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Saturday, December 19, 2020

Cat in the White House


I can't wait for the next First Cat of the USA. The human president elect is going to add a cat to his White House staff, to join his two dogs, Champ and Major.  We don't know which cat yet but I am hoping it will be a rescue cat (the dogs are rescues).

The new First Cat will be following Socks, the last White House cat at the time of a human called Clinton (in the photo above). Socks was too easy going to be a good example to us cats and let his humans, the Clintons, betray him by adding a dog, Buddy the Labrador. When they left the White House, Socks was degraded to the care of a secretary (though a better carer than a Clinton).

The best predecessor was Shan, the cat belonging to a president called Ford. He set a good example for future high flying cats by biting the presidents wife and daughter, after being left in the White House while they went on a skiing trip.

Lets hope the new First Cat follows his example and keeps the new presidential pet, Biden, in his proper place. The White House hierarchy should be like this - First Cat, President, First Dogs and Vice President. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Stressed humans and tender paws

My paws hurt from trying to use this laptop.

My human has let her  computer get too old and it is dying on her. That is why this blog is so late. She is frantic so I decided to help her with the typing. I don't usually offer help. Altruism is not a cat thing. But I don't want to disappoint my fans.

The keyboard is great to sleep on. It's fun to walk on too. I like leaving messages on screen like this - ssrr  44444 'lkp[0\]12. These cryptic comments enhance her efforts though she never appreciates them.But it is hard on the paws.  So my message is simple. And very short.

Christmas is coming. This means your human will be particularly difficult to get on with. She is tired and worried. Christmas really makes humans stressed.

At least this year she won't be able to fill the house with screaming kids and ageing parents. The fewer people the better for us cats.

And there may be more turkey leftovers!

PS. Don't eat the wrapping paper or ribbons. It usually means a trip to the vet.

Saturday, December 05, 2020

In-between cats - how to help

 

These are in-between cats... I know them from my neighbourhood. I enjoy living with humans. I let them sleep in my bed (they think it is their bed) and I even doze on their lap.

In-between cats don't enjoy too much human contact.  These two cats have homes in Maunsel St and they get regular meals there. But they like to spend most of their time outside, living the live of a free cat rather than a pet cat.

They would be miserable shut up all day inside a house or harassed by human rescuers that want to keep touching, petting and picking up. Or stuck in a cat pen waiting for a human that doesn't want a cuddle cat.

Get your human to listen here and learn how to help these cats.  https://icatcare.org/unowned-cats/

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Feline zoom etiquette for lockdown

Good overall position with body placed between human and screen. But there is a failure to block use of the keyboard and a further failure to block screen.

Well thought out body position blocking both screen and keyboard but a failure to take full advantage of the Zoom possibilities, which include the butt photo and grooming intimate body parts.



What is the best way to deal with a human on Zoom during so called lockdown? These photos show two unsatisfactory methods. 

The most effective way is to place the backside facing the computer screen, with tail up in a friendly greeting....  

There is no photo for this, due to human refusal to take a screenshot.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Our teeth are rapiers - sharp and dangerous.

More about biting. How, not why, we bite.

Our teeth are made like slender rapiers that are deep into flesh and stay there for the death bite.They slice into the skin leaving only a small puncture mark but bringing with them infection from the bacteria in our mouth. Dogs teeth are there to slash and tear the flesh and weaken the prey with loss of blood. 

So that is why humans often think that cat bites don't matter.


Far fewer feline bites than canine ones are seen at human hospitals but they are far more likely to be infected. Add to that the chance we will scratch as well as bite, and some humans (not many) will get infections from a mere scratch. This is  call cat scratch disease.

In both cases the skin near small puncture or the small scratch will feel hot and swollen. The lymph glands near to the injury may swell up too. And if nothing is done about it, servere illness can set in. So, humans, take cat bites seriously.

Get medical help. Respect our desire for space. Do not interfere. Stay away or you will regret it!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Why we bite humans who pet



Humans are dumb animals. They cannot read our body language. I tell them I want them to stop petting me. I am purrfectly clear about it.

I start swiveling back my ears. It is obvious what I mean. I mean "Stop." They just don't see it. Are they choosing to be blind. Or are they just so stupid they don't notice.

So I "shout" louder by lashing my tail. Look, dummy. See? It's my tail. It is lashing side to side. You don't notice my ears but surely you can notice my tail.

They don't. Or they won't. So then I do what I have to do to get their attention. I give them a little nip. It's only a nip. I don't bite down on them. My teeth don't even break the skin.

Then they stop. At last.

Obviously, in order to get their attention I have to use my teeth. Nothing else gets through to them. Of course, they don't like it but at least they withdraw their hand and the petting stops.

They call it the petting and biting syndrome. I call it commonsense communication. 

  • In the video my friend Marnie shows a typical moment of feline exasperation. 

If they really want to know what a cat bite is like, they should interfere in the cat fight. Then they will get a real bite, not a nip. Believe me, if I bite you and give you a deep puncture wound, you WILL understand the difference between a bite and nip. 

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Weird cat pictures and Victorian remedies


I never thought I would say this but t
hank goodness for vets. I have been reading an old book about cats, and I am horrified at the medical suggestions. It is Cats: their Points and Characteristics with Curiosities of Cat Life and A Chapter on Feline Ailments, 1876, by W. Gordon Stables, a retired sea doctor who also wrote Medical Life in the Navy.
The illustrations are weird. Did you ever see cats like these? The anecdotes are odd - one about a tom cat on board a ship threatened with being shot by the captain. And there is even an ad for a cat medicine chest (see last illustration). His remedy for diarrhoea is this:

"Begin the treatment by giving the little patient half a small teaspoonful of castor-oil. Give a still smaller dose about six hours after, to which two drops of laudanum or solution of muriate of morphiƦ has been added. Afterwards give, three times a day, either a little chalk mixture, with half a drop of laudanum in each dose."
It's castor oil again for bronchitis and a diet of beef tea (sounds good to me) and bread (less good!). For fits, the good doctor suggests holding smelling salts to the feline nose (ugghhhh) and bleeding (uggghhh).. Then there is a disease he calls The Yellows, and suggests a horrible amount of remedies such as glauber salts, bismuth, creasote, aromatic powder and laudanum, which is a mixture of alcohol and morphine, quinine and cod liver oil.

I don't think many cats could have survived this cure, let alone the disease!

So though I hate vets, I think Dr Stables would have been even worse. He had great whiskers, though. Almost as good as mine!


 




Saturday, October 31, 2020

Black Cats Need Human Love.

Black cats feature in Halloween decorations - more is the pity. Because it feeds into the idea that black cats are somehow wild or frightening. And they just don't get adopted as quickly as cats of different colours.

In some US shelters, that kill unwanted cats, a lot of black cats get put to sleep. They are handed in on Halloween to keep them safe and die later.

I'm celebrating the beauty of black cats today with lots of lovely photos, some of them of my Uncle and namesake George who used to this blog. He stood up for the rights of black cats and, as you can see from the photo at the top was a keen newspaper reader.

Even little black kittens take longer to be adopted. So there are often lots of them waiting to find their forever home.

So tell your human to stop being colour prejudiced and to start helping black cats. 




  • My book will help you understand why humans are the way they are.


Friday, October 23, 2020

The watchers -- look upwards

 


The immense superiority of cats over mere humans is at its most powerful when we get high up. The higher we go, the more we can look down on them.

And the less likely they are to find us. It's a strange thing but humans often forget to look upwards, when they are trying to discover where we have got to.

Trees, houses, walls, the top of cars, roofs, sheds, straw bales - anywhere that it a bit higher is where we like to sit. We feel safe high up.Nobody can get us. 

And we can sneer at the dogs and the humans below.... if they even notice us.

Look upwards, humans. We are watching your every move. You don't see us: but we see you from a great height.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Ouch. It hurts when my human picks me up

Are you finding that you don't want to jump up on the bed any more? Or feeling that the litter tray is difficult to climb into? Or even beginning to think that going out through the cat flap is just too uncomfortable for you to bother? And when your human picks you up, it hurts, so you nip her.

It's probably arthritis. It begins to hurt when you do anything much, so you spend more time sleeping. Maybe you no longer want to have to tackle the stairs, so instead of walking downstairs to use the litter tray you do it behind the chest of drawers. As any sensible elderly cat would.

Your human doesn't understand. She gets angry. This is the moment to make sure she reads up on the problem here.  It is Arthritis Week for cats. 

Last century even vets didn't know that cats got arthritis. We conceal our pain - unlike those despicable whining dogs. We rarely limp and we never whine. We suffer in silence.

Yet there is so much our owners could do. They could make sure that there was a litter tray upstairs as well as downstairs. And they could cut down the front of the litter tray so it is easier to climb in.

There are little ramps that they could buy to help us get on and off the sofa or the bed. A heated bed would be cosy too. They could make sure we had regular painkillers.

Humans complain about aches and pains as they age.  Why don't they think of feline aches and pains?

 

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Ophan kittens - not just milk but mothering.

Mouse and Moley
Orphan kittens are sometimes handed into rescue and people try to bring them up on the bottle. The milk is the easy part: but the mothering is the difficult part. How will they learn to be a cat without having a mother to teach them? We cats need to grow up to be cats, not furry humans. (And who'd want to be a human anyway....)
Special milk

Mother cats teach their babies what to eat, help them to pee and poo, teach them to hunt, and give them the careful mothering they need. They groom the babies until the babies are ready to groom themselves in a way they learn from mother. They give them milk then when it is time to stop, they begin to close the milk bar. This teaches kittens to eat solid food but it also teaches that they don't always get what they want. That way they learn to tolerate frustration.

The best way to bring up orphan kittens is to put them on a lactating female that already has kittens or to keep them with their mother but bottle feed them. If humans can't do this, then they must keep the babies together or even (if they can) find an adult cat who will "mother" them without milk. 

Can't do that? Well make sure that these kittens go to a home where there are no other cats. Bottle fed cats may be more likely to be loners.

  •  If you are feeding orphan kittens read this article -
    *Little, S., (2013), “Playing mum: Successful management of orphaned kittens,” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 15, 201-210.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Kittens... who's the Daddy?

 

Yes, it is what you think in the picture..... more than one father! We, cats, are sensible enough to hedge our bets.

We don't fight over who mates with whom. True, there is a lot of noise and caterwauling and usually the biggest tom cat goes first.... if the female allows. But others have their turn too.

Why is this a good thing? Well who knows what will happen to the kittens? Will they go to a good home and be neutered pets? Or a bad home that doesn't neuter them so they end up as strays? Or will they have to live in the wild and find their own food?

Two fathers means that if the little black kittens don't thrive in the world then purrhaps the little grey one will. Or visa versa. so it is a way of making sure one or more of the kittens will have the right genes to survive. 

Humans are sometimes sniffy about our sex lives, but it is the pot calling the kettle black. We only mate when our hormones tell us to. They have sex all the time, any night of the week.

Purrsonally I find that kind of sex drive disgustingly licentious.


  • For more information about humans get this book here.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Whoohoo. The precision strike.


I can jump nine times my own height from a standing start. Beat that, humans! You never will. Even at Olympic games, humans can do nothing as strong and powerful as this.

Why do it?

For hunting in the long grass, of course. If we just pushed through the grass, the mouse would get away. So we leap up and over, with our front paws tucked in to help the jump, then pushed forward at the last minute to grab the mouse. It's called the fore foot strike.

We also use the high jump up, to help us escape on to high places away from dogs and other dangers. 

These photos are blurry because my human was caught by surprise and failed to change her camera settings. But there is a longer video showing my friend Toby on her Youtube channel here.

You will see how carefully we have to shift our weight, poise, and sometimes give a little wiggle just before we launch ourselves into the air. Front legs tucked in on launching, back legs then tuck in, and front push forward just before landing to grab the prey.

It's a precision strike - anything less would lose our prey. 

This is just another example of cats' superiority to humans. Powerful muscles, amazing control, precision and power..... ours, not theirs.


  • More examples of feline superiority here.


 


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Stand up for rescue kittens - in the home.


 These are rescue kittens in a rescue pen. Not an ideal start in life, if you want a cat that is confident around human beings. I am sad that so many rescues are still keeping kittens (with or without a mother) in a pen.

Kittens need human contact - a minimum 20 minutes daily preferably from a series of different humans. Not just women, but also men and sensible children. But that is the minimum.

I was lucky I was brought up in a home, with all the noises and smells of a human home, with people coming and going, and with a friendly dog. The ideal education for a pet cat.

I was used to all these things before I went to my new home, so I settled in quickly. Kittens that are in a pen miss out on the smells and noises of a human home, and some of them don't get enough human contact.

Purrlease tell you human to get their rescue kittens fostered in a home, not a pen. 


Saturday, September 05, 2020

Stand up for rescue cats - feigned sleep stress

This cat is not asleep. Rescue cats that pretend to sleep like this one are highly stressed. But humans often do not recognise this. They describe the cat as "quiet" or "shy."

If you look carefully at this video you will see that the cat has its ears lowered, a sign of fear. Its back is humped not relaxed. And it turns its head away from the human videoing it - another sign of fear. It also blinks rapidly.

Feigned sleep is found in rescue catteries and among wild animals in zoos. Humans do not recognise it. It is a sign of chronic stress and unhappiness.

This cat needs help. It needs a box to hide in and if it has one it will be more likely to come out and look around, knowing that it can retreat if need be. No rescue cat should be without a privacy area.

If a privacy area doesn't help enough, then it needs fostering in a home.

Stand up for rescue cats. Pass this information on.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Permission to pet - a new catumentary movie


 Do we consent to petting? - an important new documentary by George Online Cat, ie me. Using my paws to make this movie was difficult but I did it.  

OK, so my human helped a little but the inspiration was my experience. Humans must learn to ask permission to pet. We cats are sick of being picked up, or hugged or petted without our consent.

Please help me spread the word. Put a stop to human harassment. Help humans recognise the feline Yes and the feline No.

This movie is available on Youtube here



  • For more on the cat-human relationship read my guide here.

 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Naked humans and compassionate cats

Naked humans are often shy in front of us, a survey revealed last week. Naked and ashamed of their lack of fur presumably. Poor hairless humans. I pity them.

Imagine having to cover up your body with clothing, because the only bits of fur you have are on the head, the chin, the armpits and the groin. The wrong places and the wrong type of hair to keep yourself warm. That is the human dilemma.

Many cats out of kindness move off the bed when their human is about to strip off and go to somewhere private like the linen cupboard. We cats know that staring is upsetting for us: and presumably it upsets naked humans too. The other alternative is to close your eyes and drift off into a deep sleep at these human strip tease moments.

Be compassionate. Don't shame your human. Do not stare at that fur-less human skin.  At moments like this many humans suffer from feelings of inferiority to felines.  Fur envy, I call it.

 

 

 

  •  For further insights in the cat-human relationship read my book here.

 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Disappointing. Expensive new cat tree but no box.

Here is my new cat tree, designed to help me get onto the highway-wall which is used by all the neighbouring street cats.

In May she bought me an expensive cat ladder so that I could climb up the side of the house and enter my bedroom via an open window. She was going to put a cat flap in the window but I have spared her the expense.

I have refused to put a paw on the ladder. 

I am considering whether to refuse to use this equally expensive wooden device.  On the one hand, I would like to make clear she cannot buy my approval. On the other hand I have been on that wall but it was so high she had to rescue me.

The real disappointment was that there was no box for me to leap into, when it arrived. Too bad.

What matters most? Keeping my human humble? Or having fun on the wall? I will have to decide.....

 

This blog is late due to human failings. My human put her sister's welfare before mine and, because too much typing hurts my paws. I waited till she got back to dictate this.

 

  • For more information about human management go here. 

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Humans must envy us....


 

Miaow.... its International Cat Day. Today we celebrate the sheer elegance of cats.

Gorgeous whiskers like mine, so much more beautiful than beards. 

Soft delicious fur, which poor hairless humans do not have.

Ears that can hear a mouse's footfall and the ultrasonic squeaks of bats in the hot evenings and mice in the wainscot. Humans, as they age, cannot hear these at all.

Ears that grow fur out of themselves - wisps of beautiful fur that add to our elegance, unlike the hair in human ears.

Eyes that reflect moonlight back to the marvelling human that notices this. Eyes that are tuned to the slightest movement and can see in the twilight dark. 

A waving tail that helps us balance on garden fences or the boughs of trees. A sense of balance that far outbalances our humans.

A graceful body at all times. A body that is so supple we can clean ourselves all over, except for the head. We can contort ourselves so that we look at our intimate parts without using a mirror. 

Humans, don't you envy us?



  • Celebrate International Cat Day by buying my book here.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Stand up for rescue cats..... give affection

It's horrible in a cat pen, yet we have to be there if we need homes. Humans feed and water us, but do they do enough? Do they give us affection?
Just putting in food or water, or cleaning the litter tray, with perhaps a quick stroke, isn't reassuring. If that's all, we are more likely to get sick or withdrawn.
We need at least six minutes of gentle stroking, head to tail, tickle under the chin, and then more stroking every day, by a familiar person not just a passing stranger. Don't talk, just do this silently - which is the feline way. We don't like constant human jabber.
If rescue shelters made sure this was done, we cats would come to the front of the pen in hope of more affection. And cats that come to the front are adopted quicker.
So please, workers and volunteers in the shelter, please stroke more. Affection is as important as food.




  • Want to know more? Read my book here.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Stand up for rescue cats..... homeless cats

I am lucky enough to have a h
ome and regular meals. Many of my sisters and brothers lead wretched lives on the street - starving, flea ridden, and terrified. Please help them by
getting your human to wise up on what to do about them. Spread the word that these cats can be helped. International Cat Care has a lot online about how to help them - https://icatcare.org/unowned-cats/feral-street-community-cats/
Just feeding the cats, like the video above, isn't enough. But regular feeding is the beginning of a process. It is called Trap Neuter and Return - or TNR. Neutered cats are healthier than un-neutered ones. Females often die after endless kitten bearing and males die of diseases transmitted by fighting. Neutering means that the colony isn't full of diseased kittens, many of which will not survive into adulthood.
Feed regularly first. Then trap. Then neuter and euthanise those suffering from diseases. Rehome the stray cats that are used to human homes. Rehab, tame and find homes for young kittens. Return the adult feral cats to the site. Continue with regular feeding for a healthy colony and to keep an eye out for strays or feral cats that turn up.
That way, newcomer cats can also be trapped and neutered and the colony will eventually die out. This should please the people who want to see fewer cats. Their solution of merely shooting or poisoning strays and ferals usually merely results in newcomers taking over the empty territory.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Stand up for rescue cats.... when to neuter

Every kitten should be a wanted kitten. But there are too many cats without homes in this world. One way to reduce overpopulation is to reduce the number of cats that have kittens - but that needs human co-operation.
In the UK, cat rescues are beginning to change their methods. Till recently, they found home for their kittens and asked the adopters to make sure these were neutered. Some rescues handed out vouchers to help pay for this.
Adopters are only human (dumb animals) and so some forgot. Some decided they would like to cash in and sell kittens. The rescues had to follow up and make sure the neutering happened.
It was a mess. It cost time and money. Even veterinary humans were slow to realise that they had got it wrong and females needed neutering faster than they thought. We can get pregnant from 3 months onwards.
Now these rescue humans are beginning to wise up. They have realised they cannot rely on humans to do the right thing, so they are neutering their kittens before giving them up for adoption.
It's safe (researchers have looked into it) and it stops human error. Purrlease spread the word.
Prevent human error. Neuter kittens before adoption.

  • Is it safe? Read 'Help Stop Teenage Pregnancy! Early-age neutering in cats,' Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, (2011), 13, 3-10

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Thinking - the history of cat food.

Me. Deep in thought.
Pondering the cat-human relationship, I have decided it is much improved. Why? While nosing around the book shelves of my human, I came across this small pamphlet, issued by a maker of "Tibs," vitamin pills for cats. It is probably more than half a century old.
We know that humans are dumb animals. But in the l950s they were even dumber than nowadays when it comes to cats. Some of them thought that kitchen scraps (delightful though they are) were sufficient food for cats. Others believed a bowl of milk was sufficient.
Nowadays we know that cows' milk
can be very indigestible to many cats. If humans want to feed us milk, they should buy cat milk.  And kitchen scraps (preferably stolen) are no substitute for a bowl of the most expensive kind of cat food. Scraps yes, but as well as not instead of proper cat food!
We also know that cats require some specific ingredients* in their diets - ingredients which are found in a natural diet of rodents but were not found in l950s cat food.
Yes humans are dumb animals but not as dumb as they once were.

* Amino-acids which are taurine, arginine, methionine, and cysteine




Saturday, July 04, 2020

Stand up for rescue cats - different solutions for different cats.

We cats are not all the same. Some of us don't need rescuing, if that means putting us in a pen and trying to tame us.
True feral cats need neutering, spaying and putting back somewhere where they can be fed. Feral cats, left to survive on their own without extra food and neutering, have short lives full of pregnancies, near starvation and disease.
The cats in this photo were kept on a site, where the owner would not let rescuers help with neutering. When food was put out for them, they rushed to get it. They were surviving on a diet of rodents and waste products but they were far from flourishing. And all the females were pregnant.
So wise up, humans.
Learn how to rescue cats the right way.  Don't put true ferals in pens. Put them back into farms or stables, where someone will feed them.
Different cats have different needs - learn about it here. International Cat Care is trying to educate rescuers round the world. Pass on this knowledge to your human.


  • Buy my book on how to manage humans here

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, www.celiahaddon.com This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online VetTechprogramms.org