Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cat kills viper - beat that, all you cats out there!

Dear George
My name is Clari and I am a serial viper killer. A great ginger hunter. Of course I catch lots of mice. They just need total patience sitting guarding a mousehole in the fields around. And as for rabbits, there are very very few around here in this part of the Catalan border, but I did once catch a hare that was the same size as me. I brought it into the house via a barred window and two doors which I know how to open. It was a huge hare. Lizards are indeed a mere nothing to me despite their speed. My speed of reaction is phenomenal, quicker than the eye can see at times. It needs to be because I also go for the dangerous ones. Snakes. It's a real rush. The excitement, the adrenaline - there's nothing like it. It is the ultimate hunting moment. A cat has to be quick as lightening not to get bitten. And if you get it wrong, it's death by adder.
Vive la chasse! And then some.

Dear Clari,
You win the all-time award for feline hunting trophies - the George Cross. Due to human laziness on my staff, the actual medal has not yet been cast. I have talked to Celia about this and I will give her another telling off, and get her to jump to it. In the meantime I will put you on the George roll of honour and you will be in my next book. Hunting exploits with this degree of dashing fearlessness should be recognised and immortalised. A dog couldn't do this. It would just end up with a poisonously swollen nose. Only we cats have the swift responses to take on snakes.
I've talked to your human who took the picture. She was scared stiff of getting bitten or (worse still from our point of view) putting you in danger of death by interfering with your strike. She reports that you were cool, perfectly cool. Just as if it was nothing special to get in there with a death dealing reptile. (In the Far East bigger boas actually eat cats whole but vipers just strike in self defence and kill by poison). Your housekeeper and your human butler, Giles, say that they often find mangled bodies of vipers on the patio.
I am sure that cats everywhere will join me in hearty congratulations on a simply terrific bit of feline hunting. Can any feline beat this?
PS. The snake is probably a smooth snake, Coronells austriaca or gironida or maybe a juvenile Western whip snake (Coluber). I'm sure you have had vipers too, Clari. But I thought a little zoological ID would be in order.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why does my human want to pick me up all the time?

Dear George
Why do humans think we are fluffy toys? Mine keeps trying to pick me up. I don't like it. I have made my wishes perfectly plain. I am not a soft toy to be mauled about and harassed when she chooses. I find it demeaning when she swoops down from a superior (the only superior thing about her) height, grabs me round the stomach and pulls me upward on to her shoulder making revolting cooing noises. And I don't care to sit on her lap either.

Dear Tigger,
I feel your pain. Indeed I feel your indignation. Human non-sexual harassment is a serious issue among us cats. It is an embarassing one too. Some felines take the view that is it enjoyable and let their humans do it at will. Some even solicit it. All this makes it a tricky question to rule on. In my view, those cats that ask for it (so to speak) are letting the side down badly. So they enjoy it? Well that's no reason to allow a human to get above its status in this way.
The way I see it is that you have the right to your own boundaries. When humans step over these, it is harassment pure and simple. There is no excuse, no explanation, no possible reason why they should be allowed to do this. This is a species that will go too far only too easily. This is a claw and order issue. Use the claw to restore order, Tigger. For a first time human offender, a serious wriggle may be enough deterrent. But for a serial harasser, strong measures are needed. Draw blood. It's the only thing they understand.
A word to those cats, the minority, who enjoy being cuddled. Please don't give your human the idea that the human can choose to do this any time they like. This will seriously compromise the proper relationship between cat (top of the dominance order) and human (bottom of the dominance order). If you must enjoy some caresses, solicit your human in your own time, not theirs. A good way to keep them in hand, so to speak, is to ask for a cuddle while they are doing something else like reading or cooking or using the computer. Make them jump to it then.
Remember - immediate and willing human obedience is always the aim of any human-cat interaction.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunbeams, heat and human house reorganisation

Dear George,
Do you know anything about these new things called sunbeams? They come through the window, settle on the floor and you can doze on them. The trouble is they move when you are not looking and I can't think of a way to keep them still. I expect you could pounce on them to pin them down but bunny binkying doesn't work. What can I do? I have written to Smudge for ideas but she hasn't replied yet.
Harvey the House Rabbit
PS. This is a photo of me watching TV

Dear Harvey,
I do hope you are not relying on sunbeams to keep warm, Harvey. If so, you need to stir up your humans to put on the central heating. It may be April but today, as I write, there is snow outside. One of the basic needs of us cats is proper warmth - and I should think that applies to house rabbits too. To remind your feeble minded humans of this, start shivering ostentatiously. Climb on to their laps and try to burrow into their clothes. Your excellent digging technique will be useful here. During the night insist on sitting so close to their face that they cannot breath. (I assume you are sleeping on the bed). Gaze into the empty fireplace or at a cold radiator then gaze pathetically back to them. This is the use of eye-gaze to communicate your needs. The better trained humans will respond correctly.
As for the sunbeams... No, you can't keep them still. They are even more flibbertygibbet than humans. In the long term you may need a conservatory rather than relying on these uncertain sources of heat and light. Start working on your humans to get the house organised rather better for your, rather than their needs. I suggest you keep an eye out for any conservatory advertisements in the magazines. When you find on, position yourself and gaze at it. Soon you will hear a shriek of "Look Harvey's actually reading a magazine!" or 'He's looking at the pictures!" If you can do this three or four times, always gazing at the right subject, you should be on the way to getting what you want into their feeble minded heads.
PS My favourite TV programme is the Life of Birds

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