Saturday, December 25, 2010

I came home for Christmas.....

Dear George,
Yes! I came home for Christmas, (for real, not only in my dreams) ☺
Remember me? Trixy? I had to re-homed myself because of a human kitten who loved me very much but was too noisy?
Well….. I lived “on and off” next door for almost two years now! It was breaking my heart to see the little human kitten calling my name every single day and trying to tempt me with treats, but I was too afraid to be near him. He grew, he’s 2 ½ years old now and understands that I don’t like loud noises and I don’t like to have my hair pulled. So, in the spirit of Christmas I came home! And … gift to them? Fleas!
I can’t believe it but it is true. What’s really amazing is that they were happy to have me back even with fleas! They didn’t make a big fuss about! She gave me a bath and put some drops on my neck and let me sleep with the little kitten.
I only realize now how much they love me! Why was I so afraid and in a hurry to re-home? It feels so good to be back home! It feels like Christmas!
I wish all cats have a safe and loving home! Merry Christmas to you all! I am attaching a carol video at the bottom of George's post.

Dear Trixy,
Congratulations on being your own cat. We cats choose where we live and if we feel the place is no longer suitable, we rehome ourselves just like you did. Some of us set up two or three homes, where we enjoy regular meals and warm beds. I know of a black cat, Smudge, down the road from me who had three owners. Two of them thought they owned him and one knew that they didn't but they told me "he spends quite a lot of time with us anyway."
Choice is the important thing for us cats. Choice and control. The more control we can exert over our humans, the happier we are. I like to think that humans are happiest too when they have a cat directing their lives. They need a leader to look up to. It's all a question of dominance - they like a hierarchy with a person at the top. Somebody they respect and who will do their thinking for them - an alpha cat.
So Trixy your Christmas story is in the highest tradition of feline behaviour. I particularly like that inspired extra touch- the gift of fleas. You are an inspiration for us felines as a new year approaches. Happy Christmas to all.
Love George
PS. That woman has taken in a Christmas stray cat which had nowhere else to go - not a single rescue place would take her in out of the snow. I am not sure if I believe her when she tells me it is only there till Jan 2. It's in the spare room.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A cat is for life. I am a Christmas gift but a lifelong one

Dear George,

Hi, I’m Bentley and I’m a Christmas gift! It is true that I’m last year’s Christmas gift…but I’ve survived the high of holidays without being returned to the shelter! Actually, our human adopted three of us on the same day and we are still together.

One weird thing is that we were named after cars! I’m Bentley ….right as in the beautiful, elegant car!

My brother is Marti…as in Aston Martin! Ah! And my sister is …..not named after a car! (I wonder why?)

Being named after an elegant, luxurious car is not that bad as all I have to do all day is to “show off” and enjoy a pampered life. But, what if we were called Lamborghini or Ferrari? Were we supposed to “race” through the house? Are these people crazy? Can’t they enjoy Christmas? Why don’t they consult with us when it comes to names? I, personally, prefer to be a RR Phantom. Why can’t I?

George, I would like to learn more about cats and Christmas! It seems it’s a very important holiday for us, cats! What is a white Christmas? There are any other colors? And why do we have to wear that red stupid hat?

Merry Christmas

Bentley (a RR Phantom at heart)

Dear Bentley,

I adopted Celia just before Christmas too. I just had time to do so before the local Cats Protection closed down for the holiday. They won't let people adopt over the actual Christmas period - to stop people doing it on impulse and to prevent kittens being confused by too much going on during the day itself. (Incidentally, they have lots of kittens needing homes this year - take a look at the website. There are some lovely photos).

Celia wasn't the ideal Christmas gift for myself but in the long run I was satisfied by my choice. I felt sorry for her as she paraded up and down outside the chalet with imploring eyes. There are younger more beautiful humans I could have adopted, but I have always felt that we cats should give the oldies a chance. You can teach an old human new tricks, even if feline tradition says otherwise. And they are touchingly grateful when a superior species takes notice of them.You don't get that gratitude from the younger ones.

The Naming of Cats is controversial, as a human poet T. S. Elliot says. (Copyright charges are too much for me to quote this but you will find it elsewhere on less scrupulous websites). Human names for us are often quite undignified, ranging from Sooty (as if we didn't keep clean), or Blackie, to Whitey or Snowy (as if we'd let that stuff stay on our fur). It doesn't surprise me that your humans named you after cars. It's the pathetic sort of thing that this inferior species would do. I look forward to the day when all cars are named after cats - Snow Leopard, Felis, Catus, Silvestris, Tiger, Bengal, Persian, Lion, and so forth. But when did humans get their priorities right? Cats before cars is an idea that seems beyond their grasp.

That hat.... I have never forgiven Celia for ambushing me with it. She waited till I was asleep, put it on, stepped back and did the photo. Luckily it is not a very good one. You can see from my expression what I think of that hat. I would like to make a public declaration to all humans. Do not dress up cats. We hate it. It is demeaning and Christmas is no excuse.

I don't much care for Christmas, myself. I make an exception for the turkey. A little plate of turkey meat, carefully taken off the dangerous bones, is an acceptable gift. Take note, humans.

Happy Christmas to all felines.


PS. I will report next on Christmas day on the behaviour of my humans and the current status of the white Christmas (so far snow is six inches deep). If comments are slow getting on, it is because internet connection has been lost due to snow.... unbelievable in 2010 but that's BT!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Can cats make friends with other species? Even humans?

Dear George,
Can cats make friends with animals other than cats? These photos, which were sent to me by the human pets of the late Oscar Snuggles, suggests that they can. Of course the most obvious example of friendship across the species barrier is the feelings we have for our own human pets. But I am told there are cats that make real friendships with dogs and even sometimes with house rabbits (though one would want to ask the house rabbit for his opinion to ensure there is no other motive). What do you think? I am just at the stage of increasing my bond with a human.
Matilda Purr.

Dear Matilda,
Yes, there can be true friendships between the different species. It looks as if that is what is going on here. It's not unusual for animals to bond with a different species, if they were brought up together. The famous racehorse the Darley Arabian had a feline friend, who threw herself on his grave and died from grief. Some of us, if we were brought up by dogs, understand dog language and even groom our canine buddies. Some are even friends with house rabbits, the big one
s that would fight back if we attacked them.
We cats will often su
ckle other animals if we lose our kittens. In Victorian times a popular street performer was a man with A Happy Family, a cage full of animals that would normally fight. The animals grew up together and therefore were bonded from a very early age. You can read about this in a classic Victorian book, London Labour and the London Poor
Personally, I would like to turn the tables. What about an experiment with a larger cage with a family inside which included, a tiger a wolf and a human? I dream of the day when zoos contain humans in cages, and we animals stroll round eating nuts and commenting on them. "Oooh look at that one. He's got a lot of hair. Oooh look at those two! What are they doing?"
And of course, there are our human pets. It's friendship but not an equal relationship with them. As the superior species, we have to take try to train them. The apes, as Wicky Wudhler calls them, don't have the temperament or the intellect to cope unless we take them in hand.You can cuddle up to a deer without a second thought but if you do that too easily with a human, you spoil them. Humans need discipline.
Some of them have behaviour problems such as not opening the door for us, refusing to give us food from the table or even pushing us off the kitchen surfaces. But more often or not, their funny little ways can be very endearing at times. A cat's best friend can be its human - but only if it is properly trained.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

We want out -- the freedom of the woods.

Dear George,

We are two cats living in a beautiful cottage Up-State New York. (Actually we are four cats but our mother and one sister are camera shy.) We have a BIG front yard and a bigger wooded backyard.

Our human “mama” found our mother pregnant and abandoned in the woods, so she took her inside her heart and home. We have been born in this cottage and our human is absolutely lovely. She takes turns with her sister to serve us.

We get lots of visitors up here: human friends, cats from New York (we get along very well with them) and some strange looking guys as the one in the picture.

We would like to go outside to “meet and greet” them, but our humans worry that we might get hurt. We are allowed to go out but under supervision. No nights spent in the wild! George, we get lots of birds visiting us. All kind of birds!

Can you imagine the opportunity we are missing here? Do you think it can be harmful to meet our visitors?

The Cats from Up-State NY

Dear Up-State NY cats,

What a great outdoors and what a great photo... You'd be safe from those strange looking guys and they would be safe from you. You'd be safe from most of the birds - though perhaps a big bird of prey might be a danger. Here in the UK, small kittens are at risk from golden eagles (in Scotland), perhaps buzzards and possibly red kites.

All us cats would like to go outside and get in some proper hunting. Not so much meet and greet as meet and pounce! Most of us prefer mousing but many of us will take the occasional small bird or fledgling. Some hunt young rats and young rabbits. Some cats even hunt snakes (Clari for one - see an earlier post). So yes, of course, you want to go outside.

However there are real dangers to all cats that are allowed outside. Probably the greatest danger is cars - in the UK some estimates say as many as one in 4 cat deaths are road traffic accidents. Feral dogs or dogs that have been trained to chase cats are another common danger. Then there are also foxes, raccoons, and skunks. These are less likely to take on a healthy alert cat but might jump one if they thought they could get away with it. Finally, there are coyotes (not sure if they are in Up-state New York). They would definitely attack and eat a unwary cat.

Should your humans let you out? It's a difficult decision for them but if they do, make sure you are home at twilight and night when the predators are more likely to be around the outside of your house. I have always been an outside (as well as indoor) cat because I am a keen hunter but in the USA many more people keep their cats indoors. Sad for them. Good luck for mice!


PS. Some more cats and deer photos will appear this Saturday, thanks to Oscar Snuggles' human pets.

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