Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hats, cats, and bunnies - does my bun look good in this?

Dear George,
It's not just cats that can wear hats you know, whatever Harry Spotter may think (see a posting two weeks ago). With the help of my carer's husband, Mike, I have been trying to decide if a bowler (like Harry Spotter's) or a para red beret would suit me best. What do you think? Do I look really amazing in these? Or do I look sort of odd? Janet, my chief carer, finds it difficult to decide. I wonder, are the humans making fun of me with these images?
Yours Cautiously (in view of your past record with rabbits)


Dear Harve,
I think that the bowler suits you best, as you are a rather British kind of rabbit, stiff upper lip, liking your daily routine, generally anxious to make sure your humans keep to the correct kind of behaviours at all times. Janet and Mike are almost like your butler and parlourmaid, to my mind. You accept their care with a very correct kind of upper class acceptance.
The red beret, on the other hand, is military verging on the savage. Better for tough cats like me, who are quite prepared to go in there and slaughter whatever wildlife we can. We go for the kill. Rabbits like you just don't do the carnivorous thing at all. So to my mind, it's a bowler for a bunny.
More on fashion for cats next week. I hear you are on Facebook....
My only anxiety is that humans will get above themselves and (instead of using Photoshop) start dressing up cats. We cats have dignity and style without any nonsense about wearing clothes like pathetic humans.
Love (oh yes, I love bunnies)
PS. Celia has signed the petition on my behalf against poisoning feral cats in Australia.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Scraaaatttching......Are nail coverings safe?

Dear George,

Here we are - Yuppie & Anji – two cute brothers! We are almost 1 year old and share a house in Atlanta with a funny human pet!

We found your blog as being very informative, especially on human training.

Too bad we can’t spend too much time in front of a computer as we get easily exhausted.

Our human pet refuses to act as our secretary! What can we do? How can we train her? We also go for fancy things like…. acrylic nails covers! See, we are at that critical age when we scratch everything and feel the urge to shred everything to pieces.

We think this is fun but our human disagree…so we compromise.

Are these nail covers a good thing? Definitely they are better then declawing, but are they safe? George, we really need some advice and especially…. tips on human training!

You are the expert!


Yuppie & Anji.

Dear Yuppie and Anji,

We have to scratch. We scratch to condition our claws, but we also scratch to leave messages - to our selves, and to any cats who happen to be passing by. It's an emotional thing. Scratching marks our territories not just visually but also with scent - which only we can read. We scratch when we are stressed and we want to feel better.

We British cats don't understand how Americans can possibly declaw their cats. In the UK it is a banned operation and any vet who did it would be in trouble with our cruelty laws. We don't much use nail caps here in the UK either - probably because most of us cats have access to outdoors and can scratch the local tree trunks. I think nail covers are safe, but they are a bit of a bore for both cats and humans. However, they are much much kinder than declawing.

Go for the natural kind solution. Instruct your human that you need a proper stable scratching post in every room where you might want to scratch, not just in one room. It must be large enough to allow us to stretch while we scratch. Don't let her get rid of an old scratching post. The tattier and smellier a scratching post gets, the more we cats like it. There is a depth of scent which a mere human will never understand. (Humans have pathetic claws, really pathetic!).

Some of us cats prefer horizontal scratching posts, or slightly angled ones. The surface has to be just right for us. People studying feral cats have noticed that they scratch along the walkways of their territory - but only on certain trees, not on others. Some trees just don't have the right physical surface. Incidentally, some of us enjoy scratching those roughly textured plant containers bought at garden centres (weighted down by a bag of sand in the middle). Some enjoy a tree trunk placed indoors. Others like cardboard scratching pads. Get that human of yours to offer you several kinds of scratching materials and see which you prefer.

Personally I enjoy the creative side of scratching armchairs, wallpaper and the side of the bed (so useful for waking your human up when it is time for an early hours snack). Here is a photo of me in artistic action. But Celia has fought back in a way I consider thoroughly philistine. She buys double sided carpet tape (or Stickypaws) and places this on the side of the bed or on the furniture. It feels really awful and I stop scratching on the site for at least a month, sometimes three months at a time. I had plans to redecorate the whole house with frilled curtains, frilled soft furnishing and really nice catseye-level frilled wallpaper - and she put a stop to it.

Humans.... they don't get it do they? What a selfish species.



There's a big Facebook group Claws 4 Paws. Join it to show you are against declawing.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where is my Bowler? Male fashion for cats.

Dear George,
As you know, Fiona is my sphynx sister and Sweet Pea is my two legged siser who is 5 years old. They find great delight in chasing me around the house trying to abscound with my Bowler. My Bowler is a very important part of who I am, without it I feel I am not the proper British Mancat who is well Suited and Booted. I feel I cannot show my face or spots witho
ut it. Ever since it has gone missing my chin has been down to the ground. What will I do without it I ask myself? Buying another Bowler to replace the one they lost will not do. That Bowler has special meaning to me, it was/is my very first British Bowler, it fits just right. Oh...what will I do? Can you help?
Harry Spotter, at
PS. I have three large blue spots, blue toupee markings and a blue tail.

Dear Harry,
Are you sure you want a Bowler? What about a Topper? Or a Yorkshire flat 'at? Finding the right size hat for a British (or any other nationality) cat is not going to be easy. Maybe you should have Ratcatcher riding gear (so called among the human hunting set, see ) to go with it - buff or yellow breeches with a tweed riding jacket? Ratcatcher used to be for cub hunting but now has caught on during the proper season. I like to think that humans have taken advice from ratting cats and are wearing as near as the poor souls can get to tabby or dark tortoiseshell fur.
My owner, Oh no, my secretary*, Celia, bought me a
Father Christmas hat (see photo left) by buying a Father Christmas soft toy and then detaching the hat. She then gave the doll (which was bald beneath the hat) to a rather puzzled human kitten.
I personally did not appreciate that hat, as you can see from my expression. I felt it was demeaning for me to
be dressed like any human being, the inferior species, and worse stlll one that went down chimneys and vocalised "Ho, ho, ho!" (A meaningless bit of human vocalisation but mind you, most of it is, anyway.). I do not wish to go up and down chimneys though I quite like terrifying my humans by getting on the roof.
Your spots bring to mind another thing. Why on earth are there so few cats in the Harry Potter books? Mrs Norris, the cat belonging to Filch the caretaker, is a bad 'un and only Hermione Granger seems to have a proper witches' cat, Crookshanks. Crookshanks is ginger and long haired. Why is there no Grimalkin, the traditional witch's black cat, I ask. We black cats need an PR image consultant.
Sincerely (not love because we are being British)
*How could I have made such a mistake. Humans owning cats is just laughable. Everybody knows cats own humans.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

At cat is better than a man.... purrsuasions.

Dear George,
I am concerned about my human, Denise. For a week or so she has been off-hand and uncaring towards me. She arrives home late after work, often smelling of alcohol. Last week there were two occasions when she failed to come home until the early hours of the morning. She smelled of male human - you know, that pungent male smell so different from the pleasant female smell. She greets me as if I was no longer the centre of her life. She does her household duties of cleaning the litter tray and putting out more food in a hurried and careless manner. She spends a lot of time vocalising in to the phone in a meaningless way and far less time vocalising to me.
How can I put right our relationship?
Dear Hobbit,
In normal circumstances most human females know that a cat is better than a man - more graceful, more agile, taking up less space in the bed, and much much cleaner.
But I am afraid your human is showing signs of being on heat. In humans this isn't the monthly physical reaction that we cats understand, know and tolerate. (How much easier it would be if we could just spay them!) It is an emotional thing. Humans, unlike cats, are eager to mate throughout the year. They have no proper seasons. Instead of coming on call (the correct term), hastening off to the nearest group of males, and having a night on the tiles with several of them and getting it all over quickly, humans have a much more drawn out mating ritual.
The likelihood is that Denise has met some male that she fancies. The return in the early hours of the morning means she has spent the night with him. At least she has the good sense to come home, shower, dress and do her household cat duties before leaving again for work. And at least she hasn't given him a home.
What can you do about it? You need to counteract this with a mixture of guile and firmness. Treble your normal greeting rituals. Greet her with loud and pathetic meows. Rub all over her. Crawl all over her. Roll on your back. Generally give the impression of a cat who has suffered intense loneliness in her absence. (Yes, I realise you have probably had a nice day visiting the neighbouring pensioner who feeds you on the sly but she does not need to know this.). Leave some of your food uneaten. Give an unending number of sad looks towards her. You know the score.....
It is a worrying time for you. I will keep my paws crossed for a happy outcome.
Love George.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Cars and roads and cats - I don't get it

Hi George,
I'm Fred and I live with Ginger (who is ginger) and with Ben who is black and doesn't like us younger cats very much. My hunting ground is across the road from where I live, and where the cars are parked. I find the cars handy for hiding under when strangers pass by. So I pop back and forward across the road most days and most nights.
Why does my human worry about this? I know there is traffic. I kind of don't bother about cars. What are they? Nothing much to me. What is this human anxiety about, George? I don't get it.
Dear Fred,
You right, you don't get it. Neither do I. These metal objects that hurtle down the roads are very mysterious. Most of the time during the day, you and I can manage to avoid them. The speed they do, however, is very confusing. I mean, nothing in nature hurtles along at 50 miles an hour. We cats were designed to avoid big predators like wolves or lions. We are not designed by nature to cope with metal boxes like cars.
At night we don't even have the right kind of eyes for it. Car headlights dazzle us. We can't judge how fast the car is coming at us. We can't see it properly. So most of us just make a run for it. Which is what worries our human pets. They fear we may get killed (as lots of cats do). Of course, if we had them properly under control, we would just ban all cars. But even that might threaten our catfood supplies.
It's tricky. I love hunting at night. I love the moonlit stalk. The pounce in the shadows. Yet crossing the road is a horrible danger. Make your human keep you in at night.
Love George
PS. Posts may be a bit erratic. My secretary's partner is in hospital, so she is spending a lot of time with him instead of doing her duties.

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