Saturday, May 26, 2007

Did God who made the robin, make me?

Did God who made the robin (which I caught yesterday) make me? Robins die easy, but mice are much more fun because they die slowly. When they sit frozen with fear and completely immobile, I just stare at them. If their immobility goes on too long, I poke them to make them move.Then when they make a run for it, I leap on them all over again - eyeing, stalking and pouncing over and over again. I do this in play for half an hour or so until they die in earnest. Even when they are dead, I often play with them. I throw the corpse up in the air to get it moving. Did God make me in order that I should torture mice?
I can't help it. My instinct is to pounce on small furry objects which are moving or to leap up at feathered ones that are flying past. If God made me, he made me to be a smaller version of the fearful symmetry of the tiger, a small but deadly killing machine. I have to hunt. It is not just what I do.The sequence of hunting, - eye, stalk, pounce, grab and eat - is intelligently designed into my flesh and blood. This pattern is what I am. I know what is play for me is torture for the mouse. Am I therefore evil?
But I am not just a hunter. I think about spiritual topics. Is God a cat? Am I created in the image of God. Even if God isn't a cat, and is more like a human, what have humans to be proud of? They have slaughtered more of their own species than I have had mice or robins. They kill each other. I don't kill cats. The very idea is shocking. If humans are made in the image of God, then it must be a pretty beastly God (except beasts do not usually kill each other). A cat God might be preferable.
This all leads up to a bit of a boast. I am in a Times blog, written by Ruth Gledhill, the religious correpondent.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Intriguing... mmmm.... inside the lavatory

When I first came across the big white water bowl I was a kitten. Naturally I jumped on the edge to investigate, then fell in and had to be pulled out by Celia. After that she kept the lid down. Later, when I was a teenager I jumped in again just to see what happened and jumped out by myself. Something about the big white bowl always intrigues me.
Of course, now I know it is a litter tray rather than a drinking fountain. Humans only put their head in it after a very late night. Most of the time they are well trained to use it for both pee and poo. Strangely, the species uses water instead of sand, though I am told in desert areas they sensibly use sand instead of water. Better for the environment, of course. Humans could, if they chose, turn round, have a good look, sniff and cover it up. In Germany, apparently humans do some of this. They make a deposit on a sort of shelf, turn round, take a good look, and even sniff a bit before pulling the chain. In the UK they tend just to deposit and flush.
It's the flushing bit that intrigues me. You see the deposit disappearing down a hole, propelled by a whoosh of water. Not unlike a mouse disappearing down a hole, only mice don't need water. I can't resist watching it. I'd like to do a bit of research into the earlier part of this procedure but humans get embarassed if you try to see what is going on by putting your head down the loo between their legs. I suppose that's instinct. They choose seclusion (not unlike us) for evacuating their bowels. Probably goes back to the days when they were prey for large felines like lions. I mean when you are defecating you are unable to run away.
I am not a lion or even a black panther. But at heart I am a feline hunter. Maybe Celia and Ronnie have an ancestral fear when I lurk round their litter bowl as they are on it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

William reports: "I am feeling better."

I am feeling a bit better. George is still behaving like an adolescent lout, chasing me at all opportunities, lying in wait for me and trying to ambush me on the litter tray. Celia managed to stop him doing the latter this morning. She caught him in mid leap. She's taking a great interest in my deposits. I turn, look, sniff and cover it. She undoes the top, looks at it, sniffs, sizes it up, and takes it away instead of covering it up, as a good cat would. Then she crumbles the clump to see if there is blood in it. There isn't. She was frightfully pleased because I did just one big pee that night instead of lots of little ones.
I had a peaceful night. George is now locked up with his own litter tray, food and water in the spare bedroom. He seems OK about this but it doesn't stop him wanting to chase me. It just means I have the hours of darkness free from worrying. Mostly I wait till half way through the night and join Celia and Ronnie on the bed. Three in a bed, like three in a marriage, is one too many so sometimes Celia leaves to join George. It's not unlike an Edwardian house party at times in this house. Tobermory would have had some thoughts on this.
The living room smells sort of reassuring. There's a plug in (Feliway since you ask) which is beginning to smell nice. George was awful last night - wouldn't leave me alone. But nonetheless his behaviour is just a tiny bit less worrying for some reason. Oh yes and Celia has put my out door basket, where I used to sit to keep away from fierce elderly Mog (more of that another time) on a little raised dais. The idea is to stop George looming over me while I am in the basket. I have spent a lot of time this morning in the basket, feeling a little safer now it is higher up. I also ate some delicous expensive cat food made into a kind of soup - to increase my water intake, says Celia. She chased away George who wanted some. He doesn't need it, she said, but she let him lick the bowl clean. I am to have this day and night.
Perhaps my interest in my health is getting into a sort of hobby now that I am getting older. If you asked me how I am today, I might tell you in detail. I take a pink pill (to fight off urinary infection) morning and evenings. It doesn't taste too bad. This is medication for my waterworks trouble. The tests showed an infection - though it might have been bacteria from the litter tray rather than a secondary infection from cystitis. She is crumbling it with a Vetsyme tablet and I am eating it without needing it forced down my throat. We senior cats can't be too careful.
I'm still worried in general, but I am less worried. Lets hope it stays that way.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A cry for help from William - George is bullying me

Help. This is me, William the Tabby and White, George's house mate (not friend). This is a strong protest and a cry for help. George is bullying me. He waits around until I start moving and then pounces on me. He shoots across the garden at high speed knocking me over when I am having a quiet dig. Normally I lie down quickly with all four paws and claws at the ready to stop him, but lately I have been losing my nerve. I just can't bear it. I run. This is making him worse. And I have developed a worrying problem with my waterworks. I need to go more often and it hurts when I do so.
Celia, after years of study of cat behaviour, hasn't done too well at solving this problem. She has tried yelling at George which has no effect at all though it does warn me that he is coming. She has tried diverting him in full pounce but she's too slow. She did wonder if giving him attention was making him worse but she has heard my protests when she is not in sight and has decided this is George the bully, not George the attention seeker.
I could have told her that of course.
She took both of us to the vet, because at first she wasn't sure which of us was doing the little bits of urine in the litter tray. Both of us got a clean bill of health. Then she locked up George all night and as the little bits of pee were deposited, she concluded (rightly) that I was the sufferer. She gave me wetter food which made me a little better, but then it started again. So off to the vet again. I was so upset I started purring loudly in the waiting room - a cry for help or (as the behaviour people put it) a "care eliciting call." Of course I was known as Mr Purr to Tina who worked at the Elizabeth St Veterinary Hospital. This is the first time I have purred at Cogges Veterinary practice. (Normally I bite, particularly if anybody puts a thermometer near me. Last time the vet nurse had to do pin-down on me when they wanted to do the unspeakable and stick it up my bottom.)
This time the purr led to better treatment. No visible problems, said the vet. But he sent Celia home with some granules, and a pipette. She left me in the main room with the litter tray with the granules, came back last night, used the pipette to get the urine, and this morning took it in its bottle to the vet. Am I suffering from stones? Or is it the unbearable stress of living with George, who ought to have an ASBO.... watch this space.

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