Saturday, February 25, 2017
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?
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.
PS. If you need to bite, you haven't made your rules clear to these dumb humans.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
|The Sit Up method of getting food|
- First cultivate the cute "I'm looking at you, kid" glance upwards - eyes large, whiskers wide, and a little tilt of the head. You may feel frustrated but you need to look cute.
- Eyes to the food cupboard. Ostentatiously move from looking at him to the food cupboard, adding a little shoulder shift to make it more obvious - humans are not very bright.
- Get off the table and walk to the food cupboard, then look back towards him. Even a really dumb human usually gets this one.
- Meow. Follow up by getting off the table and winding round his legs. Then move three steps towards the food cupboard, turn, and do the appealing look. Got his attention? Another three steps towards the food and another look. This form of training by small increments is what is needed for a really dumb human.
- Finally, when he is moving to get you your food, don't forget the thank you - a very loud purr as you are eating with the occasionally appealing look between mouthfuls. This is to reward him for his trouble.
Saturday, January 07, 2017
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?
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.
George, the real author.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
All I recall is that I was sleeping in my human kitten’s room the night before.
They won't even realise they are being trained. That's the beauty of training humans. They have no idea that we are doing it. Dumb animals indeed!!
Saturday, October 08, 2016
|Danger - Lilies.|
If you are an indoor cat, there are other house plants that will make you sick if you nibble them - poinsettia, Christmas cherry (solanum), dumb cane and others here.
So tell your human to buy you some kitty grass. So you can nibble safely. We indoor cats cannot get grass from outdoors.
Saturday, March 05, 2016
Humans really are maddening. Of course yoga was invented by cats. Indeed, we are still adding to the yoga poses. An acquaintance of yours, Lenny, developed a new asana called “Cat Slipping” as you can see in the photo on the blog for for May 22 last year. And we have been doing zen meditation and other forms of oriental spiritual practices from the times before we even thought of domesticating humans.
How do we get humans to admit this? I don't think we can. They are just dumb an animals, desperately trying to aspire to our level of spiritual intelligence.
But why not purrsuade your young human to start a cat and human class. I can recommend sharing Yoga sessions with humans: it is immensely amusing seeing them trying to do a cat stretch. Take a look at this session here. The sheer clumsiness of the humans has to be seen to be believed. What is rather nice is that the whole session was also in aid of cats adopting rescue humans.
Friday, February 06, 2015
I have trained a Japanese vet to give me food, when I jump over an obstacle. Altogether an amazing experience and one that I am very proud of. It took several days because she was so slow.
At first she failed to give me any food at all. But she did pay attention to me, so I knew there were possibilities there. When I saw her fiddling about with something that looked like a very small horse jump, I tried several different behaviours.
- I walked up to it and paused. No food forthcoming.
- I went for a little walk No food.
- I walked round it and looked at her. Still no food.
- Then inspiration struck. I leaped over it. FOOD!!
Congratulations. It is so worthwhile to purrsist in training your human to deliver food. You are, of course, right. It takes days of effort because human are really not as bright as cats. We have to keep trying and keep our patience.
Food placed in a bowl, even food left available all the time, or stolen food - these are the agreeable aspects of living with a human. But sophisticats go for something rather more cerebral. They train their humans to deliver food on command.
The command you need is not a vocalisation. It is a piece of cute behaviour. Do it and you will be rewarded. You did it. Well done.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Luckily for other rabbits who are thinking of moving into a human house, Harvey left a record of his training methods. "It's not all cabbage and carrots being in charge of two humans and a house," he admitted. He monitored all visitors, and enjoyed watching TV.
His diary of daily life can be purchased here
Harvey also busied himself with a little redecorating - putting frills on the sofa arm, and adjusting the carpet fringe a little. "It was all done very tastefully," he remarked, "They could have shown a bit more appreciation in my opinion."
Like all good trainers, Harvey recognised the importance of showing displeasure when training a human. "If they try to blame you for something, turn your back. If you want to object to anything at all, turn your back and sit tight."
His chapter on the importance of watching feet should be read by all house animals. It is an important insight into the world of humans. He realised that feet were the key to predicting human activity within the house.
He will be much missed. His legacy is his blog and the written version of it in a book. He also contributed photos to Celia's website.
Saturday, March 08, 2014
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.
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
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.
PS. It could be worse. My late human used to play military band music very loud.
Saturday, February 08, 2014
I am a 13 year old Norwegian Forest, known for my high intelligence and sheer drop dead beauty, and I do not feel that this picture shows either, do you?
I have taught my humans to wave to me. I wave back, with one paw....two would be excessive!
I "beg" [Ha!!] or more to the point, demand, by waving both paws up by my ears. My human has a nasty habit of ignoring me as I balance beautifully on the arm of her chair, so I sometimes have to wave harder, to the point where I wave myself right off the chair.
She then has the damn nerve to laugh, sometimes hiding her face in her paw, and snorting, but I know what she's doing, and stalk off, tail at 'full flag".
I give her time to reflect, then return with a very patient expression, and go through the whole thing again ....usually she gives in then, and I get the biscuit I've been asking for. Humans can be so slow, can't they? If she's good, I will then shake her paw, to assure her she's been forgiven. If I don't feel she's being genuine, I administer a quick bite, to make my point.
My humans are the third family I've had. My birth family had a human who named me Chaos, because he said I was a lout....moi....a lout? Then I had a lovely human who gave me a whole tree trunk to play on, in the living room, but she had to go away, and then these humans took over my household duties.
The first night I was with them [scared to death, as you can imagine] one of them wrote to the human I'd lost, who was a long way away, in Canada, in an email which said "Hi Mom.." and she answered me!! I have been writing to
her ever since, and am working on a book, to be called "Chaos to Canada"
You are right. The photo doesn't do you justice. It brings up another cat-human issue. Why are humans so obsessed with our tummies. They go gooey when we do our social roll exposing this part of our anatomy. They try to pet us there. In my case, they get a bit of a shock as I respond by scratching. Hard.
On a more serious note. Your letter is proof that humans are trainable. For years most cats have argued that humans cannot be trained to do tricks. Dogs, maybe. Humans, never. This misunderstanding arose because many cats didn't realise how competantly they were training their humans to buy the right food, open doors, and give attention when required.
But as you have shown, as well as the training basics, you can teach them agreeable little tricks such as hand waving. I am working on teaching Celia how to jump through a flaming hoop. Due to the inevitable lack of human intelligence, this is taking some time.
But patience and persistence are all!
Friday, August 09, 2013
What is a bathtub? And what is its purpose? I'm quite perplexed by my humans' behaviour. Recently we moved again. Yes! I don't expect you to remember how many times we moved so far but, YES, we moved again. First we moved into a new flat which was ok since I made it my own. Then, we moved in with the "other" human (who had 3 cats - at least we all came from the same shelter) and I had to share everything including my human. Now we moved to a bigger house which is fine except that I can't find a damn thing anymore so I started using what humans call a "bathtub" as my litter box.
Wasn't this a brilliant idea? Do you see anything wrong with this? I don't but they're making such a big fuss about it. The other cats go to the basement. Well, I don't want to go there. So, what's wrong that I turned the bathtub into my big, comfortable litter box? I like it! It has a nice touch! And I like the color! The other day I heard one of them saying " again? he did it again? what do we do now; how can we use it"? George, do you think they want to use it as their litter box as well? Are they trying to steal it from me? What should I do?
PS. Some cats teach themselves to use the human litter tray but it is very awkward to balance on the seat.
Saturday, April 06, 2013
My human has started behaving very strangely. She has purrchased a stick with a large red bauble at the end of it. When with a natural curiosity I walk towards it, she says "beep beep" and gives me dried cat food. This happens twice a day and I am naturally quite happy about this extraordinary way of getting extra food.
But.... an awful thought struck me. Is she training me? I noticed a rather smug look on her face as I succeeded in winning some cat food by putting my face near the bauble. While I am quite happy to play this rather boring game, I am not at all happy to think that I am being trained.
I am not a dog. Cats are never trained. We train humans.
Your dilemma is easily solved. She is not training you; you are training her. You have found this relatively easy way of getting more food, so JDI, Just Do It. Humans have mysterious behaviour patterns, and this red bauble on a stick is just part of their unbelievably ridiculous way of life. Don't despise it. Use it to your advantage.
This odd bit of human activity may be connected with something called clicker training. In your case there is no clicker but instead the word "Beep beep." We cats respond relatively well to clicker or beep activity because it is a transaction in which we win. We get the food: the human does not. The folly of the human is their thinking we are being trained by them.
Just to keep her on her toes, be intermittent in your compliance with this game. Occasionally, when you see the bauble walk out of the room. Or find something to scratch. Or have a good wash. Ignore it altogether. Intermittent response makes the human try harder and may well result in a bigger food reward.
Oh yes, and sometimes look as if you are going to do it and then do nothing. It's a good way to tease your human.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
As you know, George, I am a house rabbit living with two elderly humans. There's a lot of talk about living with an elderly rabbit but what about advice for bunnies about living with elderly humans? Every evening we play together and have cuddles on the floor. The last time she creaked her way down, she kissed and fluffed my rear bumper mistaking it for my head and ears. She soon realised what she had done and apologised but it was a bit of a surprise at the time. What if her eyes get worse and she doesn't see me near her feet and squashes me? I'll have to be more wary in the future because when I flop out both ends look pretty well the same. So they say. I'm going to doze now, put on my disapproving look and worry about it.
Yours with some anxiety
PS. This is a worry I did not put into my autobiography (buy it here). I didn't want her to read it.
Elderly humans are a worry. There's no doubt about it. They require much more care than younger humans. You can't sit on their face, for instance, when having a nap - they might stop breathing altogether. Sometimes they can't even bend down to give one a proper pet.
Obviously your Janet is quite healthy for her age since she can get down to the floor. Some older ones can't do that at all. Of course, she does show her age when leavering herself slowly back up again: that that's to be expected.
Specsavers. That's what she needs if she can't tell the difference between your rear end and the front with the head and ears. Her eyesight is obviously going wrong. That's another failing in elderly humans. That and arthritis.
And, of course, some of them lose it altogether. At the best of times humans have limited cognitive powers. Some of the older ones can't think at all. You have to step pretty smartly to make sure they don't fall over you but, if you are lucky, they will forget they have fed you and give you a second meal within a few moments.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
I’m completely confused! This morning I woke-up in a little quirky noise or maybe it was giggling? I don’t know! All I know is that I woke up suddenly and what did I see? This little human kitten staring at me and trying to reach me (as you can see in the picture)! Hm! Who WAS he in the first place? And how did he get into my house?
Groggy and confused I looked around to make sure that I was still in my house and yes, my humans were around. So, who could he be and how did he get into my house? Definitely he wasn’t a rescue – too well dressed and fed! I heard my humans saying something about a plane! George, I don’t know what a plane is or if it can bring babies, but I was under the impression that it was the stork that brings the babies! But, we live in the 21st Century and maybe the planes (whatever they are) are bringing babies now.
Anyway, my dilemma is: should I adopt the human kitten and make him one of my own or just ignore him? I have to admit that I like him – he’s soft and smells good. I rubbed against him and I rubbed his belly – he was giggling and giving me big kisses. George, what do I do?
Don't panic! You just have to make allowances for their clumsiness and the way they lag behind feline kittens. Our kittens grow up in about 8-12 weeks. They can manage their own toilets, wash themselves and feed themselves well within that period. Human kittens remain helpless much longer. They are - I have to say it - very slow compared with our feline kittens.
That doesn't mean they can't be trained. I can see from the photo that you have made a good start in teaching him that he must ask permission before he touches you. Your paw is ready for a quick pain-free swat and your ears are back. Yes, the sheer size of these slow developers is worrying as is their pathetic clumsiness and lack of gracefulness compared with a true kitten. But it is not their fault.
Just put the normal training programme into being. Calm gentle behaviour is rewarded by rubbing and closeness. Excited or rough behaviour earns either a tap from the paw or (better still) you remove yourself altogether. Getting high up, where the human kitten cannot reach you, will ensure some peace and quiet during the day.
And yes they do smell good!
Saturday, July 07, 2012
The only problem we have lately is “communicating” properly with our human daddy. He is a computer wiz but has a very limited vocabulary! He doesn’t meow….he snaps fingers! One snap – the human kittens go up-stairs! Two snaps – cats go downstairs! Can you imagine this? Spockie takes off right away but I prefer, for most of the time, to simply ignore him!
Now, we have another crisis! We got a mouse in a kitchen cupboard; in fact - confirmed by the loud screams of our human mommy! We were very excited to do what cats do! The human kittens were quite thrilled too to be part of the hunt….but our “human daddy” didn’t want us on top of the counters! What a pity! How does he think we are going to catch the mouse? Would he design some software or new application for this? Or is he expecting the mouse to open the door and say “hey, come get me”!?
The effect of computers on the human mind is troubling, very troubling. I understand the fascination of the mouse (I will get to the real mouse later), even though their computer mouse is hard, cold and smells of plastic. But what of that odd screen, rather like a TV only with tiny mouse tracks running across it.
They stare at it for hours and hours. I like to see humans doing human stuff but this is an obsession. Worse, they are ignoring us.
I suggest a sustained campaign of interference with this activity. Both of you should interpose your body between the human and the screen. Lie on the keyboard (I do this - it's not too uncomfortable). Walk on to one of the digits so there is a trail of tracks like this one --wwwwwwwwwwwww...
The finger snapping behaviour (possibly brought on by computer obsession) should simply be ignored. Go downstairs by all means but never ever when you hear him snap his fingers. Training out this irritating snapping will take some time (humans have poor cognition) and you should allow about six weeks before the activity stops. Be aware that in the first week he will snap his fingers more often and more frantically than before. This is known as the extinction effect as the pet tries even harder to get attention and results.
I don't think you can train him to meow. Humans do not have the power of feline speech. They are dumb creatures. You have to accept their limitations.
Now the real mouse. Aren't you lucky little cats! Many happy hours of hunting lie ahead. The best times will be while your humans are asleep. If you are fortunate enough to catch the rodent, don't forget to run upstairs and deposit it upon the double bed. Your humans will be delighted at this thoughtful gift* and proud of your pest controlling success.
PS. On second thoughts, having deposited the mouse on their bed, scram. Instead of being grateful, some humans are violent.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I would call myself SuperCat as my real name is irrelevant for this story. Why SuperCat? Because I manage two sets of adopted human pets; one on a permanent basis and one on a semi-permanent basis. Summertime I have countless “occasional” residences, but that’s yet another story. I spend my days in my semi-permanent residence eating, sleeping, playing, scratching the dog to get off the sofa, pushing their elderly cat off the armchair. The cat is putting up a fight but the others obey in total confusion. When the night comes (or when “she” – my permanent human pet - comes from work) I move to my permanent residence where I train my human into “cat adoration”. She almost reached “perfection”.
Also, I keep an eye on the neighborhood and my two houses from a strategic place as you can see in the photo. I “melt” into that tree and no one sees me there. But, my spot is in danger as I heard my adopted human male saying that he wants to cut the tree off. I’m sure their cat has something to do with it since, I have to admit, she doesn’t like me and she’s the only one knowing my hiding spots. This cat put in this man’s mind that the tree is dead and better cut it off …..just to get me off her property; I’m sure that’s the reason.
But George, I can’t let this happen since there are no other trees “with a view”.
I will hung on and fight for my tree until the last breath (of the tree, of course) but may be you have a better idea how I can reclaim my tree? Should I call the municipality? By the way, aren’t trees protected?
Congratulations, you are showing all the initiativeness and deviousness that makes us cats rulers of the world. Setting up two homes is an extremely intelligent move for any urban cat. One home for the evening meal, full central heating, warm beds, and nice breakfast. The other for daytime - lunch, full central heating, warm beds for that post lunch nap, and perhaps a small tea before setting off to the other home. We cats two-time "owners" all the time and often they don't even know they are time-sharing cat. Poor pets.
Trees... it sounds a serious dilemma. Here in the UK humans can put a tree preservation order on a tree, by ringing their local authority. This wheeze may not be available in your country. If it is, see if you can purrsuade your evening humans to do this. Here it can be done anonymously (I think) and the tree owner is just told about it afterwards.
It's sometimes difficult to find a municipality which takes cats' views seriously. Write to them anyway and keep a copy. Then send this copy with a covering letter to your local paper. A nice covering letter with this very glamorous photo attached, written by your secretary, and signed with your pawprint, should go down very well. What local paper could resist this? If they have any mews sense they will run it.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
My name is Zoe and I came from a shelter as my daddy’s birthday gift. I love my new home – it is a big, beautiful house with many sunny spots where I can take a nap or just relax. I’m allowed to go in any room I want to but I’m not allowed to sleep in the master bed yet! But I am happy! They even share dinner with me! So, you might ask why I’m LOL? Well, when they came to pick me up at the shelter…I overheard mommy saying that SHE is not a cat person. Aha! Look at me (in the photo): in less then a week I had her wrapped around my little paws. Now…..she’s in love with me! Of course I make her believe that I’m all hers J and…. this is my little secret (daddy knows)!
But George, I need to learn more tricks to keep her wrapped around my little paws; I have to take over the master bed too! See, I’m young and cute but I don’t have much experience. I’m sure you can help; any ideas, suggestions?
Congratulations on adopting two new humans from rescue. It was particularly kind of you to choose the female, even though you heard her say she wasn't a "cat person." Sometimes that kind of human gets overlooked by cats thinking of adoption and a new home. These humans haven't been socialised to cats. But, as you are discovering, it is surprisingly easy to rehabilitate them and change their basic attitudes towards cats. All it takes is a little basic training and behaviour modification.
You have started well. The very first essential in any behaviour modification programme (or bmp as we human behaviourists call it for short) is to create and strengthen the bond. The human must look to you to get its needs met. What are these needs? In my opinion humans are starved of appropriate touch, vocalisations and play. We cats supply their cravings for stroking, rubbing, purring, laughter and play. That is how we reward them with our very presence.
Now that you have got her craving the rewards that only you can give her, you can start the secondary training. You need to get her used to the idea that you will visit the bedroom. Little by little. Don't start at night, as she is obviously still anxious about sharing a bed with you. Visit the bedroom during the day, have a little sleep on the bed, or, better still, if she is in the room jump on the bed, lie on your back and give a very enticing wriggle. Few humans can resist either laughing at you or tickling you when you do what is known as the "social roll." Many humans also enjoy it if you play kitten games while they are trying to change the sheets.
The idea is slowly to get her used to the idea that you get on the bed. We academic cats call it "habituation" and "counter conditioning." Instead of worrying about fur on the sheets, she begins to associate you and the bed with laughter and play. Finally, once she is fully at ease with that thought, wait for the moment when you can sneak on. It might be when she takes a nap one afternoon. Or perhaps one Sunday morning when she is drowsing later than usual in the morning.
Jump up quietly. Lie down in a convenient area and purr very very loudly. It usually works and a few weeks later you will be installed as the third person on the bed. Let me know how you get on.