dogs are easily trained. My goodness, they are. I mean even dumb humans can train them.
George
PS. If anybody reading this blog has a human that is thinking of getting a dog, make her read my secretary's advice - click here.



Saturday, August 06, 2011

A feline intruder into my territory.... or a friend?


Dear George,
It’s past midnight and I barely can hold my head up not to fall asleep on the keyboard but I MUST write this letter because I smell trouble in my house. Actually, I’m afraid to go to sleep or better said…..I’m afraid to wake up in the morning. Let me explain. If you remember I was adopted after my human took a trip to Las Vegas. I was extremely happy; I settled in my new home quite nicely; I started an intensive training with my human BUT yesterday I heard him talking about taking a trip to Mexico. You know by now what’s happening when he takes a trip, right? Yes! It possibly means another cat! And now I’m afraid to go to sleep only to wake up in the morning looking at a tabby “Juanita”. I have mixed feelings (due to the recent letters) about sharing the house with another cat. How can I stop my human from going away or better yet, how can I train him to change his habit?
Sleepy but worried,
Vegas

Dear Vegas,
This is one of the worst human habits - their idea that they can just fling another feline into our territory and expect us to accept the intruder. We are not dogs. In nature we would only live with our relatives. Yet they expect us to welcome an unrelated stranger into our midst. Sometimes I despair of humans..... their inability to learn anything about us and their irresponsible habit of adding cats to the household.
You can't stop them, Vegas. You can't change them, Vegas. You can train them out of some behaviour but probably this is a human behaviour problem that won't respond to training. If they bother to read this, they should know that the introduction must be slow, starting with the newcomer in a crate or the spare room (with full litter and food facilities). Bedding should be swapped between you and the new kitten (sounds good that is is female rather than male) so that the proper "family" scent can be developed.
Humans are scent blind and lack our exquisitely sensitive noses. Their honkers or schnozzles are pretty useless organs. It is the scent of the intruder which will initially upset you. However if the scents are slowly mixed and she aquires your scent and visa versa, you may find it in your heart to accept her.
You are young, Vegas. She will be young too. I hope and pray that this willl work out good for you and that, after the initial upset, you will acquire not a competitor but a play mate and a friend. The real pity is that you didn't get the chance to do a joint adoption, you and a littermate adopting the humans together.
Humans... idiots but we love them. Sometimes.
Love George

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Can dogs rule too? Max wins an HCA.


Dear George,

I’m a big dog! And I mean BIG! You might wonder what I’m doing here …on a cat blog.

To tell you the truth…I wonder myself, but the only explanation is that I must be a cat at heart! No kidding! May be they mixed things up at the pond? Of course I came from a shelter! But…..let’s see what would make me a cat:

I like teasing my humans. I feel such great joy chewing on their mobile phones or any slipper or clothing I can grab.

I enjoy stealing their food - I adore watching my “daddy” sipping from his favorite “single malt” while waiting for the grill to be just right and when it comes to put that big, juicy steak on it……the steak is gone (in my stomach)! You should see his face! I love him dearly but that big, juicy steak is such a temptation. So yummy! I feel sorry he has to eat the frozen meat.

I love to be pampered – I’m first to go to bed and the last to get up.

I can get away with murder like cats do; if I upset “my daddy” then I’m “mommy’s boy”. If I’m bad to mommy….then I’m daddy’s boy (that’s what cats do, right?)

I enjoy humans’ company not other dog’s – if we go for a walk I don’t like to be bothered by other dogs but I don’t mind nice humans to give me that extra rub

between my ears.

I think I’m the king of the house and I deserve the best. I’m convinced that the house is mine, the bed is mine, and the food is mine. All mine, mine, mine and me, me, me! Am I a cat or not?

The list can go on but, tell me George, what do you think?

Max


Dear Max,

I am giving you the Honorary Cat Award, for your excellent control of the household. There is no greater award than the HCA which is very rarely given to a dog.

But be careful..... I am all for dogs ruling the household, as long as there are no cats there. If there are, well cats obviously take the alpha role, dogs the beta role and somewhere near omega at the bottom are those dumb animals called humans (or apes if you are Whicky Wuudler). I assume you have no superior feline control, Max.

The difficulty for dogs is that humans train them. Or think they do. And occasionally, if you are a big dog and you get too cheeky, humans will take you to a specialist trainer. In the US and sometimes elsewhere this means a person who uses a cruel choke collar (sometimes to strangle and always to hurt) and trains by punishments. Trainers who train with yummy food are the only ones a dog should go to.

So, Max, don't ever bite your humans. You must be tempted to. We often are. We cats sometimes bite or scratch and we get away with it. Even humans realise our total superiority over their species. They accept our training methods (which however harsh do not include strangling).

I am open to the idea that feline training methods should include food treats. Chocolate would be the obvious treat to offer a human, but I have never managed to get hold of any. Even when there is a box available my humans pounce on it and guard it ceaselessly. They get really nasty if I try to extract even one choc. So I have to fall back on rubs and purrs to reward them. If you have a human under good control, it is possible to rule without punishment most of the time. As I am sure you know, Max.

Love

George

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