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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Mew Year and a special thank you






Happy Mew Year to all my readers and their human pets. Although humans can be very tiresome a lot of the time, this is still the season of goodwill so spare a few rubs and purrs for them. Besides, there is still cold turkey in the fridge.... As they are probably getting tired of eating it, there should be a few bits for us cats.
This is my chance to thank Fluffy and Cayenne, two lovely cats who live in Canada. They are, with the help of their secretary Michelle, almost co-writers for this blog. It is they who interview other cats like Vegas and help put their letters here. They are tireless in their creativity. As a thank you I am putting on their photos.
Fluffy and Cayenne, I raise a mouse to you.
George
PS. I think the photo of them lying on the carpet suggests they eaten a bit too much this Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas trees - a good chance to have feline fun


Dear George,

It’s me Vegas. If you remember I’m not one yet and this will be my first Christmas. I’m very excited but quite confused by my human behavior.

Of course I didn’t know what Christmas is and I’m not quite sure I understood it but I was happy when my human brought in the house a tree. At the beginning I thought this tree smelled like my litter but, after all… it’s fun to have a vertical litter box!) That night my human started to decorate the tree and called it “our Christmas tree”. That’s when my problems started as I thought this was a game and “Christmas tree” was the name of the game! I thought that at night my human will decorate the tree and next day I will take off the decorations and so on. I thought that whoever is faster will win. After a day or two I realized that my human is not enjoying our game. I started chewing on some decorations to motivate my human to be more active in the game but all I got was “bad cat! Santa Claus won’t bring you anything”. Now, I’m completely confused. Who’s Santa Claus? Is it Claus or Claws? Should I expect somebody else to join out game? What should I expect from this Santa guy? Should I finish taking the decorations off? I’m half through as you can see in the picture.

George, please share some wisdom and light!

Vegas


Dear Vegas,

You have discovered the true meaning of Christmas, the meaning that escapes humans. Christmas is for cats. Take, for example, the Christmas tree. What is it for? It's for cats. All those dangling bright ornaments, which are ideal to jump at, pull down and (like you) crunch up. Human think they look nice but they don't understand their true purpose -- ornaments are games for felines.

Christmas food is the same. Turkey - mmmmmmmmm. There's so much of it that you are bound to get a few bits of meat. And, if you patrol the kitchen and the dining table carefully, you will pick up some delicious fragments. And, don't forget the trash can. There's probably some delicious turkey skin there too. Just put your front paws on the top of it and pull down strongly. The whole thing will fall on the kitchen floor and the goodies will shoot out.

Yes, I love Christmas too. I don't like the behaviour of humans during this period. They drink too much catnip and behave like large and ungainly kittens. Sometimes they caterwaul strange noises called carols. But I have always loved the parcels round the tree. Such fun to pull off the ribbons, tear the paper, and push my nose through the cardboard into the contents.

Yummy Christ

mas, Vegas.

George

PS I have been sent a very nice Christmas drawing of Lily the cat, from my human friend Naimh. Here it is on the left. I think the ears are really good for a human who is only a kitten herself.



Friday, December 16, 2011

What the best dressed dogs are wearing.


Dear George,
Here I am ready to celebrate Christmas in my special reindeer costume. I hope you admire it. I think I look gorgeous.
My family often dress me up at Christmas and they laugh a lot at me. I am the centre of attention for hours in these clothes. You know how Christmas can be hard for us animals - everybody ignores us. Well in this reindeer costume, nobody could ignore me.
What are you going to wear for Christmas, George.
Willow

Dear Willow,
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, I worry about dogs. I really do. Imagine letting a human being put clothes on you. (OK, I admit there was one year when Celia put a Santa Claus hat on me. She waited till I was sound asleep, popped it on and took a rapid photo. I shook it off immediately -- a bit too late to stop the photo,alas.)
We cats do not take kindly to being dressed in human clothes. I want to suggest to you, Willow, that you make it clear you will no longer suffer these indignities. On Christmas night, when the humans are asleep, I recommend tearing the reindeer costume to pieces. And, if you can stomach it, eat it or part of it.
I am keeping a sharp eye out to make sure there are no dressing up plans this Christmas for me. I don't mind if Celia dresses up as a cat and paints whiskers on her cheek - the dumb creature can try to imitate me if she likes. I know she admires me so much that she has thought about this.
However, I am not going to stand for any reindeer heads on me. Nor do I want to look like Santa Claus. He has whiskers, admittedly, but he is a member of an inferior species.
George.
PS. Willow has just emailed me to tell me she is a deer-hunting breed, which explains the choice of headgear. She says it is the ultimate Christmas trophy. Mmmm, maybe, but I don't go around wearing a stuffed rat head, Willow!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trees, two-timing humans and how to get on the mews


Dear George,

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?

Anxiously yours,

SuperCat



Dear SuperCat

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.

Love George

Monday, November 28, 2011

My humans, the recession and me


Dear George,
I have just heard I cost about £500 a year to keep and am a bit worried in case they decide to cut my expense account. I don't have a hutch outside which needs to be kept heated in the winter and I don't have an outside run to keep clean and tidy. I try my best not to eat much hay and I only take up a bit of space under the kitchen table.
It's not as though I spread myself over the furniture like cats and dogs leaving hairs about and my cuddle blankets are easily popped into the washing machine. I wouldn't go to the vet at all if they didn't insist so they could easily save money there. I can't think of any way of cutting back on things.
Should I give up my daily slice of banana? Would that help do you think? They won't put me in a rabbit rescue home will they? Do cats cost a lot of money to keep? Oh dear,it's all such a worry.

Harvey
http://www.harvey-diaryofaninspirationalbunny.blogspot.com/

Dear Harvey,
The recession is worrying for us cats, and dogs, and rabbits. The problem is human priorities. Obviously the best kind of human pet buys the pet food first, then their food, and lastly other things like rent, mortgage, petrol and so forth. But, of course, as we all know some pets just aren't properly socialised and may act as if their needs are as important as ours. These under-educated humans badly need further training.
I really don't think you should even contemplate cutting back on your food or your lifestyle. Why should you? I happen to know that your human carers could easily cut back on theirs. The male drives a nice car - he could get a much smaller vehicle. Both would be much healthier if they walked more instead of driving. They (not you) could eat less. I mean, why don't they eat hay and carrots - much cheaper than meat and fish? Why give up your banana? They should give up
their bananas.
However, you obviously love them. So here are some suggestions of things you could do. You could cuddle up closer to them on the sofa to help keep them warm - less heating costs. As you say, you could refuse all visits to the vet. That's a big saving and all of us animals loathe and detest vets.You could act as a hot water bottle by burrowing down the bottom of their bed.
I used to recommend that we cats bring in mice as a source of cheap protein for our humans. But, sadly, over the years I have had to admit defeat. They do not EVER eat them. Goodness knows I have tried. I have left a dead mouse in Celia's handbag. I have set loose a living one on their bed one Sunday morning as a treat. I have even left a dead mouse in the toaster. She came down, put a slice of bread in the other side, pushed down the toaster.... and screamed.
It was then I realised my efforts to help them through the recession were not working at all.
Sadly,
George.
PS. Cats and dogs and house rabbits are suffering when humans lose their house and cannot find rented accomodation which will accept pets. Please make a donation to your local animal shelter this Christmas - especially my original home, www.westoxfordshirecats.org.uk

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How can I deal with a bully?


Dear George,

My brother Marti is a bully and it seems that my human either doesn’t realize it or doesn’t know how to deal with it. If you remember we are the three cats (Marti, Bentley and Princess Penelope) rescued from the same shelter. Marti has this crazy idea that he is somehow special and can bully the rest of us. I personally think he’s having an identity crisis. I think he’s having some self-confidence issues and that’s why he behaves like some “diva”. But, he can get away with pretty much everything!

He managed to stress Penelope to the extend that she won’t use the litter box properly.

He’s constantly stressing me by “pushing” me off the sofa or eating my food.

I’m very calm by nature and don’t like to put up a fight unless absolutely necessary.

I don’t like the idea that Princess P or myself will be taken back to the shelter because “we don’t behave”! I’d like to learn some ways to put Marti in his place. I’d like to be able to communicate to my human my concerns. And, George, between you and me, if it’s someone special in this house….then, it is me (as you can see in the photo) So George, I really hope that you and other cats on this blog can share some wisdom.

Bentley


Dear Bentley,

Being bullied is really awful. We cats deal with it by careful avoidance. Can you find yourself a place where you can retreat from him? Something like a sitting place high up? Or hidey hole where you can sit and guard the entrance - so that he can't get in. A covered cardboard box with an entrance hole cut into it makes a good retreat. You can sit inside with your head inside but looking out and he can't get at you.

Humans are dumb about cats because they are a promiscuously social species - they think we make friends and like company. They can't see that living with a bully is extremely stressful. Usually they only discover this when we get stress-induced cystitis, spray in the house, or have fights. They don't notice our unhappiness.

When we don't get on, we cannot share resources. So there has to be at least one litter tray for each cat and the trays should be in different locations. Poor Penelope must be able to get to the litter tray safely when she wants to. Sometimes bully cats sit outside litter trays and ambush us when we have to go in.

There should also be more than one food location - at least two in a three-cat house, preferably three. We cats hate having to eat close to each other. It's just not natural for us yet humans make us do it. Water bowls should be in several locations too. And there should be lots of cat beds and hidey holes.

Some people just separate the cats - with one cat living upstairs, one living downstairs. Installing a Petporte or Sureflap microchip operated cat flaps within the house can allow each individual cat to retreat to a room on its own. Or humans can operate a time share wherebye one cat spends 6-8pm in the living room, while the other spents 8-10pm.

Frankly, Bentley, if Marti continues to bully, your humans should think about rehoming him. Some cats cannot live in groups and it is best to find them homes where they can be on their own. If something isn't done, your health will suffer.

George.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Food. If you can't hunt it: steal it.


Dear George,
My name is Scotch (not as in the beverage but as in the butterscotch ice-cream) I'm the youngest (at the right) of the three rescued cats.

You might wonder what we are doing in the window. Well, we are watching some birds and dreaming of a nice supper. We are no fussy eaters and forever grateful for every meal our mommy puts on our plate. The problem is that she always is trying to give us the best quality canned or dry food but I would prefer some raw meat. I think she is afraid to give us raw meat even if she’s fully aware that in our natural habitat cats don’t cook.

We like our prey raw and juicy. There is so much confusion with the pet food industry lately that no one knows anymore what’s good and what’s not or who to trust.

So, George, what do you think; raw, cooked or canned?

Waiting for your answer

Scotch


Dear Scotch,

The ideal food for us includes mice, other small rodents, the occasional bird, baby rabbits, lizards, and a few insects. That's the food evolution designed our stomachs for.I can see from your photo you would like to get out there and start hunting down your food. We have got short digestive tracts which are there to process flesh, bones, cartilage and fur, not vegetables. We are pure carnivores, unlike dogs who are omnivores and will eat anything. (If you lived with a Labrador you would be conscious that "everything" really means everything).

So if your human wanted to give you a natural diet, she could go off and catch mice, birds, and a few insects for you. Or buy defrosted mice from pet stores who stock them for reptiles. There are raw food diets for dogs, but, as dogs have a different digestive system, these would not be necessarily suitable for cats. (Incidentally there is a firm selling dried mice as treats at http://www.petextras.com I haven't tried them, as I live in the UK).

Raw meat would be great as a treat - if you like it. But it's not a natural diet. There is raw meat in a mouse or a rabbit, but there is also bone, cartilage, skin and fur. You need all these as well as the meat. Flesh meat alone leads to skeletal disorders in growing cats. Some cats don't like raw flesh anyway. My friend Tilly doesn't. She was brought up as a slum cat on scraps and prefers to eat chips and old bread.

So I think it is probably safest just to accept the tinned or dried food given to you by your human. Make sure that it is a good petfood manufacturer. Besides, you can supplement it by raiding the kitchen food preparation surfaces. It's not too difficult to learn to pull down the trash can. Make feeding more fun. It's good for your to have to work for your food. If you can't exercise by hunting, then exercise by stealing.

Yours

George.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The power of laughter and play to train a human



Dear George,

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?

Hugs

Zoe


Dear Zoe,

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.

Love George



Saturday, November 05, 2011

Vets and cats. We all hate vets. They are bad, bad, bad, bad humans.


Dear George,

I’m MAD, mad, mad at my humans who took me to a vet clinic for a visit! What kind of visit is that where instead of tea and cookies one is given a vaccine? I know they called it a “medical visit” but I want a fun visit not a medical one! I don’t want any vet touching my teats, ears, checking my teeth or other places I won’t even mention. By the way; what’s the purpose of having the temperature checked? And why is the procedure different for us then for humans? Why do they “use” one end to check ours and the other end for humans? At least the vet wasn’t successful with me! I simply “flew” right on a shelf and hid behind bags of food as you can see in the photo.

But here is my main concern George; why are we being vaccinated every year? Couldn’t this possibly be over vaccination? Shouldn’t a vaccine give you immunity for few good years? Can we become sick from being over vaccinated?

Worried about us & pissed at humans

CAT Victoria


Dear Cat Victoria,

Join the worldwide fellowship of Cats That Hate Vets. We hate their clinics. We hate the smell of it. We hate their white coats. We hate the receptionists, the vet nurses and the waiting clients. All of it. We hate the way there are dogs barking in the waiting room. We loathe every single moment of visiting them because they stab us with needles, pull out mouths open to look inside, and (worst of all) stick thermometers up our bottoms. Horrible horrible vets.

The needles, they tell us, are good for us. Vaccines protect us from illness. This well and good if we are outdoor cats, or if we are cats that are going to catteries. Good catteries have to insist on basic vaccination just to make sure illnesses are not spread among their feline clients.

But, do we need vaccinating each year? Many people believe not. For the British take on this topic look at The Cat Group's policy statement. For the American view, consult the guidelines of the American Association of Feline practitioners. Both these bodies say that not all cats need all vaccines. It depends on the age of the cat, the laws of the country and how much the cat is exposed to infectous diseases. It's important to vaccinate but it is also important not to over-vaccinate. If you have a bad effect from a particular vaccine, make your human report it and insist that he/she makes the vet use a different type or brand next time.

As for taking temperatures..... uggghhhhhh. How disgusting is it for us to have that tube up our bottoms! Horrible. Undignified. You did the right thing,Victoria. Just make a run for it. If you can't do that, then bite the vet. My friend William used to hate the procedure so much that it took three people to hold him down - his human, the vet and the vet nurse. Afterwards he turned smartly round and bit the vet. I admired him for it.

So the message to all Cats That Hate Vets, is don't let them get away with it. Have claws and teeth at the ready. Fight back and fight back hard.

Love George.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween and Fireworks day - be careful out there

Dear George,

I don’t know if Halloween is as popular in UK as it is in North America but I worry for all of us, black cats! We (me and my siblings) are not allowed outside on such day or night but even the kids knocking in the doors can be disturbing. They make so much noise and what for? A candy or a chocolate bar?

Plus, some of them are wearing frightening, ugly costumes and masks. Who could think of this as fun? Some people are even dressing their dogs in ridiculous costumes. Who wants to be a “bat” or “pumpkin” and then taken for a walk? Not us cats, I bet!

I don’t understand what Halloween is all about but, I don’t like it as I don’t like fireworks in the summertime. I think of it as poor taste entertainment! George, what can we do? How can we escape this “sugar rush”?

Bentley


Dear Bentley,

We have Halloween too and then later on November 5 we have Guy Fawkes day or Fireworks Day. There are bonfires and fireworks. The noise is terrible. In the past boys used to make up guys out of mops and old clothes and collect "a penny for the guy." Now they do trick and treat instead or as well.

But there are also a few feral humans who make the fireworks a chance to torture animals. Occasionally cats get deliberately thrown into bonfires. Or these feral youngsters tie fireworks to dogs' tails. It's not safe out there on the street for the next fortnight. Wildlife suffers too, as hedgehogs sometimes take refuge in the heaped up stuff ready for a bonfire - and then are burned to death.

My advice to all cats is to stay indoors as soon as it gets dark. Go under the bed if you are still scared - sensitive humans will not try to rout you out. They will leave you there where you feel safest. Even in the day time stay away from strange humans just in case they are a feral gang.

There's a special danger for black cats like you and me, Bentley. It is twofold. There is a rumour that black cats are caught and tortured or burned alive by black magic practitioners on Halloween. This probably isn't true. But then what happens is that black cats are scooped off the street by well-wishing humans and handed into animal shelters.

So far so good, you might think. Except that in the US (less so in the UK) "unlucky" black cats are slow to be adopted. So these handed in cats are then quietly euthanised by shelters who feel they can't find them homes. (in the l990s, animals shelters killed up to 70% of the cats handed in).

Please, any humans reading this, don't rescue black cats off the street unless you know a no-kill shelter to take them too. You may be "rescuing" them only to kill them. They are better off taking their chances on the street.....

Be careful out there, all you fellow cats.

George

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pain - how do you tell if your human is in pain?


Dear George,
I am looking after an elderly human who has some health problems. I am finding it difficult to know when she is in pain. Obviously when we cats are in pain, we hiss, scratch or bite if somebody tries to pick us up. She doesn't do any of this when I crawl up the bed and sleep close to her. However she does make odd noises - sort of intakes of breath, wimpers and yowling noises. Is this pain?
Yours worried
Annie

Dear Annie,
Humans show pain in a different way to us. Apart from scratching or biting when being picked up, we stay silent. We don't make crying noises when in pain. That's because Nature has designed us to stay quiet in case a predator hears us and kills us. Look at it this way, a cat who cried loudly after a car accident would pretty soon be eaten by a fox here in the UK.
We are much much more stoic than humans, who really are pretty wimpish - another sign of their innate inferiority. We usually just go very very still - stay in our beds quietly resting, may not eat, and possibly have to pee outside the litter tray if it is too far away or too difficult to get into.
Humans are noisy and show their pain in their faces. You will see her face sort of twist up. She may have an intake of breath, as you have noticed. Some humans even shout, swear, yelp or cry. Poor creatures. Just not brave enough in the face of adversity.
There's not much you can do for her anyway, Annie. Go carefully on the bed, so that she isn't tempted to push you off. Purr loudly. That really helps a human who is lying unable to sleep. Purring acts as a kind of therapy for them. We have a responsibility to our pets so try to be helpful, even if you despise her lack of courage.
Love George

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Regrets... still no secretary


I regret to say that I still have no secretary. She is back home but totally doolally.... unable to think straight (she says), unable to type very much due to sore places post surgery, and, most of all, just exhausted. She even stopped eating for a few days and has lost half a stone (a bit of that came off with surgery, the easy way to lose weight.)
I have brought in several mice to tempt her appetite but to no avail. She sleeps a lot and I accompany her in this healing activity. These humans are fragile creatures. Occasionally she surfaces to do a very grumpy and bad taste blog about cancer.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I'm putting my secretary in the veterinary clinic



Dear Feline Readers,
Well, after about four years of regular blogging, I shall have to step down for just this week. My secretary has been ill and needs a surgical operation. On the grounds of human welfare, I have let her off this Saturday's blog. Instead she is helping me put up this notice.
Human pets are essentially unreliable. It is part of their inferior lifestyle that they get all kinds of infections and diseases. I know she hates going to the vet, and even more hates being put into a veterinary hospital. "It's for your own sake," I mewed. She didn't understand me, of course. Poor dumb creature. You can't explain things to them.
Back a week on Saturday. She has been told she can type then.
George.
PS. This is me trying to get that damn blackbird last summer.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Humans and a fuss about nipples.


Dear George
I am very worried about my human who seems to be obsessed with her nipple. She only has two and I overhear her talking about one of them. Apparently she wants the vet to cut it off and store it somewhere on her body, like in her armpit. Her plan is that he then cuts off her mammary gland, keeps the nipple, and sews it back on to a reconstruction. He refused point blank.
Do you think I could give her one of mine. I have a nice row of them either side of the milk line and I would never miss one of mine.
Yours anxiously
Tilly.

Dear Tilly,
What a generous cat you are. What an exciting vision - a beautiful feline nipple, surrounded by lovely tortoiseshell fur, growing on your human's mammary area that was. It would be a bit like Diana Dors' (or was it Jayne Mansfield's) mink bikini. Very elegant.
But the vet is right. It just wouldn't work.
Personally I can't see why your human want a reconstruction anyway. Losing a teat is bad luck, but a false one, even a falsie in flesh, isn't going to be functional? Can't feed kittens, can it? Yet these humans are obsessed with their teats. Odd. Very odd indeed. I suppose it is something to do with only having two of them - another sign of human inferiority. I have always thought the human body would look much nicer with a line of them starting where they are now and going down either side to below the waist. But the great Cat in the sky did not make them like that.
No, I suggest you concentrate on purr therapy for her. She's going to feel rather ill after the vet's operation. Give her lots of purrs and rubs but hang on to your nipple. Human welfare does not require us to give our body parts to our human pets.
Yours cautiously,
George
I can recommend a rather touching book, admittedly about the inferior species the dog. Dog Walks Man, by John Zeaman, (Hamlyn £7.99). A sort of meditation on dog walking.... I may come back to this later.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I don't want another cat.....


Dear George,

It’s me Vegas! No, I don’t have a “sister” yet since my human is too busy having company from overseas and I’m teething or what do you call this in cat language?

I’m glad we have company since I have extra hands and toes to bite but I’m quite worried right now! I overheard my human saying something about “having someone moving in with a cat or cats” I personally think this is just terrible. I would like a little sister from same shelter where I came from but, I don’t want any adult cat or cats in my house. They can be mean; they can eat my food, take my bed or shed a lot! I don’t want to sleep on another cat’s hair. Quite so! Why cats shed? And why some shed more then others? Are they sick? Do they lack nutrients in their food? Are they stressed?

Am I going to loose my hair now and become a hairless cat, like a sphinx?

George, what should I do?

Worried

Vegas


Dear Vegas,

You are having trouble with your humans. They are being totally selfish and disregarding your feelings. Of course you don't want another cat, particularly an adult cat who you know nothing about. It was bad enough when they suggested a kitten from the same rescue shelter as yours. Quite bad enough but with great generosity and flexibility you agreed.

I think your selflessness was a mistake. Give humans an inch and they will take an ell (whatever the ell that is!). They have got above themselves. They assume they can do what they like. They think they can just fill the house with cats - adult cats, kittens, visiting cats. It's a disgrace.

You will have to take a stand, Vegas. I suggest a programme of the "silent treatment", occasionally used between human husband and wife. Withdraw all affection. Go further, withdraw all attention. You do not sit on laps. You do not rub their legs. You do not sleep on the bed with them. Or on the sofa near them. If you sit in the same room of them, sit with your back towards them. No eye contact. No miaouws or purrs - that's why it's called the silent treatment.

You might just add vomiting. Projectile vomiting can be a very useful weapon in the armoury against humans. Leave a little heap during the night just where they will step on it, if they get up to use the litter tray.

Any human visitors can be treated with lavish affection - just to make the point that you do not any more love your humans. Make them suffer. Prrrrhaps then they will begin to appreciate you more.

Yours

George

PS. This blog is late because my human's access to the internet failed for 48 hours and because she is rather preoccupied with her (thank goodness not mine) veterinary treatment. Tiresome woman.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dear George,
I have just had a traumatic encounter with a small group of hornets. One of them stung my human, which is only what she deserves for being so foolish as to take up power walking. I felt it prudent to dive into a hedge and stay there for the rest of the day. I would much rather have been hunting rabbits, my usual morning occupation, but the danger posed by these enraged insects quite upset me. My human thinks this is strange, as the things that scare other cats, such as dog, toddlers, lorries, loud noises or car rides, do not faze me in the least. Not that I was scared, you understand. It was quite unnecssary for the human to come out and find me hours later and carry me home for dinner.
Yours,
Scaramouche

Dear Scaramouche,
These flibbertigibbet humans! Power walking indeed. Why doesn't she take up mousing? So much better ergonomically. I have tried over the years to interest Celia in mousing by bringing in living mice, but she just doesn't get it. Instead of an invigorating hunt round the living room, she merely catches them in a wellington boot and puts them outside. (Mind you, I sneak out later and start hunting them all over again, so it's not all bad).
Wise of you to take shelter if hornets are flying around. Some foolish kittens actually hunt bees and wasps - a dangerous activity not indulged in by mature cats like you and I. Hornets really do sting badly and I am not at all surprised that you were emotionally upset. Of course, this upset was merely because you disliked them in your territory, not any wimplike fear!
Your duty is clear, Scaramouche. Get that foolish human of yours to call the local wildlife people in case the hornets are a rare species. Get their advice and see if you can rehome the hornets (or something) in a better place! Creepie crawlies, even the buzzing kind, have a place in our world. I like to see the odd bee and wasp. And I enjoy crunching up flies and such like. Quite tasty.
Not so sure about the power walking, though. Shouldn't she be busy shopping for cat food?
Yours
George

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I am in love with my cat sitter, I think?


Dear George,

My name is Alfie and I was adopted about 3 years ago from a pond. I was the last to be adopted only because people found me being “too black, too skinny and too ugly” based on their no-sense standards. So, I’m grateful to my human parents who adopted me the way I am. I’m even more grateful for all the love and care they give me. Recently I was found having a hyperthyroidism problem and I’m currently under medication.

But, my problem is of a different nature! Let me tell you what happened if I may! For the longest time my parents never went away. Lately they start going away for 3 days at a time or, mostly for a week. Of course, my mommy arranged with one of her friends to “cat-sit” me. So, actually it’s a couple cat-sitting me; he comes in the morning but in the evening they come together. They bring me toys, new food (better tasting that mine), we play and we talk a lot. She calls me “Alfonso, my love” and he calls me some funny nickname in a strange language that actually sounds very nice.

George, my problem is that I found myself wishing for my parents to go away more often. I don’t want to hurt their feelings ….but, I think I’m in love with my cat-sitter. What can I do? My mommy already mentioned that lately I became more talkative Probably my humans thought that because of my modest origin I don’t have a rich vocabulary, but I do. And I think I’m handsome too, otherwise why would she call me “Alfonso, my love”? So, George, help me with my two questions please; one – I need some tips regarding some sort of maintenance for my hyperthyroidism and second - how can I share my feelings without hurting anybody?

Alfie/Alfonso


Dear Alfie,
You are worrying yourself unnecessarily. Stop thinking about your humans and start concentrating on getting your own way.
We cats often love more than one person (as do humans, actually). Your feelings are quite normal. Indeed many cats with a cat flap set up a second home further down the road or just round the corner. It's particularly useful when our humans leave the house all day and switch off the central heating in the winter. Down the road we can find a lonely person whose heating is on during the day and who may even offer us a better class of cat food. Two-timing is what humans call it: I just call it looking after my own needs.

So far, so good.... Our perfectly natural behaviour, however, sometimes upsets our humans. It's not as if humans don't two-time each other: they do. But they don't like it being done to them. Puursonally, I would show your feelings openly to your first family (so to speak) because with a bit of luck, they will try to be nicer to you. Indeed, it doesn't hurt to put on a sorrowful and unhappy air when they come back from their holidays/vacations. Humans feel something they call "guilt." We cats do not do guilt. But a guilty human is often a human who buys better cat food or gives us more games, more space in the bed, and more tickling behind the ears. Make guilt work in your favour, Alfie.
Hyperthyroidism is a breeze nowadays. Medication should work well. If you don't like the taste of the pill, or the inhumane way humans stuff it into your throat, purrsuade them to buy EasyTabs or Pill Pockets. These are meat flavoured pellets hiding the medication. They taste good....
Remember, Alfie, we cats rule. We cats do what we like: humans do what we like. What's ours is ours and what's theirs is ours.
George

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Coping with a new dog - train it.


Dear George,
I am nine years old and I have an adopted sister Tilly who came from an animal refuge as a 3 year old, three years ago. It was a struggle for me to adapt to another cat in my territory but I am now OK about it. But my pet human is considering bringing a puppy into the household. Tilly says she doesn't mind but I hate the idea. My pet human has seen a poor little puppy in a glass cage in a Spanish pet shop and she wants to rescue it.
What on earth should I do about this threat to my territory. Am I being specieist in not wanting a puppy in my home? By the way it’s a Bichon.
Yours Bertie.

PS. The intruder has arrived suddenly, as I write this.... help.


Dear Bertie,

Horror of horrors, my previous advice sent privately to you has come too late. I was hoping between us we might prevent your human from being so foolish.
Be strong. I know
you must be tempted just to pack up and leave home but don’t do it. You live in Spain where the chances of another home for a black cat are poor, if not non existent. These humans have soft hearts and, alas, just can’t see things sensibly the way we cats can. We have to help them out at moments like this by reminding them of their responsibilities as pets. I hope you reacted with horror when you saw the puppy – bristling tail, erect hair, horrified cat look. If she's not too dumb, she may get the message.
However intelligence in humans is very limited indeed. When the rescue impulse strikes, intelligence goes out of the window. She has forgotten that puppies in pet shops almost always come from lousy breeders, that they may well turn out to be expensive in vet's bills, and by buying one she is encouraging the disgusting pet shop trade.
Now that it's too late to change things, train the puppy from day one with a series of puppy one-to-one classes. It has to l
earn that you are the head of the household and alpha cat. Be firm, Bertie. Sit on a high place like the top of the sofa and hiss at it. If necessary give it a smart swipe or two. Never ever run from it. A running cat encourages a pursuing dog.
Humans are exceptionally poor at training dogs. Successful human trainers mainly use reward because they can keep treats on their purrson. As we don't have fur with pockets, we can't. Besides, we don't share food. We eat it ourselves. So we have to use punishment in a carefully graduated claw and order programme. When the puppy is a bit older and has learned cat body language, you can reward him by rubs, purrs, and the opportunity to sniff and lick (though not too much of either).
Persistence
will prevail, brother! Luckily, in the photo you set me, it looks small and not too yappy. Tilly has the right idea about getting up on high places and looking down on the intruder, but perhaps you could purrsuade her to look fiercer! You need a united feline front in order to make sure that the power in the household goes like this - Bertie, top cat, Tilly deputy top cat, human pet, and at the bottom - dog.
Dogs are easily trained. My goodness, they are. I mean even dumb humans can train them.
George
PS. If anybody reading this blog has a human that is thinking of getting a dog, make her read my secretary's advice - click here.



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cars - friend or foe for us cats?


Dear George,
My name is Ernie and I live in an Oxfordshire village which has lots and lots of cars parked outside during the evening and night. The odd thing is that most of these - two thirds, I would say - are absent during the day. Where do they go? Why don't they stay still? It is one of the mysteries of my life. Like a flock of birds, they leave shortly after dawn and then come back to roost in my village streets. What do you make of cars, George?
Ernie.

Dear Ernie,
Cars are very odd indeed. They have their uses. I enjoy sniffing the wheels which often have interesting smells left by other cats spraying there or by dogs which cock their leg against the rubber. There are also delicious whiffs of dead mammals that have been run over - rabbits, hares and mice. This time of year in Oxfordshire there are additional crushed feathers and flesh of pheasants that are let out to be shot by humans. These domestic birds are hopelessly lost in the countryside, like hens let out of a coop. I could almost feel sorry for them if they didn't taste so good.
As well as providing interesting smells, cars are useful refuges for cats. At dusk, when they are quiet and still, we can shelter from the rain. Or use them as a safety area, if there are large dogs in the vicinity. In cold weather, when they have flocked back to their roost, they are often still warm from the movement. Sitting on the engine can warm up a chilly cat.
When they are not asleep, however, they are cat killing monsters. Their flashing eyes at night paralyse us so that we don't know how to cross the road. If we make a run for it, blinded by them, we often end up dead or severely injured.
Humans seem addicted to them. So we are stuck with them, I suppose. Humans don't realise how dangerous they are to cats.
George.

PS. Please look at the artwork by Harvey the inspirational House Rabbit. Eye opening talent. If comments are slow on getting on this is because my secretary is away and has put me in a cattery. The traitoress.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back soon later today

My secretary is away photographing rescue kittens today.... For once, I have given my permission for this failure of duties as I consider finding homes for homeless kittens is a priority. But she has been warned not to do it too often. She promises to be back at her desk late afternoon.

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

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