Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The human mouse

They've got no idea, humans! Celia's "mouse" (so called) is oval, white with a transparent coat, marked with the sign of an bitten apple. It smells of nothing except plastic and only moves when she puts her hand on it. Anything less like a mouse would be difficult to find. The only thing it has in common with a real mouse is the white tail that comes out of its end and fixes into the keyboard. Once again this is hard and cold where a proper mouse tail would be warm and soft and waving freely. The only thing that can account for this massive misnomer is wishful human thinking, the desire to be more like a superior species, us cats. The poor dears aspire to be feline. It's really rather charming. And I suppose one way is to give human things feline names. I've written before (9.12.06) about musmalfunction, the way humans can't do real mice. They can't smell them. They can't see or hear of them most of the time. If they do, they can't pounce properly. And, as I've remarked, they can't grab them with their mouths. Nor do they eat them. Not a nibble. Even when a mouse is put on their keyboard.
Instead they play for hours with this plastic "mouse". Pathetic but sweet.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The humans next door

My friends from next door arrived for the weekend. Paul and Steffi have a proper attitude to cats and they also have a cat flap left over from when Henry lived there (more on that another day). William and I naturally pop in to see that all is well when they are absent. And we pop in for a snack when they are present. They have suitable beds and armchairs for a nap. Last week a builder was in doing something to the loft. I kept an eye on him. He also had a suitable attitude to cats. He fed me some dried food from the tin that is kept for me and William. Where does this fit in with the human selfishness I was writing about yesterday? It is simply this. Our primary servants or caretakers often want us just to eat at home with them. They want us all to themselves. Yet it's natural for us to pop in elsewhere. There are inviting cat flaps all down the street and even where there is no entry, humans can usually be persuaded to let us in if we sit at the back door looking hungry. Or on a windowsill. A sensible cat can fix three or four alternative caretakers to feed him. It's particular useful if your humans are out at work during the day. Somewhere in the street is a lonely human, with the central heating on, who would love a visit. Like Paul and Steffi. It's important for their welfare to do this kind of social work for lonely humans. I thnk Paul and Steffi are all the better for it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Human selfishness

Homo sapiens is a selfish beast. Under the guise of caring for others, it exploits, plunders, mistreats and even kills. Even when it pretends to care, it doesn't. Of course, our species, catus catus, is linked to humans. Some cats see it as a symbiotic relationship - both species benefits. We have access to the mice in their granaries and houses. They have cats as a pesticide to keep down the mice and rats. But there are signs that this relationship is becoming more intense. Some cats are kept in a state of dulosis, enslaved by their humans, their freedom completely gone. These are the indoor cats, kept in small flats, usually in an impoverished environment. There's nothing to do. Nothing to hunt. Admittedly, meals are provided. There is also the companionship (if you can call it that) of a human being who returns at night for about ten hours before leaving again. Oddly enough even in this situation some cats are inspired to turn round the relationship. They obedience train their human who comes home earlier giving up chances to socialise in order to be with the cat. Thye often rule their human's relationship - seeing off competition from boyfriends. Does this mean the human is enslaved by the cat? That the dulosis is, so to speak, two way? A feline anthropologist should do some research on this. Is this kind of relationship healthy for the cat? Well for a young vigorous cat like me, it would be incredibly frustrating. My hunting instincts would be almost unexpressed. For an older cat, or a disabled cat, this may (with prper environmental enrichment) a suitable environment. Is the relationship healthy for the human? For a young vigorous human probably not. The love instincts are being expressed across the species at the expense of human-human relationships. For an older or disabled human this may be a suitable relationship.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Teaching a human to eat mice

I have a sense of responsibility towards my humans. I am trying to train them out of human dsfunction into feline competance, so I brought in a mouse for them. It was pretty good hearted of me, as it wasn't one of the small long nosed voles that I usually spare for them. Frankly these don't taste good to cat so I tend to give them to my humans, who are much less fussy about what they put in their mouths. It's never worked. Even humans dislike voles. I stay optimistic though.
Today it was a real mouse - large and deliciously fat. My mouth was watering, even as I clambered in through the cat flap and set off to find Celia at her wordprocessor. There was a moment of temptation on the stairs. Would I succumb to a little nibble? Sternly I told myself that I must stay with the original generous impulse. I sprang on to her desk and placed the mouse neatly between her and the keyboard, not far from the hard device that humans call a mouse.
At first her reaction seemed appropriate. She too sprang up from her chair with what seemed like a delighted shriek. Then, as a series of completely inappropriate vocalisations followed, I realised that an emotional sympton of musmalfunction ( a disordered reation to mice) had taken over. She threw herself out of the office then came back with yards of lavatory paper - just too late. Realising what had happened, I had smartly picked up the mouse and was legging it down the stairs to the cat flap and out on the lawn for my delayed meal.
My generosity ignored and insulted. Not a word of thanks.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wimpy William

My companion cat is William the Wimp. Humans seem to think he is more beautiful than me. He's as hairy as a Sxities hippy and tabby with it. That white and mottled look goes down well with the human race. Research has proved that humans are colour prejudiced when it comes to cats. Georgeous slinky blacks like me are often left unchosen in the rescue pens while gingers, tabbies, and whites are snapped up quickly. Humans can't understand that what matters is grace, elegance, sleekness, and temperament rather than mere colour. Celia, my carer, claims she chose me because she knew black was unpopular. I don't want to be pitied and I am too polite to tell her that the boot is on the other paw. I pity her. She looks awful. She's got a horried pinky sort of face not nearly as beautiful as my jet black one. No whiskers at all just a few over the eyes. Nothing as gorgeous as mine. Same with her paws - sort of pinky and soft. Mine are black leather. Very dashing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My other pet

My other pet is the larger older human, Ronnie. Before I arrived, he also fell short of the proper behaviour of a companion animal. He had a territory problem. With the arrogance typical of homo sapiens, so called, he took the whole world as his territory. Always running off to some far flung place. A sort of war junkie or self styled foreign correspondent. While more sensible humans stayed at home, he was out in the Middle East, North Africa, etc looking for trouble. He would go missing for weeks at at a time then turn up at home through the big cat flap known as the front door looking for dinner and love. Without so much as an apology. Like cats, humans fight over territory and compete for goodies like food and love. But, unlike cats, their fights are massed ones. The whole pack/nation joins in or they make special packs, with terror names, and work together. This is the instinct for pack life gone very wrong indeed. Us cats know better. We don't do packs. We fight our battles as single heroes. To the feline mind, human behaviour is dysfunctional anyway.
Ronnie is now quite a good pet as he has settled down. Nothing to do with neutering. He was never fixed, as pets really should be in an ideal world. It's just age brought him to his senses. No more notes left on the kitchen table saying "Off to Algeria" or Iraq, or Israel, or Lebanon, or some place with fighting. He's settled down - though there were other worse moments in the cat-human relationship which I will save for another post.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My name is George

Humans! Don't you find them a pain at times. My whole kittenhood was shaped by the moment when some rescue humans grabbed my mother, fed her, and stuck her in a Cats Protection pen. From then on I became the kind of cat that lives with this odd species. Naked as the day they were born, they never grow real fur. They're huge, ungainly, and in every way ridiculous. But they make great pets. Literally.
So this is my take on life with a domesticated human. Mine is Celia. She'd have made a great pet in her early life if only some cat had her neutered. But they didn't. So she really wasn't suitable as a pet then - always out late at night, bringing back human toms, making loud music (they can't caterwaul properly), and with only one thing on her mind. A quick trip to the human vet and she'd have been a much calmer better human.
I got her when she had settled down. She's now the right kind of pet for any cat. Anxious and willing to go hunting for the right kind of cat food. Ready to warm my bed in the main bedroom (only she takes up a lot of room at night). Sometimes if I need the extra room she'll even get up in the early morning and go to the spare bedroom.

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, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online