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Showing posts with label domestication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label domestication. Show all posts

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Are humans becoming more stupid? You gotta read this!

Dear George,
I was chatting to my feline friend Ying the other day and we agreed that our own humans appeared more stupid day by day. That they needed frequent retraining to keep them up to the mark.
Ying, who got his paws on the computer, decided to google "Is Modern Man More Stupid?" and discovered an amazing fact. Homo sapiens actually has an anatomical brain which is smaller than that of their ancestors, the Neanderthals. Apparently this is a fact.
It is all our fault. It has been well known that animals like dogs have smaller brains than wild wolves - due to domestication making them more puppy-like. 
Since we domesticated humans, the same thing has been happening. Humans have become more and more childish (a recent incident with them pushing me off the bed last night comes to mind). 
And their brains have shrunk as a result.
I await your comments with interest....
Yours
Yang.

Dear Yang,
At last the explanation for what appears to be Celia's growing inability to do what I want when I want it and how I want it! Years of training her are forgotten in an instant.  I have tried to be understanding and have put it down to growing cognitive dysfunction as her brain ages.
Now I realise this is just the result of domesticating her and the human race. Maybe we should have left them alone.... What an amazing piece of information.
Yours gratefully,
George.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Four weeks old - abandoned twice, but now in a safe home

Dear George, 
My letter will be very, very short as I’m a four weeks old rescue and I can barely reach the keyboard! I desperately need your advice! I was abandoned on a front lawn when I was less than four weeks old. The home owner or rather said the front yard owner said she’ll keep me but later changed her mind. Luckily the next door neighbour (a very nice and loving lady) volunteered to take me in (even if she already has a rescue cat)!
So, I was abandoned twice in my young life so to speak!
My new good mommy never had to take care of such a young kitty and even if she’s trying her best we both need some solid advice! She takes me to work with her (in her purse) so she can bottle feed me but what else does she need to know or do?
George, please help!
Franklin 

Dear Franklin, 
Thank goodness you have finally found a human pet who can be relied upon.  If your new pet needs to be up to speed on bottle feeding, she can find advice here. How wonderful that she takes you to work in her handbag (or purse as you say in Canada). She must have a great boss. What a great way to socialise you to other human beings.
If you are now four weeks old, it's time to think about weaning and there is good information here.  Slowly introduce kitten food.  Because kittens need the right food ingredients, it's best to feed ordinary over the counter kitten food made by a reputable manufacturer. They've done a lot of research into growth rates over the years. Later, if you want to, you can switch your adult cat to organic or ethical diets. At the moment some of these are not reliable (because of libel I can't name names) and therefore should not be used for the first year. Home-made diets can also lead to stunted growth or even bone deformities. 
You look really good - unlike the little kitten handed into Celia last week, which had infected eyes, cat flu, hair loss on two feet, and a belly swollen with worms. 
Yours 
George
PS. Remind your human not to play games with her hands with you. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Animal communication….scam or reality?

Dear George,
I stand here today (in front of a lion ….as you can see in the photo) to debate the animal communication topic. You know very well we can communicate effectively with all species but, humans are not that evolved so, of course, we have a problem communicating with our human pets. Take my example: we are a three cat household, all rescued and, of course with health and/or emotional issues that normally come along with all rescued cats. Our mommy worries a great deal about our wellbeing! 
She tried all novel things including alternative medicine. Well, she wanted more; she wanted to hear from us what we think, what do we like or dislike, etc. So, she booked a reading with an animal communicator. Just to see how dysfunctional humans are…. they call “talking” with an animal communicator….a reading! Phew! Anyway, this woman wasn’t any good but my mommy didn’t know. I did not like her so I shut up and didn’t say anything. She “made up” some stories and charged my mommy a big fee. Mommy was a bit confused so she asked a friend who gave her someone else’s name. Well, well, well…..this time….this animal communicator not only that she was the real thing…she was a real treat! Sweet and compassionate and very, very respectful. We clicked right away and I told her lots of things, things that no one else would know. Mommy was in shock but happy! Now she has a much better understanding of what we like or not, what do we need, etc. Daddy is still skeptical about the whole thing but hopefully….one day … he’ll believe in it too.
George, I like to hear your opinion; what do you think about all this!
Yours… very telepathically
Jasper

Dear Jasper, 
Telepathy? Maybe.  Extra sensory perception, or ESP - yes. We cats have an extra sense that humans lack - the sense of smell. Humans are blind and deaf to smell, poor creatures. However, there are special humans that can "read" us well. I don't quite know why but perhaps the why of it doesn't matter.
The trouble is that humans cannot tell the difference between humans who can read cats, and humans who can't but charge high prices anyway. I can smell a bad human from about 200 metres.
Can we distinguish good from bad cat experts? Of course we can. We can read our human pets without any difficulty whatsoever.  That's why we domesticated them in the first place! 
Yours
George.
PS. Celia thinks the money would be better spent on a properly qualified cat behaviourist - but she would say that! She's toiling through her master's degree on the topic.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Dear George,
Should I marry my human?  This is the issue of the day, now that Karl Lagerfeld the fashion designer has admitted that he wants to marry his cat, Choupette. He has fallen in love with her.
Nothing surprising about that, you might say, - the falling in love. We know that humans can become almost entirely emotionally focussed upon their cat or cats. Some refuse to go on holiday or even away for the day, because it will mean an absence from their loved one. 
But marriage? This isn't really a feline relationship. We do friendships but not marriage. I wonder if it would just make the human even more hopelessly dependent. What do you think?
Yours doubtfully
Beauty.

Dear Beauty,
Marriage between a cat and a human would not be a good idea. Sure, humans might want it and might enjoy it. But it will put an awful strain on the cat. We felines like our freedom - freedom to walk down the road for a second breakfast, freedom to sit by another person's fire while our humans are out, freedom not to come when called. Marriage would be the union of one person and one cat for life - no two timing.
Besides, it is unnatural.There, I have said it. We don't do that sort of thing. Those of us lucky enough to have kept our sexual powers, go out on to the roof tops to mate. Most litters of kittens have more than one father. We queue up for it! It makes perfect sense, in an evolutionary way, to have a diverse litter so that more kittens may survive. That's not the way of marriage.
You have also spotted the other major problem. Humans can become hopelessly dependent on us - Karl Lagerfeld is a good example of this. We need to help them be a little more adult about their love for us and a little less needy. Marriage won't help: it will harm these pathetic humans.
Yours sincerely
George.
PS. I wouldn't want to marry Karl Lagerfeld or even have a civil union with him. He's too old for me.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Birthday news from Victoria


Dear George,

It’s me CAT! And….I’m back with good news...

My humans were so surprised by my letter (May 7) I wrote that they ponder all weekend upon the time (and the way) I showed up in their garden.

It seems that I descended from the blue sky on a cosmic ray…. on Victoria’s Day! So, they decided to call me Victoria…as the Queen (no less). I think it’s quite appropriate since I’m convinced of my royal origin.

They were talking about celebrating my birthday on Victoria’s Day from now on. (it doesn’t really matter when one is actually born, right?).

They start decorating the garden and make guest lists and menus! I enjoy watching them from my secret tree (as you can see in this picture). I’m very happy – I’ll have a “chicken pate” cake and many treats.

The garden will be decorated with bells and ribbons that I can play with (see picture). We won’t have any fireworks since I don’t want to scare the other cats but everything else will be fit for royalty! Just wanted to share the news with you.

And. Of course, wishing that all cats out there find their purrfect house & pets!

Very excited,

CAT Victoria


Dear Victoria,

A lovely name for a lovely cat. Welcome to the world of Named Animals. It's one of the ways we know that a cat is a human-owner and has a domesticated human pet. The naming of cats is a serious matter, wrote the poet T. S. Eliot, and if the copyright charges weren't so high I would give you a verse or two! According to him, you have a secret name all of your own which I won't ask for in a blog that is read by humans. And you probably have a name for your humans too.

I call my humans by their human names of Celia and Ronnie in this blog. But I have a secret name for each which (because I am anxious to spare their feelings) I won't put down here. Tempted to do so at the moment, due to Celia's lack of attention to her secretarial duties. Luckily she has finally finished her exams and is now full of human-centered knowledge about cats.

While she has been studying, so have I. Your humans' reactions to your arrival, Victoria, are of interest to us feline anthropologists. Naming ceremonies and birthdays are part of what we call their species-specific behaviour (stuff humans do that only humans do). Interesting rituals to which there might seem little point, except that they strengthen their attachment to us. And, more importantly, as you point out, result in extra food.

Humans are programmed to offer caretaking to human kittens, and we cats have slipped into this system. By careful manipulation of our behaviour - winsome looks, miaows, furry contact by rubbing, delightful play behaviour, -- we get them to feed us and care for us. It's like cuckoos in the nest. We are a supernormal stimulus to them - ie. we are more attractive than human babies. (Obviously. Furrier and we don't leak at both ends). So they "adopt" us not realising we are domesticating them.

So sweet really. They may not realise but they are adopting us as surrogate babies. We have purrsuaded them of this. We are adopting them. And now it's just a question of enjoying their care - regular meals, nice houses. Simple. Dumb humans, clever cats.....

Love George

Monday, July 02, 2007

When did cats domesticate humans?

Humans are anthropocentric in their views about domestication. For years and years they have believed in a myth - that we cats were domesticated by humans. Their general view was that humans went out into the desert, found some wild kittens of Felis silvestris Lybica, brought them home and then brought them up as companion animals about 4000 years ago to become Felis catus. This happened in Ancient Egypt when gods were worshipped in animal form including goddesses like the cat Bastet.
Now those in charge of the cat genome project, headed by Stephen O Brien, chief of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, have had to accept that this isn't how it was. It all started much earlier. The scientist discovered five lineages of mitochondrial DNA in modern cats. Because of this variation, the researchers believe domestication occurred a half-dozen times or so in the Middle East.
According to the genome research the five female ancestors of Felis catus were Felis silvestris Lybica, African wild cats, mousing their way across the deserts some 130,000 years ago. So that settles our ancestry. But how did it happen? Five separate sets of adopted kittens? I think not. More likely five adventurous female Felis silvestris Lybica. The discovery of five different events of domestication suggests domestication was the other way round - or so I think. Cats moved into human life of their own accord.
The theory was that cats turned up in human settlements when man first started growing grain. But now we know that early man settled in one place before the advent of grain farming. And the cats moved in on him. Why? Not because grain brings mice but because human garbage (with or without grain) brings rats and mice. Rats are bigger and better prey. And also because humans offer dry shelter for us. Of course rats can be found among wandering human tribes that don't settle in one place. Celia has seen for herself the rats in a Beduin camp. But because we cats have a decent sense of territory (unlike dogs who started following human tribes much earlier) we don't move around much. Tents are dry shelter but they keep being taken down and set up in a new place. So we had to wait till man was civilised enough to settle in one spot.
Then we moved in. It was nothing to do with captured kittens (a ridiculous idea). We moved in and we began to overcome our disgust at Homo sapiens, a species which hitherto we had avoided at all costs. In order to benefit from their garbage rats and mice (and later more mice when they started grain growing) we had to put up with them. And their buildings gave us valuable warmth and shelter, so we moved a bit closer. Or at least those five desert cats did. And their descendants who could put up with the nearness of mankind flourished better than the descendants that simply couldn't bear being around this blundering species.
There's a posh word for it - commensality. We began living side by side, seperate but equal. (Well, not exactly equal. More like separate but essentially different in status, cats above and humans below.) Then we began to tame them so that they started behaving better to us. They threw us the occasional scrap of food as well as understanding our valuable contribution to the grain economy. We worked as natural pesticides and rodent control operatives. Their babies and children grew up near cats and became socialised to them. We also socialised them by sleeping close to them for warmth and amusing them with our antics.
Some cats have even put forward the theory that Homo sapiens (so called) started settling in one place because they looked at our behaviour and imitated it. First they learned about social hunting from dogs, because they followed the wolf packs and, like hyenas, shooed off the wolves and ate their prey. So they imitated their hunting methods, were successful, and some of the wolves started following them instead. But imitating dogs could only help with primitive hunting and social life. They needed more to become modern and civilised.
They saw that territoriality worked for cats and opted to follow in our paw prints. It makes sense to me. Having a proper home den and a hunting range helps with the safe bearing of kittens, whether cat or human. And this is a great deal more likely that nonsense about humans kidnapping kittens and taming them to their requirements. Everybody knows that, as Saki put it, "the cat is only domesticated as far as it suits his own ends." I would merely add humans are the most completely domesticated species on earth. They show much more of the juvenility of domestication than we do. (More on that later perhaps)
Our lineage dates back 130,000 years (beat that, Debretts!) and we domesticated humans.

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