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Saturday, December 19, 2015

The power of a purrrrrrrrrr......

Dear George,
I have been a bit worried about my mummy.
She doesn't seem to be quite herself and seems to have to leave me more often at different times.
Still, at least, food appears regularly and she combs me and plays with me sometimes when I don't even want to!
I try to behave and come on her bed every night and she still gets up if I desperately need attention at 5am, so nothing really has changed, but I do worry if her routine changes.
What do you think carry on as usual, and hope she seems more like her old self in the New Year. We pussycats don't like change!!!.
With love from,
Toby.


Dear Toby,
My friend, Tilly the Ugliest Cat, went through a somewhat similar experience with Celia. Horrible routine changes and she could tell that Celia was worried and upset. Celia would disappear then come home smelling as if she had been in a vet clinic.
Try to see this as an opportunity for snuggling close to your human, particularly if she is taking a lot of rest (which she should be). She may smell a bit odd but she is basically the same loving pet as she always was. We cats are great healers and this is your chance to practice purr therapy. There is nothing like it to make your human pet feel calmer and less frightened.
She will recover, when the veterinary treatment is over, and the normal routine will back. So practice that healing purr. Purring heals.
Yours
George.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Eating safely.... difficult for both cats and humans.

Dear George,
What do cats in Europe eat? I'm asking since recently I got sick and everybody thought the food I ate was the culprit! Honestly I don't know what to say more that I'm on a special diet of dry kibbles recommended by my doctor. I'm much better now but I start worrying about what I eat. It seems we have a big problem with pet food contaminated with Round-up in North America.
See for yourself what this lady, Shirley, has to say..."Yet another reason to feed our cats a raw food diet. The herbicide glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in weed killer Round Up, has been found in pet foods. A recently-released study by Dr. Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff reported that "We found significant levels of both glyphosate and AMPA in all pet foods tested (Table 15)." (AMPA is "aminomethylphosphonic acid.)
Dr. Michael W. Fox, a veterinarian who writes a syndicated column, says that when the preservative sodium nitrate (which is frequently used in pet food) combines with glyphosate, the combination is deadly. He used that word, deadly. 
The study is here.

George, do you think there are humans out there trying to poison us?
Is the solution....indeed... a raw meat diet?
Confused
Spokey


Dear Spokey,
The ideal diet would be mice, the odd bird, and the occasional insect, all of them with their skin and bones left on to be eaten. We have very exact requirements. We need taurine, which comes from meat. So don't feed us a vegetarian diet, as there is no taurine in plants. We need arachidonic acid, a fatty acid which dogs can make in their own bodies but we can't. So don't feed us dog food. And home-made diets may result in serious deficiencies or even the opposite, too much vitamin A. So don't feed us home made or any liver. Just flesh meat is not natural: animals eat skin and bone too.
Do not be confused by claims that natural is always good. Natural is not always good.
Raw food?  There are problems. The American Veterinary Association says they have the risk of giving cats or dogs food poisoning (and a risk to our humans). Because cats, unlike dogs, are not natural scavengers, they may be in even more danger than dogs. And what do the meat products include? In Germany a couple of dogs have developed hyperthyroidism (almost never seen in dogs) because the raw food included too many neck parts, which include the thyroid gland. And anyway in nature, cats would not be eating pork, beef and lamb.
It is safer to feed a good quality cat food, preferably in envelopes or dry rather than in a can. And avoid giblet flavour - as cans and giblets have been linked with the development of hyperthyroidism in cats. In the UK there is now a packeted raw food diet here which might be suitable: but I would want to check it out very carefully first. 
Finally, yes commercial pet foods can be contaminated quite severely. There's a website for petfoods that have had to be recalled here, though I don't agree with much of what it says. Never eat any cat food that was made in China. And don't believe the labels! Both dogs and kittens have been poisoned by excess vitamin D found in a so called "organic" food. 
It's a rough world out there, Spokey.  Oddly enough eating a food made by a major company is probably a bit safer, simply because they have more to lose if their pet food gets a bad reputation.
Yours gloomily.
George.
PS. Excuse me. I am just going to pop out for a nice fresh mouse. Even if it is contaminated by weedkiller used by the next door house owner.

 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The joy of hunting versus safety from the traffic.

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Dear George

 It took me a while to understand what humans meant by “window shopping”. I’ve often heard my mommy saying that she went window shopping but, I didn’t understand it at the beginning until she explained it to me. George, I don’t have a problem with window shopping but I think she is now “forcing” us to do “window hunting” (as you can see in the photo attached – all three of us) - she won’t let us out. And, you see? We just missed that little, cute chipmunk that went by! Actually Riley and Jasper go out on a leash but I completely refuse to be humiliated.
George, how can I convince my mommy that we can be trusted and should be allowed in the backyard to enjoy the grass, the chipmunks, the birds and the butterflies?

How do I tell her that “window hunting” can be as frustrating as the “window shopping” especially when you see something and you can’t afford to buy it?

Same with “laser hunting” - it might be a good exercise but, in my opinion, it is equally frustrating and infuriating to not catch the “prey”.

George, any ideas? Suggestions?

Frustrated
Patches

Dear Patches, 
Here in the UK most cats are allowed out and many of them enjoy hunting small mammals and birds. Bird lovers would like us all to be kept in - that way, we wouldn't be murdering birds and mice. I get shut in at night and it is very frustrating to see the wildlife and not be able to get at it.
Your humans probably want to protect you from those big metal machines which slaughter so many cats - the car. Thousands and thousands of free roaming cats lose their lives to it - particularly if they are allowed out all through the night. So it's safety versus the joy of proper hunting.
Laser hunting can also be painfully frustrating - you never catch your prey. But there is something your humans can do about this. They can end the play by throwing a treat for you to "catch." That makes it more like proper hunting and stops the frustration.
Yours 
George.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Is there a dog in the bag?.......


Dear George,
I need your advice on a sensitive subject. You know I’m a rescue who adopted this odd couple a while ago. My human pets have two human kittens who, of course, adore me! Last night while having supper I heard them talking about getting a dog who would fit in a bag! The truth is that the human kittens go to university and my human pets feel lonely and they need company, so they thought of getting a dog. I’m not getting into details here since it really doesn’t matter the size, breed, etc. All is good….as I’ll have more help to slave for me but, I think I should have some rules set up, don’t I? And, to get the rules right I need your help! Here is a list with what I have in mind. Please feel free to improve my list!
1)    No sniffing (can’t stand a dog sniffing at my behind)
2)     No mix and eat (meaning that the dog can’t have my food)
3)    Sofa time is all mine (dog needs a break…can sleep on the floor)
4)    No crazy running or chasing (I’m not a hound so I don’t race)
George, any other rule you can think of?

Leo

Dear Leo,
The only rule in my household is NO DOGS.  But I have Celia under a firm paw, and so she would not dare to add a dog.
However, it is always more difficult to get total obedience if you have several human pets, so you may have to put up with this invasion. Just thank the Big Cat Upstairs that it is doing to be a handbag dog - small enough for you to bully. (Yes, I dare say you could eat it, but that will really upset your humans!)
The rules you have forgotten are the most important rule of all. 
Rule One. The cat is Top Dog.
Rule TwoAuthority goes like this. Top Honcho, officer in command, is Leo. Humans are other rank, corporals, obeying commands from commanding officer. Dog is squaddy, ordinary soldier, obeying feline commands and human commands.
That's all you need to know. Instigate a claw and order regime from the start. Insolence or disobedience should be punished severely.
Yours 
George.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Vaccinations - do I really need to be jabbed with a needle every year?

Dear George, 
I completely dislike going to the vet. I know sometimes is absolutely necessary but most of the time our humans are taking us to the vet excessively. My mommy takes me there sometimes for grooming (which I don’t mind so much) but now she is planning to take me to get vaccinated. Vaccination it’s such a hot topic right now in both human and animal realm, very controversial indeed and I’d like to hear your opinion about it.
I was vaccinated when I was a kitten (about 8 weeks old) then I was given a booster a month later. The vet recommended annual vaccination! I personally think this is just money grab! How come that humans kittens are vaccinated once and that vaccine is good for life? Are we different when it comes to the immune system? I think we are stronger.
Also, I’m an indoor cat and I don’t come in contact with other cats or creatures!
I heard of other cats being vaccinated every five years. Is there a rule?
Any suggestions?
Yours truly,
Sophie

Dear Sophie, 
I hate those annual jabs (and I hate the vet). But these protect you against disease.  So, yes, you do need to be vaccinated. But how often and how many will vary from country to country.
Here in the UK I am vaccinated yearly with a combination vaccine (just one jab) against feline enteritis and cat 'flu. This means I can go into a cattery if there is an emergency at home. When I was younger, because I am a cat who goes outside, I had three years of vaccinations against feline leukaemia. If I had lived indoors I wouldn't have needed that.
Lifestyle matters a lot. If I lived abroad, a rabies vaccination might well be important or even a legal requirement. If I lived in a multicat household or a breeding colony then vaccinations against chlamydia and bordatella (called kennel cough in dogs) might also be worth having. Vaccinations for FIV and FIP are available outside Europe but their efficacy is not proven to European standards.
How often should you get a jab? Well here in the UK most authorities recommend annual vaccinations. You could opt for longer intervals between jabs with yearly blood tests for immunity  - but this will mean more jabs with a needle to take blood and more expense for your human. If you have a bad reaction to a vaccine (a few cats do), try a different sort of vaccine.
I agree that if you are an indoor only cat, an annual vaccine seems like a waste of money  - but what if there was an emergency, such as your humans being in an accident? You wouldn't be welcome in a good cattery. Can your humans be absolutely sure there is always someone to feed you? And what if you escape into the outside world?
Tricky, isn't it?  If in doubt, however, get vaccinated. It might save your life or the life of any cat with whom you come into contact.  And you can get the vet, while she is vaccinating you,  to check your eyes, ears and teeth, at no extra cost! Oh, and by the way, just for fun, you can always bite her afterwards! I do.
Yours
George.
PS. My human, Celia, has an annual vaccination against 'flu just like I do. The scientific evidence about feline vaccines, from a UK point of view, can be found here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chico's story - the cat that came out of the cold.

Dear George, 
Until a week ago I didn’t have a name….I was kind of “no name” tomcat living on the streets and eating from the garbage bins for about 2-3 years. Even if I had a name I wouldn’t recall it anymore as my only interaction with humans was with this lady who was feeding me in her backyard ….occasionally.
I once had a home and I was spoiled but…I don’t know what happened that I ended up being kicked out and left in the cold. And winters are cold in Canada. I was in a very rough state with an eye infection and scratches and scars all over my body!
I was very tempted to write a “funny” letter about how I was hi-jacked by a human and then abducted by an alien but I think my story is much more serious and hopefully will be an inspiration for other humans.
So, last week the nice lady who was feeding me in her backyard “trapped” me and put me in a cage and then she drove away – that’s what I call hijacking!Then she stopped somewhere in an unfamiliar place and I’ve seen this white vehicle (it could have been an extra-terrestrial car) and this strange looking man who came and took the carrier I was in – that’s what I call …abducted by an alien J
He took me to what I thought was the ET base since everybody was dressed in green and there was this man in green (David) who seems to be the chief operator and this nice lady (Jody) who seemed to be very friendly. OK! The truth is that the alien man took me to a vet clinic where I got a new lease on life! I was spayed, vaccinated, one infected tooth extracted and the others scaled and polished, dewormed, fleas’ treatment, antibiotics for all the scars and scratches and of course, treatments for the eyes. I spent two days and two nights at the vet clinic and now I’m like new.
The “alien” man took me home where I met his wife. They paid the vet bill without any expectations. They even are looking to find me a nice house with a large backyard since I’m used to outdoors and they live in an apartment. They don’t seem to be in any rush though. They are very loving and caring; they cook for me, they play with me and they look for my best interest. All I do for now is sleep and sleep and sleep since it has been such a long time since I had a safe and warm place to do it. I don’t know if I’ll continue to live with this couple or I’ll find a forever home with a backyard but, for now I feel loved and safe as I didn’t feel in a long time. George, my heart goes to all the cats that are on the streets, abandoned and abused.
Just wanted to share my story
Chico (oh! the alien man’s wife called me Chico) 

Dear Chico, 
Thank you for sharing your story with me. Out there in the cold - in Canada, in the USA and in the UK - are thousands of lost or abandoned cats suffering from starvation and hypothermia. So please ask your human pets to donate to their local cat rescue and help save feline lives this winter.
Hopefully
George
PS. My local rescue is www.sunshinecatrescue.org.uk

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Is it play or is it fighting? Toby reveals his play technique.

Watch this on video here
Dear George,
I am trying to help Celia train her foster kitten, Abby the Tabby, to behave well towards other cats. It can be tiresome and sometimes downright embarrassing. She whizzes up to me, rubs against me, and shows excessive affection. Then she plays...
And plays and plays. And she is very rough. She body slams me. I pounce on her but I never have my claws out. How am I going to teach her to play less roughly?
Yours exhausted,
Toby.

Dear Toby,
I can tell that she is having a great time because there is no hissing, spitting, claws out, no tufts of hair and no blood.  It's play not discipline - thanks to your good manners. You are twice her size and would really beat her up if you chose to. And you don't, even when she jumps on you at speed.
Human pets don't understand us and sometimes think we are playing when we are fighting. So thank you for posting this video. It will help humans recognise play from fighting.
I am not sure if you will succeed in teaching Abby to play less roughly, Toby. But playing with her may help her to live with another adult cat when she finds her forever home.
Yours
George
PS. If you live Oxfordshire and can give Abby a home go to Sunshine Cat Rescue.




Saturday, October 31, 2015

I'm black: I'm beautiful: I celebrated National Black Cat Day.....and now it's Halloween

Dear George,
I may look spooky with my eyes but I am a good luck cat. I bring health and happiness to my home - like all cats do. Yes, I am black but why does that count against me?
It's sad that many humans are colour prejudiced. They won't adopt black cats. So we spend much longer in rescue waiting for a forever home.
I heard a terrible Halloween story from the USA - that around this time well meaning people pick up stray black cats to save them from being sacrificed in black magic ceremonies (probably just a rumour). They hand them into an animal shelter and because so many are handed in, many of them will be euthanised.

Please DON'T DO THIS. Celebrate diversity in your own household. Give a home to a black cat. 
Yours, 
Blackie. 

Dear Blackie,
It's time we stamped out colour prejudice towards felines. We cats are far too sensible to judge humans on the colour of their skin, so why do they judge us on the colour of our fur? It's just not fair.
We are not witches' cats or devil cats or bringers of bad luck. We are just cats and we deserve better from human beings.
I am sure your human pet would be ashamed of treating a black human differently from a white human. Nowadays most humans would feel the same way. 
It's a question of justice.
Yours
George (all black)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fluffy. July 2, 2002 – September 29, 2015


























With great sadness we announce that Fluffy crossed the Rainbow Bridge
after a very short but terrible illness. It all came unexpectedly, with no signs of it.
We were completely unprepared and there are no words to express the pain and emptiness we feel now after losing her.
Fluffy was the kindest and most gentle cat we knew. She always had a good disposition.
She was loved by absolutely everybody who knew her. She had a very special bond with her daddy – she definitely was “daddy’s little girl”!
Two years ago we lost her sister, Cayenne and it was Fluffy who comforted us the most.
We lost both our little girls! And, yet in their short lives they taught us so much; they taught us unconditional love, loyalty, determination, kindness and how to have fun among many other things. We miss them both immensely!
Fluffy had her “special moments” with her daddy and one of them was listening to Toselli’s Nightingale Serenade sitting on her daddy’s lap (like in the photo attached).
In Fluffy’s memory please click on the link below and listen to her favorite music here.

With much sorrow
Fluffy’s parents

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Help us! We are being poisoned by cruel people.

My release after being spayed.
Dear George ,
We need your help and the help of every single one of your readers. My friends and I have a huge problem. I can see no way out. I have been bereaved  and there are too many humans out to get me. I am far away from your cosy life in the Cotswolds of England. I am in Spain's Costa Blanca but you can see us on our Facebook page here.
I live in an area beside the sea, called El Mojon. I live under apartment blocks and in gardens, but mainly hang around a derelict building which humans call " The Hermitage. " It is unsafe, but the humans let their children play around there.
They sometimes throw stones at us, and shoot at us with toy guns. Our area is filthy with litter but it is all we have.
I've heard the humans arguing among themselves - often and loudly. The local humans were shouting and waving their arms at the humans who bring our food and water. The locals swept away our food and crushed our water dishes under foot. They called us dirty, they said that we were sick and had fleas. They even said that we were the cause of rat and cockroach infestations.
Worse was to come.  My sister Phi and I were curled up together - half- asleep. Gamma, our mum was out hunting. It was quiet - except for a few fireworks - but we're used to those. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow - darting back and forth in the grounds around our building. The shadow was throwing something . I caught a whiff of it. Quite nice. But, I thought, this was strange. Our usual people talk to us in kind voices, and put our food into clean dishes. This Shadow was throwing the pleasant- smelling food everywhere....... then left.
I knew something wasn't right. Phi got up to investigate. I called her back - but the lure of food was too strong for her. She ate the food, as did several of our friends. I watched them die. My beautiful ginger and white sister - the prettiest blue-eyed girl - staggering around until she fell to the ground; her lithe, young body concluding and writhing in agony - struggling to breathe. I heard the grasping, choking, sounds.  I don't know how long it took for her to die. Time stood still for me. There used to be a lot of us in this area - around 70 - now there are only around 15. Am I lucky? I don't feel lucky. I feel afraid. Afraid that there will be other Shadows, and that I shall not recognize them for what they are.
If you cannot help me , George, please spread the word and try to educate the so- called human race that animals are indeed all equal.
Your bereft friend ,
Chi

Dear Chi (and all my readers),
There is a petition here, which I am hoping all my readers wherever they are in the world will sign, then share on Facebook and Twitter. This is the tragic photo which accompanies it.
These were healthy cats (as you can see from the photo) licensed to be where they were and ear tipped to show that they were neutered and would not expand the population of feral cats. 
I want to send a message that people worldwide think this is unacceptable. That it gives Spain and the town involved a bad image.
We know that there are loving good people in Spain who will find this hateful too. So please would they sign the petition too.
Yours sincerely
George.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Guess who's coming to dinner...


Dear George,

You might remember the famous movie by the same name but my story is a bit different. We’ve recently moved in this posh neighbourhood where everything it’s nicer and greener! It was a nice, warm, late summer night and I was having dinner in the garden with my humans. I was watching my daddy turning the juicy steaks on the grill when we got unexpected guests! Guess… who? Of course, I’d be glad to share my dinner with Sidney Poitier or Katharine Hepburn but that wasn’t the case. Who was coming to my dinner? A family of racoons – mother, father and kids! All up on the fence. No excuse and no shame! As I was ready to charge towards them my mommy grabbed me and run into the house! And that ruined everything as I couldn’t protect my territory! Why would she do this? Now, how am I going to claim my territory back? I lost my appetite as you can see in the photo attached! George, how do get rid of unwanted guests?
By the way, it’s Thanksgiving in Canada! How am I going to enjoy it now ….knowing that these predators are nearby? Or maybe….in the spirit of thanksgiving I should feed them?
Happy Thanksgiving to all

Lenny

Dear Lenny,  
Patrol. Get to know your territory purrfectly. Every single morning I walk round to see who has visited in the night. There are various dangerous areas - the hedge near the old piggery, the box shrub in the garden, and any cars parked nearby. I spray urine on them all, to tell any visitors I have been there and also to post a marker to remind myself that this is a worrying area. And I sniff carefully to know who has visited.
There is the occasional fox (very frightening), the feral tom from the local barn (ear tipped so probably neutered), rabbits (yum yum), rats (a bit scary if they are large ones) and sometimes the cat from across the road who is visiting in search of rabbits. Luckily we don't get racoons in the UK.
A racoon - not a good neigbour
Don't even think of feeding these racoons. Make sure no cat food is left out by mistake. You don't want them getting too tame - maybe even coming in the house.  Racoons sometimes attack kittens and they can pass on diseases like rabies. Tell your humans to shoo them away from your territory. 
Keep safe is my message for Thanksgiving.
George.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Dear George,
A few weeks ago, you advised me on my career. I have taken your advice, and rather than becoming a feral cat, I have decided to adopt a human and take up the career of being a human companion.
But it's so difficult. My foster parent, Celia, has put my photo on Sunshine Cat Rescue in Oxfordshire, England, but they are swamped with cats needing homes. I can't compete with some of the other kittens, as I am still very nervous. 
I love my own foster human (video here) but I am still frightened of strange noises, unfamiliar humans and dogs. So I am looking to adopt a very special person, which may take time.
I have been spayed, vaccinated and microchipped?Is there anything else I can do to find the right human?
Yours
Abby the Silver Tabby.

Dear Abby, 
It's a fact that there are thousands of cats in the UK and millions worldwide seeking to adopt humans from good homes. All of us want the same thing- a human who will become a loving pet, who will stay with us all our lives, and will be dutiful, caring, and generally lovely. They can be young or old, rich or poor, fit or disabled - we don't care about any of that.
We just want love. And you, Abby, need a human pet who will be very patient. Which means you yourself, must stay patient. And try to learn how to be picked up (which I am told by Celia you don't like at all).
Hang on in there for the happy ending.
George.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My bed is not for.... sharing

Dear George,
I don’t think there is a cat that likes to share her bed and I’m no exception! Just that my case is much more sensible….and here is why! My mummy got a boyfriend!
Yes! All is good as we know humans like to keep each other company and I don’t want to get into more “details” here but, my problem is why do I have to share my bed with him? Sharing is not exactly the case as he took over my half of the bed. That’s totally, completely and absolutely unacceptable! When I visit him at the cottage (I must admit he has a beautiful cottage) I bring my own food, my own water and my own bed!
So, why can’t he bring his own sleeping bag? Excuse me? I’m not asking him to bring his own food….I don’t mind to share my food with him! Nor do I ask him to bring his own water (maybe he should as it might be a bit difficult for him to drink from my water fountain). But….a sleeping bag? George, do you think by buying a sleeping bag for my mummy would solve the problem? There is plenty of floor space that they can share.
I want my bed (at least half) back!
Shumba

Dear Shumba,  
You have put your paw on a Major Human Dilemma. We cats are generous. We share the bed with our human, even though a human takes up a lot of space. (Mind you, they do act as hot water bottles for us too). But when a stranger intrudes, there is less space. Worst still, there may be undercover activities of a kind not compatible with feline rest and relaxation.....
What advice can I give? Euthanasia is out of the question, alas. It would be just too difficult. Rehoming him would be the best thing to do but where would you find another human to adopt him? You could try to show your disgust by never approaching him, sitting with your back to him, and refusing all his attempts to be nice. But your human seems to have bonded with him so she might completely refuse to rehome him. 
So you are going to have to accept his presence. The sleeping bag idea is not going to work. But not all is lost. You can reduce the undercover activities by a) sleeping between the two humans: b) showing an intense and embarassing interest in their activities: c) purporting to believe that this is just a game and jumping wildly on the body parts below the covers. Aim for the groin whenever possible.
Yes, I know that this may result in your being evicted from the bedroom. In which case you yowl and scratch the door throughout the night.
Best of luck,
George.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Teeth .... I'm afraid of the dentist!


Dear George, 
Please do take a look at my photo (attached) and tell me what do you see?I bet ….you’ll say: “a lazy cat” as everybody else does, but let me tell you that what you see is a “worried cat”. Why I’m worried? I’m worried because my humans decided that I need a “teeth cleaning” and I heard them ….debating anesthesia.  
Well, I don’t like the idea at all; neither teeth cleaning nor anesthesia. What if I’ll never wake up from it? I never heard my grandparents or great-grandparents to have their teeth cleaned. I never heard of any cat brushing its teeth. Are my humans crazy? George, how can I get my teeth cleaned….in a simple and easy way?
SOS - in a haste
Vegas

Dear Vegas,
The easiest way to keep your teeth clean, is to get your human to buy special dental dry food and mix it with your ordinary kibble. Special dental food has larger than normal bits of kibble and crunching each bit of kibble up helps keep teeth clean. Chews and dental treats are delicious too. 
Other possibilities are Vet Aquadent Anti Plaque Solution which can be added to your water, or Logic oral hygeine gel put directly into your mouth. It tastes quite pleasant  Some humans use a toothbrush with special feline toothpaste to clean our teeth but I personally won't stand for this invasion of my mouth. A couple of sharp bites put a stop to Celia trying it on!
I rarely consult my human, as she has nothing much of interest to say. But lately she told me she had spent a total of about 10 hours in the dentist's chair (spread over 3 months) for some complicated dental work. She would have preferred anesthesia so that she didn't have to sit there waiting for the dentist to drill down. So if painkillers or anaesthetic is on offer, embrace them with all four paws!
Believe me, Vegas, drifting off into an anaesthetic sleep is better than being present. And when you wake up, all the nasty stuff will be over.
Yours earnestly
George
PS. If you do have to have anaesthetic, get your humans to ask the vet if anything else needs checking while you are under. It might be a good time to make sure you don't have any arthritis.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cats, castles, and microchipping - is it safe for me?

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Dear George,
I’m Tomi von Ineu and a wanderer at heart! Like in any aristocratic family, when the parents don’t live together, the father’s family has rights to a kitten. And, since I was the only one willing to leave home ….there I went full speed towards new adventures, my new castle and my new domain Ineu. But, it seems that I misbehaved from the very beginning as I escaped through (or under) the gates of the castle. I heard my little human kitten, sorry, my little princess crying but I didn’t bother thinking that I’ll make up to her later. I got lost. Fortunately, some good human kittens found me and took me back to my castle. As a corrective action …I’m now locked in the tower! Plus, I heard them saying that I’ll be microchipped. God, hope they won’t electrocute me! I send a letter to the Elders in the village to ask what a microchip is. They said my humans will put a GPS in my head so they can track all my moves. George, is that true? Can they put some computer in my head and then watch me on their security cameras/monitors?
Yours
Tomi von Ineu

Dear Tomi
I am so impressed by your status.  Your own castle. And locked in a tower, just like Rappunzel in the fairy tale. She escaped and so will you, once you have that microchip. I promise you, microchips are safe. I have one. It's to help if we get lost. Ordinary microchips just stay in the body, and if someone finds us when we are lost, they can get a vet or a rescue charity to scan us, read the microchip, and find our owner.
There are GPS devices for cats but these have to be mounted on a collar. Here in the UK most catflap cats don't wear a collar, because of worries about safety (for a discussion of this, go here) GPS collars may present difficulties for some of us smaller cats, as they add a bit of weight - though there are very light ones used for tracking small rodents. GPS microchips are on the way (a patent has been filed) but I am not sure how far they are widely available. These would be a small implant not requiring a collar.
Most of us cats get a microchip when we are neutered and spayed, so it is no big deal. Don't worry Tomi, a microchip is a very good thing to have.
Yours reassuringly
George

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The big career decision - free as a feral or adopting a human.

Dear George,
I am facing a big decision. Shall I adopt a human or just live a human-free life? I was born in a factory with three brothers and sisters. Our mother vanished and we were taken into care by Sunshine Cat Rescue. The other three were neutered and spayed and will probably go on to lead a life free of humans. I was too ill.
You know what happened next, George, as I am living in a room in the house belonging to Tilly and Toby. Celia is trying to purrsuade me that my future is to adopt a human. She has been feeding me by hand, slowly accustoming me to her touch and, really, I quite like her. If I could adopt her, I probably would. 
You can see my experience on YouTube here. There are videos showing my progress in the new life. At first I couldn't stop hissing and hiding from her: now I have got used to her.
But as you know, Toby is bored with me and Tilly is sheer plumb disgusted. So if I choose a career as a pet, I will have to adopt a new human. I have been spayed, so if I live as a feral cat I shall not be worn out with kitten bearing. It's difficult to decide. What are the pros and cons, George.
Yours undecided,
Abby the Tabby.

Dear Abby,
It's a no brainer.  You adopt a human and you get free catfood for life, excellent medical care, and a devoted servant. There is central heating all the time, a very large bed (which admittedly you will have to share with your human), and if you are lucky a cat flap. So you won't have to give up hunting and you will have many happy hours training your human.
Of course, there is a downside. You won't have a sex life, but that would be true for you even if you did decide on the free feral life. Life with a human can be boring, but that is only if you don't have the imagination to make them more active. Agility training for humans, purrsuading them to play games with you, is good for mental and physical health, both for you and for your pet.
So that is the way you should go. That was my career choice and I have never regretted it.
Yours solemnly
George.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I'm learning to trust humans - but worried about a feline bully


Dear George,
I’m a rescue and, of course I live in a multiple cat house. I’m the only girl and very shy.
I’ve always been very shy and not very trustful, especially of humans. One of my “brothers” is a bully and I don’t know how to deal with that. My humans are very supportive of me but they work late hours. Lately I started going to them for an occasional rubbing and petting and they seemed to be very happy. Yesterday, after quite few hours of playing time with them I heard them saying “she’s coming out of her shell”. I got nervous as I don’t know what that means? Am I going to lose my coat? What shell are they talking about?
Nervously
Princess Penelope

Dear Princess Penelope,
Feline bullies are difficult to deal with. Do you have your own safe sleeping area, where he cannot intrude upon you? Doe he block your way to the litter tray? Or have your humans got several trays so that you can always get to one without anxiety? The same with food. You should not have to eat in close proximity to him. There should be several food and water locations. 
I am so glad that you are beginning to trust your humans. I hope that you are able to spend some time with them, without the bully being there to intimidate you by staring or blocking. You should train them to feed you cat treats when you go towards them, so that you are getting rewarded for overcoming your fear. Patient humans will be rewarded by your love.
Yours sympathetically
George
PS.  Celia has taken to taming a feral kitten instead of concentrating her time on serving me. I am fed up. You can see it here.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Keeping time - feline time, not human time.

Dear George,
We are the ultimate Time Keepers as you can see in the photo attached.
Marty is the keeper of the “Sleeping Time” and I, Vegas, am the keeper of the “Feeding Time”. However, our humans seem to function in a different time zone. They try to introduce to us a “working time” (whatever is that), a “work-out time” (such a joke – we look at them in amazement when they act like hamsters running on a wheel they call treadmill) and something they call “socializing time” (when they eat and drink and make loud noises). Why? Why do they try to make life complicated? Why can’t they function on our time? George, how do we train them?
From Sleeping and Eating zone time
Marty and Vegas

Dear Marty and Vegas,
Many cats manage to re-educate their humans into feline time but it does take a great deal of time, effort and purrsistence. Easiest place to start is the awful socialising time.
 If a supper party has gone on too long, I walk into the room and start miaowing.  If they are round the table I jump on to the table and try to eat any food that may be there. Or turn and put my bottom in the nearest human face - this rarely fails to create a sensation. It always embarasses Celia, who has to get up from her chair and remove me.

If they are lingering in the living room, drinking too much of that liquid catnip which they use, I can't use the same tactics. Instead, I look round the human that seems uneasy with my presence, who may not like cats, and I leap on to her lap, rubbing against her and purring loudly. Alternatively look for the human who is slightly allergic to cat fur - signs are a very red face and lots of sneezing or wheezing. Do the same to them.
You can also decide to rub on the glasses, thus upsetting them and pouring liquid everywhere. If this is the red catnip liquor, it will make a big stain on the furniture and carpet. Celia then has to rush off and start trying to clean it up. Result - supper party interrupted. Guests think of leaving.
Have a go.
Love George.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Will a feline amputee be happy again?


Dear George,

I’m writing on behalf of your blog follower and our friend, Freddy who needs some tips.

Freddy lost one of his front legs to an aggressive bone cancer. His leg was amputated (from his shoulder) last week in an attempt to save his life as the cancer didn’t spread.

He’s doing fine now, is under medication and pain killers – he even jumped on the sofa. However, his mommy is very worried about Freddy. She can use any tip and advice available. Please help her to cope with the situation at this difficult time in their life.

Thanks & love

Fluffy

Dear Fluffy,
Of course Freddy's human is worried. She has only two legs and if one of hers was cut off, she couldn't get around at all. But we cats are superior legwise! We have four, double the human number, so if we lose one, we can manage perfectly well because we have still have three.
Yes, it takes a little time to get our balance. But we are superior to humans in that too. We have a tail.  We can balance our bodies by moving that wonderful extra wavy limb. There's some very helpful information for humans about living with a feline amputee here
Last week, Paco was reporting his disappointment with humans. Well, here is an example of a good human. She really has done her best for Freddy. I just wish that all humans were as loving as she is. 
Tell Freddy from me get going on his three legs. Purr a lot to calm down your human.
We Cats Can Do It. 
Cheers,
George.
PS. For people with disabled cats, there might be some useful information on Celia's website about disabled animals.

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