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Friday, February 10, 2017

Cookies for cats?

Dear George, 
You might wonder…..cookies for cats? You bet! Yummy, fresh, homemade as you can see in the photo attached! Made fresh by my Mommy using fresh eggs, sardines and sometimes tuna! Mmmm! Sooo yummy! And the best part? I can eat as many as I want as I don’t have to worry if I’m a size 2 or 4 or 6! I can be size 10 – what the heck! At my age? I’m 18 years young! I grew up with my Mommy, I mean we grew up together.
She is the most beautiful, lovely, fit mother any cat may wish for. But, between you and me, George? I think she sneaks in the kitchen at night and steals some of my cookies. I don’t mind; we share so much love that few cookies here and there it really doesn’t matter. One thing though! She plans to add some catnip to the next batch and I worry …is this going to affect her behaviour (in case she sneaks in the kitchen again)? 
What do you think George? Any suggestions?
Yours… a cookie lover
Angel

Dear Angel,
I am delighted to hear that you have acquired a good cook, devoted to producing fine feline food. I have the misfortune to employ only one household servant, who is incapable of cooking for me. She insisted that I eat take-away food out of envelopes or dried pellets from a large bag. Meanwhile she cooks herself delicious dinners of chicken, fish, and even sometimes beef. 
Theft among household staff is always a worry but there is little that we can do about it. When you adopt a human, you have to put up with their funny ways.  So I think your attitude is sensible.
Catnip in your food? A small amount should do no harm. Unlike humans who use and abuse their drugs of choice, such as alcohol and weed, we are always moderate in our appetites. When I sniff catnip, it is true that for a moment or two I may behave in a relaxed roll-about fashion: but humans become drunk or stoned for hours at a time. Catnip will make no difference to your human: it's not strong enough.
I think you have a real prize. If she steals a little, so what.... just enjoy the cookies that are left.
Yours enviously,
George

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Of humans, cats and hair hygeine


Dear George,
As you can see I'm all packed to go to the groomer. I personally don’t think I need to go anywhere as we, the cats, are the cleanest species on Earth. We groom ourselves daily for hours not like some humans who don’t shower for years (or so I’ve heard). Mommy told me that this is the latest trend for humans to not wash their hair or clean themselves for months. Phew! Stinky!
Anyhow, my mommy goes to the other extreme! She goes both mornings and nights behind a certain curtain and lets “the rain” run all over her. She is extremely clean and she always smells soooo good! Yummy! But, I think she goes a bit too far when come to my grooming. Now she wants to buy me a “grooming machine”! I have no idea what that is but just the name of it makes my hair raise. I can only think of something similar to a “car wash” where you get in dry and you have all these huge brushes spitting all over you water and shampoo making you fluffy but scared. George, is there a grooming machine for Persians? How does it work? Is it scary? Isn’t the classical brushing enough? On daily basis? I love to be brushed! George, help me stop my mommy from buying that machine! Give me some basic hygiene rules so I can convince her.
In you I trust   
Punbukh 

Dear Punbukh,
You need grooming daily - with incredible care, gentle kindness and a lot of food rewards throughout, stopping if you are showing signs of fear. Otherwise your fur will mat up no matter how much you groom yourself. Humans have "designed" Persians like you to have unnaturally long hair which cannot be kept in order by the cats themselves. if your human cannot groom you daily, you need regular appointments with a professional groomer. Make sure your human stays with you while you are groomed so that she can see if the groomer is being rough or painful. (Some are.) There's a useful video here.
Grooming machines? In principal, these are basically like the machines that humans use to groom horses or to cut their own hair. But they vary. Some of the cheapest ones come from China and may not be reliable. ALWAYS get your human to read the reviews before they buy. It probably pays to buy a more expensive one. They should be silent so as not to worry you.
Finally, using a grooming machine also takes patience and skill. It might even be a good idea to get a lesson from your local vet nurse or groomer first. Your human should start by giving you treats when you are on table.  Further treats should be delivered at regular intervals so that the experience is a good one.
Purrsonally I feel sorry for Persians. I have a natural face shape, short fur, and a normal shaped body. It makes me much healthier.
Yours with sympathy
George.
PS. Read about hereditary diseases in Persians and other pedigree cats at www.icatcare.org    
 


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Teenage humans - can they get obsessed with cats?

Dear George,
My name is Schwartz and I have a family of human pets - adult male, adult female, teenage boy and 11-year-old girl. They are all reasonably well trained and depend on me for affection.
It's the teenager who is worrying me. He has always been fond of me but now he shuts himself in his room with his computer and me. He has stopped vocalising to his family and spends most of his time online looking at cat photos and cat videos. Occasionally he looks at photos of naked humans, but seems to prefer cats. Is this natural? And does it matter?
Yours
Schwartz.

Dear Schwartz,
I can reassure you that watching cat videos and photos is normal for a large proportion of the human population. Scientists (I am not joking) have declared that this is good for humans and is particularly valuable for procrastinating with tasks. Your human is probably using cats as a way of not doing his homework. Watching too many naked human videos may be bad for him: so cat videos are preferable.
If you feel that he needs a rest from his computer, you can put into effect an online interruption and deterrent programme. Simply jump up on his desk and interpose your body between him and the screen. Do this is a cute way so that he responds to you with petting and eye contact.
If this doesn't work, then you need to do stronger measures. Walk up and down the keyboard, that rectangle which has small tabs on it. Or just stand motionless on it. You will see that  series of pleasing mouse tracks appear on the screen, interrupting his work there.
Finally if all else fails, lie flat on your back on the keyboard and wave your paws in the air. No fully functioning human can resist this. For me it works every time.
Yours
George.
PS. Scientists have discovered that adolescents get on better with their pets than with their siblings. Look here.. So your teenager is normal.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What's in a name? Naming cats....


Dear George, 
My name is Kriketel. You might ask what name is this. To tell you the truth I have no idea. All I know is that I was rescued from a pound on a Christmas day when I was only four week old. I live with two other cats, Minky and Didi. They weren’t too enthusiastic about me joining the family two years ago but I’m happy! I have a lovely Mom and a lovely home. Still… I wonder why was I named Kriketel? 
Not that I don’t like it but what if I want to change it? What cats do if they don’t like their names? How do we tell our humans? Based on what rules are we named? I watched a video about a black leopard who was unhappy with his name and after “talking” with an animal communicator (Anna Breytenbach) was renamed Spirit! But not all of us has access to an animal communicator! So what do we do? Again, how do we tell our humans? And, actually what’s in a name, George?
Yours,
Kriketel

Dear Kriketel,
Your name is both enigmatic and sophisticated. We cats are enigmatic sophisti-cats. Spare a thought for those poor felines who are called names like Flirtybottom (yes I knew one), Fluffytail, or Paddypaws, or even Sweetiepops (an unfortunate name given to a dignified kitten by my pet Celia who should know better). None of those names have the dignified ring that your name has.
Josephine lives in Spain
Here in the UK cats often have names like Gismo, Speedy, or Ziggy suggesting a lack of obedience (we cats don't do obedience). Or place names like Winchester or Mr Woodstock. Or just nice human female names like Jospephine or Lily or manly names like mine, George, Sam or Burt. Tibbles is a traditional name that goes back to the medieval ages, when an epic poem about animals had Bruin the bear, Reynard the Fox and Thibault the cat! 
Our names say more about our pet humans than about us, but I think Kriketel is a great name and you should stick to it!
Yours
George 
Here's a photo of Josephine.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Is dinner ready?

Dear George, 
We are Ella and Louis – that’s right… as in Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. 
I’m wearing my white coat (as you can see) and Louis (always a gentleman) is wearing his tuxedo.
We are quite like on that 1956 record cover (sorry darling but I forgot the name – we made so many records and shows together).
Anyway, the reason I’m writing to you is because we found out that you are a specialist in human behaviour and we need your help. Our humans got into the “cat homemade food” mania that lately took over the Internet, main stream news, TV, etc. – I mean all media! I’m not complaining about the food, don’t get me wrong – I’m complaining about the timing of our meals! 
See, I want to eat whenever I want ….like a real diva! My Mom is insisting on feeding us twice a day (morning and evening) at precise times. THAT drives me nuts! Absolutely nuts! And to add misery to aggravation….our Daddy is insisting on weighting and measuring everything such as protein, fats, minerals, vitamins, etc. (I think he is a nutritionist but that doesn’t give him the right to delay our meals). George, I’ll be happy with that roast chicken leftover! But, no ….I have to eat scientifically proved meals! 
Phew! So, for now I’m trying to be more vocal (as you can see in the picture attached) and hope my dear Louis will join me. I bet…no matter how much our humans enjoy music…they will give up and feed us right away! 
Any other suggestions George
Meowing on sweet blues notes 
Ella

Dear Ella,
You have got the right idea. Humans are suckers for the cute. Do something cute, like meowing, to get your human's attention. Without that, you can even start training. Once they are looking at you, then you have to "tell" these dumb humans what you want. Try the following:
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.
You can adapt this schedule for being fed human food during human meal times. If you can add a little sit-up-and-beg to it, you may be lucky.
Yours
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