Thursday, May 23, 2013

No blog this week. My secretary is unavailable.

The household is in a mess. People keep coming and going. There's a weird sort of suitcase breathing and pumping oxygen. One of my human pets is very ill but they don't seem able to end it for him. It is a pity humans don't have proper vets. I hate vets but they have their uses when our health fails completely. Celia, my secretary, is therefore too busy to help me write this blog this weekend. So I have merely uploaded this photo of my profile just to share my handsome good looks with other cats.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Rain, sun, bees and worldly matters - Purdey's deep reflections.

Dear George,
You may remember me from past correspondence between us, when I told of the delights of scampering around in the snow. Not that we in the countryside to the west of London have had much of that for many a month; for almost as long as I can remember it had come down in the liquid form, resulting for me in too much lying around indoors.
You know what I mean – on the settee. On the settee back. On the bed. In the bed. Atop the nice double radiators my human friend installed. Nice, but boring after a week or three.
But at last, a week back, warmth and real, genuine sunshine! Time to get out and have the new air freshen up my fur. While I of course groom to perfection, nothing beats a nice legs-in-the-air roll on a gravel driveway, then a full-speed run around the garden with tail waving, a sudden meeting and quick hiss at my sister or mother, then, then… somewhere to hide away and have a nice rest.
I saw that a young pine tree that has been growing for quite a number of years in a bath tub has put on a spurt over the past 15 months or so and is quite a height. My human has been saying for three years that it looks lonesome and he will dig it out and set it free in the wild, wild forest that borders us. But not yet. He is looking anxious as he surveys its size.
Anyway, the pine now has a low spread of dense branches and a lot of tall grasses interspersed with things called 'flowers' around its base. Or trunk, I think it is called. And it faces the sun, backed by the house wall. Nice to snuggle down alongside, and I find that I can view the world from that ideal of positions, concealed and slightly raised. And warm. Where I can and indeed do contemplate on worldly matters.
What a state the place is in! All the fault of humans, I'll be bound. Mousing has been poor for three years or more, as has birding and even the frogs and little lizards have been absent from around here. And I hear my human going on about the almost complete lack of bees over this period. Then he goes on to blame other people, including a local Important Person who is supposed to look out for the requirements of humans, especially with regard to countryside matters.
 Anyway, this is all too much for my brain at the moment. Here are a couple of photographs showing me in deep contemplative mode, and also giving up and rolling on to my back among the grasses in the shade of the young pine tree.

Dear Purdey.
I envy you your pine scented retreat, a place to think deep feline thoughts. Odd how humans don't notice the lack of wildlife until it has almost disappeared. They seem blind to nature a lot of the time. I keep track of the mouse,young rabbit and bird numbers almost automatically as I do my daily patrol round my territory. Why wouldn't I?
Like you, I love lazing outside in the sun. Radiators, sunlit windowsills, sofas and beds are fine but it's heaven to doze outside in the sunlight, scents of grass, insects and country mice all around. I think my best thoughts then.
Yours hoping for a good summer

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What's mine's mine, what's yours is mine too, you greedy human

Dear George,
Recently I was accused of stealing human food! Well, there is no such thing as human food in the first place, if you ask me and, secondly …how can I steal what’s mine?   The weekend was gorgeous and sunny and as I was relaxing laying half in the house and half in the sun I was watching my male human barbecuing. It took him much longer than usual and I was getting very hungry.
So the minute the steaks cooled a bit I took the one I thought was mine. But what a drama unfolded when he found out. He started shouting that I stole his steak. I mean how did he know it was his and not mine? Why so much entitlement? Why does he think everything is his? Same with the armchair
(see photo attached); since we got that chair I made it very clear it is mine. Do you think he got it? Not a chance! We are fighting for that chair. Should I fight for the steak too? How come the human kittens share with me everything they eat? They just leave my share on the kitchen table if I’m not around. The female human shares too; we usually dine together! Why can’t the male human share? 
Anyway, seeing him so mad I left him a bit of my steak but do you think he thanked me? No! He started shouting that he does not eat leftovers from the cat! Wow! 
Don’t you think this is ridiculous? Why didn’t he buy more steaks so we all have one? Why doesn’t he buy one more armchair? What’s wrong with my male human? Guess….he can’t count as he can’t meow!
George, how should I handle the situation?

Dear Blackie,
Naturally you feel a sense of outrage, when a human claims your steak and your armchair. Then to add insult to injury, he refuses to eat the portion of steak that you so kindly offered him. 
I feel the same way about the butter. When the butter is left on the kitchen table for me, I lick it up and eat my portion. There's usually enough left for the humans. Do they appreciate my moderation? Do they? Hell noInstead of settling down and eating what remains, they carefully trim off any which has had contact with my tongue and then they complain there isn't enough left behind.
This human sense of entitlement, of possessiveness, of an attachment to inanimate things (including food) is one of the worst faults of the species. They don't show proper gratitude when we share with them - making space for them in the bed, or on part of the chair, or giving up some of the chicken to them. They just complain about there not being enough space or enough chair or enough chicken.
Can proper training change this? Well, only to a certain extent. As long as we purrsist quietly and consistently, some of the humans will begin to change. They will be pleased that we leave some of the bed for them, grateful if we share the chair, and they will probably eat our leftovers without making a fuss. But some will never change.
Sigh. It's not easy taking these human pets into our family. But their presence in the bed does help us keep warm if nothing else.
Yours rather gloomily
PS. The blog is early because Celia is going on holiday. Holiday? I said. There is nothing in our contract about that. She just laughed. No sense of responsibility. 


Saturday, May 04, 2013

Hot cars for cats - bonnets are inviting and safer than car boots

Dear George
I read with interest your advice to Caspar to stay away from car boots. Sensible advice, with which I entirely agree.
However, there is another aspect to cars which is much more cat-friendly than their boots. It is their bonnets. When cars come to rest, the front of them is warm and cosy. 
I live in a Cats Protection cattery, as one of the outdoor cats, and I appreciate the visitors' cars. As soon as one cools down, I move to another one. They are the equivalent of a heated cat bed with a better view .... costing nothing.
What are your views on this issue, brother?

Dear Tyson,
The front of a car that has come to rest is a boon to outdoor cats, especially those whose pets do not supply a heated cat bed. As you say, they are warm, safe from passing dogs, and give an agreeable view of urban surroundings.
There is only one drawback. Some humans are ridiculously possessive of their cars and object to us using them. "Look at those paw marks. I shall have to get it cleaned," I heard a human wail the other day.
Odd isn't it? They used to kill leopards for their spots, and they often wear fake leopardskin dresses, tops, hats and even shoes. They enjoy the markings. Many items are sold with fake paw marks on them. And here we are, decorating the front of their cars for free, and they object. 
Inconsistent and wayward - that's humans for you. I consider their attachment to their cars to be dysfunctional.  But then what would you expect from a dysfunctional species?
You may be free from human abuse, since most visitors to a shelter are going to be cat lovers. But I would warn other cats to take careful note of the human beings that enter these cars and, while they are sunning themselves on the bonnet, move off sharply if these individual humans come towards them.
It's no good telling me all humans look like to you. They don't. That is specieism of the worst kind. Cultivate a more sensitive eye for human differences. Recognise and scarper from the individual car owner.

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