Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Help my human is a paparazzi - she's always papping me.

Dear George
My human is obsessed with this thing she calls a camera; I know I'm very cute, but I only have to roll over or play with something and she gets out this great black thing and clicks away. But it's not just me she clicks at, I've seen so many cat faces on her computer screen that it makes me worried that she is going to get a lot more cats to crowd out the house! (At the moment it's just me and my bigger brother, and we rub along OK, mostly.) I've heard her say that the pictures of cats are for something called a 'website', which belongs to some nice people who try to find homes for poor lonely cats, (www.prestoncpl.com <http://www.prestoncpl.com> ) but I know she gets very interested in some of them, and would like to bring them home. I don't want to share my human with any more cats - I sometimes have to push my brother off the bed when he's taken my place beside her! (It's really easy, I just wash his head hard till he gets fed up and goes away to sleep somewhere else.) Luckily the other human is dead against any more cats, so I think we are safe, at least for now, but it's quite worrying.
Love Pansy

Dear Pansy,

Humans are obsessive by nature. My own is just as bad. She's got completely overcome by the desire to photograph cats, so much so that she puts the brakes on, j
udders to a halt, just to photograph any cat at all. And if she has to continue driving, she literally moans with frustration about the photos she didn't get - the cat on the roof, the cat raiding somebody's goldfish pond and so forth.
Obviously she photographs me - though she says the black makes it a bit difficult. I say not at all. Black is the most beautiful of al
l colours. I am adding a couple of black cats, myself included, just to make the point. I rather like the shaft of sunlight hitting me, as I play with a dead mouse - like one does.
It's not just taking our photos, is it? I think Celia shows signs of cat addiction. She spends a lot of time thinking about
cats, obsessing about cats, planning her next cat, worrying about whether she has enough cats, and the only reason why she hasn't got hundreds of us, is that William and I would object strongly. In her heart of hearts she knows that our welfare must come before her disordered desires for too many felines. Her local branch of cat rescue is www.westoxoncats.co.uk There are usually a few black ones on the website because for some reason, although black cats are thought lucky in the UK, they are harder to home. People seem to think tabbies are prettier - how wrong they are.
It's quite amusing to tease human photographers. Put on a nice pose. Wait for them to run for their camera. Then just the instant they get it out and begin to focus it, drop the pose. A tease variation on this is just to walk towards the camera and rub on it. That frustrates any hope of a good photo. And it is fun to tease humans. They are so simple minded.
Love George
PS. Please sign this petition against the cruel practice of
pulling out cats' claws. Cats need their claws just as much as humans need their fingernails. If not more. Click here -http://www.petitionthem.com/default.asp?sect=detail&pet=4312

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Animals that attack cats.... watch out!

Dear George,
I was away at my cottage (for a short vacation) and I had to stay indoors most of the time because it was raining almost every day! However, one day, when I was allowed out, I had so much fun with a duck on the lake that I immediately wanted to adopt him. Of course -- my housekeepers thought differently.
I know my humans respect my royal demands but I think they need some "professional" help, as they tend to worry too much
over everything concerning me! Rain is just one example of how my housekeepers' brain (so called) function. If it is raining... I might get wet. So what? If it is sunny and dry... I might venture too far from the cottage and some wild animals might get me! Blah!
So I was confined to watching from the cottage window all the squirrels, birds, mice and other exciting creatures! I also did a bit of research and I came across this list of the top ten animals that can harm us cats. Hmmm! Maybe my humans are right (uh! I hope I don't have to apologize to them). I know Oscar and Minnie are our big hunters bringing home snakes, mice, birds etc. And I read that Minnie is willing to put up a fight to protect her territory, so I thought I ought to share this list of dangerous animals with you all.
The top ten dangerous animals are 1: Snake. 2: Coyote. 3: Raccoon. 4:Squirrel. 5: Scorpion. 6: Javelina. 7: Porcupine. 8: Ground hog. 9: Skunk. 10: Rat. This comes from http://blogs.catster.com/the-cats-meow-a-cat-and-kitten-blog/top-
ten-wild-animals-that-attack-house-pets/2009/07/26 It's based on a list from Veterinary Pet Insurance in Canada - or perhaps in the USA.
Scary, huh? And what is a Javelina? What's your take on this, George.
Just curious,
Sir Winston.

Dear Sir Winston,
A javelina is a kind of pig. Here's a photo. W
e don't have them in the UK. Indeed we don't have raccoons or scorpions or porcupines and I am not even sure what ground hog is! Except that there is Ground Hog Day movie.
Our dangerous animals in the UK would be foxes, badgers, and perhaps ferrets or polecats. Foxes definitely attack young, elderly or vulnerable cats. They would finish off any cat that was already wounded in a traffic accident, but usually will leave alone a strong healthy cat that looks as if it would put up a fight. Badgers would do the same but as they are slow moving it is unlikely they would get near enough to do any damage. Ferrets and polecats might attack too.
However the greatest danger to cats in the UK and worldwide are humans. Feral humans who shoot stray cats. Uncaring humans who trap or poison them as pests. Disgusting humans who think it is fun to train their dogs to chase cats. Cruel humans who catch up cats and skin them alive for their skins. Feral young humans, usually male, who torture them on bonfire night.
Then there is the slaughter of cats by drivers - some people say as many as 1 in 4 cats that are allowed out at night will be run over. The lights dazzle their eyes and they make a dash across the road in front of the vehicle. And finally there are the dog fighting community who train their dogs by throwing in living cats.
Some humans say of these cat-killing humans: "They are animals." They are not. They are far worse than any decent animal.
What is the most destructive species in the world? Homo sapiens.
Love George
I love going hunting on a moonlit night but my human keeps me in after dark.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thank goodness I am not called Sootysnout!

Dear George,
My name is Tilly. A sensible and pleasant name, really, compared with some. But I know a Woodstock, a Camberwell, a Salisbury, a Quinine, a Cadbury, a Didcot, a Treacle, a Splash, a Gene, and even a Jezibel (which sounds rather fun). Why do humans choose these odd names? Admittedly there are lots of nice ordinary names like Sam, Ben, Chloe, Sacha, Daisy and Rosie. But why Didcot, almost the ugliest town in Britain? You might as well call a cat Carterton, undoubtedly the ugliest town in the UK. Just because it was born there? Not a very good reason, I think.
Coat colour seems to bring out naming in humans - Blackie, Sooty, Snowy, Smudge, Dusty, Ginger and so forth. Even the occasional feline, rather than canine, Spot. Perhaps I was lucky not to be called Blacknose or Sootysnout or just Nosey (which I am because I like to keep tabs on my humans). You can't rely on human intelligence, such as it is which is very limited indeed.
Yours, Tilly.

Dear Tilly,
I like my name George. Short so that my dumb human can use it easily. Manly too, which is rather a comfort in view of the snip I had earlier. Brave like my namesake saint who tackled dragons (I'd love to have a crack at a very very small one without fire breathing). We black cats, that are thought lucky in Britain but unlucky in the USA, need all the help we can get from a name. Why are we never called romantic names like Bagheera, like the black panther in Kipling's Mowgli stories, or just Panther, or why not Obama or Cleopatra?
Rescue centres could do so much more in the way of naming us. They often don't even think what a name can do for a cat. Give a cat a bad name and it will never be adapted. I mean "Purring Perly" (for a cat already named Perly) is so much nicer than "Piddles Perly" which I once saw. Other inventive possibilities, without changing the original name just adding to it, are"Playful Perly" or even "Perly the Purring King" or "Perly the Pearly Queen". These might catch the eye and they say something attractive about the cat.
One Rescue centre I know used to have too many black cats, so they photographed one totally black cat which had a good story for the press, named it Max and then as the adoption requests flooded in renamed ALL their black cats Max and homed them that way. Each adopter thought they were getting the original Max. Did that matter? Not at all. Most would be renamed anyway.
The truth is that names for cats show more about humans than about cats. And do we know our names? We do. But we ignore them if they are being used to call us in from the twilight hunting area or used as a rebuke when we have found an open butter dish.
Love George, Would-be Dragon Slayer.
PS. This idea of hunting dragons has sort of stuck in my mind.... small, wriggly and reptilian. Very tempting. Perhaps Oscar Snuggles would email me off the blog to tell me about his lizard techniques for my next blog. Then we could all look out for little dragons.
PPS. Blog a bit early this week as my secretary won't be doing it on Saturday.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I got a cold – help! Pills are so ugghhh

Dear George,
I must admit that we had a miserable summer so far! It was raining almost every day! Few days ago while I was on a “hunting” adventure I got caught in a really bad rain.
It was pouring and I got stuck between a bush and the house. Of course, I couldn’t get back in the house until the rain stopped and by then ….it was too late.
Next thing I know…there I am…sneezing, coughing and breathing “funny”.
My humans took me right away to the vet and of course, he did the whole protocol that I hate so much. He said that I have a cold and prescribed antibiotics…instructing my humans how to “push” them down my throat.
My question to you, dear George, is: how can a cat (that is vaccinated) catch a cold so easily? And a second question: can you make any suggestions to my humans on how to give me the antibiotic pill without “pushing” it down my throat?
Hopefully yours,

Dear Minnie,
Even if a cat has been vaccinated, it can occasionally get a mild dose of cat 'flu or other kinds of respiratory problems. I guess that is what happened. It's still important to vaccinate against cat 'flu because without the protection of vaccination a severe attack can leave lifelong disability.
Pills! There is now a cat-friendly device for putting pills into cats (forget the pill gun which isn't) - Easytabs, a meat flavoured cover for a pill made by Bayer. The fact that Bayer has made this suggests that in the cat versus human struggle over pills, we WON. Below my signature is the old joke about pills and cats which in this case reflects reality. There is more detail on this (from the human point of view) on www.fabcats.org
From our point of view pushing pills into our throats is just a huge and painful intrusion! We are not greedy like dogs. We don't just gulp things down. When Celia hides a pill in a piece of cat food, I can smell it miles away and I do not approve of eating stuff that smells bad. We cats like fresh mice not rotting carcases like omnivorous dogs (who actually eat poo, would you believe.)
My favourite ploy with pills is to give the sneaky impression that I have swallowed them. I hold them in the side of my mouth. I did this successfully for six months, in the days when worming came only in pill form (now there is a spot-on). Celia couldn't understand why I always seemed to have tapeworms (from the fleas on the mice I ate). She is a sloven so only vaccuums under the spare bed when somebody is coming to stay. Pulling out the bed, she found my stash of worming pills. I had held them in my mouth than sneaked under the bed and had spat them out!
In theory the way to put a pill into a cat, is to kneel down and place the cat between your legs, facing outwards.With thumb and middle finger, pull cat’s head back until it is facing straight up at the ceiling. It is crucial that the cat’s head must be facing upwards at 90 degrees Use gentle pressure from thumb and middle finger on either side of the cat’s jaw, at rearmost crease of the lips, to open cat’s mouth. Pop tablet on the tongue as far back down the throat as possible. Close cat’s mouth and keep the head pointing up at the ceiling. Hey presto, the cat will swallow the pill.
In practice I can usually evade this one! We almost all can. That's why there is the familiar joke about cats and pills - below my signature. Cats rule.
Love George

Instructions For Giving Your Cat A Pill

1. Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of 10.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, holding front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold cat's head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foilwrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with its head just visible from below spouse's armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force cat's mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band-aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw T-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Force cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Get spouse to drive you to emergency room; sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop by furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Arrange for vet to make a housecall.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Are cats really aggressive?

Dear George,

We are quite disturbed that one of our friends is not allowed to play outside because he was “aggressive” with one of his mom’s friends. To protest and make our mommy “do something” about this stupid situation we decided to wrack the house (as you can see in this photo – and we are allowed (sic)!).

Here is what happened; let’s call our friend “Mister” (not his real name).

Two days ago a friend of Mister’s mommy pay her a visit.

So….they were talking for a while when M’s mommy went to the kitchen to make a coffee. M was sitting quietly in the living room with his mom’s friend

We don’t know what happened there, we don’t know if she tried to pet him or do something, all we know is that M attacked her really bad. She couldn’t really defend herself since she had one leg in a cast. M was taken to a vet right away.

He was okay but scared since everybody was scramming at him.

We think that this is not right. We know that this friend of M’s mom has a cat. Could be her cat’s smell that drove M crazy? We are really worried about his welfare.

He is a really sweet, big, purring guy! Our “mommy” is working on his mom to calm her down and make her ask for some advice before jumping to conclusions.

We thought to ask for your help! What do you think it could trigger M’s reaction? Can you ask Celia to help, please (with typing, of course)?

Love & hugs

Fluffy & Cayenne

Dear Fluffy and Cayenne,

It may be that Mister saw something through the kitchen window and turned on the human in what is called redirected aggression (because he couldn't reach what was outside). More likely he was scared. Most aggressive cats are frightened cats. It may be that the human did something which terrified him (which she didn't realise) and he lashed out from fear. Could the plaster cast have hit him without the human realising it? If it was a big bite or a big scratch, it is likely to be fear. We can't be sure because it is not clear what happened.

Tell Mister's human not to jump to conclusions that he is an aggressive cat. He may just - at that moment - have been a very frightened cat. She should wait to see if Mister does this to anybody else. Keeping us cats indoors has its downside. If she is going to do this, she need to think how to give him more to do in the house - details for keeping indoor cats happy are on www.celiahaddon.com

One bite doesn't make an aggressive dog and one attack doesn't make an aggressive cat. Get Mister's human to read Celia's website on aggression and email her via that if necessary. We cats don't attack humans because we are "aggressive". We attack them because we are terrified, because we are frightened and want to make a human keep its distance, because we are starved of hunting opportunities (if we are indoor cats), or just occasionally because we are super confident cats that have learned to bite humans to get their attention.

Punishing us doesn't work. It makes us even more frightened and desperate. Take time to analyse what went wrong, and change things so that we cats can be our calm and loving selves. When the cat human relationship goes wrong, the human has to change the situation. We can't.


PS. I added on a photo of a cat looking aggressive. She was actually terrified.

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