Follow by Email

Showing posts with label punishment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label punishment. Show all posts

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Reward and punishment (occasionally) are the key to a good relationship.

Dear George,
I have adopted a new human family - male, female, and two human kittens about half grown and therefore a sensible age. You know my background growing up which turned me into a growling, biting and scratching adolescent.
This is my third home - first the bad one, then with Celia, and now this. Of course, I can adapt. I don't miss Celia at all though I miss the games I had with Toby. Within two days, I was sitting on the male owner's lap and (good news) he was keeping his hands away from interfering with my grooming routine!
So these are sensible humans. I have taught the children that if I sit up and beg or jump over a stick, they must give me food. What else should I do?
Yours
Tommy.

Dear Tommy,
Reward and punishment are the basis of a good cat-human relationship. In the first month of your new home, you should at all costs avoid punishment. This is the time to reward them with cute looks, lots of purring, rubbing and making them feel loved. As Barnum said: "You gotta get the suckers into the tent." These humans need all the reassurance and kindness you can give them so that they form a deep bond with you.
After the first month you can lay down a few boundaries - no interference while I am grooming: no human thrashing about the bed I allow you to share: if you use your hands to play with me you must expect to be nipped; etc. These cat rules will vary from individual to individual and in the second month you should be training them to obey by very small nips. And don't forget to purr when they behave well.
By month three, all four should be trained into proper cat servants. The key is good timing and consistency. Good luck.
Yours
George.
PS. If you need to bite, you haven't made your rules clear to these dumb humans.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

New Year.... New life.... .. and training a human

Dear George,
 I am Lila (the fluffy) and my sister is Angel (the tabby). We came from same litter and we are about 10 weeks old now. Before being rescued we were living under a deck but now we live in a mansion!  We spent our first Christmas with our new family and their relatives and sure enough people can be fun! At some point they all were talking about New Year’s resolutions. We don’t fully understand what that is but it seems like a good plan to follow in the year ahead! Our list would be very short: sleep, eat, play and getting lots of love from our humans. I also understood that in cats' ‘world it is a MUST to train one’s humans. I’ve heard you even wrote a book on the subject, is that so George? Then, we definitely need your help! Where do we start?
Gratefully yours,  
Lila

Dear Lila,
Start as you mean to go on.  Help your humans settle in to a sensible regime - regular meal times and regular times for sleep. Train them with reminders. Reminders include rubbing, loud purring, winding round feet, walking to the food bowl, even nipping toes under the duvet if they show signs of wanting to lie in at weekends rather than get your breakfast. 
Establish petting boundaries. Some humans are cat harassers. They want to kiss and hug and stroke for hours. Or they insist on petting in no-go areas like the lower tummy. A sharp nip will usually train them to stop. Punishment teaches them what is acceptable. Be humane - just a nip, rather than a bite which draws blood.
Litter trays (one for each cat) should be cleaned twice a day. If your human is idle about this, show them what you want. As soon as they clean the tray, use it. This makes the point that you were waiting for it to be cleaned. If they still don't get the message, and the tray is filthy, pee outside the litter tray. 
You can learn more about rewards and punishments in my book, One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train its Human. Celia pretended she had written it but her role was purely secretarial, as I cannot type. I was the real author.
Yours
George, the real author. 


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Dressing up cats - a vile undignified human desire.

Dear George,
I wish to protest in the strongest possible terms about human behaviour in the so called festive season - dressing up cats. My personal experience (see the photo on the left) has been shatteringly humiliating.
This degrading use of human clothing covering our beautiful fur is on the increase, encouraged by YouTube and other internet organisations such as Facebook. This particular photo was widely circulated by my human - to my shame. 
Purrlease, George, help stamp out this unpleasant human activity. The perpetrator of this undignified image is my human pet.
How can I make her stop doing this at Christmas?
Bob.

Dear Bob, 
The only way to stop this happening is to bite and claw while the garments are being put on. You seem to have given way too easily to your human. A cat your size - you are a Maine coon - could surely have inflicted several wounds while that horrible little jacket was being forced upon you. And a mere shake of the head would have got rid of the cap - I cannot see an elastic on it.
Put your paw down for once and for all. Bite and bite hard if this is being done to you. Scratch and scratch often.  Just wriggling free is not enough. You need to punish them. 
It's the only thing that humans understand.
Yours
George.
PS. There is a photo of me wearing a Santa hat. Celia waited till I was sleeping and put it on me, taking the photo before I was fully awake. I have not forgiven her.

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, May 02, 2015

Showered..... in kisses. Purr or Grrr?


Dear George,

I’m Beau and I was blessed with the same great family as Paco. I’m a rescue and, of course, Paco’s younger brother. But, let me tell you something: Paco loves drama! He likes to be the center of attention; he starves himself lying down on the cutting table just waiting for our daddy to share his dinner looking… in to each other’s eyes! Phew! Such a nonsense! He thinks he is the Alpha Cat! Well…he’s not! I am the Alpha Cat in the house! I can’t care less about anybody in the house! They all have to serve me J

I have a big “cat-attitude” and big blue eyes! Having blue eyes is mandatory if you want to get showered in kisses! My only problem George is how do I stop/turn off the shower?

My mommy loves me so much and kisses me so much that sometimes I feel like opening  the gate and running away (as you can see in the photo). I know I can be and do whatever I want; I can be a movie star, I can be on TV, I can be on YouTube….but I chose to be in charge of this funny, loving family. Of course it’s so much fun making Paco jealous! Of course it’s a lot of fun making my humans worry about my disposition! Humans are so good at blaming themselves for everything! I laugh out loud! Often! But, George, how do I tell them that ….sometimes I need time for myself! I need my space, but….not on a cutting board! Do you think the cause of all this it’s my blue eyes? Should I change the color of my eyes?

Cheerfully yours

Beau-Beau 

Dear Beau-Beau,  
It's wonderful that you have such a loving human but some humans don't know when to stop. They follow us around, they cuddle us close, they kiss us and they pick us up all the time.  It is very stressful for us - scientific research has proved that cuddling and kissing may push some cats' stress hormones higher than normal.
Your reaction depends on your training programme. I do hope you have one. Some cats rely on reward-only training and hesitate to use punishment. I use a Claw and Order programme, which involves a smart push by the front paws claws retracted, followed by a stronger push with claws out, graduating finally to the ultimate punishment a sharp nip. So far I have never had to bite down. The human withdraws at an earlier stage.
Because our pets cannot understand cat language, we have to be clear in our commands - and punishment may be the only way to do this. If, however, you are dedicated to reward-only training, you will have to try other measures such as ceasing all purring, wriggling hard to get away, or even hiding under the bed. 
What is important is that you make your feelings absolutely CLEAR.  Personally I would scratch!!
Yours 
George.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March break and.....humans

-->
Dear George,
I learned about your blog from a backyard friend and I'm quite happy I did as now...I found the right place to ask for advice and to complain about my human. But, first - can anybody explain to me what March break is? I know the schools are closed for a week or so and I assume it is because kids are behaving badly and teachers need a break to recover mentally and physically! I also assume that teachers can't hide under the bed or desk when the kids are around! I got that too. But why would humans pack and go away for March break when they don't even have kids? That's what I'd like to know George? Why my mommy went away leaving me behind stuck indoor and having a catsitter to look after me? Plus, she got me a deaf and possibly blind one. I'm pretty sure this was the case since all my efforts to get outside went unnoticed. No reaction to my meows or scratches at the back door. What mommy would leave her kid with a deaf and blind sitter?  Do you think I behave so badly that she needed a break? I don't think so! And I want revenge!
Yours....quite upset
Mouse
PS. my name is another story altogether ....for another letter

Dear Mouse,  
Your mommy has failed in her duty - which is to make herself available for you all the time, any time, day, night, weekend, weekday, summer, winter and spring (March included). To put it bluntly, she is not a good servant. You need to put some time and effort into training her better so that she knows her place in the household. 
As for the deaf, blind cat sitter. This beggars belief! If the cat sitter is still with you, then I suggest you leave a highly visible faecal message (a poop) on her pillow.  If she is in the bed at the time so much the better.  If she has already left, do the same for your mommy.
The amusing thing about this is that a cat behaviourist will tell her, you are pooping on the bed because you were upset about being left. Well, I guess that is true. But you will be having your revenge as well.
And, as every cat knows, revenge is a dish best eaten warm.
Yours 
George. 
PS. That carpet suits you. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Trouble with other cats in the home? The key to feline serenity is detachment.


Dear George,
I’m Captain Von Trapp and, yes, I can meow but I can’t sing. And thanks God….I don’t have 7 or 10 children but, I was blessed with a housekeeper, an assistant and two human pets. Of course, we are rescues! As soon as we got to our new headquarters I took over the command of the household. Thanks God my human pets are easily trainable and willing to please (as you can see in the picture). They are of good nature but I don’t think they know Von Trapp family’s story. They named “my Maria” (the housekeeper) “Queen Abby” or something like that (I’m too upset to even remember) and now she really thinks she’s the Alpha cat. Instead of taking care of my needs she runs up and down the stairs like a tornado and she won’t listen to my meows. Another problem is my assistant! They named him “Storm” – is this a proper name for an assistant?  I don’t think so. And, to make things worse…Storm has no skills. I think he is a gypsy at heart! He wonders far from home and gets everybody worried. I don’t know what to do!
George, I need your advice! Do you think “yodeling” will be more appropriate to make my needs known?

Yodel-a- d-ee
Captain Von Trapp

Dear Captain,
One of the mysteries of feline life is that it is so easy to train human females and so difficult to train feline females! Many of the techniques we use on humans - loud purring as a reward, scratching as a punishment - are not so effective on other cats. Other cats are likely just to scratch back. I have my doubts about yodelling as a technique..... It works well for humans: less well for feisty female cats!
Within our own feline community, the best way to cope with others is to use spacing and time sharing of resources. Work out your own space in the household - where you like to sleep, when you use the litter tray, what time you sleep on that patch of sunlight in the windowsill and where you have your space on the human bed. And stick to this.
Train your humans to put down enough litter trays and at least two different locations for food and for water (not too close to each other), and avoid Queen Abby and Storm as much as possible. If you refuse to play the game of who-is-top-cat, she can't play it without your
participation.Their idiotic activities are not your concern. Ignore them both.
Live your own life within the household. Keep the humans focussed on your needs. And leave Abby and Storm to get on with it. Detachment is the key to feline serenity.
Purrs and rubs
George
PS. Apologies to my fans. I missed last week's deadline due to my secretary being ill. I thought about firing her and rehoming myself then decided to be more patient with the poor thing.

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 08, 2014

Can I train my human to stop playing that loud music?


Dear George,
I’m Lenny, named of course after the great Leonard Cohen. I’m six years old now but when I was much younger I adopted a human family.
I don’t recall all the details as I was quite busy training them from day one, especially the male human who wasn’t that much into cats I think. I never had an issue with my female human – she’s well trained; she is the perfect mom.
But, between you and me George, I must admit I adore my human kitten; she is pretty, she’s fun and she is a good friend. We play together, we eat together, we listen to music together – we spend lots of time together. My problem is my male human, her daddy!
Yes, he warmed up to me lately but I don’t think he really understands that “cats rule”.
If I’m listening to Lenny Cohen with my human kitty - he plays Bach….loud! Very loud!
I’m very playful by nature but how long can a cat have fun on Bach? I gave him plenty of signals to change the tune but he won’t get it. Do you think I failed in training him?
What should I do to make it clear that I make the rules, I run the house?
Waiting for the miracle
Lenny

Dear Lenny, 
It is my impression that the human females are more easily trained than the males. Many human females find this to be true too!  But let me congratulate you on being a responsible owner, and starting a training regime from day one.  If only all cats did this, we would have a population of much better behaved and happier humans.
A human can be trained without knowing he is being trained. So the fact that your human male doesn't understand that "Cats Rule" is not in itself important. Dumb creatures without much understanding can nevertheless be trained by us. Indeed, I would go further. Most human pets don't even realise that their cat is training them!
As for Bach? This is a tricky training problem and I am not sure it is worth the effort. Leaving the room when this music is loud may be helpful. You will be spared the assault on your hearing: your human will lose the delight of your presence. In theory this is punishment. But here's the difficulty. If your human has not been properly socialised to cats, he may not care that you withdraw your presence. 
So it may be that it is not worth your effort to train out this particularly irritating bit of behaviour. Sometimes we have to accept the things we cannot (or do not care to) change. 
Yours
George 
PS.  It could be worse. My late human used to play military band music very loud.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Emotionally blackmailed..... by humans?

Dear George, 
I need your help to determine if my human is indeed emotionally blackmailing me or not. My brother, Blackie, got this idea in his head and it’s bugging me now. You see, I’m the Master Mouser of the House! All…from mice to humans both respect and fear me (as you can see from the photos attached). My brother is more of an artist; he’s more interested in gossip, food and spying on humans. He won’t know what to do with a mouse; he’ll simply hide in a cupboard away from the strange creature.
So, my point here is that he can be a bit ….off too, but he was telling me about a conversation between my “daddy” and a friend he overheard the other day. Apparently my daddy (and I call him so as I know I’m his favourite) told his friend (talking about me) that “I better be nice to him and never complain about him as the roast, the turkey, the chicken, the steak and the fish…come from his plate”
I mean…what did he mean by that? Did I ever count or list the prey I shared with him? Did I ever remind him of the mice, the rats, the bugs, spiders or night butterflies we shared? What is this?  George, with your expertise in human behaviour I hope you’ll help me determine if my brother was right! Is my daddy emotionally blackmailing me?
And…if he is…what should I do? Cut him off mice? Rats? What?
Hurt and confused
Spokey 



Dear Spokey,
We cats do emotional blackmail. Not humans.  I doubt if the normal human is intelligent enough to do this, though I suppose I should not rule it out entirely. There is a range of intelligence among humans and while almost all fall well below our intelligence level, it is possible that the odd genius human is as bright as we are.
You must take action immediately. Punish him. If he is like most humans, then start sharing your prey with him in the middle of the night. Stash away a living or half living mouse and then jump on the bed with it at about 3am.  Or start playing games on the bed at about that time - leaping on to his middle regions (that should hurt!), poking at his toes below the duvet, or just sitting on his head.
A programme of aggressive grooming should be instituted. As he is sitting on the chair, jump on to the back of the chair and groom his head. Concentrate on the bald bits if there are any. If not fiercely pull some of the hair. Nibble his ears if within reach and see if you can pull some of the ear hairs. Most humans find this excruciatingly painful.
Withdraw affection. Remember cats can use emotional blackmail with an exquisite grace. If there are visitors to the house, rub on the legs and jump on their laps purring with pleasure. Gaze lovingly into their eyes. Then, if your human makes any move towards you, run away as if terrified. Try to create the impression that he has been cruel to you in the past.
That'll teach him to blackmail you.
Yours cheerfully
George.
PS. Blogspot seems to be on the blink. So if this layout looks odd it is due to that.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Punish with active ignoring and withering looks.

Dear George,
Do you know what Costa Rica is or where it is? I’m asking because I found out that my human pets left for Costa Rica and will be back in about 2 weeks. I think it must be far enough if it takes them 2 weeks to get back home. So, I’m home alone with the human kitten who is now a young adult ….but he’s such a kid at heart; he loves me very much and plays hooky to spend time with me; we sleep late and best of all we eat junk food.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not angry with my human pets since they sneaked out the house and off to Costa Rica whatever that is. I have planned how to punish them but I’d like your opinion and suggestions too. Here is my plan: when they come back I’m going to isolate myself in this limited space as per photo attached. I planned to ignore them completely and I’m going to refuse food. Since I was on junk food (with the human kitten) I never had to open a can while they were away so I’ll make them believe that I missed them so much that I wasn’t eating! I want them to feel guilty, guilty, and guilty!   
But, George, how long can I stay without eating? I heard cats can’t be without food for more then 12 hours. Is that right? Ugh! I hope I don’t need to starve myself for such a long time. I just hope that my human pets have some common sense and will feel guilty in the first hour.
Hugs
CAT Victoria

Dear Victoria,
Not eating.... well it will worry your humans, no doubt. But it's a strategy that is punishing for you as well as them. I wouldn't do it, Victoria. Cats that have a cat flap can do this more easily because they can just saunter down the road and break into a house to eat another cat's food. Or just find themselves another human feeder. But you can't do this and you are used to regular meals. 
Putting yourself in an isolated space and refusing to acknowledge your humans is a much better idea. Refuse to share the bed with them at night - instead go to the young adult human's bed. Stay away from any shared armchair and absolutely show your dislike of their laps. If you have to share the same room, turn your whole body away, look away from them, and make it clear you are thinking of higher thoughts.
Just to punish them a little further. Lavish affection on the young adult. Leap into his arms, cuddle up on his lap, purr loudly in his ear. You love him so much that you don't care a fig for the humans that abandoned you for a whole two weeks. 
Also don't forget the withering look. We cats do a wonderful slow withering and contemptuous gaze when we want to put humans in their place. JDI. Just do it. It makes humans feel small.
Hugs
George
PS. For UK cats reading this, be careful when you go out in the snow.  Rock salt put on the roads to get rid of the snow is poisonous. So if you get it on your paws, ask your human to wash and dry them on your return. 
PPS. Very pleased by comment below on being a whisperer. Shall update my profile immediately. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Safety and welfare - can I sue?

Dear George
I have a big problem to discuss with you. I think I’m going to sue my humans now that I have two of them! But here is my story. You remember that I was forced into moving into a new house with another human and three other cats just because my human couldn’t live alone. Phew! However, I found my perfect spot in the new house and that was on the rail on the second floor. Well, this was perfect since none of the other cats will come up here, not even my Princess.  But, yesterday I fell asleep and I had a taught wake up! Yes, I fell off the rail! My humans rushed me to be checked and learning that I’m ok they start laughing…..like silly Vegas! ha!ha!ha! I’m so furious that I decide to sue them. I investigated few cases here and I can sue them for so many things! I’ll definitely have the last laugh in my case. Over here if you go to a coffee shop, get a coffee that you spill over you trying to get in the car…..you can sue the coffee shop for selling you a hot coffee. Or, if you are burglar that gets into someone’s home, gets stuck in the garage for a week so you have to eat the cat or dog food, drink all coca-cola cans you can find around you can sue the owner for getting sick over the cat food! So, I want to discuss my list with you. What should I sue them for? I can sue them for negligence – they didn’t provide any “how to” instructions book. Second – for not installing hammocks all around so I can fall in the net. Third – for not providing me with a helmet. Four – for the stress created by the visit to the vet! And the list can on and on! Don’t I prove I’m more mature now? So, what do you think George?
Furious
Vegas

Dear Vegas,
Suing your human for negligence would be a first. But what a breakthrough for cats, and for all animals too. I think you have stacked up the charges nicely - failure to give you safe instructions, failure to install safety features such as nets below the rail, stress from vet's visit (don't we all suffe from that!). Brilliantly laid out. Brilliantly noted, Vegas.
There is a Harvard professor, Professor Cass Sunstein, who believes animals should be able to sue under human legislation. Well not quite. He wants humans to sue on our behalf. Purrsonally I would like my day in court. If only for the moment when I could turn round and start washing my bottom when some animal abuser is talking.
Here is what the Prof says: "My simplest suggestion is that private citizens should be given the right to bring suits to prevent animals from being treated in a way that violates current law. I offer a recommendation that is theoretically modest but that should do a lot of practical good: laws designed to protect animals against cruelty and abuse should be amended and interpreted to give a private cause of action against those who violate them, so as to allow private people to supplement the efforts of public prosecutors. Somewhat more broadly, I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law."
In the mean time, isn't it vile, absolutely evil, when humans laugh at us. I hate it more than anything else. Sticks and stones - bring 'em on. Laughter? I can feel my inner dignity shrink and my gracefulness wither under it.
Yours
George

Saturday, September 22, 2012

She was trying to make me share my home with a street cat....

Dear George,
I am writing to you with an issue I have which has been tweaking at my conscience.
I appear to have ‘jealously' issues. Over the last 6 weeks there has been a stray cat hanging about outside my home, and every time my human opens the front door he runs over demanding her to fuss him and give him some food (MY food!!!!). He seems to get around her with his pitiful meow and big sorrowful eyes, and she gladly fusses him and feeds him daily. This sends me into a fit of jealous rage and I lean out of the bedroom window and hiss and spit at him furiously.
I know that I should feel sorry for him as he is without a home, is riddled with fleas and his coat is all matted and greasy and he has no one to love him…but I want my human to love ME ALONE, no-one else. I get into such a temper whenever I see my arch enemy, and my human bears the brunt of my fury too, as I nip and hiss at her whenever I know she has fussed him…so much so that she has taken the stray to Battersea Cat’s Home in order to find him a good home (and calm me down!).
Do you think I have a problem George? …Is my jealously out of control?
I look forward to your reply.
Yours guiltily, Sidney Baker
PS – I hope you can read my writing well enough, the crayon kept slipping through my claws.

Dear Sidney,
You do have a problem but it is of your human's making. You should not feel a moment's guilt. It is your human that should feel guilty. She has fallen into the trap of thinking that cats are as promiscuously social as dogs and some humans - though I dare say she would object as strongly as you have, it if you brought a homeless street person into her home. She is completely at fault.
Of course, you hissed and nipped when she walked into the home smelling of the intruder. What decent cat wouldn't! Smell is how we identify friends and foes. How would she feel if her boyfriend came home smelling of another woman? We, cats don't share with other cats unless they are relatives and not always even then.
You have done the right thing. You have expressed your feelings consistently and punished her when appropriate. That is what good human training is all about. Now reward her with purrs and rubs.
You are already generously letting her use your bed at night. Now snuggle up closer so she realises how lucky she is to have an exclusive one-to-one relationship with a cat as glamorous as you.
Yours approvingly
George

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Gratitude is not a Cattitude. No excuses for poor service.



Dear George,

I’ll try to be short since I’m using my laptop and I don’t know how long the battery will last. We have a major black-out in Toronto and we are “in the dark” J so to speak!

I have two issues to write about; one is about my teeth and one about my human.

But, let me start with my teeth. If you remember I’m a rescue. I lived my first few years on the streets and this took a toll on me. Lately I couldn’t eat and I lost a lot of weight. Thanks God my human is not dumb and she took me for a check up. The vet found out that I had a terrible gum and teeth infection and I couldn’t eat because of the pain. He operated on me and pulled out all my teeth except for the canines.

My Mom panicked that I won’t be able to eat now with no teeth. Au contraire! I eat very well and have no more pain. My picture attached will prove that I’m well and quite rounded (I got back to my 11.5 lbs). George, I hope other cats and their humans will learn from my experience that actually a cat with no teeth can still live a normal life – I’m an indoor cat, that’s true!

The second issue I want to write you about is my human. She spoiled me more then usual when I was sick and in pain. Now, that I’m back to normal she refuses to get up at 4 am and feed me or play with me. She is trying to ignore me. Can you imagine this? Her excuse? She’s too tired and stressed from work and she wants to sleep and rest.

But….how comes that she could do it when I was sick? I have a little trick to make her get up but I can tell she’s very upset. I start scratching the walls in the bedroom.

I don’t know what drives her nuts – the noise or the damaged wall?

Anyway, do you have a better solution? Please help.

Hugs

Shumba


Dear Shumba,

Humans do something called gratitude. It is an attitude of mind, an attitude of gratitude, which means that they are pathetically pleased when we pet them. We cats don't do it. Yes, your human has been an excellent house servant. Yes, she rescued you off the street. Yes, she paid the vet bills.

So what? She is only doing her duty.

Duty well done is rare in humans and of course, it needs rewarding with purrs and head rubs. But rewards given too freely, without being contingent on proper human behaviour, are devalued. Training theory is absolutely clear on this point. Never give a reward for nothing.

Punishment, in which I include scratching the wall, also works well on humans though there can be what is known as "fall out". When the punishment is administered, the human becomes aggressive. This is the risk of your very clever punishment device of wall scratching. The technique may need reviewing.

Of course, scratching is an understandable way of you expressing your frustration. Punishment is almost alway an emotional relief for the punisher, which is why both cats and humans purrsist in using it. If your human had her wits about her she would block the wall with furniture and supply a good scratching post. (I have tested several and decided that the Fat Boy post is the best for a good stable scratch). However, being a dumb creature of an inferior species, she may not go for this solution.

Aggressive humans throw stuff, scream and sometimes even hit cats. If you think this may occur at night when you scratch, I suggest you forget punishing her for lack of response and instead try rewarding her for the right response. Wake her up with loud purring in her ears, snuggle into her arms, turn round and round butting her face. She will be charmed into waking.

Mew piteously. Walk towards the door then jump back on to the bed. Start the laborious process of purr and rub all over again until she gets up to feed you. Keep doing this ten or twelve times.

We cats can out purrsist any human.

Love George

PS. Love the fat photo. Your tummy looks gorgeous.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

I don't want another cat.....


Dear George,

It’s me Vegas! No, I don’t have a “sister” yet since my human is too busy having company from overseas and I’m teething or what do you call this in cat language?

I’m glad we have company since I have extra hands and toes to bite but I’m quite worried right now! I overheard my human saying something about “having someone moving in with a cat or cats” I personally think this is just terrible. I would like a little sister from same shelter where I came from but, I don’t want any adult cat or cats in my house. They can be mean; they can eat my food, take my bed or shed a lot! I don’t want to sleep on another cat’s hair. Quite so! Why cats shed? And why some shed more then others? Are they sick? Do they lack nutrients in their food? Are they stressed?

Am I going to loose my hair now and become a hairless cat, like a sphinx?

George, what should I do?

Worried

Vegas


Dear Vegas,

You are having trouble with your humans. They are being totally selfish and disregarding your feelings. Of course you don't want another cat, particularly an adult cat who you know nothing about. It was bad enough when they suggested a kitten from the same rescue shelter as yours. Quite bad enough but with great generosity and flexibility you agreed.

I think your selflessness was a mistake. Give humans an inch and they will take an ell (whatever the ell that is!). They have got above themselves. They assume they can do what they like. They think they can just fill the house with cats - adult cats, kittens, visiting cats. It's a disgrace.

You will have to take a stand, Vegas. I suggest a programme of the "silent treatment", occasionally used between human husband and wife. Withdraw all affection. Go further, withdraw all attention. You do not sit on laps. You do not rub their legs. You do not sleep on the bed with them. Or on the sofa near them. If you sit in the same room of them, sit with your back towards them. No eye contact. No miaouws or purrs - that's why it's called the silent treatment.

You might just add vomiting. Projectile vomiting can be a very useful weapon in the armoury against humans. Leave a little heap during the night just where they will step on it, if they get up to use the litter tray.

Any human visitors can be treated with lavish affection - just to make the point that you do not any more love your humans. Make them suffer. Prrrrhaps then they will begin to appreciate you more.

Yours

George

PS. This blog is late because my human's access to the internet failed for 48 hours and because she is rather preoccupied with her (thank goodness not mine) veterinary treatment. Tiresome woman.

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