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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Cats, squares and human illusiona


 

Some humans have come up with a new theory about cats and boxes. I don't know why they need to publish these idiocies. We cats know why we like boxes - they are warm, they hide us from nosy humans, and we like a tight fit when we sleep.

We also like sitting on squares that are marked out on the floor. Or as these pompous humans put it: "The type of visual illusion considered here is subjective illusory contours, in which one mentally perceives fictitious contours." 

They set up a website asking humans to lay out a two squares on the floor versus one non-square. We sat more often in the squares, even a rather strange square called a Kanitza. These findings, they claimed, revealed "susceptibility to illusory contours" and supported "our hypothesis that cats treat an illusory square as they do a real square."

I considered writing a letter to The Times, who reported this experiment, pointing out that humans are susceptible to the illusion that cats are not capable of taking the mickey. The idea that we were just leading them on in a ridiculous joke seems to have proved their "susceptibility to illusory cat behaviour."

In the end i couldn't be bothered to interrupt my box sleep by putting paw to paper. Maybe it is better to let humans keep their illusions. It makes them easier to manipulate.


Saturday, May 08, 2021

My world is not your world.


My world is not your world, neither is your world my world. This creates many problems for both humans and cats.

In my world, when we are anxious about feline intruders, we mark our territory with urine. It's somewhere between a post-it reminder note to ourselves about the problem and a note to other cats telling them we were here. 

In your human world you'd probably install a burglar alarm. Or a notice saying "Private. Trespassers keep out."

My world is full is strange noises - the high squeaks of the washing machine when it is working, the buzz of electrical appliances heating up, the tiny tiny clicks of a boiler. All noises you can't hear. You don't even know they exist!

So you think it is all right to put my litter tray in the utility room, next to the washing machine. It isn't. Those squeaks are very very putting-off. A quiet elimination is impossible.

Humans, pay attention to my world. Try to think yourself into it and remember everything is different for me.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

At last .... a cat in the White House


At last.... the White House is becoming truly bi partisan. A cat is on its way. Probably a rescue cat. So that the home of the US President will have both dogs and cats.

One of the disappointments of the Obama presidence was the lack of feline presence. And as for President Trump... he didn't do pets of any kind. As the New Yorker says "there was only room for one authoritarian.

Who will be the First Cat or F.C.OTUS (First Cat of the United States)? Will he or she be able to exert authority over the White House dogs Champ and Major? (Major's record is poor). Another tuxedo cat like Socks? Or black? We don't know yet.

Join me in celebrating the fact that cats will now achieve their rightful position in society.   

Here is a list of cats that have achieved the White House with their presidential pets. 

Tabby and Dixie  owning  Abraham Lincoln –  Lincoln once remarked that Dixie "is smarter than my whole cabinet.

Siam and Miss Pussy, Siamese cat owning Rutherford B. Hayes

Valeriano Weyler and Enrique DeLome, Angoras, owning William McKinley.

Tom Quartz and Slippers owning  Theodore Roosevelt

Puffins. Woodrow Wilson.

Blacky and Tiger owning Calvin Coolidge. (He of the rude remark about roosters and hens. Look it up!)

Tom Kitten owning John F. Kennedy

Shan owning Gerald Ford.

Misty Malarky Ying Yang, Siamese owning Jimmy Carter.

Cleo and Sara owning Ronald Reagan.

Socks owning Bill Clinton.

India Willie owning George W. Bush.

 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Why we have tails.....


 Why do we have tails? Because they are beautiful, of course. Look at these two splendid top tails with their long thick covering of fur.

As well as being elegant, they are very useful indeed for balancing and climbing. When we are up a tree we can use our tail as a counterbalance. If we are walking along a narrow wall, for instance, if we lose our balance and our body lurches to the right, our tail will immediately swing to the left to re-balance us.

Cats that have lost their tail in an accident or are born without one like Manx cats, find balancing much harder. For an animal that spends time in trees, it's obvious that the tail is an important help to climbing.

We also use our tail to express our feelings - though that is a different blog. 


So what is the anatomy of our tail - well there are somewhere between 19 to 23 vertebrae with six pairs of muscles which can pull the tail from side to side, up and down, and twist it at any point. Compare the dog's tail wagging sideways and moving up and down, but the tail itself just moves from the base. It cannot twist itself half way.

As for humans... no tail at all and therefore about eighteen fewer vertebrae. No wonder they have poor balance, inability to express themselves except by vocalisation.

And a complete lack of elegance.






Saturday, April 17, 2021

Our secret language of scent

Lucy in a cat pen is marking it, so as to make it smell right.
Lucy marking her cat pen to make it smell like home.
We can leave messages for other cats, and reminders for ourselves, with a secret language - a specialised scent called a pheromone. This is a chemical emitted from glands in own bodies among other places from our cheek and chin.

Ever thought why we cats rub our chin and cheek against something? We are marking it with this pheromone and with our own ordinary body scent (a kind of signature mix). 

If we have rubbed against our human, then that scent of human will also be there. We are making our household territory friendly by making it smell of the family - us, our humans and perhaps another resident cat (if we like him and have rubbed against him too.)

It is like a post-it note to ourselves saying "We live here: this is our home and family." Humans cannot smell this at all: nor can they usually see it.

Occasionally, if we have rubbed in the same place for a long time, our human may notice a sort of dark mark. If they are houseproud, they clean it off. This is very upsetting.

So we have to re-mark it all over again. And again.



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