Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why do humans disapprove of washing?

Dear George,
Why are humans so odd when we wash. I wash after I have eaten. I wash after a human has stroked me, particularly if I didn't really want to be stroked. I wash when I feel I have nothing better to do. And I wash when I feel embarassed or upset. I was doing this the other day when my humans had guests. Perhaps I was a bit noisy. And perhaps I did expose my tummy. But so what? As you can see I have a particularly beautiful white tummy and I can't see anything wrong with it. Or the bits lower down, come to that. Humans are so prudish.

Dear Jaffa,
First of all, humans don't wash enough anyway. They only wash two or three times a day and instead of using their clean tongue they throw themselves into a huge bowl and wallow in their own dirt. Or they pour water on themselves while standing in a kind of cabinet. All very odd and often very unhygienic. Frankly, we cats are cleaner than they are.
Is it envy that makes them embarrassed when we wash in front of guests? Or a feeling of inferiority? After all, if they wanted to clean up their tummies with their tongue, most of them are too fat and unflexible to be able to do it, even if they did have a longer better tongue. Maybe that makes them feel uneasy. But you are right. They are embarrassed in front of other people.
Rather than let this get on your nerves, Jaffa, why not enjoy teasing them with it. See if you can jump on the dinner table and wash your backside in front of their very noses?If that isn't possible, choose a chair nearby and do it. Make a real performance of it - licking, pulling the hair slightly, breathing heavily and generally making slurpy noises. 
Use the litter tray with a lot of heavy scratching which can be heard even if the tray is out of sight. Then walk back into the room for a thorough wash "down there". This is best done with guests because your own humans are used to this and, if they were on their own, would think nothing of it. But it's fun to see if you can embarrass the guests - their eyes flick on to you and then flick away and a sort of prim expression comes on their face. Then if they are embarrassed, your own humans will often get embarrassed too.
What else to do with washing? Well, it's fun to do it on the bed in the early hours of the morning so that you make the bed shake. Or just near your human's face on the pillow. I'm sure the cats out there will have their own ideas about how to use washing as a way to tease their humans.


  1. Oh George, my human is laughing her head off about your answer. I must say I do bath a lot, but when we have guests, they are usually eating and I'm more interested in getting a treat from the table. Then my human removes me to the laundry room, which is my regular place to ear--on top of the dryer, it up, it warm sometimes and I like it there. I do manage to bath on the bed when they are trying to sleep, which annoys them to no end.

  2. I myself find that sitting on top of my mommy's head in the early hours of the morning for my grooming session works wonderfully well.

  3. George, we're gonna take your advice and make our washing a major production!

    Wally, Ernie & Zoey

  4. That is so funny! You really understand us kitties and our effect on the beans.

  5. Huh, our humans must be odd. We can sit right in front of guests and wash very private areas and the most reaction we get is mom saying something about missing an area. The guests never seem to get embarassed either...these people are just weerd.

  6. I guess I am lucky George, my humans don't mind us performing our essential ablutions anywhere or any time. I figure they are fascinated by the alien concept of hygiene.

  7. George, I often "wash" my human's face in the morning in order to wake him, heh heh. Licking his ears is effective, too.


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