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Showing posts with label predator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label predator. Show all posts

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.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

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


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

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


Saturday, August 24, 2013

My human pet (I call him Daddy) stole my prey!

Dear George,
That’s exactly what happened; my human daddy stole my prey!
The other day I took up to some of your readers’ advice and jumped over the fence to discover the world beyond it. That alone made me a “bad, bad girl” – that’s what my humans told me. I had no idea that “jumping over a fence” will make me a bad cat!
Well, I was a bit confused and I thought of a way to make it up to them so I brought them a nice gift – a fat, young baby bird. Were they happy? I don’t think so as they start screaming and he almost kicked my butt (literally) pushing me outside and kept the bird inside. Is that the way humans manifest their joy and appreciation? Now I’m even more confused since I didn’t see the bird since then. What do you think he did with it? Obviously he stole it from me and probably pretended to my mom that he caught the bird for her…. while I was left outside waiting (see photo) like a cold turkey (metaphorically).
Now what? What should I do? Do you think they ate my prey?
Very confused
Zoe

Dear Zoe,
My blood boiled when I read your letter. I wanted to mew "Me too! Me too! They do it to me too!" This is an absolutely disgusting habit of humans. No, they don't eat it. They just take it off us, before we can eat it. And then.... can you believe it? .. they throw it away. A whole delicious meal just goes into the trash can.
I can see from your expression, with your ears back, that you have been horribly upset by this experience. This abuse often happens when you present a bird to your humans. Why? I just don't know. They eat plenty of chicken, which is just another big bird. But when we show resourcefulness and go out and get a bird of our own, they go berserk.
It isn't just the ingratitude of it. It's the sheer waste. Many of us have decided that our humans don't seem to like any birds smaller than chicken or turkey. So we switch to mice. Or even rats. 
There's nothing more delicious than a plump mouse but they never eat one! The human response to rodents varies between screaming and jumping on a chair, to scooping up the living rodent and taking it to the nearest park. As for rabbits ... the hysteria is the same.
My advice to you it is to take your bird somewhere in the garden where they can't see what you are doing. Then either eat it yourself or leave it there. 
Yours in utter frustration and fury
George.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rabbit and cat - is the rabbit safe?


Dear George,
My name is Tutu and I am a lop-eared human - no, sorry, a lop-eared house bunny! My stable mate is Frederico the Cat. You may have met him already. I am 10 years old and he is a young whipper-snapper.
My humans seem to be very fond of him but he is a little b.....! I wish I could train him but he won't listen to me or obey anybody. Look at him in the photo. He thinks he's some great movie director!
What can I do? Can I trade him in? What do you think?
Hugs

Tutu


Dear Tutu

You have a bit of a problem.... Or you might have. Kittens brought up with house rabbits probably think of them as family and are probably going to be safe with them. Probably. That's the rub.
My attitude to rabbits, the natural cattitude, is to stalk, pounce, grab and eat them. In that order. It is literally hard wired into my brain. There's a neuroscientist, Jaak Panksepp, who has revealed that when you stimulate the seek-and-reward area of the brain, rats sniff and forage around, cats stalk and pounce. It's just the most enjoyable thing in life for felines. It is what a cat does.
So, your human shouldn't leave you alone with Frederico - just in case. (Any more than a large dog should be left alone with a baby or a toddler). Yes, it is probably safe almost all the time. But again it's that probably and almost. If you suddenly scuttled away extra fast, seeing you running might set off Frederico's chase instinct.
I don't think you should trade him in. As long as your human is sensible and doesn't let you play unsupervised, you will be safe. She should make sure that you are always in your crate or den when she is out of the house. Of course, if you were a giant rabbit, you could probaby chase and harass Frederico. But a French lop, which I think you are, just isn't big enough to turn the tables.
Cats and house rabbits can live together but only if the humans never forget that the cat is the predator and the rabbit is its prey.
Love (and I would love you in a gastronomic kind of way)
George

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Humans, not cats, are the true killing machines

Dear George
I spend a lot of time hunting in the nearby hedges, in the village were I live. I brought a mouse home yesterday through the cat flap and there were shrieks as it slipped out of my mouth in the kitchen. My humans don't seem to like the fact that I go hunting almost every day. Yet it's the activity which gives my whole life its joy and meaning.
Yorkshire Patch

Dear Patch,
We all have difficulties with our humans about this one, - that is if we live in a nice family home rather than a barn or stables. Humans like the idea that we keep down the mice numbers but they are also queasy about seeing us doing it. Humans are dreadful hypocrites on this issue.
A few thousand years ago, we noticed that humans needed cats. Indeed mice are the cause of the cat-human relationship. They had started growing grain and building granaries and we moved in. Soon we saw that humans would be better off if we domesticated them, so we moved further into their homes and the close cat-human relationship was off and away. 
However domesticated they are, humans like us don't seem to have lost the killing instinct. Their instinct is worse than ours. We kill mice and usually eat them. They kill each other. That is unimaginable in cat society.
Over the past 9000 years of domestication we have tried to teach them how to live in peace with each other. We keep the peace instinctively. True, there are cat fights over willing females occasionally but more often than not, our toms just line up peacefully for a go. Why fight when there is plenty to go round and our females seem to enjoy it.
We deal with conflict much better than humans do. We avoid it.OK so we do a bit of posturing and hissing but most of the time we just walk round each other. If you look at how cats live together in a home (in a group of unrelated animals which is totally unlike the normal closely related wild cat colony), we manage ourselves by avoiding each other. 
We have our separate beds and favourite places and, unless we are forced to, we eat at seperate times. If we do fight, there may be wounds but we don't kill. We time share rather than sharing - unless we are good friends or relatives in which case we eat together and sleep touching each other.
Humans at low levels of society seem to manage this but once there are thousands of them it all goes wrong. They band together in large packs and slaughter each other. They don't even fight fairly with their feet and hands. They invent weapons which allow themselves to kill each other from thousands of miles away. They even slaughter babies and females. So it is the greatest hypocrisy when they object to the odd dead, or not so dead, mouse.
Yes, we have our hunting instincts. Yes we kill mice and rabbits and lizards and insects. We are predators. But so are humans. They prey on their own kind. We don't kill other cats. They kill each other in the millions. 
Humans could learn from us if they weren't so arrogant.

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...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My best day ever - bagged a partridge

This is my best day ever. Almost the perfect day. I'll come to why it wasn't later. Lately the fields round me have been full of huge bewildered pheasants let out of their nearby pens, where they have been kept like poultry, to starve in the fields before getting shot by humans. Hundreds of them. The nearby road is sticky with their blood and feathers. Slighly less big but just as bewildered are the French partridges (easier to rear in hen coops than the more alert English species). They too are wandering round unable to cope with life in the wild. No idea of predators which is where I came in. I have been eyeing up the pheasants for the past week since they were let out. I've had a couple of practice runs but stopped short each time. These are huge birds, taller than I am, fat and slow moving as pigs. This is the cat's time. They haven't learned to run and in their hen coops they haven't had a chance to fly. The humans have only slaughtered a few of them. My chance is now. As I run in for the grab, I keep thinking about their size so I stop.
This morning was my opportunity. The French partridges stay in proper groups and are normally a bit cleverer than the pheasants. They all keep a look out for one another. If one spots something (like me) they all fly off. Well this morning, one of them hadn't stayed alert for danger. They'd come into the garden in a vain hope of food - outside is all ploughland - and the poor saps are used to breakfast being put in a food hopper for them.
I eyed it up. Definitely a more manageable size than a pheasant. I stalked. I did the run in. I grabbed the bird - no mean feat when you consider its size even if it's smaller than a pheasant. And I popped through the cat flap fast so that I could finish it off at leisure in the kitchen. That's where my perfect day ended. Moving with unusual speed, Celia grabbed me. I dropped the bird who ran into the living room. Celia handed me to Ronnie and walked out shutting the door. I never saw the partridge again.
Did I sulk? I looked thoughtfully at the feathers and the smear of blood on the kitchen tiles, and decided not to hold grudges. I went out for another one.

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