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Showing posts with label waking humans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label waking humans. Show all posts

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.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Of cats training their human pets.... "cat paralysis"

-->Dear George,Last week letter and Tommy’s story inspired me to write this one from my own experience. If you remember about a year ago I was rescued from the streets by this couple with their clear intention to take me to a clinic and treat my many wounds (both physically and emotionally) and then to put me up for adoption. I saw them screening very carefully everybody manifesting a wish to take me in.
Of course in the process they fell in love with me and today I’m running their house! Even more, I didn’t need to train them through the “reward & punishment” cycle as they were quite well trained already but I started training them in what I would call “cat paralysis,” meaning I jump on one’s lap and that person can’t move until I get tired of sitting there so I leave….releasing them to freely move around! For whatever reason it didn’t work well with mummy (she can’t stay still – quite unnerving) but worked wonders with daddy (as you can see in the photo attached). What it’s very rewarding in fact is that I can get as many treats as I want and as often as I want. Why? Because they think they outsmart me and when daddy goes really numb from staying still he’s asking mummy to give me some treats hoping I’ll be tempted to jump down from his lap so he can move! The whole scenario makes me laugh my head off as I get everything I want this way…..being loved, cuddled up and eating treats!
Ah! I love my human pets! So, George what do you think? Maybe we should write a book about this special training program so other cats will benefit from it? With cheers & a good laugh  
Chico

Dear Chico, 
I am always keen to learn about tricks that can be taught to humans and about new techniques for doing this. "Cat paralysis" is a really good idea, not unlike the way humans teach dogs (poor idiots) to "stay." You seem to have cured that particularly irritating human behaviour of shifting around when we are sleeping on them.  Well, at least you have your male pet trained. Now start working on the female.
I wonder if you could transfer this technique to the bed. I suffer from the way my human, whom I generously allow to share the double bed with me, will thrash about in her sleep. I have to keep waking up and moving to get out of her way. If you find you can stop your male human moving around in the bed, please let me know urgently.
Yours
George. 

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, October 01, 2016

Making Food into Fun - get your human servant to do DIY.

Dear George,
I am an indoor only cat and I am getting fat. The truth is that I am bored. There's not much to do in the house, as both my humans go out to work. So I eat. It passes the time. It makes me feel better. And when I have eaten, then I sleep a lot.
Every now and again my humans reduce the amount of food they give me. I hate that. It makes me feel hungry all day.  I miaow for food. I stand up on my hind legs for food. I wake them up in the early hours for food.
The diet never lasts long: they just give in.
None of us are very happy. I hate the diets. They worry about my weight. Any ideas?
Herbie

Dear Herbie,
There is a lot your humans should be doing for you. They shouldn't be putting food down in a bowl. They should make it into active fun. They should be hiding it around the house. Or putting it in cardboard boxes, or in little play balls where you have to move the ball around to get the food out.
I have helped my human develop a series of home-made food fun toys - you can see them here.And check out the IKEA cat tower below made by Waltham for their cats.  Indoor cats that live in groups would really love this one. We need to get our humans to do more DIY to give us more activities and make food into fun.
Yours
Copyright WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare
George


PS. She never gave me credit for my work on "her"website.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

In violation of Cats Freedom Rights..

Dear George,
Right so, right on and right now! Yes, you would not believe it!
And the culprit? My very own human mummy!
Yes, George, she is in violation of my fundamental right – freedom! Everybody knows that we, cats, are most intelligent, superior to any other species and fiercely independent! Well, I have now a 10 o’clock curfew! Really? Just because I didn’t come home for two days and two nights? See, our house backs into a ravine and, of course lots of interesting things are happening there at night so, normally I wanted to have some fun! Her reaction? Ugh! Apparently she cried her heart out worrying for me so she thought she was entitle to set the 10 o’clock curfew! I’m meowless George! Meowless!
My own mummy who participates in every single protest against animal abuse or violation of animals ‘rights! What do you have to say about this George?  Or maybe she’s just jealous of the chair I have in our garden? I’m the King of that Chair (as you can see in the photo). I love to sleep there at night! Maybe…. all she wants is my chair?
Meowless and fuming
Paco 

Dear Paco,
The arrogance of humans is sometimes overpowering. You must fight back. Find your command voice, the command yowl! I suggest that you institute an early morning play session around 3 am. Jump on the bed yowling with a toy and rush up and down it. Be prepared for a quick exit, though. Some humans are violent when awoken unexpectedly.
If they shut you out of the bedroom, sit by the cat flap and yowl intermittently all night. You must be so frustrated.... Many humans give way at this point. They have tried to institute a change but haven't got the strength of mind to stand out against a determined cat. Usually a fortnight of extreme pressure by the cat will make them relent.
The other possibility is just not to turn up at 10pm.  Of course, if she is brighter than most humans, she will feed you at 10pm thus ensuring that you turn up. But as many humans are stupid she may not do this... if so just ignore the curfew.
You can do it. We cats can outwit, outwait and outpersevere humans.
Yours
George.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I want to have a career in Feline TV


-->
Dear George
Have you noticed how many cats there are on television these days? From motivational speakers to singing cats, every ad seems to feature a furry feline. It’s got me thinking – how could I get in on this action and start my career on the screen?
I’m a pretty handsome, lively young boy – if I do say so myself – so I think I’ve got what it takes to be a TV star, but how do I convince my human? While I await your reply, I will practice strutting my stuff!
Yours,
Joe x

Dear Joe, 
It is your lucky day. I happen to know of a TV company looking for feline stars in the UK. Chalkboard TV say they are looking for Britain's "quirkiest cat owners."  
Decode that and it means cats with the best trained owners - the sort of owners that give you the biggest side of the bed, that don't mind you sitting on their heads, that let you share the shower, are grateful to be woken up by their toes being bitten under the duvet, and/or generally run the household. If your owner is like that contact lorna@chalkboardtv.com  with a photo of yourself.
Send that email now!!
George 
PS. Let's hope they don't put cat addicts on the show, the sort of people who are cat hoarders.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My humans are stealing my hammock....

-->
Dear George,
Last week I got this wonderful little hammock as a gift from my human kitten.
I must admit he brings me the coolest gifts. Now, who wouldn’t like to take a nap in a hammock? Of course I do – as you can see in the picture.  It’s such a joy to nap and get a little swing in the same time. I can sleep and sleep and sleep!
But, I can’t enjoy my new gift because lately my humans (the old folks) are acting very strange; as soon as they see me in the hammock napping they come and tempt me with treats or rub my belly or literally grab me off the hammock. She is worse than him. I know she’s jealous. But him? Do you think they want my hammock? Do they think they can fit in it? George, how can I make sure they won’t steal it from me? Also, I’d like to punish them for disturbing my sleep! I’d like to wake them up when they are sound asleep. What should I do? Please…..feed me all the tricks.
In love with a hammock
CAT Victoria

Dear CAT Victoria,
That hammock looks really good. I used to have one attached to a radiator but it fell off one day when I leapt on it. There was an enormous clattering sound and it never felt safe to get into again. Yours seems much better designed and fits safely under a chair.
I can do better than just tell you a few ideas for waking your human. I can show you some at http://www.wimp.com/catsalarm/  A human (believe it or not)  gave me this information. Michelle in Toronto is one of the least stupid humans I have come across. Cayenne, her owner, says she is really quite bright.
I particularly enjoy the cat who leaps on to his human's groin in the video. I have always found this particularly effective with a sleeping male. For a female, I prefer a slightly less direct approach. I get myself into position and then do what I call a dry spray - quiver my tail in an attractive come-on. The nearer you get to the human face, the more likely they are to wake up.
Biting toes under the duvet is good. My informant Tilly specialising in poking items off the bedside cabinet. She chooses the items that will make the most noise, but she also finds that her human responds well to the sound of her spectacles being poked. 
Grooming is reasonably effective, as the video shows. But it is hard work grooming all that hair - unless your human is bald. That makes it easier.
Yours
George

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Help! My humans snore loudly. It is ruining my sleep.

Dear George, 
I do read every letter posted on your blog and I must admit I learned a lot over the years from you. Now, I need your help in a matter that I think it’s affecting my wellbeing.
But, here is my story. Lately my humans are behaving verrrrry strange. They started going to bed rather early; sometimes even before I finished my dinner. Then when they are sound asleep they are snoring like it’s no tomorrow and they toss and turn and puffs.
I don’t know what’s happening and I’m very worried as it looks like they have nightmares. Of course I can’t sleep with so much noise and I don’t know what to do.
I tried placing my paws on their nose but they have 4 nostrils and I have 2 paws so even if I’m successfully “suffocating” one …the other still snores. I tried to lightly pat their faces but no response; I jumped on one of them and then jumped on the other; Ugh! Some response! Last night I started meowing really loud and finally I woke them up.
My problem George is that they think I’m playing; they don’t understand that I can’t sleep because of them. I’m tired too. Day time I’m helping my mommy with her bookkeeping as you can see in the picture attached. At night I can’t rest because of them
Even worse….now they are planning to take me to a vet to see why I’m not sleeping at night and why I’m meowing and “playing” all night. How can I stop them? I don’t want to go to any vet and I want to sleep too.
Yours in distress
Thea

Dear Thea, 
The human body clock is odd. We are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk. Humans are daytime animals and will sleep like logs for eight hours throughout the night, often past the dawn. This is not natural for us. And, if the humans are snoring loudly, naturally we respond. 
I admire your suffocation technique -- though obviously it doesn't work with two humans snoring simultaneously.  You have tried jumping on them and also meowing loudly. These are imaginative techniques from your point of view and I think you should congratulate yourself on being an committed human carer.
Now we come to the difficult part which is their complete misunderstanding of what you are trying to do. Being hard asleep they do not notice the racket they are making. They see your natural reactions as unwanted interference.  So what is a sensitive cat to do?
Just pushing them off your bed is probably impossible. As I see it there are two alternatives. You could stop sleeping on their bed but this would mean sacrificing the warmth of two human bodies. It may also upset them, as human beings are often deeply attached to the idea of a cat on the bed. As a caring human owner you may feel that leaving the bed is going too far.
You could try giving yourself so much exercise during the day that you sleep more soundly at night. I suggest rushing round the house after using the litter tray, playing with their shoelaces (if they have them), running up the curtains, jumping up and down from every high surface, pulling socks out of open draws and carrying them around meowing loudly, and jumping in and out of boxes, drawers, or shopping bags. Get more active then you will sleep better. Try to entice them to play fishing rod games with you.
Stopping them snoring is just too difficult.
Yours sympathetically
George
PS. you could get them to read www.catexpert.co.uk on how to have a happy indoor cat. It would give them some ideas of how to improve your waking life. Get them to ask the vet about hyperthyroidism and Alzheimers if you are an elderly cat.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Challenging those human new year resolutions!

Dear George,

I need your help in deciding if I should support or break my human’s New Year’s resolutions. Every year I hear mummy talking to her friends and decide on one thing or another. This year, with my feet in cold water – metaphorically, of course - (as you can see in the photo) I took the time to actually reflect on my humans’ resolutions. Here are some of them:

1)    Start eating healthy.  Why? This is such a non-sense; my humans are vegetarians anyway….so how much healthier than eating grass can one get? Maybe I should break this one; put some meat in their food. George, what do you think?

2)    Lose weight. That’s a good one! Laughable as it is! I love it as it never happens and never will. I don’t have to worry about this one as mummy is breaking it herself J)) give her a month or so!

3)    Get up early! Yes to this one….only if she’ll take turns with my daddy to serve me breakfast at 4 am or whenever I feel like.

4)    Exercise more! Yes to this one….only if it means holding the door for me each time I want to go out or come back in. If it’s to go to the gym and run like a rat on a wheel definitely “NO” as I’ll be left indoors for hours.

5)    Be nicer; say “hello” to at least one stranger every day! What? Is she nuts? That will get her in trouble. I have to break this one but I don’t know how. Hmm!

George I need your advice here.

6)    Get better organized! Definitely “NO” as this means the whole house will be upside down and things will be moved around. Plus our routine will be changed for months and I don’t like changes.
George….what should I do?
Why can’t humans have resolutions like “sleep longer hours”, “eat more treats,” “play with the mouse Fluffy brought in”, “enjoy more catnip”, etc.
Is there any hope George? Please share your wisdom with me
 Cheers & hugs
 Fluffy

Dear Fluffy,
Here we go again. Ridiculous trivial human resolutions which have nothing to do with what really matters - proper cat care and proper human service. Because I am grumpy after the long period of 'festivity" (I'd call it neglect), this kind of thing makes me tired and cynical about the inferior species.
Healthy eating? Vegetarian? Don't make me mew with cynicism. There's no point you trying to break this resolution by bringing a mouse or two. Humans never ever eat them. They spurn our helpful offerings.
Lose weight? Well padded knees make for a softer lap. Who wants a bony human? Not me.
Get up early - now there's something there, as you so wisely point out. I'd like two breakfasts. One at 3am and one at 7am.
Exercise more - yes, if it means more cat games, fishing rod toys, chasing round the house. As you say, rat-on-the-wheel gymnasiums have nothing to offer us - the humans simply leave the house.
Be nicer. Yes but to us not strangers. Ignore strangers. We don't like them.
Get better organised. Omigoodness... all that cleaning and furniture moving absolutely ruins the scent profile that I have been building up in the house by rubbing against doors, walls, furnitures etc.
Is there any hope? Well, luckily there is. Human beings usually fulfill their resolutions for a period of time which is about two weeks. Then life settles back nicely into normal. Don't worry, Fluffy, all this activity will soon be over.
Happy New Year without Resolutions
George.
PS. Get your human to put you on www.catsinsinks.com

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Why does my human take up so much space in my bed?

Dear George,
I have a problem for which I would like your advice - space on the bed. My human takes up too much space. Worse still, she is a restless sleeper, often turning over, changing position or moving her legs. No matter where I start the night, I find she is pushing me towards the edge of the bed. And I have to get up and move several times a night in order to resettle myself away from her thrashing body.
I mean, a cat just can't get a good night's sleep with this kind of human. It is most irritating. Any ideas?
Yours
Beauty.

Dear Beauty,
Proper control of the bed is one of the fundamentals of training your human. You have to take charge firmly and decisively and create a routine so that your human sleeps soundly in the area you have assigned her. A human that is moving around the bed cannot  be a welcome bedmate.
First establish the bedroom routine. Some cats prefer to take up their position before the human arrives in the bedroom. Others maintain that it is more effective to spring on to the bed at roughly the same time as your human. Still others claim that getting on the bed, after the human has started to snore, is the best strategy.
Whatever your choice, you will need to move your human into a position that suits you. This can often be done while she sleeps. Put yourself as close as you can to the area you wish to claim and lean on her steadily and consistently. A properly devoted human will usually respond by infinitesimally moving away. Inch by inch, its' a cinch.
The human that does not move - and there are a few, often those sunk in alcoholic slumber - needs more vigorous methods. You will have to wake them up. For this I suggest the purr-and-rub tactic applied to the face. Few humans will sleep if a cat is rubbing against their cheeks and purring loudly. Dumb humans think this is just affection and cannot see the strategy behind it.
Once woken, most humans will shift position. Nip into the area you want and settle down. After such a show of love, even a hung over human is unlikely to be unkind enough to shift you.
Yours
George.
PS. This blog is late because my human is exhausted.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to wake up your sleeping human.

Dear George,
Hello, my name is Purdey. You may recall my appearance on this blog two Winter's ago, where I was shown scampering happily through fairly deep snow (well, it came above my elbows!). Now, after a chance remark about Getting My Human Up in the morning, I now relate how I, my half-sister and my darling Mother awake said Human in the mornings when we feel that breakfast is due. Fortunately, he almost always has an Open Door Policy, so we have free access to his bed at all times. And to him.
Me, when I feel that breakfast is overdue, or rather when my tummy feels that breakfast is overdue, with all due deference I leap to his bed-head, sit close up to face, and very, very slowly extend a relaxed paw (claws retracted and held under) and just touch his face with the softest of furry touches. Contact made, I immediately withdraw paw and wait a a few seconds. If no movement, I repeat at shortening intervals until he opens his eyes. Result!
I see that if my Mummy gets the Tummy Call before I do, she leaps up towards his head, stares intently at his face and begins to wash his nose. She then swiftly moves over his upper lip and down to his chin, which she proceeds to wash with vigour and no small effort, for our Human has a rather stiff and not-so-pleasant fur covering most of his face (termed a 'full set', I believe). Anyway, a good rasp from Mummy soon gets him stirring!
But the medal for immediate results must go to my half-sister Milly, who brokes no nonsense! She leaps up and goes for the head. But not close, so when she puts out a paw, as I do, her arm is stretched so, as Nature designed us, her claws as also extended. She then descends onto our Human's face and pulls her claws lightly thorough his facial hair. This wakes him up! Sometimes she approaches from the side or even higher up and pulls her paw over his nose. Unfortunately this means that a claw can, just perhaps, become hooked up his nose and that really does wake him up. Still, I must say that he takes it all in good humour and does get up to attend to our breakfasts.
Usually he then repairs back to bed and switches on Radio 4 extra and settles back for another half-hour or more. Which is all right, because we then leave him alone. Unless it is cold or raining, when we may join him in bed.
Love to all.
Purdey Puss
PS. I have added a photo of me asleep and also of me yawning after a nap on the nearby roof.

Dear Purdey,
Thank you for a valuable addition to Chapter 5 of the
Training Manual, a masterpiece of training practice and theory which is my major literary interest. Unfortunately due to the way the publishing industry is run almost entirely by humans, I have not yet found a publisher. However, your post gives me a chance to appeal for contributions of other wake-up-your-human methods.
Here are some methods I have heard of. A cat called Little Mog used to back up to the human face and present her butt - a cat way of saying I fancy you. Some how the proxmity of this part of the anatomy would - possibly by ESP - wake her human within a minute or so. To intensify the wake up call, she used a tail quiver like the one used in spraying urine. This dry spray, so to speak, had an electric effect.
Fat Ada, a black and white beauty, simply used to scratch the bed making pleasing zen-like marks on it. The message, rather like that of the speaking clock of the old days, was "At the first scratch, it will be 7.00 am." If this didn't do the trick she would just walk up and down her human's body.
Other methods - jumping off the bedhead on to the pillow; jumping off the bedhead on to the human head; sitting on the human head; opening the eyelids with a gentle paw (claws retracted out of kindness); biting the toes below the duvet at the bottom of the bed; scratching the carpet outside the bedroom door (if humans thoughtlessly shut you out); jumping on the dressing table and swiping off anything standing upon it.....
Join in, cats. Help me compile the ultimate list.
Love George

Saturday, January 29, 2011

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

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


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

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

Friday, June 25, 2010

Scraaaatttching......Are nail coverings safe?



Dear George,

Here we are - Yuppie & Anji – two cute brothers! We are almost 1 year old and share a house in Atlanta with a funny human pet!

We found your blog as being very informative, especially on human training.

Too bad we can’t spend too much time in front of a computer as we get easily exhausted.

Our human pet refuses to act as our secretary! What can we do? How can we train her? We also go for fancy things like…. acrylic nails covers! See, we are at that critical age when we scratch everything and feel the urge to shred everything to pieces.

We think this is fun but our human disagree…so we compromise.

Are these nail covers a good thing? Definitely they are better then declawing, but are they safe? George, we really need some advice and especially…. tips on human training!

You are the expert!

Waiting

Yuppie & Anji.


Dear Yuppie and Anji,

We have to scratch. We scratch to condition our claws, but we also scratch to leave messages - to our selves, and to any cats who happen to be passing by. It's an emotional thing. Scratching marks our territories not just visually but also with scent - which only we can read. We scratch when we are stressed and we want to feel better.

We British cats don't understand how Americans can possibly declaw their cats. In the UK it is a banned operation and any vet who did it would be in trouble with our cruelty laws. We don't much use nail caps here in the UK either - probably because most of us cats have access to outdoors and can scratch the local tree trunks. I think nail covers are safe, but they are a bit of a bore for both cats and humans. However, they are much much kinder than declawing.

Go for the natural kind solution. Instruct your human that you need a proper stable scratching post in every room where you might want to scratch, not just in one room. It must be large enough to allow us to stretch while we scratch. Don't let her get rid of an old scratching post. The tattier and smellier a scratching post gets, the more we cats like it. There is a depth of scent which a mere human will never understand. (Humans have pathetic claws, really pathetic!).

Some of us cats prefer horizontal scratching posts, or slightly angled ones. The surface has to be just right for us. People studying feral cats have noticed that they scratch along the walkways of their territory - but only on certain trees, not on others. Some trees just don't have the right physical surface. Incidentally, some of us enjoy scratching those roughly textured plant containers bought at garden centres (weighted down by a bag of sand in the middle). Some enjoy a tree trunk placed indoors. Others like cardboard scratching pads. Get that human of yours to offer you several kinds of scratching materials and see which you prefer.

Personally I enjoy the creative side of scratching armchairs, wallpaper and the side of the bed (so useful for waking your human up when it is time for an early hours snack). Here is a photo of me in artistic action. But Celia has fought back in a way I consider thoroughly philistine. She buys double sided carpet tape (or Stickypaws) and places this on the side of the bed or on the furniture. It feels really awful and I stop scratching on the site for at least a month, sometimes three months at a time. I had plans to redecorate the whole house with frilled curtains, frilled soft furnishing and really nice catseye-level frilled wallpaper - and she put a stop to it.

Humans.... they don't get it do they? What a selfish species.

Love

George

There's a big Facebook group Claws 4 Paws. Join it to show you are against declawing.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What's happening to my 4 am snack?

Dear George,
As you may possibly notice, from my photo, I am fond of my grub. Indeed, you could say eating is the most important thing in my life. "Always clean the plate" is my motto and I suppose I have to admit that I am well found if not a bit stout. So I have been horribly upset by my humans' change of attitude to late night snacking. I have been accustomed, ever since I was a kitten, to take a light repast at 4am. I require this to be freshly served. My humans have tried to leave food out for me, but I eat it all up before they are asleep. Naturally I wake them at 4 am with a request for my meal. Up till now, they have served me with willing and instant obedience. But I am finding it increasingly difficult to ensure they do this. I can wake them without difficulty but they seem strangely reluctant to go to the kitchen for fresh supplies. They have also put me on a "lite" diet. It's horrible - all full of bran and no tasty fat. Any suggestions?

Herbie

Dear Herbie,
Of course, you like a 4 am snack. Most of us cats enjoy eating little snacks throughout the day - and the night, if possible. Some scientist measured how often we ate and came up with the fact that we preferred 12-14 small meals every 24 hours rather than two big ones. It makes sense. We are designed to eat a series of small mice rather than one large rabbit (though I personally like a small rabbit when I can catch one).
I admire the way that you have persuaded your humans to let you eat ad lib and when you like it. That shows strength of character. Some cats, slimmer than you, can make a large plate of dried food last throughout the 24 hours just eating a few biscuits at a time. Your preferred method is to eat everything you can in one go.
This habit, alas, is the problem. I am not going to tell you to slim. Why should you? I am not going to tell you to stop waking up your humans. Why should you? Apart from the comfort of the early hours snack, you probably enjoy the way they groan and roll over before complying. It is always amusing to watch a human waking up -- or trying not to be woken. One of the many jokes we enjoy at the expense of this species.
It's also pleasant to receive their caresses - after they have settled down into wake rather than sleep mode. Many cats lead their humans to a full food bowl just for the pleasure of this obedience training exercise, and also to ensure they get some quality human petting.
My advice to you is to draw on the feline virtue of persistence. We are a species that can wait at a mouse hole for eight hours without losing patience. We can outwait, just as we can outwit, any mere human. If they refuse to feed you at 4 am just keep on waking them up. It's more fun if you let them go back to sleep first. A training schedule of a wake-up call every half hour at 4 am, 4.30 am, 5 am, 5.30 am, 6 am and so forth should do the trick. After all they've got to get up and go to work in the morning.
I am sure you will manage without any great difficulty. Remember - persistence, persistence, persistence.
George
PS. Is there room on the bed for all three of you? It looks to me as you might need a bit more room. Should you start pushing them off?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Are we sure we should neuter humans?


Dear George,
While I agree with some of Jonesey's points in the previous letter, my own feeling is that neutering might not have the "calming' effect on humans that we might hope for. After all, I was neutered, way back in 2002, and I can't say it changed my life in any significant way. Sexuality had always been a bit of a grey area for me anyway; originally, until the vet inspected me properly, I was told that I was a girl called Prudence. These days, I find that my needs are amply catered for by the weird skinfur from the big fluffy baa animal that my owners (not neutered) drape across the arm of their sofa - although it's important not to get this confused with the other skin from the less fluffy horn animal that likes mountains (scratchy! eugh!). To see me padding and humping away at this, with a string of drool hanging out of my mouth, it would be obvious that I still have needs and I see no reason why, having undergone the appropriate surgery at their special vets, humans wouldn't still have them as well. I say, leave them as they are! After all, if they did get neutered or spayed, who's to say that they wouldn't start seeking their pleasure on MY special fur too? And then there really would be trouble. It's bad enough having to share it with my brother Shipley and our four step siblings, but you can sod off if you think I am letting some galumping six food human dribble all over it as well.
Yours

Dear Ralph,
You are being too generous to your human, Tom Cox. Are you being quite honest? I happen to know that he has just made you and your friends famous by publishing 'Under the Paw. Confessions of a Cat Man' (Simon and Schuster £12.99). Has it gone to your head? Are you cutting him slack just because he is making you into a celebrity cat?  Shouldn't you be taking a firmer line. After all, after neutering he could still write about you. Indeed it might make it easier for him to concentrate on the higher things of life like cats.
Just to recap. The Meezers (see comments below the last post) and perhaps the Cat Realm guys are in favour of it on a revenge basis. I can't help feeling there is something in this. After all we cats suffer at the hands of humans. Why shouldn't they suffer at ours, just for a change. Do it to them as they do it to us. Smudge thinks it's only the males should be snipped and I have heard female humans who seem to agree with her (which seems a little unfair). Others like Oscar Snuggles and the Crew simply get on with making sure they have comfortable surroundings undisturbed by human mating rituals. Anonymous makes sure that there are  no human kittens by simply interfering by leaping on the beast with two backs - splendid stuff, Anonymous.
So, putting aside the natural feline desire for revenge, I think we need to take a second look at the topic. Humans don't just do it to us, they do it to horses, dogs, bullocks, and other farm animals. Why would they bother, unless it was in their interests to do so. Let us take a look at the issue. 
a)Neutering gets rid of unwanted young. What cat can say with paw on heart that human kittens are desirable in the home. They can't use a litter tray for months and months. They can't wash themselves. They don't eat solid food for months.  They are noisy, can't walk properly and dribble. Appallingly backward when compared to feline kittens!
b) Neutering changes behaviour. Most trained animals, like dogs and horses, are easier to train after neutering - that's why humans do it to them. The horses and dogs don't go off on their own looking for mates, nor do they get distracted when they see an attractive female. Incidentally, Smudge, you are right in some ways. Humans tend (with the exception of cats and dogs) to go for castration rather than spaying. It's the quick snip and it's over op. They leave the females alone.
c). Should we consider vasectomy? Humans never seem to vasectomise their pets (except for ferrets), because that would get rid of the tackle but leave the behaviour. OK so the human would be shooting blanks (no human kittens thank goodness) but that disorderly bedroom behaviour (and elsewhere) would still be rampant.
I go for the Cat Realm message - YES! SNIP AND OP!
George
PS. Ferrets are vasectomised because the female ferret can't get out of heat until she has been mated and if tiny ferrets are unwelcome a vasectomised male does the job. Makes you pity the female ferret.


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