Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saggy tummy syndrome - how can I stop my human dieting me.

Dear George,
You may not be able to see from the photo, but I am a large cat. A seriously large cat. I put it down to my inheritable British Blue genes. Large size runs in my family - or so I like to think. It's not really fat. Just toned gorgeous muscle round the neck with a bit of FSTS, better known as feline saggy tummy syndrome. Alas, there are signs that my human wants me to diet.He has bought a huge sack of low calorie cat food. What can I do to stop him?

Dear Herbie,
Feline Saggy tummy syndrome or FSTS is well known among cats of a certain age but from your photograph (which conceals the rest of your body) you certainly look like a well found cat of gravitas. There's a layer of muscle (I can be tactful) over the top of your neck which if repeated lower down must be fat (sorry to use the f. word) saggy tummy syndrome, FFSTS, the stage before obese saggy tummy syndrome known as OFSTS. Frankly, it would be a good idea if you got more exercise. There are ideas for indoor cats on my secretary's website, www.celiahaddon.com
That said, it is none of your owner's business to police your meals. What on earth gives the human species the right to interfere with the feline pursuit of love, life and happiness. Why are humans so fattist? Meals should be regular, of good quality and of sufficient quantity for you to enjoy. If you choose to be fat, why not? I suspect however, that your human is an enabler. While buying you diet food, he is probably feeding you on the sly. He may even be "feeding" his own codependance by over feeding you with unhealthy snacks. Maybe he too has human STS and he is working out his own psychological inadequacies on you. Humans can be much, much fatter than cats.
Rather than deprive you of the joy of food, he should be thinking of ingenious ways to get you interested in exercise to release some endorphins. Of course, the most obvious way would be to import living mice into his house, but that would be unduly cruel to the mice. He could however start feeding you in a more fun way. Hide the food throughout the household before he goes out. Get a food dispensing ball, and put it in there. Get various cardboard boxes, and hide the food in them so that you have to pull it out with a claw. Put food on the top of the cat gymnasium (that is, if it is steady enough to bear your weight.) More time spent playing with you, instead of slumping in front of the TV, would help too.
That way he would be adding fun to your life, giving you more exercise rather than simply depriving you of food. I blame him anyway for your weight. He is an enabler. Could you rehome yourself next door for a better kind of owner?
PS There's a very good comment about cat food below, which I will take up in a future blog.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How can I stop my human hauling me off to the vet?

Dear George,

Periodically, my human will ambush me without warning (usually when I am sound asleep enjoying dreams of chasing mousies and birdies) and stuff me unceremoniously into my PTU and cart me off to the dreaded v-e-t! There I am subjected to all sorts of atrocities -- loud, barking dogs in the waiting room, having to sit on a cold metal table in the exam room, having my teeth and ears checked, and the worse one of all...getting a shot in the butt!
What can I do to get my human to show a little common courtesy and ask me first whether I would like to be stuffed into my PTU and carted off to the v-e-t to incur all those atrocities?
And when she doesn't take NO for an answer and carts me off anyways, what, if any, recourse should I take against her?
Sincerely with a sore butt,

Dear Wally,
You have put your paw on a very sore issue indeed, one of the most outrageous examples of human stupidity even human cruelty. It is the sheer hypocrisy of it, that gets up my gleaming black nose. One moment the human is cooing all over us, then suddenly they are taking us off to what is a torture chamber. How can they do this?
So what can we do about it? The first thing is to brush up your verbal skills in human language. Like the rest of us, you probably stop listening to their endless vocalising. They never stop "talking" so most of us cats simply screen out the noise. However, this is a mistake when it comes to the v-e-t situation. You simply have to keep an ear out for that particular vocalisation.
It's not alway easy. The word comes in the middle of a torrent of other similar sounding vocalisations like "pet" "yet" "vat" "vit'amins and so on. However, if you apply your considerable cat skills to the task you will find that you can hear it. Once heard, the word is an advance warning.
Make yourself scarce immediately. If you are an outdoor cat, this is the moment to saunter through the cat flap and disappear for the nex 24 hours. If you are an indoor cat, it is a little more complex but there are places from which she will find it difficult to extract you - the furthest side of the bed, underneath the cooker, behind the fridge, high up on the top of the wardrobe, inside one of the drawers in a chest of drawers.
If these places don't work, think laterally. The point about the human species is that they are relatively unintelligent. I have found it useful at times simply to hide myself by sitting on a chair that has been drawn up to the table - ie: I am hidden by the table itself. This is a particularly good place if your human has a tablecloth over the table. I have seen my human running up and down stairs, peering under beds, opening cupboards sometimes in the same room, and all the time forgetting to find me there.
Perhaps other cats will contribute their suggestions for good hiding places. All of us need them in order to avoid the visit to the veterinary torture chamber.
PS Revenge on your human is easier. Withdraw all attention from her - no purring, no looking at her, no rubbing round her legs. Ignore her for at least 24 hours. Refuse to sleep on the bed (unless it is a particularly cold night). This "silent treatment" is hard for a social species like humans to bear. If there is another person in the household, be particularly affectionate to him.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mouse deposits - the way to stop financial meltdown?

Dear George,
High finance and the arrogance of merchant bankers, who call themselves the Masters of the Universe, usually don't interest me. We cats are Masters of the Universe. We all know that. We are the most successful species in the world, inhabiting not just every continent but also every small island. However - and it is a big however - I am beginning to worry about the cat food deposit in my human's kitchen. Is it safe? Or will it disappear in the financial meltdown.

Dear Henry,
Times are worrying. Very worrying. Here in the UK we cats have been directly affected. Cats Protection, the feline charity, has lost 11 million pounds that they deposited in a bank owned by the bankrupt Icelandic Bank. This will compromise their plans to set up more rescue centres for needy felines.
We all need to pull together. We cats can help our humans if we look for creative and useful solutions to the mess produced by this, the most incompetant of species. We can start by hunting our own food, to eke out those vital kitchen deposits. Every mouse, lizard, fly and rabbit caught and eaten by us will make the tinned or dry cat food go further.
Better still, deposit stuff into the food bank. Catch a mouse and store it for later. Currently I have deposited a live mouse under Celia's kitchen cooker. When she shines a torch there, she can see it moving about. The silly woman doesn't realise that this is food. By depositing it live I have ensured that it does not take up room in the fridge. It leaves no carbon footprint at all. This is green food storage.
I also put one in the utility room and, deciding on a 3 am snack last night, I re-caught it. It was fun. Actually I wasn't that hungry, so I just ate the head and deposited the body on the landing just outside the bedroom door. She nearly, but not quite, stepped on it in the morning. Did she congratulate me? Was she pleased at my efforts to help the household budget? No. She swore.
Nevertheless, I am a cat with a plan to put an end to financial meltdown. Help your humans during the stockmarketl crash. Catch a mice and deposit it in your own personal home food bank.
PS She's back. Miaowing about cats that barber each other. If you can help her with information, or if you want to send her a photo, contact her via her website, http://www.celiahaddon.com

Sunday, October 05, 2008

How do we cats vote?

Dear George,
How should we felines vote? Republican or Democrat? Tory or Labour? And why don't we have a vote? I should like to have a paw in the business of choosing the human leader.

Dear Lucy,
Don't even think about voting. Humans spend hours bothering themselves about politics. We cats are much more sensible. We just get on with our own affairs. However, in theoretical terms your question is an interesting one.
AS an English cat, I am not so sure about the differences between Republicans or Democrats though obviously my colour predisposes me to take an interest in Mr Obama. On the other hand that Sarah woman is obviously a terrific hunter. Did you see that bearskin! And moose not mere mice!  What she brings home beats any of the mice or rabbits I have brought home.
We cats have been described as selfish. I would call us sensibly self interested. And independant. As such we might vote Tory rather than Labour. We don't do altruism except for our own families. We don't look after poorer cats. We don't share. 
On the other hand we do exist on handouts. I mean I don't actually pay for my cat food. My humans do that. So perhaps I am part of the dependancy culture. So on that score we might vote Labour.
What do the rest of you think? Please enlighten me.
PS. My secretary is away for a week learning the scientific side of animal behaviour so this is only a short entry.

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