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Showing posts with label furniture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label furniture. Show all posts

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Misbehaving and the night watchman.

Dear George,

I don’t know how active or athletic you still are but I must admit I’ve personally slowed down a lot! I rather get on a cozy pillow and read the letters on your blog than to jump up and down or take the stairs. I believe I didn’t jump up on a counter in the last three years… but last weekend I must have jumped up on the counters at least 200 times! Yes, you heard me right: 200 times! Why? Because that’s what some humans could drive you to do! No, not my humans but their company! Well, my humans decided to entertain post holidays and they invited a group of people for dinner. Among the guests there was this woman who tried to change the rules IN MY HOUSE! No less and no kidding!

Can you imagine that? How dare she? You see, the minute she got in she started to make faces and comments about cats and started telling my mom “Oh, please, THIS CAT can’t touch my fur coat” or “Ah, I hope your cat doesn’t jump up on the counters or tables” or “hope I won’t find any cat hair in my dinner; ha!ha!ha!.” I was speechless! How rude she was! I looked at my mom as she was trying to explain (very politely) that I’m a very well behaved cat and no, I do not jump up on the counters! That just did it! I mean …that woman and her comments drove me to jump 200 times up on the counters that night! She also drove me to jump up right on the dining table and walk between guests and plates. Then, she drove me to pretend I was falling down off the coat hanger (I just climbed on) and had to “grab” her fur coat with my claws…going down! Yes, I did all these things! By the end of the evening I was laughing my head off seeing her speechless! I bet I’ll never see her again! My mom didn’t seem to be overly upset after all but she did mention that I have totally, completely, absolutely misbehaved and I have ruined the night! She also said that I looked like a “night watchman” at times! Is this bad or good? George, I don’t know what a “night watchman” is! I assume it must be something bad, something scary? Is that right?

Honestly George, was I that bad? Would my behaviour make me a “night watchman?” What if I was right? George, please….your opinion!

Your old friend,

CAT Victoria

Dear CAT Victoria,
Shocking behaviour by a visiting human! And your human should also be ashamed of herself for not supporting you in this. This is your home, which you kindly share with your humans. Your home - therefore your rules.
And why not walk on the table? I always do. I enjoy embarrassing my humans in this way. Watching their faces express their anguish is truly amusing.
Naturally you were interested by a fur coat? You were checking it out to see if it was real or fake. Any sensible cat would do this.
Was it real fur? If it was, some human had hunted and killed it, just like we cats kill mice. But without an excuse. We have a natural instinct to hunt and kill, but at least we don't just do it to wear fur that isn't our own. And, although we "play" with our prey (because we can't help it; the instinct is hard wired), at least we don't keep mice in tiny cages just to wear their fur.
Well done ruining the evening...  If your humans must entertain people who wear real fur, they should do it in a restaurant away from temptation!
I always wonder why humans wear clothes and fur. Why not grow their own?
PS. Not sure what she meant about a "night watchman." Odd remark. But humans are odd. Something to do with the Rembrandt painting or the horror movie?

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Ways for a cat to exercise its human.

Dear George,
As much as I loved reading your book One hundred ways for a cat to train its human, I’m surprised that you never pointed out some ways for a cat to exercise its human.
I’m saying this since I’m in much need of your help in this regard. You know that most indoor cats are called “couch potatoes” but, in my case…the couch potato is my human daddy and I’m really worried about his lack of exercise.
I tried to set up examples for him but I think I must do something wrong since he is not responsive to any… such as:
  • Climbing up the curtains.
  • Climbing up and scratching the door frames
  • Jumping from the book case's highest shelf down on his desk.
I even tried the fishing rod and hanging from the chandelier with no success!
To all these excellent examples (in my opinion) he just stares at me in some sort of amazement! Do you think there is something wrong with him? Am I not clear enough in my intentions? George, please tell me how I can train him to exercise more.
Yours truly

Dear Dumi,
In training any animal, it is important to realise that each species has its quirks and particularities. You can only train humans to do what comes naturally to them. For instance you can't train them to scent or hear the location of a mouse. Their noses and their ears are too weak for that.
Exercise is difficult too, as humans are naturally indolent. They will spend hours staring at a screen and only drastic measures such as lying on the keyboard will successfully get their attention towards you.  So first, you have to get their attention.
Even the stupidest of humans usually notice climbing up the curtains and your other activities. Most will spring into action in a vain rescue attempt (either to rescue your or the curtains!). I fear you may have adopted a human nerd, halfwit or a dingbat, as Oz cats call them. These humans are to be pitied not punished. It is not their fault they lack the ability to understand us properly.
You will have to accept that you cannot change him. Don't cease your activities, as this is good exercise for you. One of my achievements was to rip out all the lining from a pair of curtains: it was a truly satisfying achievement - as you can see from the photo on the right.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Making Food into Fun - get your human servant to do DIY.

Dear George,
I am an indoor only cat and I am getting fat. The truth is that I am bored. There's not much to do in the house, as both my humans go out to work. So I eat. It passes the time. It makes me feel better. And when I have eaten, then I sleep a lot.
Every now and again my humans reduce the amount of food they give me. I hate that. It makes me feel hungry all day.  I miaow for food. I stand up on my hind legs for food. I wake them up in the early hours for food.
The diet never lasts long: they just give in.
None of us are very happy. I hate the diets. They worry about my weight. Any ideas?

Dear Herbie,
There is a lot your humans should be doing for you. They shouldn't be putting food down in a bowl. They should make it into active fun. They should be hiding it around the house. Or putting it in cardboard boxes, or in little play balls where you have to move the ball around to get the food out.
I have helped my human develop a series of home-made food fun toys - you can see them here.And check out the IKEA cat tower below made by Waltham for their cats.  Indoor cats that live in groups would really love this one. We need to get our humans to do more DIY to give us more activities and make food into fun.
Copyright WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare

PS. She never gave me credit for my work on "her"website.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Deepak Chopra .... of cats!

Dear George,
Reading past letters I realized that kittydom is a buzz! It is such a joy to see cats becoming entrepreneurs, opening up businesses, taking vocational training or simply….improving their body, mind and spirit by taking up Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Zen meditation! We do really rule the world and, I can see why….the future is ours! I had my “aha” moment when I took up yoga! I even developed an important and, in my humble opinion, revolutionary asana called “Cat Slipping” as you can see in the photo attached! One can practice this pose throughout the day, anywhere and everywhere! My preferred location? Master bedroom! 
Favorite spot? For me…. my “daddy’s” side of the bed! Time? Especially when he’s ready to go to sleep! Timing is important and mine is just perfect! Benefits from practicing it? One is more relaxed, but mind sharper, one will look younger in minutes and above all…seeing your human’s perplexed face not knowing what to do! This is priceless! You don’t push Deepak Chopra off his chair, do you?
But, my daddy dared to push me aside last night and I’m much infuriated.
I’m taking three deep breaths now and start working on a plan how to relocate him on a couch in the living room or even better….down in the basement!
George, any suggestions?

Dear Lenny,
Pushing you off the chair is unacceptable behaviour in a human. No wonder you are infuriated. You need to climb back immediately and start re-inserting yourself on the chair slowly edging him off. If this doesn't work, get on the back of the armchair and start forcible grooming of his head. If he has a bald patch, groom this furiously. If not, rearrange his hair with tongue and claw. This often makes a human leave.
Forcing a human off your bed is going too far. I think he would be lonely on the downstairs couch or in the basement. Human welfare matters. Well behaved humans should be allowed to share the bed with us, as long as they don't take up too much space. Grooming them in the early hours or merely slowly moving them into a better position using your asana while they are asleep effectively repositions the human body.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

George's obituary of Harvey the Inspirational House Rabbit

 Harvey the Inspirational House Rabbit was a shining beacon for rabbits everywhere. "He took over our lives as soon as he arrived," says Janet, his pet and primary care giver. "From the start he decided firmly what would be his own lifestyle, limitations and place in the family set up."
Luckily for other rabbits who are thinking of moving into a human house, Harvey left a record of his training methods. "It's not all cabbage and carrots being in charge of two humans and a house," he admitted. He monitored all visitors,  and enjoyed watching TV.
His diary of daily life can be purchased here
Harvey also busied himself with a little redecorating - putting frills on the sofa arm, and adjusting the carpet fringe a little. "It was all done very tastefully," he remarked, "They could have shown a bit more appreciation in my opinion."
Like all good trainers, Harvey recognised the importance of showing displeasure when training a human. "If they try to blame you for something, turn your back. If you want to object to anything at all, turn your back and sit tight."
His chapter on the importance of watching feet should be read by all house animals. It is an important insight into the world of humans. He realised that feet were the key to predicting human activity within the house.
He will be much missed. His legacy is his blog and the written version of it in a book. He also contributed photos to Celia's website.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

How to tease your human with a feather - no, not what you think!

Dear George,
I have been given two expensive cat toys by my human. One was an elaborate feeding device where I had to claw out bits of cat food. I have refused to do this. The other was a very large furry thing in wheels, which could be wound up by my human and set off across the carpet. It is the size of a guinea pig and makes whirring noise which I dislike intensely. So I have ignored that too. 
Instead I found my own toy - a feather that some unlikely bird had deposited in the garden. I have been rolling around with it for about an hours. I think it has really irritated her.
Yours Toby.

Dear Toby, 
Congratulations on a good human tease. One of the many cat rules, which help cats rule, is to ignore all new purrchases. Especially any expensive ones. A new cat bed - go straight to a heap of freshly washed sheets and sleep there instead. A new toy - look at it once then stroll away. A lovely new soft bit of cat bedding - refuse to sit on it.
Instead make your own toy. We cats can make a toy of everything - a piece of dried pasta on the floor, a broad bean, the top of a milk container, an empty pill box. These can be batted around a kitchen floor ad infinitum.
Then there are these - your human's shoe laces while she is wearing them, the blind toggle hanging down on the side of the window, the dressing gown belt hanging from the back of the door, the bit of paper hanging loose from the scratched wall paper, the ties that tie up the loose covers of the furniture.... I expect cats reading this can suggest some more.
Money can't buy the purrfect cat toy. The purrfect cat toy is one chosen by us. Puts the humans in their place and makes them try harder to please us.

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. 


Friday, June 25, 2010

Scraaaatttching......Are nail coverings safe?

Dear George,

Here we are - Yuppie & Anji – two cute brothers! We are almost 1 year old and share a house in Atlanta with a funny human pet!

We found your blog as being very informative, especially on human training.

Too bad we can’t spend too much time in front of a computer as we get easily exhausted.

Our human pet refuses to act as our secretary! What can we do? How can we train her? We also go for fancy things like…. acrylic nails covers! See, we are at that critical age when we scratch everything and feel the urge to shred everything to pieces.

We think this is fun but our human disagree…so we compromise.

Are these nail covers a good thing? Definitely they are better then declawing, but are they safe? George, we really need some advice and especially…. tips on human training!

You are the expert!


Yuppie & Anji.

Dear Yuppie and Anji,

We have to scratch. We scratch to condition our claws, but we also scratch to leave messages - to our selves, and to any cats who happen to be passing by. It's an emotional thing. Scratching marks our territories not just visually but also with scent - which only we can read. We scratch when we are stressed and we want to feel better.

We British cats don't understand how Americans can possibly declaw their cats. In the UK it is a banned operation and any vet who did it would be in trouble with our cruelty laws. We don't much use nail caps here in the UK either - probably because most of us cats have access to outdoors and can scratch the local tree trunks. I think nail covers are safe, but they are a bit of a bore for both cats and humans. However, they are much much kinder than declawing.

Go for the natural kind solution. Instruct your human that you need a proper stable scratching post in every room where you might want to scratch, not just in one room. It must be large enough to allow us to stretch while we scratch. Don't let her get rid of an old scratching post. The tattier and smellier a scratching post gets, the more we cats like it. There is a depth of scent which a mere human will never understand. (Humans have pathetic claws, really pathetic!).

Some of us cats prefer horizontal scratching posts, or slightly angled ones. The surface has to be just right for us. People studying feral cats have noticed that they scratch along the walkways of their territory - but only on certain trees, not on others. Some trees just don't have the right physical surface. Incidentally, some of us enjoy scratching those roughly textured plant containers bought at garden centres (weighted down by a bag of sand in the middle). Some enjoy a tree trunk placed indoors. Others like cardboard scratching pads. Get that human of yours to offer you several kinds of scratching materials and see which you prefer.

Personally I enjoy the creative side of scratching armchairs, wallpaper and the side of the bed (so useful for waking your human up when it is time for an early hours snack). Here is a photo of me in artistic action. But Celia has fought back in a way I consider thoroughly philistine. She buys double sided carpet tape (or Stickypaws) and places this on the side of the bed or on the furniture. It feels really awful and I stop scratching on the site for at least a month, sometimes three months at a time. I had plans to redecorate the whole house with frilled curtains, frilled soft furnishing and really nice catseye-level frilled wallpaper - and she put a stop to it.

Humans.... they don't get it do they? What a selfish species.



There's a big Facebook group Claws 4 Paws. Join it to show you are against declawing.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why buy scratching posts when furniture is better?

Dear George,
Coud you advise me how I can dissuade my human from investing her money on scratch posts and balls with bells. Furniture and a length of string, or even a shoe lace, are perfectly adequate. The money could be far better employed on chicken breasts and plaice.

Dear Vincent,
It is one of the most irritating things about humans that they buy us presents they think we ought to like and then are amazed when we don't like them. The scratching posts they buy are almost always too small or, if they are large enough for what I call a full-body scratch, then they are usually too wobbly. There are some quite nice cardboard ones, which are at an angle to the floor but when my human installed one and I used it vigorously, she took it away because she said the cardboard pieces were messy. Apart from these my own preference is for the sisal ones but some cats prefer the carpet covered post. AFter scratching the carpet post for a time they then discover scratching that the real carpet is much more pleasurable. And the humans are surprised! Yet they encouraged this by buying the carpet-covered post in the first place!
Worse still, if we do condescend to use one of the posts, just when it is getting nicely smelly from the pads of our feet with interesting bits falling off it, the humans change it. We like scratching posts with bits of sisal or carpet hanging down. We like to see the results of our scratches! But just when we have run in the post, so to speak, they get rid of it. They throw it out just when it has been scratched to our idea of perfection. What fools they are! Then they are amazed when we refuse to use a new one.
So what can you do about it? Very little, I fear, Vincent. Just never EVER use it. It is always good for humans to have their wills thwarted. It keeps them in training. I never use a new cat bed for at least three months or more. I turn up my nose at any new toy. And I particularly boycott anything expensive which is bought for me. It keeps humans in their place.
So ignore those balls with bells. Why should a cat want a rolling ball with a bell? We are neither dogs nor vicars. Continue to use the furniture for scratching. If there is no string available as a toy, pull out a shoelace or two, preferably while the shoe is on the foot.
Oh yes, have you thought about scratching the wall paper. A wall with strips hanging off it is a lovely sight. It makes a room look like an art installation.

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