Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why do I like paddling in water at the seaside?

Dear George.
My name is Rupert and I'm a grey tabby. I read with keen interest, Riley’s letter of February 4th, as I am faced with a similar situation.
As you can see, I just LOVE
to swim. I’ve always been fascinated with water, playing in the sink and the bathtub too when my humans do their thing. But when my humans take me to the cottage, which is my favorite place in the whole world, I love to walk on the beach, and play in the lake. But, like Riley’s humans, my humans are also overprotective, and always insist that I wear my harness and leash. If I could only loose that thing so I could really get into this. It’s hard to dive down to catch bugs and critters when I’m tethered to the leash. I’m just trying to catch dinner to be more self-sufficient.
I know I shouldn't complain, as my humans do spoil me to death. And I also know that cats aren't supposed to like water. But I can't help it. My personality is more like a dog than a cat. I DO come whenever my humans call me. I DO run to the door to greet my humans when they come home, and I DO like my tummy scratched. I suppose I shold just be grateful that my humans don't make me wear a lifejacket.
Why do you suppose that I act more like a dog than a cat? Am I weird?

Dear Rupert
I wonder if your pleasure in swimming is inherited from a Turkish Van ancestor? Many of us cats who do not have a pedigree, nevertheless have pedigree blood. I personally am convinced that I have a Siamese ancestor or possibly that I am related to a black panther. I dream that perhaps Bagheera of the Jungle Stories by Kipling was my ancestress. I am a black panther at heart even if my stature is small.
Whatever your enjoyment of swimming, Rupert, do be careful not to let your humans take control. It is very important for all cats to uphold the dignity of our species. There may be moments of affection for your humans that make you feel like a dog. Fight them. It is natural to love your human pets, but important not to forget who is boss. You. Cats Rule. Humans are happier when they know their place - below the Alpha Cat of the household.
I like water too. As a kitten I jumped into the garden pond three ties - once by mistake, once just to see what would happen and a third time just for the hell of it. I am still fascinating by running taps, dirty puddle water, and things below the surface of the pond. SinceCelia fished me out with a net I am less keen on swimming in it. It is just too embarassing and demeaning to have to be rescued by a human.
I know of a cat that suffered from a severe back problem and was cured by swimming. Dinky, a ginger and white kitten was rescued by Cats Protection and bottle fed by his owner, Sam. His back legs went wobbly because of a benighn tumour on his spine. Sam nursed him back to health and helped him gain back muscle by swimming therapy. Now he is well enough to mouse.
Love George

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Keep your humans indoor at night....

Dear George,
Reading Mustapha’s letter I thought that, indeed, keeping humans indoor at night was a pretty good idea. It could be an excellent time to further train them.

Even if I’m fairly young I know lots of tricks & things.

Last Saturday night I kept them indoor planning to start “the play time” training.

What a disaster! Horror! They did not understand that it was all about “MY playing time” not theirs! So, they invited few friends over and….they behaved like “party animals” until next morning! Do they have any brain? Any respect for me or my sister?

Look at me in this picture; at my young age is it normal to collapse on the stairs instead of sleeping in a bed? George, maybe keeping them indoor is not such a good idea after all! Maybe we should let them outside, free… so they can get in trouble!

By the way! Talking about pets; should I switch to a ferret from an inconsiderate human?

What do you think?



Dear Cheetho,

Humans are best kept in at night for their own safety. Single humans will otherwise spend the evening straying, roaming round looking for fights (if they are male), or sex, or their idea of a "good time." Some are drug users and, unlike us, don't stick to harmless recreational drugs like catnip. The younger ones seem willing to sniff anything. The older ones smoke stuff or drink a drug called alcohol. They behave very oddly as a result when they return. Keeping them indoors prevents some of this misbehaviour.

Humans being humans, poor dumb creatures, some of them will attempt to behave in the same way but in their own homes - just as yours did. I believe in punishment - but delayed punishment. I have tried turning up to the table at a suitable time, say 10pm, to get them to throw out their friends and come to bed. It never worked. Nowadays I just go to bed on my own (haven't yet learned how to switch on the electric blanket, alas,) and wait for them. That is the moment for punishment. I leap up and down all over the bed at regular intervals through the night, waking them up. They usually have what I call "sore heads" and they call "hangovers" and this drug reaction gets worst in the morning. Loud purring near their ears or just sitting on their faces is a really good punishment. They hate it.

One solution would be to make humans into indoor-only pets. I gather that the Association of Human Veterinary Practitioners, an association of feline experts, has suggested that the answer to human problems is just to keep them in all day. They claim that there are elderly humans that live this way and are perfectly happy to do so. But I think it is going too far. Humans need to be able to get out and do species specific behaviour, such as choosing the right kind of cat food for us.
I don't think I would switch to ferrets, if I was you. They are slithery sort of creatures and give a mean bite. Humans, though inconsiderate and with poor cognition, are still the best pets if they are proprer socialised at a young age, and given plenty of punishment training.

Love George

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If our humans had fur, what would they look like?

Dear George,
Humans are so odd about issues like fur. And why are humans fattist? Why do they think I am fat? I am Mustapha.... I glory in a symmetric fluffy white bib and I step out with my tail up. There are misunderstandings about my weight because I a big fluffy and solid. Like humans say, I have a heavy frame. I am not fat - just fluffy. My winter coat turns this brownish colour towards spring and the more stupid humans (yes, some are even more stupid than others) think I am a tortoiseshell. Usually only females are tortoiseshell. Here in Australia, we have to keep our humans in at night. It is a way of stopping them straying, roaming round looking for fights or sex. They believe they are keeping us indoors - when we are keeping them inside. What a species!

Love Mustapha

Dear Mustapha,
We cats have to realise that human cognitive powers are very limited. Can they even think? Many of us believe that they are incapable of abstract thought, though they can be trained by rigorous use of stick (claws) and carrot (purrs). They may think you are fat because they do understand that weight is not the same as apparent size.
I have purrsuaded my pet Celia to purchase a weighing scale, so that she can just read out the weight from it. A baby scale via amazon will do very nicely indeed. Vet scales are often those big ones used for dogs - quite unsuitable for cats. Pushkin, her current foster cat, who is meant to be losing weight, has taught her about High Fives.
Poor deluded human, she thinks she has taught him to sit and do an upwards high fives. It is the other way round. He has taught her to offer cat biscuits for this behaviour. This naturally extracts more food from her, though she doesn't realise it. Not bright. Not bright at all. His plan is to put on weight despite the obesity diet. He may well succeed. His vet records showed he put on an extra kilogram over two months on the diet (before Celia had him).
Looking at your photo, it makes me realise how attractive humans would be if only they were not bald. They wouldn't have pink fur, fur sure. Pink is just wrong. Celia could be a black and white, with white paws and face. Ronnie would look rather sleeker than he does, if he was black all over like me. Jacqui, the friend of your human pet, would make a very nice tortoiseshell. It is an amusing game, as we doze in the warm down under sun, to think what our naked humans pet would be like - fluffy versus sleek; black, black and white, tortoiseshell, pure white, or black feet; pedigree versus non pedigree...
Think about it and give your thoughts on this topic to me.
Love George

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Snow for cats but no harnesses

Dear George,
It’s me Riley! And I LOVE snow! Everybody in my house thinks I’m nuts.
I don’t really see why I must be nuts if I love being outside in the snow.
My only problem is that my humans tend to worry too much about me and won’t let me outside on my own. I mean….each time I want to go outside …one of them has to put that stupid leash on me. WHY? I’M NOT A DOG! I don’t need to be walked! I don’t need or want to inspect my territory with a human bodyguard beside me!
Imagine summer time; they have a boat! What if I like water? Would they be scuba diving with me? Phew!
George, how can I tell them (or even better train them) to let me outside by myself?
How can I tell them to just leave me alone? They are always in my face!
Should I suggest them to get a little dog so they can keep busy?

Dear Riley,
A dog would be a mistake. Nasty smelly snuffling creatures with the ridiculous habit of
obeying humans. As I said last week, no self respecting cat can truly trust a dog. Dogs sometimes even chase, catch and kill cats. Even a really loving family dog will get in the way of proper human training. It may keep them busy but we want humans with plenty of time to lavish on us. Don't even think about it.
Frankly the same goes for the idea of getting another cat. In theory it is nice to have company but most of us only like company if it is a related brother or sister. We can learn to share the house with and more or less get on with others, and just occasionally we become fond of them. But most of the time when we live with others, we are just acquaintances. Some of us hate all other cats. We are not willing to put up with what we don't like and on the whole
cats don't share.
I am in favour of the outdoor life. Try to make your needs known by the following - wistful staring out of windows accompanied by heart-rending mewing; sliding out of the door into freedom every time the human opens it; jumping out of any open windows. In hot weather windows get opened. Most humans are too stupid to remember to install cat-proof netting like
Leashes are for dumb dogs not for bright cats. You can probably lose that harness if you wriggle a bit. Most cats can (and do) wriggle out of one when they are truly frightened - just do it when you want to explore. I knew of a cat that escaped her harness on the Italian docks at Brindisi and was never seen again.
Snow is quite fun if you don't mind getting wet and cold. Wriggle free and whizz off into the nearest drift, Riley. That'll larn 'em.
Love George

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