Saturday, June 29, 2013

Difficulties with household staff - litter tray training

Dear George,
You know my humans, Merrie and Robin so I am writing to you for advice.  With the very cold winter they provided me with an indoor lavatory in the garage and at night moved it into the kitchen as I sleep in the breakfast room. They won't allow me on their bed any more as they say I fidget and wake them up.  When it got warmer and I was able to come and go more easily and visit my house next door without being carried because it was cold, snowy or wet, they had the cheek to remove the tray at night from the kitchen.  They thought as I was peeing in the garden again, Robin didn't want the bother of carting the tray from the garage into the kitchen.  Naturally I piddle in one corner when I wake up in the night or morning.  Why should I go out through the cat flap in the early morning when I am nearly nineteen years?  The staff have no consideration. They are putting disinfectant down  but I am continuing. 
Yours in disgust at human failings,

Dear Lily,
We all have problems with staff. Incompetence and lack of intelligence are common human failings. There are so many human idiocies here, that I hardly know where to start.
First, the litter tray.You are an elderly cat and like other oldies (human as well as feline) you need to be able to get to the loo in time.  You should not have to struggle out in the frost in winter and the rain in the so-called British summer. So, you need a loo indoors in the warm - not too close to the food bowl. Do they have a utility room or  downstairs human lavatory that would be suitable?
Secondly... the disinfectant. Your staff are obviously totally untrained in proper cleaning. I love the smell of disinfectant and I expect you do too. Stupid humans who are smell blind think disinfectant smells of lemon or some other scent. We know that it smells of cat pee. So naturally, we pee on top of it. "Cleaning" cat pee with disinfectant is like putting up a notice "Pee here" for us cats. Tell your human to contact Celia's website on how to clean up.
In general, Lily, I wonder if your humans need more training. Human intelligence is severely limited and household staff really can't cope unless they are properly trained. Put more effort into this. 
Yours George
PS. Reclaim your bed. If you fidget, they can always sleep downstairs on the sofa or in the spare room. What is the world coming to when humans think they can take over our beds.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I LOVE my strawberries....

Dear George,
I just LOVE strawberries (as you can see in the photos) but my humans won’t let me have any. And I want to understand why?
I love catnip and they let me eat as much as I like. So, why can I eat one freely and not the other? I tried to convince them that eating strawberries, it’s safe but they won’t listen to me.
I even made them watch a video showing a tabby eating a piece of strawberry. It seems that nothing can convince them. Maybe you’ll be able to give some advice as they snoop around and read your blog.
Very frustrated

Dear Fluffy,
It's the smell, isn't it? Does something for me too. I draw in a big breath through my nose right into that extra nasal organ that the smell-blind humans don't have. And then there's a feeling like, well, ecstacy....  Humans seem to get this sniffing recreational drugs. Then they get addicted to it. I just sniff the berries and move away when I have had enough. Like catnip. I use it but (unlike humans) don't abuse it.
I am a recreational user of all sorts of smells - pears, nail varnish, olives, Vick vapour rub, bog beans and valerian in the garden. Some cats go further and eat their catnip and some of these other things. I don't. As I see it, I sniff and go. If I ate it, I might to myself some harm or (in the case of strawberries) just get a stomach upset. They are not on any of the list of poisonous plants but eating more than a tiny nibble just might give you the runs.
We cats are moderate in our use of drugs, whether sniffing or eating. Another sign of innate feline superiority. Humans are often not. Ever seen your humans with a hangover? Mine used to suffer badly from these until I purrsuaded her to give up alcohol. 
So sniff but don't eat, Fluffy.
Love George

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Freedom..... why do humans fuss so much?

Dear George, 
I’m Zoe – remember me? About two years ago (on a sunny Father’s Day) I was rescued from a shelter as my human daddy fell in love with me – I was such a cute kitten! It was love at first sight. Well, I grew up since and I’m very proud to announce that in these two years I trained my humans unexpectedly well and I even got “my human mommy” hooked for life (of course to me). But, all this time I was kept indoors as they were too scared to let me out in the backyard. But now, I finally can claim……VICTORY!
I convinced them to let me out to enjoy my beautiful backyard.
At the beginning they let me out in the garden on a leash and under their strict supervision. Now they start letting me out free, no more leash but I think they are stalking me. If I jump trying to catch a butterfly ….they jump from a nearby bush. If I hide under a bush hunting something….they come to see what I’m doing. I really enjoy the garden - as you can see in the pictures - but how can I make them stop stalking me? I don’t want to call the police on them. Any tips? I’m so happy to be free in the garden!
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers!

Dear Zoe,
Looks like you are having a great time in the garden. I can see you are measuring up that fence with the idea of climbing over it. And it's lovely to nap on a bed of flowers, isn't it?
The freedom issue is a tough one for us cats. In the USA veterinary humans (grrrr... how I loathe vets) are in favour of keeping all cats indoors. What do I think of that? Well to me it seems like keeping us captive in a zoo. Not an impossible life but a diminished life - unless humans do a lot to entertain us. And by the way they can get some tips here. I suppose if you have never known freedom, then you don't know what you have missed. The feral cat down the road says this to me when I discuss my lack of interest in sex after the snip.
But you have made your bid for freedom. I suggest luring your humans into a state of relaxation about it. Humans can't help worrying. It is part of their emotional dependence upon us cats. They may seem like adults or father figures; but at heart they are just kittens when it comes to their relationship with the superior species, us. They are neotonised - that's the posh word for it. We are the grown ups.
So don't let them see you eyeing up the fence. Pretend that you are happy just to chill out in the garden. Give them a month of this, and they will stop worrying.
Then you can whisk over that fence for a look at the big world outside.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Dear George,
Should I marry my human?  This is the issue of the day, now that Karl Lagerfeld the fashion designer has admitted that he wants to marry his cat, Choupette. He has fallen in love with her.
Nothing surprising about that, you might say, - the falling in love. We know that humans can become almost entirely emotionally focussed upon their cat or cats. Some refuse to go on holiday or even away for the day, because it will mean an absence from their loved one. 
But marriage? This isn't really a feline relationship. We do friendships but not marriage. I wonder if it would just make the human even more hopelessly dependent. What do you think?
Yours doubtfully

Dear Beauty,
Marriage between a cat and a human would not be a good idea. Sure, humans might want it and might enjoy it. But it will put an awful strain on the cat. We felines like our freedom - freedom to walk down the road for a second breakfast, freedom to sit by another person's fire while our humans are out, freedom not to come when called. Marriage would be the union of one person and one cat for life - no two timing.
Besides, it is unnatural.There, I have said it. We don't do that sort of thing. Those of us lucky enough to have kept our sexual powers, go out on to the roof tops to mate. Most litters of kittens have more than one father. We queue up for it! It makes perfect sense, in an evolutionary way, to have a diverse litter so that more kittens may survive. That's not the way of marriage.
You have also spotted the other major problem. Humans can become hopelessly dependent on us - Karl Lagerfeld is a good example of this. We need to help them be a little more adult about their love for us and a little less needy. Marriage won't help: it will harm these pathetic humans.
Yours sincerely
PS. I wouldn't want to marry Karl Lagerfeld or even have a civil union with him. He's too old for me.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Are humans capable of feeling grief?

Dear George,
Do humans mourn the loss of another human? Are they intelligent enough to recognise that  a human is dead? Should we take any special measures if our humans lose a loved one?
Yours thoughtfully

Dear Ziggy,
As you know humans are not a highly intelligent species, but I believe that they have the same feelings as we do, even if they are unable to think higher order feline thoughts. So we must assume that they do mourn the loss of a loved companion.
The signs of mourning in a human are water leaking from the eyes, confusion, exhaustion and breaks in the normal routine. I am currently seeing this in Celia, who is mourning her companion human Ronnie. I made sure she saw the body, so she knows he is dead.
I am ensuring she tries to follow some of her normal routine by insisting on breakfast at the normal time, so that she eats some too. At night I take up extra space in the bed, so that she does not so badly miss the warmth of his body. I am also showing her extra affection through the day. She is finding this comforting.

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