Thursday, October 28, 2010

A cry for help from Miss Penelope

Dear George,
I’m writing on behalf of my friend Miss Penelope. She is too shy and embarrassed to post her picture or write herself but, I think she has a problem and I need your advice.
Miss Penelope is a rescue from a local shelter and she was adopted with two other cats. She was ok until one of the cats started “bullying” her.
I don’t know if she is scared or has a health problem but lately she stop using the litter box. She “goes” in most unusual places through the house.
What it is very unusual ….she kind of peeing standing!
Her human is worried that she might have some health problem even if all tests came back normal. Did you ever hear of a cat peeing standing? Can this be a health issue? May be some lower back problems? Hips? What do you think?
Many thanks & love
Cat Victoria

Dear Victoria
I think Miss Penelope is trying to tell her human that she is very very anxious. Standing up to pee is the way we cats mark our territory rather than just relieving ourselves. This is scentmarking and it's rather like a post-it note to ourselves to tell us that something worrying is round this particular corner. My friend William used to do it against a box tree (they smell like cat pee to a cat) and also at the corner of the field where the foxes would come past on their way to hunt rabbits. It reminded him to take care.
We mark our territory when we think it is under attack or when we are feeling anxious about it. So if our stupid humans punish us, we get even more anxious and mark even more. Also once we have marked, we top up the place to keep our scent there up to date. The smell reminds us. So does the smell of disinfectant put down by humans. Disinfectant smells just like cat pee to us. My secretary Celia tells me that instruction on how to clean up cat pee, and a list of reasons why cats get stressed is on her website at
If Miss Penelope is not getting on with the other cats, she needs help. We are not human. Humans are absurdly social - they eat together and spend time together. Most of them like being near other humans - pubs, parties, holidays, hobbies etc. But it takes between 3- 6 months for most cats to settle into a group. We cats deal with social problems by spacing, keeping a decent distance between each other.
So her human can help her by making sure there are plenty of cat beds, that food is put down at at least two locations (a tea-tray with food can be put in the bedroom), that there is at least one litter tray per cat. Don't just put the litter trays in one location - there should be at least two locations. The idea is that cats can do all the things they need to do - eat, sleep and eliminate - without having to come close to each other.
Miss Penelope needs to feel safe from the bully.
If she is being severely bullied - wounds, fur everywhere etc - she may just need to live in a separate part of the house. A Petporte cat flap into a room of her own might help. Some of us are really anti-social and just are natural loners. There's more on Celia's website about that too. Or in that ridiculous book of hers.
If only we could purrsuade humans to think cat, rather than to assume that we will like the same things as us.
Love George
PS. My secretary is trying to make a Facebook group titled Cats behaving badly but so far she has made a group but nobody seems able to join it. What is she doing wrong? Answers to her on Facebook please or via the website

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My not-so-new new cat house

Dear George,

I can not stop laughing at how silly humans can be! The other night I heard my “people” talk about buying some new furniture and getting rid of my old cat house (since ….dah! it is that old! stupid!)

I heard my daddy saying that he’s going to throw away the cat house!

What? Is he crazy? First of all…..this is not his house, it is mine! Then, I heard my “mommy” saying “don’t through it away, just leave it outside - what if they want to go inside”? I could not believe when I heard him saying “what for? They never got into this house”. Hey, buddy! You just made my day!

SOOOOOO! The minute he took the cat house outside …..I “jumped” in and start purring

and …..slept in the house all day”– as you can see in this photo.

I and Cayenne take turns at sleeping in the house outside!

Now, guess what! We have a cat house inside and a cat house outside…and I’m looking for many more to come J))

But, George….I still feel like punishing my daddy! What should I do?



Dear Fluffy,

Congratulations on a very effective way of teasing your human. We cats can do this for almost every kind of cat equipment and the more expensive it is the better. A new and costly item appears in the house - a cat basket, a cat bed, a cat house, a mouse toy, a cat gymnasium....

The classic feline tease goes like this. Stalk over to the new item and inspect it carefully. Sneer. Sneer again. Walk away with an offended and lofty air and refuse to go near it. Ignore all maladroit human attempts either to stuff you in it (scratch) or to lure you in with food (wait till they have left the house to retrieve the cat biscuits!).

Stage two is to find something old and shabby. Use that instead. Sit in the fruit basket, the laundry container, the discarded computer box, instead of the new cat house. Play with a dessicated pea which was dropped on the kitchen floor, or with old newspapers, or discarded paper clips instead of the expensive new toy.

Wait. All cats can outwait all humans. Wait for months if necessary.

Then - when you hear them discussing getting rid of the by-now-not-so-new item - whisk inside it. Play with it furiously. And watch their amazement and irritation. A simple game for a simple species (not us, but them).

You have outwitted him already, Fluffy. But what about punishing him by sitting on his head when he is trying to sleep at night? Or just wake him at 3 am by chasing an imaginary mouse (originally she mistyped this as house) over his body.

Love George

PS. Human secretary says ISP access still unreliable. I say human is unreliable.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My journey from victim of dysfunctional home to human trainer

Dear George,
I am on the brink of becoming a human trainer and I am eventually aiming to become a human behaviour counsellor like you with a B Sc in applied human behaviour. But learning about this species and putting the information into effect is a very steep learning curve for a cat who started life in a three-walled shed with an upturned dustbin full of straw as a home. The next 18 months in West Oxon Cats Protection gave me proper health care and regular meals, but I became disillusioned with the humans who came and stared at me, and my pen mate, Mini. I simply didn't want to adopt any of them. All of them preferred Mini and they would make wounding remarks about my dark fur and ugly looks as if I couldn't understand what they were saying.
Eventually I got so desperate that I settled on your secretary, Celia. I took over the two spare bedrooms and just lived under one of the beds for two months, emerging to use the litter tray in the other bedroom, and sometimes exploring the house at night. I didn't much care for Celia until by sheer chance I discovered I could train her to tickle my tummy. I have trained her to do this for half an hour at a time. But the woman wants to pick me up? How can I stop her doing this?
Yours anxiously
Miss Tilly Purr.

Dear Tilly,
A strong wriggle usually deals with the picking up obsession - an obsession shared by many humans. You have to understand - as your further education in human behaviour will help - that this species is desperate for our love. They are naked, awkward, and cat dependant. They seek the high of a cat cuddle and will go to any lengths to get it. Thes
e are human cat addicts. They can't help it. They are people who love cats too much.
If a wriggle doesn't work, try an Miaow rebuke. If that is not enough to deter her, scratch. If further measures are needed, bite. If the human holds you high up, go for the nose. It is an exquisitely sensitive organ (though hopeless for smelling) and a sharp nip there will really hurt.
Personally I am
out of all patience with my secretary. She got above herself and has been writing a book about cats. That is my job. I am the writer in the relationship but I fear her envious nature has prompted her to try to ruin my literary career. Worse still, I have only completed two chapters of my book while hers is now in the book shops.
She has stolen my title. The working title was
Humans Behaving Badly. Heaven knows, they do. Now I shall have to think of something else. I am considering stealing her thunder by using a picture of a naked human splayed across the floor in the same way as the kitten is on her book.
All in all I am in a very bad mood with her. I suggest you use strong measures and perhaps together we can put her in her place. Let's miaow, scratch, bite, and sneer as much as possible.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

How on earth can we get proper service?

Dear George,
I read your comments about your secretary's lack of efficiency with true fellow feeling. I have been very disillusioned by my humans' inadequate care taking. They are butler and housekeeper to me but are failing in their tasks. The food is not good - mostly supermarket special offers. I don't appreciate being fed cheap food. They have failed to fix the weather so that I have to go hunting in appalling conditions of rain and wind. And the butler has stopped opening the door for me in bad weather (just when I need to hover in the doorway deciding whether to go out). He claims I should use the cat flap.Worst of all, I overhead them talking of getting another cat. I am considering terminating their employment by finding a new home. There is a promising old lady down the road. She's not as rich as they are, but she looks the type to buy me the best even if it means she has to eat cheap human offers herself.
Yours disgustedly
Gorgeous Ginger.

Dear Ginger,
Staff are always a difficulty. The below-stairs species (to borrow a metaphore from Downton Abbey) really can't think like we do. They just don't have the education and intelligence. It has always been a mystery to me why humans gorge themselves on exciting meals, different each day of the week, and expect us to eat the same kind of cat biscuits day after day. Moreover, they spend a great deal more on their meals than ours. They eat roast beef or grilled pork chop but where is the fresh roasted mouse or grilled rat for us?

(The difficulties with my secretary have persisted. Today as I was penning (I like the old idea of cat with posh fountain pen in paw) this blog, all contact with the ISP was lost. The helpline merely said "Your call is important to us" and then promptly cut me off. I coudn't even leave an offended MIAOW. Of course, all this is a human invention so one couldn't expect it to work...)
Which brings me to weather. Why can't they fix it. Less time spent simpering on the TV while pointing to ridiculous items that look like poached eggs (sun peeping through a cloud apparently) might help them concentrate on what really matters. We cats like control and we expect our humans to extend this control to the weather. I don't know about you but I find it positively offensive to have to sit at the open door trying to decide if it is worth going out.
That moment, of course, is when proper service by the door person really matters. Yet they object. "Why do I have to open the door for you when you have a perfectly good cat flap" says Ronnie or Celia. Why? Because that is what they are there for. You don't hire a doorkeeper and then expect to have to open the cat door yourself. I like to stroll over to the open door, sit there for a bit possibly with my paws one side and my tail the other, and then look up at the doorkeeper and go back inside. You can see that it riles them!
As for another cat. Why on earth do they think we want another cat?Why should we? Some of us are total loners, and most of us are very suspicious of intruding unknown cats. I get onwith some cats andI don't get on with others. Yet my human tends to think that I would happy with just any old cat. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's an individual thing. We are not promiscuous socialisers like humans. We cats have standards.

Rehome yourself, Ginger. That old lady sounds very promising.

Yours George

Friday, October 08, 2010

Gross negligence by human.

My human secretary has told me she may not be able to blog this week, due to intermittent and serious difficulties with her computer. She claims she took it to hospital for 4 days but it has come out still semi disabled. What a shower these humans are. Always complaining. Always making excuses. I am planning a claw and order campaign. Watch this space. If it works there will be a blog entry this Saturday or Sunday.
PS> This photo is a disgrace. It is HER FAULT.

Friday, October 01, 2010

I want to be alone. These humans don't understand me.

Dear George,
I am really fed up with human beings (apes, Whicky Whudler calls them). They want a cat which fits into their lifestyle and I have just been put back for the second time into cat rescue. The problem is that I swipe at them. They call me aggressive. I'm not. I am just terrified. They keep getting in my face and they expect me to be OK with that. I went back to a new home and the first thing they did on day one was expect to cuddle me. I didn't know these people. So I clawed my way free. Next day I was back here.

PS. ISP troubles mean my photo is late arriving.

Dear Breeze,
This is one of the most difficult bits of owning a human. They just don't understand us. Most of them think we are like dogs - that we will accept being harassed and mauled as if we were stuffed toys. They would be better off getting a Postman Pat toy. It would help it some of them just bought a book... but they think they know it all already. An arrogant species.

My friend Francesca Riccomini (almost, thoug not quite as sensible as a cat) has written a nice easy text for them - with great photos. I don't suppose the rescue shelter where you are will give these away but it might help if they had them on sale. It would make a bit of money for rescue AND educate this pathetically ignorant species. Homo sapiens - wise humans. I don't think so.
Here are some of the things we dislike when we adopt a new human -- instant cuddling without proper foreplay at a suitable distance, suddden new dogs, sudden new cats (we don't like 'em), human kittens that maul us, having to eat close to other cats instead of privacy, having to share litter trays with other cats, litter trays in the wrong place, change of litter, dirty litter boxes (purrlease clean them twice a day), cheap food ... This list could go on forever.
They expect us to put up with a lot and then they moan when we object... Breeze, you need a quiet home with a properly respectful human. See if you can purrsuade her to buy this book as a start.

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