Monday, October 26, 2009

The most beautiful cat in the world is dead

William Bedford Payne died Monday October 26th at Cogges Veterinary Surgery of a merciful overdose at the age of fourteen years. He had cancer of the tongue and was finding it difficult to eat or wash himself. He did not go gentle into that good night but fought, biting me several times, until a sedative did its work.

He was cheerful to the end, despite the pain. Only a fortnight ago he caught and brought back a weasel - he had always been an accomplished hunter. On the last night of his life he came for a walk with me and when I went in, spent the early evening checking
his territory before coming in for the night.

William was serious and conscientious about territory. Each morning he would pause at the back door which I opened for him (he preferred this to the cat flap) and sniff the air with care. Then he would pad round to the willow tree at the front of the house, pausing to inspect the cars to see if there were new smells on the wheels.

He often sat for a while gazing towards the hedge from where the rabbits had played in the cart track the night before. Then he would go back to the garden, walk up past the box plant (which he often sprayed) towards the pond and the long grass where he sometimes caught mice. This was his world and i
t was important to him to make sure that all was well in it.

On the last evening, though it must h
ave hurt - he had a cracked pelvis too - he jumped on to the bed and slept alongside me. On the last morning, he ate a little cat food from my hand (which included pain killers), took a nap, then went out again to check his territory as usual though (he did not know it) for the last time in the autumn sunlight. He came back into the house, and I took him on his final journey.

William started life living in a household full of 70 cats. He came to me via Cats Protection and his health problems - fleas, mites, giardia, and others - mea
nt a vets bill of £800 way back in l995. He spent so long at the vets - in London - that the staff named him Mr Purr.

Not only was he a great hunter, but he was also an accomplished performer. He jumped little jumps. He sat up and begged. He offered a paw, always the right one, to shake. He lay down and died for his country. In the last year of his life he learned to roll over on command - though, for some reason, would only roll one way. He would also roll on his side putting his paws together (see that in the picture) in a praying position - just for the reward of my full attention.

William was not a difficult cat but he was never a cuddle cat either. He enjoyed my company but always at a distance. He preferred games to petting - showing that he was playing by his demeanour (see the picture in the snow). On the last evening of his life he thought about running up the willow tree to show off to me and realised he could no longer had the strength for it. Instead, with dignity he rubbed against the garden bench, as if the willow tree had been furthest from his mind. He would not show weakness.

He kept his independance to the end - refusing to let me help get rid of the knots that began to appear when he could no longer wash himself properly.

William, you showed no signs of pain. You did not complain or ask for food when you found you could not longer eat properly. You did not cuddle closer to me on the bed for comfort but kept what you felt was a proper affectionate distance that last night together.

You have shown me how to die with integrity and dignity. May I show the same qualities of bravery and serenity when it is my time.

Farewell, William, Mr Purr. I shall miss you with all my heart. Celia

PS. The blog will start again in November

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Humans - they are so irresponsible.

Dear George,
Why is it that the human servants of cats are not made to act more responsibly? Molly, the cat next door sneaked into our house while our front door was open for a few minutes while my family was packing the car to go away for a few days. Luckily for me she was spotted looking out of the bedroom window and chased out but if she had come into the kitchen instead of running upstairs I wouldn't be alive to write this letter.
While it is difficult to control you hunters, your owners should realise that owning a cat immediately removes freedom of choice for neighbours. Apart from the poo in our garden and cat paw marks on the freshly cleaned cars we can no longer leave doors or windows ajar in our house for a bit of fresh air.
What do you suggest?
From a very worried
Harvey the house rabbit.

Dear Harvey,
I can't say I share your fears because I don't. But I do accept that having a cat intrude into your territory, if you are a prey animal like a rabbit must be very frightening indeed. We cats are predators, but we are also prey to dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes etc. And we too get very very frightned when these animals either stray into the house or even just pass through the garden. Some foolish cat loving humans feed foxes in their garden and think they cats will remain safe - well, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. It all depends on whether the fox thinks it can win the battle.
Oddly enough we cats are also worried by neighbourhood cats. In leafy suburbs there can be an awful lot of them and, if you are a timid home living pussycat (unlike me) it is very upsetting to find strangers in your territory - particularly if they come in the cat flap. One distinguished vet and behaviour expert says there are "despot" cats that can terrorize a whole neighbourhood.
What can we do about it. Well get those humans to install PetPort cat flaps - and think about window screens that let in the cool air - w or
But human control? I think not. Oh no. We HAVE to keep up the proper cat-human relationship with the cat in proper charge.

Love George (alpha cat in charge of Celia)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Introducing the sticky crunch of newts

Dear George,
When I first came into the kitchen with a newt thrashing about between my gums, my humans were – heaven knows why – shocked rather than grateful. Even though I have no teeth I managed to munch it with my gums and swallow it down. I made my trademark hunting cry of “marrp” in celebration.
Later I saw my companion Whicky Wuudler batting something about and stamping on it – he’s a real back paw stamper and his hocks are legendary for dispatching moles. Sure enough he’d got a newt too – only just a tiny one. The humans tried to interfere AGAIN. He ate it, except for one tiny foreleg. Next Oliver brought a live one into the house, whapped it around growling and took off at high speed when our humans interfered. He ate it too!
Why can’t they understand…. Newts are good to eat and fun to hunt. We bring them in to show them off to our two apes. Whicky left that leg out of the goodness of his heart so that they could have a nibble. Did they? They did not. What's more, a day or two later, the newts had totally disappeared! What’s wrong with these apes, George?
Love Gerry

Dear Gerry,

Many humans, or apes as you so nicely call them, seem to think that newts produce a foul tasting mucus to deter predators. They don't. I think they have them confused with toads, which do taste horrible, though frogs are quite nice if you like that sort of thing. Some humans even eat them - though they are so unsporting as to buy them frozen in frenchy supermarkets rather than going out and hunting their own. All too typical of this species. You call them apes: I call them Homo stupido.

Do you actually fish your newts out of the water, or do you just wait till they come on land and get them then? I know of cats that will clear a small garden pond of all goldfish. Fanny brought in a goldfish, left it on the kitchen floor where it was found by the humans. They placed in a tank and it survived for a further 15 years. It made interactive piscal TV for Fanny!

And I even heard of a cat that brought home a two pound koi carp, which was probably worth thousands of pounds if it had the right markings. Its humans never dared to confess to the crime.

Newts, frogs and toads will all survive cats (apart from the occasionally unlucky individual) , if there are enough hiding places for them in a garden - long grass, wood piles, stone walls etc.

I have never tried back stamping. Can your apes take a video of it so I can post it?

Love George

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Do books make me an intellectual?

Dear George,
I have decided to become an intellectual cat and the reason is that I’m fed up with my female human. I can’t stand her any longer telling everybody that my sister Cayenne is “the intellectual one” and that I’m “the frivolous” one that needs to be entertained. Well, since Cayenne decided to find her “inner kitten” ….I decided to become an intellectual and teach my snotty female human
a lesson!
Firstly, I started sleeping on books as you can see in the picture. It’s a bit “tough” but I hope this way I’ll accumulate more knowledge quicker.

Secondly, I think I should “shred” some curtains, art, something in the house…just to tell her that I don’t like it. Why can’t she have a normal painting, something like a big, fat mouse next to a piece of cheese? Even that chubby, smiling woman (the one who smiles, no matter from what angle you look at her) would do it! But no, she likes “melting clocks” or men flying hangin
g on umbrellas. And her favorite?…that guy looking in a mirror and seeing his back! See what I have to put up with?
George, I badly need y
our help to punish this snob! Or should I do something to impress her? What should I do next?

Dear Fluffy,
Sleeping on books is a good idea. It's high up which gives an immediate impression of superiority. Its draught free. Looks good, looks very good, and if the books are large enough it is not too uncomfortable. But the big question is - which books? I can't read the titles so I am not sure.
In an ideal world the books we would choose would be Purrsuasion, Scratch 22, Mouse Catcher in the Rye, The Cat of Mounte Christo, Great Catsby, The Cat is a Lonely Hunter, Bleak Mouse, Plain Tails from the Hills, Tail of Two Kitties, Goodnight Mr Tomcat, Middlemog, The Brothers Catamazov, Zen and the Art of Mog Maintenance, and The Purrsuit of Love. Just one fully human book - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, because in it Mark Twain suggests installing a royal family made up of cats.
Shredding, as you can so plainly see, an art form
in itself. Most of us favour the downward scratch at the back of loose covered armchairs, but several have experimented with wallpaper and report a really beautiful effect. Curtains can be more difficult, as they swing loose, but with experience a completely frilled effect can be achieved. Finally, do not forget carpet. There's lots of it, and horizontal scratching, once you get used to it, can play its part in Home Decoration.
Finally, the litter tray. The philosophical and beautiful patterns of a Japanese gravel garden can be achieved in most litters, though wood and paper litter refuses to co-operate. Dig deep. A pleasant scatter effect can be achieved from an open litter tray. Performance art - think about digging, using the tray then rushing round the house scattering litter as you go. It's
the litter skitter.
Happy Scratching. Happy Digging.
Love George.

Please suggest some more book titles in the comments. There are some that have made me laugh out loud already. Puss Puss has contributed this photo of himself on the book by Churchill, the country's leader and a good inspiration for all cats anxious to take their place as leader of their household.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Dragons for cats - the lizard option.

Dear George
There was talk of dragons earlier. I think you said you"d like to get a crack at a small dragon. Well, I have. Here's a photo of one of the tiny dragons I hunt relentlessly at home in the Pyrenees. Ok, so they don't breathe fire - the hillside would be alight in a second if they did. But lizards do look dragon-like.
Oddly enough my humans do not appreciate my efforts. Well, I say oddly enough, but you know what they are. Humans don't do gratitude. I've tried bringing these in to the kitchen and they just seem to shudder.
Dear Lolo,
It looks pretty odd to me. I am used to mice - nice warm furry things. These lizards don't have any fur at all. it reminds me - in so far as it reminds me of anything, - the snakes that Clarri kills. He also comes from the same part of the world as you. His humans are just downright terrified even though they are much bigger than she is.
Interesting that they don't like lizards any more than they like mice. I caught a particularly large and succulent one the other day. I wondered whether they would like it better absolutely fresh, so I took it in while it was still alive. Nearly lost it through the cat flap. But I decided I would give it to Celia in her office.
The effect was not what I hoped but it was quite amusing. She let out a tiny shriek and jumped over me and the mouse (who was sitting on the carpet looking stunned), ran downstairs, ran back upstairs with a dishcloth, threw it on the mouse and grabbed the wrapped up mouse, ran downstairs again at full speed, and threw the package outside.
Were my efforts appreciated? No. Were they noticed? A big YES. Clearly mouse delivery works as a way of getting our pets to react and notice us.
Love George without Dragon.
For a photo of Clarri killing snakes look at Thursday, April 17, 2008 of this blog.

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