Monday, November 20, 2006

Think of the starving strays this Christmas

This is Henry. Celia showed me his picture. I haven 't met him yet thogh I dare say he will stroll across the hill to visit one day. Henry is a bit of a roamer, a chap that gets about a bit. Eighteen months ago he was a cat in search of safety and food. He had been living about half a mile away in a small hamlet. He would break into human houses (why not?) and being a sensible cat nip upstairs to sleep on the beds. (What else were they for?) One householder rang Celia to say that she had just seen him strolling in the front door which was ajar and going straight upstairs as if he knew the way and had lived there all his life. Naturally Henry would eat any cat food he found left down. If the cats of the nouse hadn't finished it, his need was greater than theirs. Sharing resources etc.
His main source of food was the dried dog food put out for some rottweilers in the hamlet near us. He would - very swiftly - try to finish up any bits that were left, hoping the dogs wouldn't notice. If they did he had to beat a very quick retreat. They did not like cat burglars. One snap of their jaws, and his life would have been ended. Then one day he took a walk over the fields and arrived at Celia's house. His method of soliciting care from humans (exploiting their pity) was to roll on his back - the so called social roll. It worked well with human suckers. The picture shows him doing this endearing trick. Naturally, after that roll, Celia fed him and introduced him to a garden shed.
But Henry wasn't going to put up with a second class owner. In those days Celia spent some of the week in London and the shed wasn't up to his standards. She used to leave down plenty of food but she didn't offer him the human company he needed. And he hated being in a car so going to London with her and William and the late Fat Mog wasn't going to work out. Nor could he be let into the house because elderly Fat Mog, then in the last months of her life, was quite clear about that. So Henry hung about occasionally going back to rottweilerville. He was on the waiting list of Çats Protection for eventual homing. Celia's neighbours tried to give him a home but it involved living all weekdays in London and, for a cat that had been used to roaming, this didn't suit either. Resourceful as ever, Henry found his own home. He set off downhill to the next village and ended up in the care of Jon. Where he is now. Well fed. Happy. Loved.
Henry's story had a happy ending. He might have been killed by a rottweiler as he scavenged for food. Or shot by a gamekeeper. Or killed on the road. Or just starved, flea ridden, and dying of damp and cold.
So think of the strays this Christmas. Adopt one of us if you can - ring Cats Protection. Look at me and Henry. He's very endearing and I am... gorgeous. You won't regret giving one of us a home.

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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