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Showing posts with label spacing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spacing. Show all posts

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, October 12, 2013

Dear George,
My name is Maggie and I’m a 12 years old (and cute) rescue as you can see in the photo.
I was rescued as a kitten with three other cats. We always lived downstairs with our mommy.  Her daughter always lived up-stairs with her human tomcat and their rescued tabby, Ziggy.  There always was a lot of mystery of what was happening behind the door that separated the downstairs from upstairs. I could “smell” Ziggy through the doors but we never interacted. Even in the rare occasions when we tried to pay a visit… his daddy was so protective of this “Prince Charming” that we, the other cats, couldn’t even catch a glimpse of him.
Unfortunately not long ago my mommy crossed the Rainbow Bridge and we suffered very much losing her. I was her favourite and I was by her side until the very last minute.
It was very hard for me and so was for my mommy’s daughter that now became my new mommy! But, I took on…. the mission to be the Alpha Cat in the house.
My new mommy leaves all the doors open so we can have free access everywhere in the house.  George, you probably guessed by now ….why I’m writing to you!
Yes! You are right – my first real encounter with Ziggy was a disaster. He tried to ignore me - as you can see him in the photo - pretending he’s watching TV. It did not end well.
I beat him up! That created a lot of trouble! His daddy was very upset and my new mommy was trying to make peace. But, so did end up the second and third and any other encounter. The others cats are OK; they get along well with Ziggy. It is just me!
I know they are not going to send us to shelters …but…why am I acting like this? Am I jealous? Am I upset at his daddy? Or…am I crazy? I want Ziggy’s dad to love me too!
I wish we all live in peace!
 Yours very sad and confused
Maggie

Dear Maggie
The problem is your humans not you. Humans think that we cats can get on with almost any other cat, like dogs do. Dogs will go to the park and then play with stranger dogs. Our attitude is very different. Some of us are quite social: others are natural loners. You may be a natural loner.
If you are, you naturally try to see off strange other cats. It is just in your nature to do so. And Ziggy is another cat. I wonder if there is any way in which you could have your own space, perhaps with a microchip operated cat flap inside the house to keep Ziggy out? These flaps are a boon. Your human could adjust it so that only you could go in and out (or perhaps the other three cats) but Ziggy could not. Or visa versa - giving Ziggy a safe place of his own.
Now that you have had several fights you are not going to become friends with him. So the best thing your humans can do is try to arrange the house so that you two can avoid each other. Lots of hiding places for him and for you (because although you are fighting him, it is because you are afraid). Cardboard boxes with holes cut in them? High shelves?
Worst come to the worst, get your humans to time share themselves. Ziggy comes into the living room at 6-8pm while you are shut out: then from 8pm-10pm you are in the living room while he is shut out. Make sure both of you have an place in the house which is your den and where you can be separated at night: so both of you can have a period free from stress.
You are not crazy, Maggie. You are just a natural loner cat needing her own space, and doing her best to cope. A Feliway diffuser in the area where you spend most of your time, and another one where Ziggy hangs out might help the general atmosphere. You need two because if you have to share one, fights might break out again.
Finding yourself a new home might not be the worst solution: but at your age it can be difficult to find one.
Yours with the greatest sympathy
George.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A cry for help from Miss Penelope

Dear George,
I’m writing on behalf of my friend Miss Penelope. She is too shy and embarrassed to post her picture or write herself but, I think she has a problem and I need your advice.
Miss Penelope is a rescue from a local shelter and she was adopted with two other cats. She was ok until one of the cats started “bullying” her.
I don’t know if she is scared or has a health problem but lately she stop using the litter box. She “goes” in most unusual places through the house.
What it is very unusual ….she kind of peeing standing!
Her human is worried that she might have some health problem even if all tests came back normal. Did you ever hear of a cat peeing standing? Can this be a health issue? May be some lower back problems? Hips? What do you think?
Many thanks & love
Cat Victoria

Dear Victoria
I think Miss Penelope is trying to tell her human that she is very very anxious. Standing up to pee is the way we cats mark our territory rather than just relieving ourselves. This is scentmarking and it's rather like a post-it note to ourselves to tell us that something worrying is round this particular corner. My friend William used to do it against a box tree (they smell like cat pee to a cat) and also at the corner of the field where the foxes would come past on their way to hunt rabbits. It reminded him to take care.
We mark our territory when we think it is under attack or when we are feeling anxious about it. So if our stupid humans punish us, we get even more anxious and mark even more. Also once we have marked, we top up the place to keep our scent there up to date. The smell reminds us. So does the smell of disinfectant put down by humans. Disinfectant smells just like cat pee to us. My secretary Celia tells me that instruction on how to clean up cat pee, and a list of reasons why cats get stressed is on her website at www.celiahaddon.com
If Miss Penelope is not getting on with the other cats, she needs help. We are not human. Humans are absurdly social - they eat together and spend time together. Most of them like being near other humans - pubs, parties, holidays, hobbies etc. But it takes between 3- 6 months for most cats to settle into a group. We cats deal with social problems by spacing, keeping a decent distance between each other.
So her human can help her by making sure there are plenty of cat beds, that food is put down at at least two locations (a tea-tray with food can be put in the bedroom), that there is at least one litter tray per cat. Don't just put the litter trays in one location - there should be at least two locations. The idea is that cats can do all the things they need to do - eat, sleep and eliminate - without having to come close to each other.
Miss Penelope needs to feel safe from the bully.
If she is being severely bullied - wounds, fur everywhere etc - she may just need to live in a separate part of the house. A Petporte cat flap into a room of her own might help. Some of us are really anti-social and just are natural loners. There's more on Celia's website about that too. Or in that ridiculous book of hers.
If only we could purrsuade humans to think cat, rather than to assume that we will like the same things as us.
Love George
PS. My secretary is trying to make a Facebook group titled Cats behaving badly but so far she has made a group but nobody seems able to join it. What is she doing wrong? Answers to her on Facebook please or via the website www.celiahaddon.com

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Who's the cat addict? Cat hoarders, of course.


After William told me he thought I had a catnip problem and suggested Catnip Anonymous, I really gave it some thought. I looked at my catnip use and decided that, although I enjoyed the occasional binge, I was just a recreational user. I mean, I am young and healthy, and if I want to get legless with catnip why not? Where's the problem with that. I enjoy a sniff. Or two. Or even several. Lots of cats do. Doing catnip doesn't necessarily mean you are an addict.
But addiction doesn't have to be about substance use. There are behavioural addictions - human, of course. Some humans seem to be addicted to cat abuse. They shout and scream and throw things at us, when we are relieving ourselves on a nice bit of freshly dug earth in their gardens.
Others are codependant about cats. They can't get enough of them. They became cat hoarders with 70 cats in the house. William came from just such a household. There was a whole basket of kittens, and 60 adult cats. They were sitting on the sofa, under the sofa, on every window sill and ledge, every chair and table. Everywhere you looked there were cats.
William says it was awful. The cats couldn't get away from each other. As every cat knows, we like to keep a proper distance between ourselves. Friendly cats may snuggle up together, but most cats space themselves out - like these two cats on a housing estate in Nailsworth. (Celia is always photographing cats and she was just driving past these two and noticed their spacing - friendly but not too friendly.) Keeping a proper distance is how we deal with too much company. Being close is nice for humans but stressful for us. We can behave in a sociable way but we are not pack animals like dogs. We hunt alone.
Cat hoarders say they love cats but they make life very very difficult for us. Often they run out of money and so the cats in their care (if you can call it that) are disease ridden. William had fleas, lice, earmites and infectious giardia when Celia took him home. It cost her £800 just to restore him to health.
Cat hoarders are in denial. It's not love. It's cat addiction.

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