Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I am updating this more or less daily. So far I have walked hedges for a mile and a half radius of my house (6 hours in all), talked to gamekeeper who says he hasn't shot George, talked to farmer, put up notices in three nearby villages. Leafleted the nearest houses - about 30 to 40 leaflets, rung all the nearby vets, rung the local animal shelters. Luckily he is microchipped. I have walked both sides of the hedge at my nearest road and driven all the roads in a radius of one and a half miles. I did this at 6.3oam, early enough to see a corpse if there had been one. There was no sign on the road or in the hedges (as faras I could see) of his body. I borrowed somebody's dog to sniff near undergrowth in case he was hidden in there.
We don't have black cat sacrifice at Halloween luckily because black cats are thought to be lucky, so this is not my fear. I now believe that he was either in an accident and finished off by a fox, or caught in a snare (gamekeeper says these are not put down this time of year but he would have to say that), or has just wandered off.
I have offered a £50 reward for his body and £100 for him alive.
I shall keep this blog going for a month in hope then make a decision. I am going to do it more or less day by day.

If anybody prays, please pray for George - either a quick death or happy life elsewhere.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Black Cat horror.

Just heard that black cats are tortured and sacrificed in Halloween ceremonies in the USA. Is this an urban legend? Can it be true? Lots of animal shelters refuse to hand out black cats for adoption before Halloween for fear they will be cruelly tortured. I can't believe this, but Celia came across it while researching for an essay on euthanasia.
I do so very much hope this isn't true. Perhaps Oscar Snuggles knows about it. He seems a wise US cat. I know that black cats are thought unlucky in the US though here in the UK they are lucky. But animal shelters both sides of the pond find it easier to get homes for cats of another colour. (Stop being smug, William. Tabbies are not that beautiful.).
Will add to the post when Celia gets deeper into the research.

Friday, October 19, 2007

More on worms and snakes and pets

I have been thinking further thoughts on worms. I reckognise that some people think worms are only for kittens. I know that Orlando the Cat's black son, Tinkle, used to have a pet worm. He called it Wormintrude and it lived in a matchbox. He said he would have it stuffed when it died. But Tinkle was only a kitten after all and he was probably just going through a worm phase. I went through a worm phase as a kitten too.
But even as an adult, I find them mildly interesting, as you can see from this not-very-good picture. Celia was digging some good cow manure (interesting smells) into the veg garden and several worms protruded. I poked them, then took one and put it in the grass. I poked it some more. It wriggled deep into the grass. I poked again and it wriggled in deeper. Not very dramatic. No squeaking. It didn't smell good to eat like a mouse does.
I don't think a worm would make a very satisfactory pet - and indeed Orlando the Marmalade cat thought the worm would quickly bore Tinkle. (The story, Orlando Keeps a Dog, doesn't say what happened to the worm in its matchbox. Perhaps it died of neglect.) I think I might get bored too easily too. Then Celia would have to look after it and for some reason she doesn't like worms.
She is much more interested in snakes. There are some grass snakes in the garden and occasionally I see one swimming in the pond, but I have never caught one. Some cats do. There's a cat I know in the South West of France regularly catches and brings home adders. Her human pets find the dead snakes lying on the patio and they have promised to send me a photo next time there is a suitable corpse. Naturally they are worried that one day she may get it wrong and die from an adder bite, but so far this hasn't happened.
Maybe I should have a snake as a pet.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I think I'd like a pet - a rabbit, perhaps

I have decided that I need a pet, a companion animal to enrich my life. I know I have two human pets. But they are so large and blundering. In a way humans don't make very good pets for us cats. They are dominating AND stupid. I think it would be nicer to have something smaller and cleverer. I thought about a worm. At one point, when I was only a kitten, I was very interested in worms. They wriggle very nicely and I found that intriguing. I would sit and look at them for hours and once or twice I brought one back home for Celia. She didn't appreciate it much but what human does gratitude when we bring things to them?
I'd like something more ambitious. Celia, whose daily misconduct includes going out instead of staying at home ready to service my needs when I pop in, came home smelling of rabbit yesterday. She had been sitting in the pen with Matilda, a large female rescue rabbit at the Blue Cross in Burford. The aim is to make Matilda more friendly and less feisty. She will get up on Celia's lap but if Celia tries to cuddle her, she is off doing a kind of rebel's lap round the enclosure. She also grunts with dislike if cornered. All in all, not a stupid bunny.
Matilda, I thought to myself, would make a nice companion animal for me. She smells delicious. She is warm and furry and I could snuggle up to her on the bed at night. She would take up less room than Celia on the bed. She is also brighter than Celia. Rabbits (unlike humans) understand scent marking. even if they do smell different. I am told some house rabbits live happily with cats and even intimidate them.
I am badly in need of some rabbit exercise. I haven't caught one for ages and ages. Matilda might fill the gap in my life and I wouldn't just leave her to Celia to look after. I would take a close interest in her every move.
If I got bored with her, I could just eat her.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I am showing my disapproval

She came back late last night. I could feel the adrenaline on her. If she had fur (poor human, she hasn't except in the wrong places) it would have been crackling with electricity. She was high as a kite with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Being a 63-year old antique human among the teenagers in an Agricultural college had really stressed her up.
I couldn't help showing my pleasure at her return. Of course, as any good human trainer knows, all obedience training must always be consistent. And I am afraid I wasn't. To err is human, to purr divine. I am afraid that by purring I was erring and letting her realise I was pleased to see her. I should have been punishing her for her absence.
Today I am making up for that lapse. I went out in the morning without noticing her. I hunted all through the morning and this afternoon, instead of coming in and perhaps sharing my bed with her for an afternoon nap, I am continuing to hunt. Active ignoring is the key to all human training. Reward good behaviour (such as feeding, petting etc) with purrs and ignore bad behaviour. Claw and teeth punishment should be reserved for truly bad behaviour only.
As I walked insolently past the glass of the kitchen door I heard her say: "Where IS George? He usually comes in about now." Good. I hope she misses me for a few hours. That's nothing to the six full days of her absense from cat duties. Tonight I shall sleep in the wastepaper basket instead of on my bed. I did this one night that she was away - to the mystification of Ronnie, deputy carer. The point about the wastepaper basket is that she can't get into it with me. That'll teach her.
PS. Special note for Oscar Snuggles and any US cats. Cheek is like chutzpah. So "the cheek of it" means "what insolence!"

Saturday, October 06, 2007

She's leaving me.

She's leaving me. After all I have done for her - woken her up in the mornings nice and early, shared my bed with her, brought in mice for her to eat or chase (as she chooses only she doesn't). Now she is going off for a whole week deserting me, William and Ronnie. I am so upset I haven't bothered to blog a picture.
And - the cheek of it - she is deserting her post in order to study animal management. What sort of management is this! I extremely disappointed in her.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Is Celia having kittens? She smells of them. Bad, bad, bad.

Celia has been coming home smelling of kittens lately. I took careful sniff the other day and thought she had been handling about four of them. This is bad. Very bad. And her hands smelled not just of kittens but high quality kitten food. (I'd like some of it myself but I normally get adult food, which is not so rich.)
What on earth has she been up to? Fondling alien kittens is not what she is there for. Is she going to bring one home, I wonder. If so I definitely don't want it. I don't want any other cats of any kind at all ever. This is my territory and intruders are not welcome. William agrees with me - for once. He says it would be a second betrayal (what can he mean?) if she brings home a kitten. He hated it last time she did. Only then I realise that he is talking of my arrival in the household in the winter of 2006. Can't he see that this is completely different.
Further daily investigative smelling suggests that the number of kittens is falling, which is encouraging. Today she came home smelling of just one single kitten - Riley. I could tell (scent reveals so much) that he was small, ticked tabby, and quite frightened. Apparently she has been trying to help socialise four feral kittens by sitting in their pen and hand feeding them or playing with them with lengths of string. Riley (he's in the picture) is actually the nicest, but because he isn't as chubby and appealing to look at as the other three he has still not found a home.
I heard her telling Ronnie that after about eight visits, Riley was able to eat from her hand while sitting in her lap. Today she came back and she had been able to pick him up. He had purred loudly and rolled over to have his tummy tickled. She says she almost cried - she was so moved. He'll probaby always be a nervous cat with strangers (unlike me) but he will be wonderful for the human he loves. She promised Ronnie, who is presenting a united front with me and William, that she is not going to bring him home. No more cats are wanted here. Me and William are not dogs. We are not social animals. We don't want a pack of kittens, nor even a single extra one.
Pity the kittens couldn't have been like me. I was socialised by Cats Protection then handled by 24 different people in my first month with Celia - the postman, the man who delivers parcels, the passing farm manager, visitors, Tracy, Paul, Steffi, and many others. As a result I like humans a lot. William who is nervous and standoffish, says that I am like the school tart - I am anybody's. He is jealous, of course.

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