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Showing posts with label toys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toys. Show all posts

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Ways for a cat to exercise its human.


Dear George,
As much as I loved reading your book One hundred ways for a cat to train its human, I’m surprised that you never pointed out some ways for a cat to exercise its human.
I’m saying this since I’m in much need of your help in this regard. You know that most indoor cats are called “couch potatoes” but, in my case…the couch potato is my human daddy and I’m really worried about his lack of exercise.
I tried to set up examples for him but I think I must do something wrong since he is not responsive to any… such as:
  • Climbing up the curtains.
  • Climbing up and scratching the door frames
  • Jumping from the book case's highest shelf down on his desk.
I even tried the fishing rod and hanging from the chandelier with no success!
To all these excellent examples (in my opinion) he just stares at me in some sort of amazement! Do you think there is something wrong with him? Am I not clear enough in my intentions? George, please tell me how I can train him to exercise more.
Yours truly
Dumi 

Dear Dumi,
In training any animal, it is important to realise that each species has its quirks and particularities. You can only train humans to do what comes naturally to them. For instance you can't train them to scent or hear the location of a mouse. Their noses and their ears are too weak for that.
Exercise is difficult too, as humans are naturally indolent. They will spend hours staring at a screen and only drastic measures such as lying on the keyboard will successfully get their attention towards you.  So first, you have to get their attention.
Even the stupidest of humans usually notice climbing up the curtains and your other activities. Most will spring into action in a vain rescue attempt (either to rescue your or the curtains!). I fear you may have adopted a human nerd, halfwit or a dingbat, as Oz cats call them. These humans are to be pitied not punished. It is not their fault they lack the ability to understand us properly.
You will have to accept that you cannot change him. Don't cease your activities, as this is good exercise for you. One of my achievements was to rip out all the lining from a pair of curtains: it was a truly satisfying achievement - as you can see from the photo on the right.
Yours
George.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I’m my Mama’s boy! How to keep it that way.

Dear George, 
Yes, I’m my Mama’s boy and it feels sooooo good (as you can see in the picture).
But, I’m in a fierce competition with my brother Rocky; not that Rocky cares, not even for a faint second, who in fact is the mama’s boy! He just wants to annoy me! And he does! Rocky is such a mischievous cat! I know our Mom loves us both but I was her first rescue! I was her first “fur baby”! So, in the name of my “rescue right” I expect to be recognised as my Mama’s boy and I want everybody else in our household to acknowledge it! George, what do I need to do to maintain my Status Quo?
Any tips or tricks?
Cheers,
Stanley

Dear Stanley,
That is a cute pose - tongue out, paws up, and tummy exposed. Few humans could resist that one! It feeds into their innate maternal instinct for cradling.
Purr loudly and purr often. They love to listen to purring. It soothes and pleases them. Miaow in moderation. The frequent and intense miaowing made by Siamese is not to every human's liking. So use miaows less frequently than purrs. But they still work well to get attention. High pitched is better than low sounding. Run a few tests. Do your humans like one long-lasting miaows or several short ones?
Tactile signals are cute too. While your human is lying in bed rub your cheek against hers. That's a no brainer! A gentle purr at the same time will seem even cuter. Rubbing against the legs and arms is fine too. Slow blinking is another great sign of affection too. And don't forget the slow little paw pat on the face as a wake-up call (claws firmly retracted for this one).
A little gentle play with whatever toy is around will please them too. Show off your graceful pouncing. It is our cute looks that seem to turn them on. Why else have cats taken over the internet, a visual medium if ever there was one. Charm never fails.
Do all this, and you keep Rocky into second place without  doubt. 
Yours admiringly
George.

Friday, December 09, 2016

A Christmas gift for all cats

Dear George,
The other night I was watching this video with this kitty whacking her human’s fingers.
Immediately I realized the potential of getting rich quickly by intelligently marketing this game as well as mass producing these cardboard boxes ready to use (something like “pret-a-porter” in fashion world). I really like this cat game: it is entertaining for us and educational for humans – our human pets will perfect their skills and we, the cats, enjoy the interaction with them! I shall call this “spending quality time” with your human. 
So, late at night I was sitting on my favorite counter and contemplating my sketch (both my photo and my sketch attached) planning the business venture, suppliers, insurance (what if a kitty literary “kills” her human’s finger – the game is meant only to whack not kill), shipping….you know…all that boring stuff coming with any successful business.
And, on second thoughts, I decided to post the sketch and the game on your blog free! 
Why not? It’s Christmas and in the spirit of giving ….I give the game free!
Any human can reproduce my sketch and make some holes in a cardboard box and have fun with his/her kitty.
Merry Christmas to all
Diego

Dear Diego,
Thank you for sharing this. Yes, it's a good game but only for adult cats. We can control ourselves and not injure our humans too badly. Personally I prefer fishing rod games, as humans can play them with us  while watching TV. But this finger game is fun too particularly for cats that live indoors.
It's not for kittens. Kittens enjoy it but it can make them too scratchy to humans. Let me tell you the cautionary tale of Tommy (still waiting for a home).  His humans played fingers games with him as a kitten, then when he got a bit bigger they punished him for biting their fingers. And so he bit harder. And they punished harder.....  So they then threw him out of the house for being "vicious." It wasn't his fault - he was just playing.
He had to go into rehab with Celia and learn to be gentle. 
I love the way your fur colour matches the kitchen.
Yours
George

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Meow... Calling all cats.... we have our own special day.


Dear George
It seems that in celebration of the International Cat Day I got a new toy (as you can see in the photo). If you read here, you can see it was last Monday. On this specific day (August 8th) we cats, can get away with everything as our humble human pets will venerate and pay us respect. To tell you the truth I don’t find this new toy too entertaining or amusing so I’m going to using it as a “fancy” pillow! I don’t want to hurt my humans’ feeling telling them the truth. I know they meant well (but I doubt their IQ – psst! that’s our secret George!). By the way, any idea what else I can do with this new toy?
Cheers,
Chico

Dear Chico,
I've got a version of this toy, and if my human starts it rolling then I find it quite interesting. But a lot of the time it just sits there without moving.  That is boring, boring, boring. I think it would be better if my human put down a new toy every two or three days and took away the old one. Or at least started that white ball rolling for you.
See if you like the Da Bird fishing rod toy too. It's my favourite. It needs a human the other end, but Celia will wave it about while she is watching old back sessions of The West Wing so even the idlest pet owner (and she is idle in the evening) can join in the play.
Meow
George. 
PS. There are home made toys that cost nothing - dried broad beans (too large to swallow whole!), cardboard boxes, old lavatory rolls and so forth. Look here for some ideas.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My new toy.... the TV zapper.

Dear George.
I have discovered a new toy, the TV zapper. There are two games I play with it. The first, and easiest one, is just to push it off whatever surface it lies on. Here on the sofa, I give it a good shove on to the carpet, then push it under the sofa.
The fun is seeing my human on her hands and knees trying to poke it out from underneath.
The second game needs all my Maine coon strength. I press it with my front paw. It has to be a firm press so usually I stand on it, rather than just poke. 
The result is very satisfactory. The moving picture on the TV changes. The humans get very aroused and angry about this. It's amazing how that square TV can wind them up.....
I recommend these two games to all cats, though small ones will only be able to do the shove-push-and-hide game.
Yours intelligently
Bob.

Dear Bob,
It is always good to hear of a new game, especially one that arouses humans from their lethargic gaze at the TV. Their visual addiction is one of the most irritating habits, though it may allow a quick whisk round the kitchen and a quiet crunch of anything edible on the high surfaces there.
My own way of interrupting TV addiction is to leap onto the top of the TV (if it is an old fashioned one) and drape my tail over the picture. If that is not possible, and nowadays modern TVs are designed to stop this, I go as near as I can to it, sit below and make meow noises at the screen.
That usually gets their attention.
Yours
George.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Hide and seek - but not in the washing machine.


Dear George,
My name is Kitty-Kitty-Puss-Puss and, of course I’m a rescue! My name? Ya, I know what you are thinking but I can assure you my human is quite normal!
Or I think she is! Or….maybe not? Actually….I’m writing to you seeking advice on a human behavioural pattern. You see, I’m an indoor cat and being young I easily get bored. I’m very playful so I’m quite creative. Of all games I most enjoy “hide & seek” but my human doesn’t get it. Each time I hide (as you can see in the picture attached) she panics and start frantically looking for me, calling my name and quite often starts making some very strange noises like she’s trying to speak “cat language” at a high pitch strange “meowing”. I would laugh out loud if laughing won’t give away my hiding place. All is good and fun until she suddenly becomes upset and starts crying implying that I intentionally upset her.
George, I know she means well and I love her very much but how do I tell her that all I want is playing with her?
Confused
Kitty-Kitty-Puss-Puss

Dear Kitty-Kitty-Puss-Puss,
If you are an indoor cat, it is an important part of your pet human's duties to play with you.  She should spent as much time as possible seeing to your recreational needs - fishing rod toys, throwing little balls of paper, chasing you (if you are the kind of cat that enjoys being chased), and so forth. 
Some humans use lazer light toys, but these can be addictive and frustrating to some cats. Personally I find them boring. Another idea is for your human to hide food so that you have to find it.
Hiding? Yes, it is fun for us. And it is particularly good fun to watch our humans wandering round the house calling and getting all wound up. Naturally if I ever hear the "vet" word, I go missing immediately and it is easy to fool my human. I emerge when I hear her on the phone cancelling the appointment admitting"He's gone missing."
But a word of warning. Hiding inside the washing machine is dangerous. Of course, your human should never leave the washing machine open if you are likely to go inside. But humans are irresponsible and forgetful animals.  So don't climb inside, just in case there is an accident. Just occasionally, rarely, a human will bung in the clothes without looking properly and a cat gets trapped in the washing cycle.
Yours helpfully,
George.
PS. There's some useful ideas on playing with indoor cats here.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Crochet versus knitting... knit your own human!

Dear George,
I'm a young kitty rescued by my "mommy" which I love very, very much (as you can see in the pic attached)
We do lots of things together like cuddling, purring, playing, sleeping, eating!
Lately she is insisting in teaching me how to crochet! By the way....she does crochet a lot!
Well, I'm a bit worried now as this age-old hobby, relevant even today as you can see, makes a comeback
with pre-teens, teens, grandmas and everyone in between (where my mommy will fit).
Why am I worried? Because I love to knit and I think knitting is what we should do together. Plus, as you may know crochet is using a single curved hook (my claws fit the description perfectly)
but, in knitting we use knitting needles (not harmful).
I don't think she realizes that if I start crocheting....I'll shred everything to pieces.
George, how can I make her change her hobby and switch to knitting?
Knitting comes so naturally to us, the cats!
By the way, why do you think we are knitting and love it so much?
Maybe if you'll explain ...she'll change her hobby
With knitting purrs
Sophie

Dear Sophie,
Do your claws get stuck in the crocheting? I guess they might do. Sounds a bit tricky for a cat. If you show her how they get stuck, perhaps she will change her habits. Knitting would be safer - and there are those nice balls of wool to play with too.
If you do start knitting, would you knit me a nice human to play with? I'd like one small enough to bat about and perhaps with some catnip inside. It must be female, of course, and it would be lovely if it looked like Celia - mature (!), wearing trousers not a skirt, and with knobbly knees! Pink face and yellow hair on the head.
AND.... I know this is controversial but I would like you to add a tail.   I feel pity for them as they are disabled without a tail. So I would be grateful if you could add a tail to my toy Celia.
Yours in grateful anticipation,
George.
PS. Have you seen this book?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

How to tease your human with a feather - no, not what you think!

Dear George,
I have been given two expensive cat toys by my human. One was an elaborate feeding device where I had to claw out bits of cat food. I have refused to do this. The other was a very large furry thing in wheels, which could be wound up by my human and set off across the carpet. It is the size of a guinea pig and makes whirring noise which I dislike intensely. So I have ignored that too. 
Instead I found my own toy - a feather that some unlikely bird had deposited in the garden. I have been rolling around with it for about an hours. I think it has really irritated her.
Yours Toby.

Dear Toby, 
Congratulations on a good human tease. One of the many cat rules, which help cats rule, is to ignore all new purrchases. Especially any expensive ones. A new cat bed - go straight to a heap of freshly washed sheets and sleep there instead. A new toy - look at it once then stroll away. A lovely new soft bit of cat bedding - refuse to sit on it.
Instead make your own toy. We cats can make a toy of everything - a piece of dried pasta on the floor, a broad bean, the top of a milk container, an empty pill box. These can be batted around a kitchen floor ad infinitum.
Then there are these - your human's shoe laces while she is wearing them, the blind toggle hanging down on the side of the window, the dressing gown belt hanging from the back of the door, the bit of paper hanging loose from the scratched wall paper, the ties that tie up the loose covers of the furniture.... I expect cats reading this can suggest some more.
Money can't buy the purrfect cat toy. The purrfect cat toy is one chosen by us. Puts the humans in their place and makes them try harder to please us.
Yours
George.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rules of cat ball games ...

George
I do find your advice so very comforting. What with being from Russia and used to moving in the highest circles, I am often at a loss to understand the customs in the house I now live in.
My latest problem is with ball games. My human hostess has been kind enough to provide me with these very nice snowballs (imitation, I know, but bless her, she’s trying her best.)
Now, I had always thought the rules of all ballgames are very clear: I sit on the table where the items are and knock each one carefully to the floor. My hostess then picks up the balls and replaces them, and we resume play until I tire of it. This is the right way to do it, n’est-ce pas?
Well, would you believe it, the Teenager who lives here doesn’t keep to these rules. He comes bouncing along and STEALS the balls when they are in play, hitting them all over the place and running along with them. He says he’s ‘dribbling’, which does not sound at all proper. Dribble he certainly does, and then rolls my nice white balls in the dust under the furniture. If the manservant can be bothered to retrieve them, they end up grubby.
I really don’t think this will do – dear George, what should I do?
Yours ever
Natasha



Dear Natasha,
Obviously the Teenager hasn't learnt the rules of cat ball games. Does he think he is a dog, perhaps? One of the differences between cats and dogs is that dogs play in groups. We don't. Well, the adult members of our species don't. We cats will play with humans but usually not with other cats. Your adolescent house companion is just failing to behave properly.

The solution is simple but does require you to exert your authority. Get your humans better organised. Your human hostess should continue playing with you, while the male manservant plays with the Teenager. This may have to occur in separate rooms, or, if the Teenager has some manners (and many adolescents don't) at either end of a largish room.
LIving with another cat is always tiresome.  Living with an adolescent cat is very tiresome indeed. The snowy weather is probably making the Teenager even worse than normal in his behaviour. If somehow he could be purrsuaded to get out a bit more and slaughter some wildlife, you could get on with playing your game with the hostess.
Yours with sympathy,
George 
PS. Harvey the House Rabbit has had issues with Google who claimed he was too young (at the age of 10) to write a blog. He is back at http://harvey-diaryofaninspirationalbunny.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Human harassment - is the answer exercising your human more?



Dear George,

As you already know, I celebrate my birthday on Victoria Day here in Canada because that was the day I showed up from nowhere in my human pet's garden.

This year they threw me a surprise birthday party; totally unexpected since the day started a bit rainy and grey, but by the afternoon it was sunny and nice! They invited some of my buddies but they invited some of their friends too.

George, how can I avoid unwanted attention? All their friends wanted to hold me, kiss, etc. And they all brought me colorful, little balls (as you can see in the picture).

That much for human imagination! What can I do with a dozen balls?

Do you think I should use them training the humans? Should I train them to fetch the balls?

CAT Victoria


Dear Victoria,

Your problem is a common one. Humans will harass cats. Picking us up, cuddling us, kissing us. It's good for them but some of us find it demeaning and many of us just downright hate it. What can we do about it? Well, we can wriggle. When we cats wriggle, we wriggle good. A powerful wriggle will simply extract us from this unwanted human behaviour. I called these unwanted human advances affectional harasssment.

Will giving them more to do help? Well sometimes it does. A bored human is a badly behaving human. They are terrible couch potatoes and giving them a good exercise regime will always help. Probably the best way to do this is to get their attention to a ball. They like playing games with toys. Walk up to them and look as if you are going to play fetch. When they throw the ball, you run after it but you don't pick it up. Then they will have to run after it to in order to pick it up and throw it again for you. They think they are giving you exercise but in reality you are giving them exercise. Sometimes humans are pretty dumb animals.

Training them to fetch small pieces of meat, prawns, and dried cat food is also a good idea! You are probably, without realising it, already doing this. I get their attention by rubbing round their legs,and putting on a particularly loving and expectant look on my face. I don't feel particularly loving: I often feel very impatient at their slowness to catch on to what I want. But it works

Keep up the good work. A trained human is a happier human.

George

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My not-so-new new cat house


Dear George,

I can not stop laughing at how silly humans can be! The other night I heard my “people” talk about buying some new furniture and getting rid of my old cat house (since ….dah! it is that old! stupid!)

I heard my daddy saying that he’s going to throw away the cat house!

What? Is he crazy? First of all…..this is not his house, it is mine! Then, I heard my “mommy” saying “don’t through it away, just leave it outside - what if they want to go inside”? I could not believe when I heard him saying “what for? They never got into this house”. Hey, buddy! You just made my day!

SOOOOOO! The minute he took the cat house outside …..I “jumped” in and start purring

and …..slept in the house all day”– as you can see in this photo.

I and Cayenne take turns at sleeping in the house outside!

Now, guess what! We have a cat house inside and a cat house outside…and I’m looking for many more to come J))

But, George….I still feel like punishing my daddy! What should I do?

Love

Fluffy


Dear Fluffy,

Congratulations on a very effective way of teasing your human. We cats can do this for almost every kind of cat equipment and the more expensive it is the better. A new and costly item appears in the house - a cat basket, a cat bed, a cat house, a mouse toy, a cat gymnasium....

The classic feline tease goes like this. Stalk over to the new item and inspect it carefully. Sneer. Sneer again. Walk away with an offended and lofty air and refuse to go near it. Ignore all maladroit human attempts either to stuff you in it (scratch) or to lure you in with food (wait till they have left the house to retrieve the cat biscuits!).

Stage two is to find something old and shabby. Use that instead. Sit in the fruit basket, the laundry container, the discarded computer box, instead of the new cat house. Play with a dessicated pea which was dropped on the kitchen floor, or with old newspapers, or discarded paper clips instead of the expensive new toy.

Wait. All cats can outwait all humans. Wait for months if necessary.

Then - when you hear them discussing getting rid of the by-now-not-so-new item - whisk inside it. Play with it furiously. And watch their amazement and irritation. A simple game for a simple species (not us, but them).

You have outwitted him already, Fluffy. But what about punishing him by sitting on his head when he is trying to sleep at night? Or just wake him at 3 am by chasing an imaginary mouse (originally she mistyped this as house) over his body.

Love George

PS. Human secretary says ISP access still unreliable. I say human is unreliable.



Friday, September 18, 2009

Help me find my “inner kitten”!


Dear George,
I’m often told that I’m too serious; too much reading and studying!
But I can’t be laying on my back waiting for my humans to rub my belly
or rolling over making that “small talk” (meow-meow) noise like my sister Fluffy does!
I know she makes them laugh, but I can’t be frivolous! I have an important mission! I have to solve all kind of crisis! I was a cute, playful kitten – see picture attached (Fluffy and me when we were 7 weeks old), but I grew up and I’m more interested in helping other cats and animals. I wish I could manifest more “joie de vivre” in a sense that I could be more like my sister; worry free and always looking for excitement!
George, help me find my inner kitten ☺
Cayenne


Dear Cayenne,
The first change is attitude. Cultivate an attitude of cattitude. This includes taking for granted all human efforts on your behalf. We cats find that gratitude (if we are strange enough to feel it) simply weighs us down in our cat-humanpet relationship (or as Wicky Wuddler puts it cat-ape relationship). The food, the beds, the caresses are our due. Cat worship is what these apes/humans should be exhibiting. Train 'em harder if they are falling short.
Once you have floated free from gratitude, play. This is the inner kitten bit. Everything that exists is a potential cat toy, from a fallen bean on the kitchen floor, to the hair of your human. Poke, prod, jump, roll, nibble, groom and throw it.
The whole human body is a potential adventure playground for cats. Jump on the groin first thing in the morning. Bite the toes that poke out of the duvet. Place yourself on the abdomen in the small hours and have a thorough wash. Sleep on the lap. Share the shower. Sit on the side of the bath and play boats with any human bits protuding from the foam. Play with human hair from the safety of the top of the armchair. Ambush your human on the stairs, on the sofa, from behind the door....
Tease them. When they have friends over for a meal, dig loudly in any litter trays nearby and mew while you poo. Jump up on the table and start eating the butter. Play with shoe laces. Experience the pleasure of a good ripping noise as you claw your human's tights. Thrill as you rub your fur against their best trousers.
JDI, Cayenne. Just Do It. You're worth it.
Love George

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why buy scratching posts when furniture is better?


Dear George,
Coud you advise me how I can dissuade my human from investing her money on scratch posts and balls with bells. Furniture and a length of string, or even a shoe lace, are perfectly adequate. The money could be far better employed on chicken breasts and plaice.
Vincent


Dear Vincent,
It is one of the most irritating things about humans that they buy us presents they think we ought to like and then are amazed when we don't like them. The scratching posts they buy are almost always too small or, if they are large enough for what I call a full-body scratch, then they are usually too wobbly. There are some quite nice cardboard ones, which are at an angle to the floor but when my human installed one and I used it vigorously, she took it away because she said the cardboard pieces were messy. Apart from these my own preference is for the sisal ones but some cats prefer the carpet covered post. AFter scratching the carpet post for a time they then discover scratching that the real carpet is much more pleasurable. And the humans are surprised! Yet they encouraged this by buying the carpet-covered post in the first place!
Worse still, if we do condescend to use one of the posts, just when it is getting nicely smelly from the pads of our feet with interesting bits falling off it, the humans change it. We like scratching posts with bits of sisal or carpet hanging down. We like to see the results of our scratches! But just when we have run in the post, so to speak, they get rid of it. They throw it out just when it has been scratched to our idea of perfection. What fools they are! Then they are amazed when we refuse to use a new one.
So what can you do about it? Very little, I fear, Vincent. Just never EVER use it. It is always good for humans to have their wills thwarted. It keeps them in training. I never use a new cat bed for at least three months or more. I turn up my nose at any new toy. And I particularly boycott anything expensive which is bought for me. It keeps humans in their place.
So ignore those balls with bells. Why should a cat want a rolling ball with a bell? We are neither dogs nor vicars. Continue to use the furniture for scratching. If there is no string available as a toy, pull out a shoelace or two, preferably while the shoe is on the foot.
Oh yes, have you thought about scratching the wall paper. A wall with strips hanging off it is a lovely sight. It makes a room look like an art installation.
George

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