Saturday, June 27, 2009

Look what I brought in... and where I put itl

Dear George,
This evening I brought home a frog from the garden and placed it in my waterbowl in the kitchen where it swam about most charmingly and gazed up at me out of the water. I was admiring it and experimenting with tapping it lightly on the head when to my amazement my human swooped down and covered the bowl up and took it out to the garden and emptied it. Can you explain why? Does this indicate she has some serious character flaw or just very low intelligence?
Yours mystified,
Chubby (Fluffums D'Wuffums)

Dear Chubby,
Humans don't get hunting. They have the predatory instinct but it is in a very warped and dysfunctional form. For a start, we are proper carnivores-only and they are omnivores. Like chimpanzees they eat fruit and veg as well as meat. We are designed for a meat-only diet. So our hunting instinct is intact, irresistable and highly efficient. Mice, rabbits, frogs... whatever, we hunt it.
Humans used to hunt but nowadays, instead, they shop. Shopping is the new hunting. It's really bad for them - sitting at a desk and ordering stuff online. Even before the net, they only walked a few yards from shop to shop. They ought to be out there slaughtering mammoths.
Of course, your human is of very low intelligence. They all are. No doubt you love her, and you want to think that she understands everything you say, but frankly she (and they) don't. They are dumb animals given to meaningless vocalising Blah blah blah. So it isn't a character flaw in her that she didn't understand the frog. It's just lack of mind. (For the zoologists among us cats, it's been proved that humans don't have theory of mind. Extensive tests with tail and ear movements have failed to show that they can really understand what we feel.)
So frogs... A sensible human would have taken it out of the bowl and eaten it with garlic as French humans do. Your human took it away
and let it go. If she'd been a cat, she'd have let it go in order to have the pleasure of catching it again. But being human, she didn't. She did the first half of the sequence and then, in her mindless human way, forgot the second half. They can't concentrate on anything more than a few minutes, Chubby.
If you keep on bringing in frogs, you MIGHT be able to train her to leave them in the bowl but I doubt it. Just accept the things you cannot change - human limitations.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Brushing my teeth ... I don't think so!

Dear George,
The other night I heard my humans talking about “preventive dental care”. As I was trying to understand their point, I heard them mentioning “brushing”, “toothpaste”, solution, etc. Girrr! I’m pretty sure they were talking about me and my sister since they brush their teeth regularly and sometimes I even witness this disgusting human habit! We (Fluffy & I) are given some treats for “teeth health” on regular basis, plus we eat some “fresh/raw” meat twice a week. Don’t you think this is enough? Just…..out of curiosity; what is your advice regarding dental care? What do you do (or what other cats do) to maintain healthy gums & teeth? Wishing all cats healthy smiles & healthy teeth☺ Hugs Cayenne

Dear Cayenne,
They tried a toothbrush on me -- three times. First the vet, then Celia, then Celia once more. A huge piece of plastic wand with bristles attached which they put right into my mouth, pulling back my gums as they did so. In order to reach the teeth, they said. On top of the bristles was an agreeable paste tasting of malt, but that didn't make up for the way my mouth was being misused by these humans.
With the vet, I merely cowered in my basket looking helpless and afraid. That often rouses the mother in Celia and is enough to stop her. It didn't. Having bought the expensive kit from the vet, she went home and tried it on me. I wriggled and wriggled and when we cats wriggle we can be very difficult to hold. She tried a third time and it was enough. I bit her. Strong measures were called for and they worked.
Her methods then changed for the better. For a time, she used to give me about two square inches of thick ox heart. Very very tasty. A really good human idea. I adored it. True, the blood was messy on the kitchen floor as I tackled the business of trying to chew and eat. Alas, she stopped this on the ground she had to buy a whole ox heart and keep it in the freeze in slices and, moreover, it was difficult to get offal from the butcher in the first place.
Now she has settled for dental dried food. Till recently it was Hills prescription dental diet but I seem to have got an allergy to this and developed diarrhoea each time she gave it. I love it but it doesn't now love me. So instead she has changed brands to Royal Canin non prescription which claims to get rid of something like 57% of the tartar. I don't eat it all the time - just get given a small proportion as a treat. It meets with my approval
But the ox heart was by far the best. Try it, Cayenne, if you can persuade your human. We need good teeth to bite our humans when they step out of line!
Purr and rubs
PS. The vet inspects my teeth at vaccination time - important because dental resorptive lesions, tooth rot, are hell for cats. We move towards the food bowl, try a little food, then back off with the pain of it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Of treats ….and human arrogance

Dear George,
I’m SO upset and fed up with my female housekeeper’s arrogance
that I can barely meow or write.
All it takes to see how mad I’m right now is to take a look at my picture,
“cramped” in this small fruit basket! You can tell I’m furious, right? vBut…here is the story; last night I was enjoying reading from your book “The Joy of Cats” (great book, by the way! thank you so very much for it).
You see, when I’m reading I like to indulge in few treats; so I asked Cayenne to bring me some. She couldn’t find any (we know where they “hide” our treats) so she started meowing calling upon “our mommy”. Believe it or not, our female human ignored all our meowing, pretending that she’s busy. Her attitude was upsetting me, so I pretended that I’m hungry and wanted my dinner served right away.
I waited quietly until she opened a can for me and then I REFUSED to eat it.
I continued to stay there to make her open another can which she normally does (my plot was to make her open as many cans as possible). I could not believe when she just walked away without saying anything. After 20 minutes or so, as I was still sitting there thinking of what I should do next to punish her, she just came by and took the food away. WHAT? I pinched myself; this can not be true!
She will never ever dare to do this to me. Well, I told you George that lately she has some attitude! She took my food away and I heard her saying “Fluffy, you just missed dinner”.
Such impertinence and arrogance! I’m not going to put up with this; this means war!
I pushed Cayenne again to ask for treats since apparently she has a “problem” with me.
Guess what! When “my daddy” asked her why she’s not giving us any treats …her answer was “not healthy”.
What...does she expect me to chew on carrots and broccoli just because she thinks it’s healthy? George, what should I do, as I’m a little hungry now, but I don’t want to give up and eat without punishing her first. She should pay dearly for her arrogance!

Dear Fluffy,
Here in the UK there is great controversy about using punishment as a training method. All the good dog trainers are up in arms against Cesar Milan and even in the USA the American Veterinary Association has condemned his methods. Naturally I don't watch the programme - why should I want to look at dogs?
Punishment for humans? I favour it. I always have. It is, of course, very wrong for humans to punish animals but when animals punish humans it is ethically acceptable. Well, to me it is. How otherwise can we get through to them? They are such dumb creatures that stern measures are necessary.
First of all try psychological punishment by using a control of attention programme. This means that you actively ignore the offending human. Do not look at them, rub on them, or go anywhere near them. Sit with your back to them - the offended dignity of a cat's back is quite a striking sight. If they come into the room, leave. Stop sharing the bed with them. If they come over to pet you, get up with dignity and stalk out. Humans are very sensitive to this silent treatment of withdrawing attention and it is usually enough to bring your human back into line with the treats.
Your refusal to eat was a very good move, Fluffy. But clearly your human is getting wise to cat training methods. Can you fix for somebody else to feed you, Fluffy? Here in the UK, we usually organise several different feeders down our street so that we can pop out and do lunch with them any time we wish. Or is there any food you could steal? Just jumping on to the kitchen surface and pulling down the dried food bag (if there is one) might work fine. Or perhaps if you target your secondary human, the partner, you can get him to feed you instead. Walk round him mewing and looking pathetically hungry. That might produce tension between them - "How can you be so cruel to poor Fluffy?" That's a punishment in itself.
If you can't organise food from elsewhere, you may have to eat what you are given. If so, move on to fiercer methods. Biting and clawing are the final ways we cats can express our feelings and reduce our humans to the proper submissive state. They should only be a last resort.
Love George
PS. I sent my assistant to a veterinary conference where acupuncture was taken seriously as a method of controlling pain in the dog. So, if a vet offers it, it might be worth a try - not worth letting a non-veterinary person do it, however, as they will not have been taught how canine or feline anatomy differs from human anatomy. Besides, in the UK only vets are allowed to treat animals - though complementary therapists can if the vet refers the animal.
PPS. That box looks a bit small...

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