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Saturday, July 08, 2017

Do I look fat in my fur? Do I need to diet?

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Dear George,
I don’t want to see anybody (as you can tell by the photo attached) - I’m mad!
I’m angry because my mummy dared to “body shame” me last night calling me “fat”.
Well, I don’t think I’m fat - I’m a big boy! I’m a large, well-built cat as my daddy said. 
I mean what’s the point for her to make me homemade food based on Dr. Pitcairn’s recipes and measure everything to be nutritionally balanced, mostly raw and mixed with some organic cooked vegies (1 tsp per meal) and then call me fat? I eat 3x a day small portions and that’s it! I don’t eat junk and I can’t open that fridge on my own!
But, there she goes calling me fat! Even more she said “obesity” it’s a pandemic in North America in both humans and pets! I didn’t understand exactly what she meant by this but, by the tone of her voice, it must be something really bad! Am I in any danger?
What is a pandemic? I didn’t want to ask her because I’m not talking to her now! George, is it really bad? What is the difference between being fat, overweight or obese? It must be a difference! How can one tell? Please look at my photo again and tell me I’m OK!
Yours ….in stones (won’t tell how many)
Chico

Dear Chico,
You may be a bit overweight but you are not obese (30% above the proper weight, which your owner can check with the vet). Here is a photo of really fat cat, Boomer. He was obese and he was suffering because of it. You couldn't see or even feel his ribs and he was so fat that he couldn't reach his backside to groom it, so he had mats there. He lived with a slightly demented elderly owner, who couldn't remember if Boomer had been fed. And because Boomer was bored - he was a young indoor-only cat - he kept asking for food.  And getting it every time.
We cats need exercise. I am lucky. I can leave the house through a cat flap and go hunting. When I am not doing that, I am patrolling my territory making sure I know where everything is and if there have been any changes in the garden or down my cart track. I do a lot of walking around. So I don't get fat. And I don't get too many treats either. Just three meals a day and nothing in between - apart from what I steal off the kitchen surfaces.
So get your owner to buy a fishing rod toy and play games with you using that. She can do it while watching TV. Play is good for her and play is good for you. Being obese can give us cats diabetes and arthritic pain. Just like humans.
Yours
Slimline George
PS. They eat delicious and varied meals but they expect us to eat the same bought cat food over and over again. It's not fair. At least your human cooks properly. Mine doesn't.


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Ouch... toothache... pain....dental hygeine

Dear George, 
I’m a 5 year old cat who has lived on the streets and in shelters until I was adopted by my current human parents! I’ve always been grumpy or somehow upset and mad at everything and everyone. My human parents were very patient with me all this time trying to do everything in their power to please me and make me happy!
At some point they decided to take me to a doctor to check my health trying to find the cause of my moodiness! Oh boy; they did not expect what they discovered! I had all my teeth infected and I was in constant pain. So, I had to go through a surgery and had all teeth extracted. Now I’m toothless but happy! My mood improved as you can see in the picture attached. George can you share some wisdom when it comes to dental hygiene? Maybe other cats will benefit as well? 
Yours….totally toothless
Nora

Dear Nora,
Life on the streets is tough for cats and poor nutrition often means that our teeth are not as good as they can be. My friend Toby has lost 7 of his teeth at the age of only four. Hardly surprising as he was forced to scavenge bird food to survive.
I always bite my human when she tries to brush my teeth. When she has tried sticking the feline toothbrush into my mouth with special feline toothpaste, I just won't bear it. She watched this video but I still bit her. It's the only thing some humans understand!
So now she feeds me several pieces of large kibble, specially designed for dental health in the hope that these will reduce the plaque build-up. Also she ensures the vet looks at my mouth when I get my annual vaccinations - which is how I had to have tooth extracted only two weeks ago. Get your human to read up here.
Toothless cats can eat dry food as well as soft, so losing all your teeth is probably the best thing for you, Nora.
Yours
George (29 instead of 30 teeth). 
PS. The hole in my tooth (feline reabsorption lesion) was so painful I went off my food. That never happened before. And, like you, I was very grumpy.




Saturday, June 24, 2017

Vacations for humans but not for us. Making guilt work...

Dear George,

Big debate in my family! My humans plan to go on a two week vacation but they feel guilty for leaving me home! I must admit I enjoy very much their “guilt feelings” as they are extra nice with me now and shower me in presents and treats!

But….the big debate remains….what’s the best solution for me? In a cattery? In someone else’s home? A cat sitter who can visit twice a day?

I personally prefer to stay home, in my house and have a very nice “live-in” cat sitter! 
So, what do you say? What other human pets do? Or they never take a vacation? I’ve heard of some who never go together because of the cat (who is their master and, of course runs the house). Your ideas are most appreciated! I still have a month to find the best solution!
Cheers,

Didi

Dear Didi,
How right you are to make guilt work for you. It is one of the best human training technique and all it requires is a soulful look of unhappiness! Yes, vacations for humans can be stressful and unpleasant for cats and the best humans do not go away at all.... wish my human didn't.
No doubt in my mind. The live-in pet sitter, if reliable, is best. Humans that call in once a day are not good enough: twice a day is far better, though even this may not be enough care if one of us disappears outside through the cat flap and is not seen for 24 hours. Cat boarding establishments may be the safest option but from our point of view they are just imprisonment.
Month long human vacations are a dereliction of duty. They have no right to inflict this on us. Make your human stay at home, where it belongs. Or stroll down the street and see if you can find a better pet.
Yours
George.
 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Backyard plants for cats....

Dear George,
I need your help urgently! Maybe Celia’s help as well (assuming she knows about plants). My Mom is planning to do some gardening this weekend and I heard her saying she wished she knew more about plants - what should she plant for me?
George, please, please, please say catnip and catnip and catnip - of course unless you know of some other plants as enjoyable as catnip.
What other cats like beside catnip?
In haste,
Leo 

Dear Leo,
Obviously catnip is a must for us cats and it looks lovely to humans too. My friend Toby can be seen enjoying it here. Don't confuse it with catmint, which doesn't have the same delicious scent though it looks good to humans. Valerian, another herb, is also enjoyed by cats and is easy to grow.
Why not have a small area, or a pot, devoted to cat grass? Ordinary wheat, the kind grown in for bread, or oats, the kind grown for porridge, will grow nicely. Or there is a special kind of grass, Dactyitis glomerata or cocks-foot grass that is sold as seed for cat grass. You will enjoy munching on any of these. A list of plants that are poisonous can be found here. As well as avoiding lily of the valley,  avoid lilies themselves  - if a tiny bit of pollen falls on your coat and you lick it off, you could die. 
What else? Well, why not purrsuade her to give you a water feature with a little fountain or trickling water for you to drink. And think about putting  a walkway, or a ledge, or a shelf on walls or fences. We like to sit up and look down on others. One of my friends, Pixxi (right), has a little shelf just on the corner of the fence so that he can sit and survey his territory.
Yours
George 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The love of birds....a certain human-feline incompatibility of opinion.

Dear George, 
After reading your book “One hundred ways for a cat to train its human” I started to apply your suggestions quite actively in my daily life. For the beginning I set up two goals just to see how it goes!  One was to have at least one bed in every single room and as you can see in the photo attached I have totally succeeded! Ah! Don’t be silly; of course I OWN that huge bed in the master bedroom as well….just that my humans don’t know yet!  The second goal was to train our next door neighbour first to like me, then to “catsit” me, then to miss me and finally to fall in love with me! Yes, you heard me right! Why would I stop to my own humans when I have such a cute next door neighbour?
Plus he has a bird! ONE love bird – quite laughable when you think “love birds” come in pairs!  But, I love the fact that he has just one – easy prey for me! Can you imagine the day (or night) when my cute neighbour will take me to his place and hopefully the bird cage door is open?  Ah, George! I can’t stop dreaming of that fresh, juicy dinner waiting for me in a little cage next door. 
But I need your expertise; all the “tricks and tips” as I have to make him fall in love with me first, right?  Where do I start?
Rio

Dear Rio, 
I love love-birds. Just the right size for a cat - not too large (like pheasants) or too small (like wrens, only a tiny mouthful). Just to reassure you that it is not necessary for any bird to fall in love with you first. All that is needed is for them to be close enough for a good pounce....
However, I reluctantly have to warn you that humans take an ridiculous view of bird slaughter. They love birds as much as they love cats and get very upset if birds are killed. Particularly if they know the "murderer" (their phrase not mine) or even "serial killer" (again, their phrase not mine).
Leave that love bird alone. Killing it, while naturally enjoyable, would ruin your relationship with the neighbouring human, whom you are so successfully training. You have to take the long view. Are a few mouthfuls of love bird worth the loss of a catsitter, a neighbour who may well offer extra cat treats and even a warmer house sometimes? 
I think not.
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