Follow by Email

Showing posts with label prey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prey. Show all posts

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The love of birds....a certain human-feline incompatibility of opinion.

Dear George, 
After reading your book “One hundred ways for a cat to train its human” I started to apply your suggestions quite actively in my daily life. For the beginning I set up two goals just to see how it goes!  One was to have at least one bed in every single room and as you can see in the photo attached I have totally succeeded! Ah! Don’t be silly; of course I OWN that huge bed in the master bedroom as well….just that my humans don’t know yet!  The second goal was to train our next door neighbour first to like me, then to “catsit” me, then to miss me and finally to fall in love with me! Yes, you heard me right! Why would I stop to my own humans when I have such a cute next door neighbour?
Plus he has a bird! ONE love bird – quite laughable when you think “love birds” come in pairs!  But, I love the fact that he has just one – easy prey for me! Can you imagine the day (or night) when my cute neighbour will take me to his place and hopefully the bird cage door is open?  Ah, George! I can’t stop dreaming of that fresh, juicy dinner waiting for me in a little cage next door. 
But I need your expertise; all the “tricks and tips” as I have to make him fall in love with me first, right?  Where do I start?
Rio

Dear Rio, 
I love love-birds. Just the right size for a cat - not too large (like pheasants) or too small (like wrens, only a tiny mouthful). Just to reassure you that it is not necessary for any bird to fall in love with you first. All that is needed is for them to be close enough for a good pounce....
However, I reluctantly have to warn you that humans take an ridiculous view of bird slaughter. They love birds as much as they love cats and get very upset if birds are killed. Particularly if they know the "murderer" (their phrase not mine) or even "serial killer" (again, their phrase not mine).
Leave that love bird alone. Killing it, while naturally enjoyable, would ruin your relationship with the neighbouring human, whom you are so successfully training. You have to take the long view. Are a few mouthfuls of love bird worth the loss of a catsitter, a neighbour who may well offer extra cat treats and even a warmer house sometimes? 
I think not.
Yours 
George.

 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Good manners means starting at the nose not the tail.

Dear George, 
I wonder if you can help me with my human. I believe, if what I read on your admirable blog is representative, that she is not really any more stupid than the average for her species, but she seems unable to understand the correct procedure for eating wild food. My mother, a cat of impeccable manners and breeding, taught me that the correct way to eat a rabbit is to start with the head. Then, if your appetite is delicate, you can leave the body to be shared by your family. Amy Vanderbilt’s invaluable Complete Book of Cattiquette confirms that this is how prey is consumed in the best circles, and I have followed her additional advice to leave an eyeball uneaten for “Mr Manners.” My human seems unable to understand this basic concept and keeps asking me why I eat the head first. She seems unsatisfied when I tell her that this is simply the right way to do it. How can I make her understand? 
Yours ever, 
 Scaramouche

Dear Scaramouche,
Humans don't understand fur. They don't have any (except for some long fur on the head and some in the pits and pubes). Males have a few bristles and that it that. But mice and rats have fur - lots of it. If you eat it from the head first, the fur lies down flat. If you eat it from the backside forward, the fur gets ruffled up and makes it difficult to eat.
So it's not just good manners to eat that way: it's good practice. I do know of a bad mannered cat called Toby who starts in the middle. But he has lost 7 teeth and grew up on the street. You can take a cat out of the slum but you can't take the slum out of the cat. 
Keep up the good manners.
Yours respectfully, brother,
George.
PS. I leave the scut of a rabbit for Mr Manners.

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, June 25, 2011

Cat burglary - is it a good career and what should be our swag?


Dear George,

We recently read about Dusty, the cat burgler from San Mateo, California. He became an overnight sensation! Literally…that’s exactly the time he steals from people’s houses! You can find read about him on http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2011/06/19/BAIN1JVID8.DTL

Dusty was adopted from Humane Society and no one knows why he steals or why or how he developed such hobby! He loves 2 piece swimsuits and he makes sure he takes both pieces J He was such an inspiration that we decided to follow in his steps and develop same “recreational hobby” ……stealing!

But, let us introduce ourselves first: we are the “belles”, the flames from the South – Blaze & Lea! We were born in a window well and rescued by an animal lover. Later we were adopted by our current humans. Blaze loves company and everything colorful and shining. I, Lea,…I am running away from company and I love simple things, especially a white curly ribbon. We enjoy eating together, playing together but we can easily become bored. Our humans give us unconditional love but we find them a little too protective.

Reading Dusty’s story inspired us to try having some fun and start stealing from our humans first. We could steal little things like wedding rings or watches or make-up and, then, hide them in the house, in places where they don’t go so often. We think mice and little pieces of food from dinner would be nice too. Or could this become a criminal case? In Dusty’s case all charges were dropped off and the police stopped the investigation.

What do you think George? Should we continue perfecting our plans or should we look for other ways to have fun?

Blaze & Lea


Dear Blaze and Lea,
Cat burglary, as a career choice, has a lot going for it. It is the alternative sport which mimics hunting. You can search, eye, creep up, and pounce on your prey. In urban areas, where the rats are too big and bold for most cats, stealing stuff gives a chance for natural cat activities. For indoor-only cats, it is a very good way indeed to pass the time.
It can also make you into a celebrity. The late Minnimore was named
Daily Telegraph Cat Burglar of the Year in l998. He had stolen three feather dusters with 2-foot long handles, a polo neck sweater, a fur tippet, a fur hat, 6 teddy bears, 3 stuffed bunnies, a Mickey Mouse, a panda, a kookburra, a musical tortoise, a whale, a skunk, a gorilla and stuffed dinosaur. Here's a photo of him proudly bringing home the dinosaur.
Other cats have starred on TV and are now on YouTube. Take a look at Dusty known as the Klepto Kitty, or Jack who at one year old is beginning a career of crime. Click here on their names. These cats now have thousands of human fans. Who says crime doesn't pay? Cat burglars, thanks to YouTube, are now world famous!
Look at it this way, Blaze and Lea. If you bring home mice, birds and rats, like a good cat should, your humans will scream, jump on chairs or even scold you. If you bring home next door's underpants or lots of stuffed toys, they will laugh at you, video you and put you on TV. Minnimore, after the initial newspaper article, starred in a programme about wayward pets and was psychiatrically diagnosed and treated on camera. The programme claimed he was reformed and was going straight. He didn't of course. Stolen stuffed toys began turning up again. He had relapsed.
There are other interesting possibilities in burglary - frozen chickens left on the table to thaw out, chops from next door's barbecue, live goldfish from the pond across the way, even the occasional hamster.... Yes, I know of cats who have brought home all of these.
So GO FOR IT.....
George
PS. Thank you, all contributing cats, for your interesting letters and wise comments, especially Fluffy and Cayenne for their letters, Harvey for insight from another species and Whicky Wudler, he of the wonky ear, for his sharp comments. Thanks to your input, and the collective wisdom of us all, this blog has been chosen as one of the favourite cat blogs by Online VetTechPrograms.org





Saturday, January 29, 2011

What can I do? I don't like being a home alone cat

Dear George,
I think I need your help again. I'm worried (as you can see from my photo) that my human may be trying to leave me. She's doing this "phased return to work" thing an
d she's nearly at the point where she leaves me alone all day!
Back in the summer (I think the humans call it A
ugust) my female human disappeared for a full week and came back stinking of the human vets. She was very weak and couldn't do all her normal human duties, like feeding me and keeping my tray clean and she slept a lot. The male human took some time off work to look after her, but only a few days then the task was left to me.
I settled into the new responsibility incredibly well, even if i do say so myself. I would sit and watch her as much as I could. She spent a lot of time watching TV, on the com
puter or doing sitting down hobbies so I would try to get her involved in fun running and chasing games to keep her exercised. She seemed to enjoy this but would tire easily, so I'd give her a quick check over (you know, when you stand on them and sniff their whole face, paying lots of attention to the mouth and eyes) to make sure she was OK then we'd have a sleep together. I even checked out all the human vets that came to visit her, making sure none of them had thermometers in their bags and watching them closely, I wasn't going to have them check MY human's temperature! Gradually my care worked and she started to get better.
Then one day she started to get all excited about going back to work, just a few hours a week to start with (and as it was really cold and snowy out she made me a heat pad before she left!) but now it's every day and shows signs that she'll be gone for longer!
George, how can I show her that although I enjoy the new toys and treats she's bringing me, I do not want her going just when she's well enough to pay proper attention to me? It's just not good enough! OK so she always make sure I have tasty treats hidden around the house to keep me entertained as I try to get at them, and on cold days she'll put that heat pad in the big bed for
me, but it's just not the same as being able to ignore her in person!
She and the male one make sure the spend at least an hour every day doing fun chase and pounce games with me, but I want one of them here during the day! What can I do to keep myself entertained (remember, I'm an indoor cat), and then REALLY let them know it's just not good enough when they get home?
Always your fan,
Mog.


Dear Mog,
What a typical sneaky human trick - to desert you after you have put so much time and care into helping her recover. Humans are moral morons. No wonder they are lower down the evolutionary tree than us cats. It would be easy if you had a cat flap. You would just wander down the street and find a stay-at-home senior human with good central heating and spend your days with h
im. These lonely humans are pathetically grateful for any attention and may even provide a superior brand of cat food.
Humans belong in the kitchen and the bedroom, serving us and not gallivanting about outside the home. You need a proper purrsuasion campaign to show them how bored and lonely you are.
The first part of your campaign is to greet your humans with apparently pathetic enthusiasm. Yes, I know you are angry with them but dissemble. Be as sneaky as they are. Wind yourself around their legs, on the laps, climb on to their shoulders and flop all over them all the time. Do this while they are on the lavatory, while they are preparing food, while they are doing anything at all. Stick to them like a burr and interfurr with everything they do. If you can manage a sad little kitten mew, that will help too. Remember, this is a challenge to your acting ability.
If that doesn't work, start an "ignore and claw" programme. Ignore the scratching post, and claw the sofa and chairs. Tear up any paper found in the house and distribute it throughout the rooms. Move all small objects off shelves and surfaces. Hunt down and eat any food in the kitchen. If you have the strength to do it, push the cover off the butter container and lick. You want them to get the message that you need supervision.
The next part of the campaign is quite good fun. Hunt them like mice when they have gone to sleep. Jump on their feet, their groins an
d even their faces. Chew and pull their hair. Nibble their toes. Run up and down their prostrate bodies. Roar round the flat making as much noise as possible at about 3 am. The three fold message is - I miss you very badly indeed, I am bored during the day, I want to play more games with you. Night time is the only time I have with you.
If this doesn't purrsuade them, the potentially-suicide option is to spray. But I have known cats rehomed because of this, so it is a weapon that cannot be used lightly.
Best of luck,

George
PS. Fluffy and Cayenne have contributed this picture with the comment: "Just sit on her coat so she can't leave."
PS.My secretary has posted stuff about how to keep indoor cats busy on her website. It's cheeky of her but some of the suggestions might give you a better lifestyle. Also read some ingenious suggestions in the comments from Whicky Whudler.

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

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I hate jogging; I’m a yoga girl!


Dear George,
I believe that my wellbeing is in big danger. Let me tell you why I think so!
This past Sunday, I and my sister, Fluffy, woke up our male human at 6 am
to serve us breakfast, which he did willingly and then he went right back to sleep.
By 7 am I felt like playing so I start calling out on our female human.
I heard her saying “it’s Sunday - I want to sleep”. First of all, how is a Sunday different than any other day of the week? If you ask me….it’s not! Then…why should they sleep longer on the weekends? They shouldn’t! So, I completely ignored her comments and kept calling out on her.
Finally she called my name and there I was….happy, hoping that we’ll play. I jumped right on top of her (as she was sleeping on her left side). And….guess what? Instead of getting a kiss and a rub, I heard “Oh! dear…you are getting too heavy” and then she told the male human “we have to do something about this; we have to cut back on her food and exercise her more”. WHAT? Is she crazy? I WAS PARALIZED! SPEECHLESS!
I panicked but I was thinking fast; what George would advise me now? What should I do? Punish her? No! Reward! That’s it! George would tell me to reward this crazy creature. So, I pretended that I didn’t hear her comments and I started grooming her right arm. I did this very thoroughly trying to find a flea or something, so she’ll realize I saved her life. But, instead of showing any gratitude…I guess she felt offended by me assuming that she can still have fleas after taking a shower the night before.
Well, I got so put off by her attitude! Such arrogance! Then...it hit me! What on earth did she mean by “having me exercise more”? Running up and down the stairs, like Fluffy? Jogging? I hate jogging – I’m a yoga girl! And she knows that! Each time she does yoga, there I am helping her. For example; when she does the Lion’s pose (the one where she bends forward sticking her tongue out – yak!) I quickly clamp on her back trying to push so she’ll bend forward properly. Or if she’s doing Cobra (when she lies down flat on her belly) I quickly jump on her back just to make sure that she stays still and holds her breath. Do you think that she ever thanked me for this? Nooooo! And….between you and me…I don’t even think she’s serious about yoga because when I’m trying to help she starts laughing until she “shakes me” off her back. Insensitive traitor; that’s what she is!
Not to mention that later on the day, she said something about “fasting”. I mean – I know Easter is close but, George, do cats fast? If yes, for what reasons? Religion? Or, what else? I wish humans could express their thoughts better without inventing new words like “lean protein”, “less carbs”, etc. What is wrong with them? We, cats, are extremely sophisticated and yet, can express ourselves in simple thoughts and words.
What I’m going to do George? I like to eat, sleep and read! Now I have to watch out for myself and see what these creatures are up to.
So, dear George, here is a very serious question?
How can I lose few pounds (just to get these monsters off my back) without cutting back on my food, fasting or exercising more?
As I said, my wellbeing is in danger, so I will hold my breath until you’ll answer.
Hugs
Cayenne

Dear Cayenne,
Glad to see you are taking human training seriously, but I am very worried about your human's attitude re avoirdupois, or being well found, or being just ever so slightly teenily weenily overweight. It's a pretty worrying moment when humans start worrying not about their own weight (they do that all the time if they are female) but about OUR weight... It is no business of theirs.
Cats do not fast. Not ever. Indeed if they are forcibly fasted, they are in danger of hepatic lipidosis (if they are fat). Humans can fast safely. Dogs can fast safely But cats can't. Even a vet, that vilest of human creatures, will tell her that - luckily.
You could lost weight by the following quite enjoyable methods
1. Eat more protein and less carbs. Purrsuade your human to buy a better class of cat food with nore protein in it. This is done by refusing to eat cheaper food. Well, refusing to eat it while they are in the same room. Look unhappy. Cover it up as if it was something nasty in the litter tray. Look hungry. Quite often they will try and feed you something else. Something better and better means more meat less starch. The carbs in cat food are just there becaue they are cheap. We cats don't need them. There is one disadvantage, better cat food is tastier, so you might eat more so it might not work.
2. Start hunting your humans as prey. Ambush them round corners, run up and down the stairs after them. The running is not boring if you are doing it as part of predation or hunting. Treat them as if they were gigantic mice. Yes, I know its exercise but its fun. If you catch and wound them they will make a delightful shriek.
3. Purrsuade them to let you out to hunt real mice.
4. Purrsuade them to play more games with string with you. Start bringing them things to throw for you. I know dogs do this and we cats really hate imitating these servile beasts, but it is one area where they have got hold of a bright idea. Fetch. When you take a small ball to a human, pause, look cute, and drop it at their feet, they often respond by throwing it. And it's fun to chase.
George.

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...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am dreaming of a beautiful white swan.


This is a huge white feather belonging to a swan. I leaped on it. nibbled it. played with it. Pouncing on it. Dragged it around. It was simply huge. About ten times bigger than a greenfinch tail feather. (I have had a few of those). Three times the size of a black bird. As long as, but much wider than, a pheasant's tail feather. My human pet, Celia, and Lesley, the pet belonging to Opus1 and Opus2 (see past comments) brought it back from a walk for me. (Humans are social animals. I am pleased that Celia has found a friend to play with. It makes her less dependent upon me and William.)
The gigantic feather set me off into a wonderful day dream. I am slinking along the bank of a clear rushing river - gleaming black, huge paws soft and silent as silk, nose drinking in the scent of a summer day, tail twitching very slightly at the tip. The river flags are in full yellow flower. Water lilies bloom where the current is not too fast. Purple loosestrife adorns the bank. And on the river itself is a noble swan. It is the most magnificent creature gleaming white against the water. It sails along serene and magnificent. The image of beauty and calm.
With one bound I leap into the river, landing skillfully upon its back, grabbing it in a killer bite at the back of the neck. Blood gushes. It fights back but I am (in the dream) more powerful than a mere bird, however big. Like a powerful black panther, I hang on despite its struggles. Then its bright black eyes begin to dim dim, its movements become more feeble, and it slowly sinks below the water. A dying swan. With strong sweeps of my paw I paddle to the river side, crushing the loosestrife as I drag this noble prey to the bank. I am the greatest hunter in the world. I wake to the single feather.
Celia says this is a disgusting blog. As I have said before - she doesn't understand me.

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.

Friday, August 03, 2007

George cheated... he tried to take credit for my weasel


This is my weasel. I, William the bold hunter, caught it. Over the years I have caught several. It takes skill. They are very fierce, fast moving and, if you get it wrong, they can give a very vicious bite. They go for the throat. Luckily, I have never yet got it that wrong. This one I caught the other day, and left on the lawn. Because I was brought up without a cat flap I don't bring prey inside. (It's difficult enough doing the cat flap without trying to do it with a mouse or a weasel in my mouth. I only got the hang of it a couple of years ago when Celia installed one for the first time.)
Anyway I caught the weasel. I brought it home. Placed it on the lawn to admire it. (You don't eat weasels unless you are starving.) And what happened? George bagged it and brought it through the cat flap and deposited it in the dining room. Celia and Ronnie came back to find it. "Look what George has done" she crooned. "He's caught a weasel. He's such a good hunter." I felt sick to my stomach at this betrayal.
It was left to Ronnie to put her right (as he often does). "Nonsense. George may have brought it in, but William caught it," he said stoudly defending my hunting prowess. I like Ronnie. We have a man to man relationship.
To mark my skill, they put it back on the lawn and took this picture. Not every cat can catch a weasel. George for one can't. He's just a rotten cheat.

Friday, January 26, 2007

My very own take away bird bar


Celia has installed a take away bird bar for me in the garden. It was never very well designed because the lure-feeders are too high but otherwise it worked more or less OKl. Scores of little birds arrived there and it was up to me to choose which ones to eat. Because of the design fault, I couldn't reach the high up ones, but a lot of the bait falls on the grass, which was my killing ground. Obviously no birds ventured there when I sat below in full sight but I enjoyed just looking sometimes - staying, as it were, in the first stage of the hunting sequence which is eye, stalk, pounce, grab, tear off feathers, eat.
Ordinary food in a bowl is just the last bit of the sequence and while satisfying hunger leaves all the other parts of the sequence not done. So just eating the food in the house leaves me filled but unfulfilled, so to speak.
So back to the take-away bird bar in the garden. When I was not just looking by sitting underneath, I used the shrubs for the hide before real hunting thrill. I sat in them and eyed the birds. I chose one, I did the stalk and bottom wiggle, then I sprang out, ran in and grabbed one before taking it in and tearing off the feathers on the carpet in the house, then ate it. I used to leave a little bit - perhaps a claw or a beak - for Mr Manners. Good fun.
But lately Celia has overdone the challenge. She had already put the feeders too high for me but yesterday she placed scrumpled up wire netting under the shrubs so that it interfered with my ability to do the run in. Now I run in up against the wire. That woman has not got any common sense. She's well meaning and I appreciate her thoughtfulness in taking the trouble to build the take-away installation. But she's now got the whole thing wrong. I can't reach the take-aways.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I am in demand for my incredible skill in mousing

Steffi-Next-Door, well next door at weekends, wants to hire me as a mouser. She emailed from London to say she had a big favour to ask. "We have a mouse in the house here in London which is driving me crazy. I put down traps and poison and it has evaded or avoided both. It seems to be hanging out in our bedroom which is freaking me out. I wondered if you were coming to london this week and if so, if we could borrow George for the day and bring him back to you later. I'm sure he'd be able to catch the little beggar. I would of course remove the poison and traps etc. I can't sleep at night because this mouse keeps making noise in my room."
Someone appreciates me - unlike Celia.
Someone, not like Celia, is impressed by my predatory skills.
Someone, again not Celia, is anxious for my help in killing.
It feels really good to be recognised. I celebrated by bagging a blue tit. The bloody woman took it off me.

Friday, January 05, 2007

She's done it again! She's stolen my mouse!

Humans! They are the lowest of the low species! She's stolen my mouse! A particularly lively fat one at that! In the evening, I am imprisoned in the house with the cat flap shut. It may be warm but it gets very boring, especially at about 3am. Obviously, I do my best to liven things up by jumping on her bed, worming my way into it to play the you-are-a-mouse game with her, or just pounce on her head as she lies on the pillow. But I am afraid she quite often just sleeps through all this.
Out of the kindness of my heart, I thought I would make my own arrangements for a 3am game. Instead of treating her as a mouse, I brought in a proper one. It was big, surprisingly fat for this time of year, and had a most exciting squeak. I stashed it under the fridge, as I often do, but it insisted in running round the kitchen and wedging itself in the corner of the open kitchen door. It squeaked so loudly that even a deaf human could hear it. (They can't hear much. Their sense of hearing is inferior to ours.)
That woman - I can hardly bring myself to name her - heard it and fetched a wellie. She then wedged the wellie near the door with the idea that the mouse could run into it. Well, for about five minutes it didn't get the point, and Celia and I had good fun. I tried to catch it and Celia tried to stop me. Very enjoyable and my blood was up, so if I scratched her I couldn't be blamed for it. The excitement of the moment had me in thrall and besides it was aimed at the mouse. Then the idiotic little thing finally got the point and ran into the wellie. Celia picked it up, getting in the way of me the predator and the mouse my lawful prey, and chucked the wellie into the hedge.
No mouse. No more fun. No 3am snack. That woman is a kill joy. For a moment or two I could have killed her - only she's so much bigger than I am.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Let the New Year roll with William, guest columnist


George has gone out for the traditional Boxing Day hunt (so far two mice, one shrew, and an unidentified bird) and handed the column over to me. I would like to wish all you cats a Happy 2007. Christmas - that day of intruding human visitors and turkey scraps under the kitchen table - has gone. Celia went out so George and I failed to get a chance to steal food or even to find anything very interesting in the trash can. Roll on a new year.
I want to put right a bit of disgraceful spin from the pen of George. I am not a wimp. I never was a wimp. I will never be a wimp. I am a socially adept cat that knows how to deal with harassment in a diplomatic and effective fashion. I don't run. I don't fight. I roll on to my back with all four claws at the ready. This is NOT appeasement. It is a warning gesture designed to deflect aggression.
If George was a sensible cat, instead of a giddy and undisplined adolescent, he would recognise this. But the bloody fool, though usually retreating, has the infantile habit of jumping on me nonetheless. Why does he do it? Just for fun, it seems. I then snarl, threaten to bite and occasionally resort to claw enforcement.
Of course, I can do the social roll without claws. Here is a delightful photo of me looking at my most charming. My paws are in prayer posture because Celia responds best to this particular gesture. I used just to do the social roll without the paws but, because she consistently responded better to the praying paws, I trained her to pay attention by putting my paws like this.
I am the most beautiful of cats with a remote and peaceful temperament. What is more I have killed two weasels - beat that, George!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Human gardeners and cats.

I tried to catch a goldfinch on the bird table this morning, and got tangled up in the wire netting Celia had placed there to thwart my natural urges. Several resentful thoughts came to me. Celia's friend, Jane Owen, has just published "One Hundred Ways to a Beautiful Garden," a book that humans will enjoy. However, there is nothing much in it for cats - except perhaps for the idea of tree houses. Now if there had been a tree house near the bird table, I could have leapt down at the finches rather than merely leaping up. Life in the garden is really rather confusing. On the one hand Celia loves and tries serve cats (what right minded human doesn't). She also likes pretty birds like goldfinches. I agree with her there. They are charming - and delicious. Nice little crunchy bones when you grab them. I also enjoy just watching them from the warmth of the kitchen. But she never eats them. Just watches. I think she has a disorder of the predatory sequence. I go in for the whole natural thing - eye, stalk, pounce, grab and eat. She just gets stuck in the first bit of it, watching. Dysfunctional, of course. But worse still, she thinks she is normal and I am aberrant. So she stuffs scrumpled wire netting under the shrubs just in the place I would sit and start my stalk. She makes the bird table about 7 feet high - because I can only jump 5 feet. She creates a wildflower garden (Jane Owen is good on this) then objects when I do my wild thing and try to slaughter the wildlife. Lord, humans are so cranky, contradictory and downright mad.
So for Christmas, buy your human "One Hundred Ways to a Beautiful Garden" and buy your cat, "One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train its Human." My favourite book, of course. It works too.

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