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Showing posts with label heat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heat. Show all posts

Friday, January 10, 2020

Radiators versus woodburners

This time of year heat is vital to stop cats shivering through the winter. Blow-heaters ruffle the fur unpleasantly. Electric fires usually give out heat above the carpet. Radiators and wood burning stoves are more acceptable.
Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Radiators allow one to soak up heat through the belly by lying underneath. Oddly enough, humans never do this and therefore they have designed radiators that are too small for lying-down humans. Radiators, however, are the ideal size for cats.
There is one major problem. They stop working at night when it is coldest and mean minded humans also turn them off during the day, while they are "at work." No wonder so many of us stroll down the road looking for a human that keeps the heat on all day.
Wood burners are usually lighted up only in the evenings, when our humans return. But even when no more wood is added, they stay warm for hours right into the early morning. They also make interactive TV for kittens like Blossom (above).
Ideal homes, like mine, have both.

  •  For more mewsings on humans order my book here.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Searching for warmth? Try a car.

It's winter here in the UK and what is the urban outdoor cat going to do? There are no cosy hay barns, stables or cowsheds to keep warm in. So it has to be cars.
As every cat knows, cars are convenient places for keeping out of reach. Just run under one and wait till it is safe to emerge. They are also shelter from the rain in an emergency though your paws get wet. Jumping inside them is usually impossible because the doors are shut.
There is a car trick, however, that not every cat discovers. When these metal jobs have been out exploring, they come back warm. Jump on the bonnet and the delicious hot metal will warm and dry your damp paws.
Selfish humans object to the pawmarks. I can't think why. Purrsonally I find paw tracks give a delightful patterned effect which enhances the beauty of an automobile.

More tips for how to live with a human here.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Remaining a cool cat in a heat wave

Dear George,
Lately we have been hit with temperatures rising to 36 degrees Celsius and over. I’ve heard about some humans suffering really bad from this unusual heat wave.
I’ve found out that even London was hit with hot weather! The problem is that humans can dress sensible but we have to wear our fur coat year around! So, how does one stay cool and hydrated? I personally have central air conditioning but mommy did set it up on low as she doesn’t like cold indoors! So, she is dropping 2-3 ice cubes in my water bowl before she heads to work and when she comes back she’s always taking a damp washcloth and stroke me. She does this sometimes even in the winter when she thinks the indoor air is too dry even with the humidifier on! I must admit I like this very much! George, I wonder if there are any other ways to keep cats cool and hydrated. What about the stray cats and other animals? I’ve seen mommy going out and placing containers with cold water near bushes and in the ravine nearby. She even asked our neighbours to do the same! A while ago she created a “bathing fountain” in our backyard for the birds but I’m not allowed near it which, I think is totally unfair as I love watching birds bathing. And then….you know what yes, right – I’m daydreaming! Must be the heat …but she did build it. So, George, how do you stay cool & hydrated?
Princess Penelope

Dear Princess Penelope,
I have water bowls inside the house in three different places and one outside just near the cat flap. Of course, normally I prefer to drink from muddy puddles (it winds up humans nicely) but at the moment there are none.  None of the water bowls are near a food bowl, as we cats do not eat and drink at the same time.
There is a bird bath. And a bowl put out on what used to be a lawn and is now a dry dead area, full of water for wildlife such as hedgehogs (if we have any and 1 don't think we do). I sometimes drink from the bird bath but the local pigeons have a horrid habit of defecating in it, so I have to do this early when it is scrubbed and refilled. Drinking from the bird bath is another way of teasing my human.
I stay inside the house during the day, preferably on the tiled floor of the kitchen. At dusk I move out into the warm moonlit evening and start my patrol.... hunting if I can. At about 10pm I am called in for supper. Sometimes I won't come. But normally I am hungry enough to come in. 
Stay cool, your Royal Highness.
PS. You are truly beautiful. If I hadn't had the snip, I would be leaving home and hunting you down.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Help! My humans snore loudly. It is ruining my sleep.

Dear George, 
I do read every letter posted on your blog and I must admit I learned a lot over the years from you. Now, I need your help in a matter that I think it’s affecting my wellbeing.
But, here is my story. Lately my humans are behaving verrrrry strange. They started going to bed rather early; sometimes even before I finished my dinner. Then when they are sound asleep they are snoring like it’s no tomorrow and they toss and turn and puffs.
I don’t know what’s happening and I’m very worried as it looks like they have nightmares. Of course I can’t sleep with so much noise and I don’t know what to do.
I tried placing my paws on their nose but they have 4 nostrils and I have 2 paws so even if I’m successfully “suffocating” one …the other still snores. I tried to lightly pat their faces but no response; I jumped on one of them and then jumped on the other; Ugh! Some response! Last night I started meowing really loud and finally I woke them up.
My problem George is that they think I’m playing; they don’t understand that I can’t sleep because of them. I’m tired too. Day time I’m helping my mommy with her bookkeeping as you can see in the picture attached. At night I can’t rest because of them
Even worse….now they are planning to take me to a vet to see why I’m not sleeping at night and why I’m meowing and “playing” all night. How can I stop them? I don’t want to go to any vet and I want to sleep too.
Yours in distress

Dear Thea, 
The human body clock is odd. We are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk. Humans are daytime animals and will sleep like logs for eight hours throughout the night, often past the dawn. This is not natural for us. And, if the humans are snoring loudly, naturally we respond. 
I admire your suffocation technique -- though obviously it doesn't work with two humans snoring simultaneously.  You have tried jumping on them and also meowing loudly. These are imaginative techniques from your point of view and I think you should congratulate yourself on being an committed human carer.
Now we come to the difficult part which is their complete misunderstanding of what you are trying to do. Being hard asleep they do not notice the racket they are making. They see your natural reactions as unwanted interference.  So what is a sensitive cat to do?
Just pushing them off your bed is probably impossible. As I see it there are two alternatives. You could stop sleeping on their bed but this would mean sacrificing the warmth of two human bodies. It may also upset them, as human beings are often deeply attached to the idea of a cat on the bed. As a caring human owner you may feel that leaving the bed is going too far.
You could try giving yourself so much exercise during the day that you sleep more soundly at night. I suggest rushing round the house after using the litter tray, playing with their shoelaces (if they have them), running up the curtains, jumping up and down from every high surface, pulling socks out of open draws and carrying them around meowing loudly, and jumping in and out of boxes, drawers, or shopping bags. Get more active then you will sleep better. Try to entice them to play fishing rod games with you.
Stopping them snoring is just too difficult.
Yours sympathetically
PS. you could get them to read on how to have a happy indoor cat. It would give them some ideas of how to improve your waking life. Get them to ask the vet about hyperthyroidism and Alzheimers if you are an elderly cat.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I am so hot. If I jump in the garden pond, will I drown?

Dear George,
Here in the Cotswolds it is very hot. I enjoy warm dry weather but this is really rather awful for a cat with longish fluffy hair. Well, in places. My tail is gloriously fluffy so is my backside and underbelly but the top is tougher stronger hair. Either way, I get very very hot.
Naturally I spend time indoors in the shade but I have been considering regulating my temperature by jumping in the garden pond. Looks cool there. And it would easy to do. 
But - this is a big but - will I swim? I have so far never tried. What if I just drown? I know of a cat that drowned in a swimming pool, but would this happen in the pond?
Yours thoughfully

Dear Toby,
You will find you can swim. I discovered this as a kitten when I fell into a garden pond by mistake. I fell in, found I could swim and climb out. So  then a few days later I jumped in to do it all again. I jumped in a third time but the novelty wore off. I also jumped into the human litterbox bowl when I was very very young, but luckily Celia fished me out before I could drown. I think I might have as it would have been difficult to climb out. Nowadays I just go and look into the bowl because I like to see the water swirling around.
We cats swim naturally. Another sign of our superiority. Humans have to be taught how to do it. They really are a feeble species.There's a splendid photo here of Momo the cat swimming to safety after her human crashed his vehicle into a river. 
What irritated me when I read her story was that it was titled "Cat rescue". Huh. Nobody rescued Momo. In the highest tradition of feline independance, she rescued herself.
Yours grumpily due to the heat,
PS. The danger to us cats is not falling in. It is being unable to get out. Cats have drowned in water butts and dogs (perhaps cats) have drowned in swimming pools that don't have proper stairs to get out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What do I look for in a human to adopt? Should I get a pedigree?

Dear George,
I am between homes at the moment. I have a home where they feed me but they have added a dog and I am not happy about that. I have been patrolling the streets looking for better accomodation. Obviously, I have to make sure there are no resident dogs and, in my case, I don't want another resident cat either. I am a singleton by nature. Those two requirements I can manage. But how should I choose the human? Do I just go for the first one that feeds me? Should I think of adopting a pedigree?
Love Whiskerette.

Dear Whiskerette,
When choosing a human, go for function not form. Humans come in all shapes and sizes but it is a mistake to choose them for looks. What you need is a human that functions well - one that is generous with the cat food, has time for you when you want it, and in the UK good central heating is an absolute must. I suggest you make a home check visit before adopting one.
I don't recommend a pedigree. In theory cats and pedigree humans have hunting in common. Posh humans often have the view that "It's a nice day, let's go out and slaughter some wildlife." Not unlike us. But unfortunately some of them shoot cats or employ gamekeepers who do. Also you've got to think of the inherited disorders among pedigree humans, due to inbreeding (see Debretts studbook). Some people believe that the shooting stick was invented because so many toffs have hip dysplasia.
I think you will be better off with a humbler mongrel (or moggy) human. They have kinder hearts.
May I put in a word for elderly humans. They look rather manky but they have the advantage of not going out to work any more. They will be at home, when you want them. They will keep their heating on (at least in one room) all day during bad weather. They sleep a lot - which means you have a living bed warmer more often available.
Most of them have a routine not unlike ours - eat, nap, eat, nap on sofa or bed, eat, nap in front of TV, eat, nap with more TV, and then a long nightime nap. Most of them don't over indulge in human-catnip, ie alcohol, so they don't get rowdy, silly and noisy. Many of them no longer have children or partners at home, so they can concentrate on indulging and enjoying your company.
True, some oldies don't have much money but, in my experience, many of them will buy good quality cat food and if necessary go without treats for themselves. Of course they may not be able to afford vets fees but that is an advantage. We hate vets.
Just be careful about winding round their legs - you don't want them to fall over.

Love George.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Our New Year Resolutions....

Dear George,

As 2010 came to an end we reviewed the most important (and not so important) events in our life ….we decided what we want to change in 2011. Here is a list with our New Year’s resolutions:

1) EAT HEALTHY – we mean …more fresh meat like in a juicy, fresh mouse!

Say “no” to tasteless kibbles or canned food. If “fresh” mice are not available

insist on gourmet food ….cooked just for us/cats!

2) RELAX more and work less – we worked hard on different combinations/plans to either secured or to “recession proof” our food. We really think that economy didn’t go that bad…so we can relax more in 2011

How about letting humans worry about economy and expecting them to provide for us? After all ….THEY screwed up the economy, not the cats!

3) BE MORE ACTIVE – there is a lot of effort jumping from bed to bed, right?

After such effort…..a nap is a blessing in disguise!

4) STRETCH every time we roll/turn from one side to another during our nap.

We hope you agree that stretching is quite beneficial and we, cats, do master the art of stretching.

5) DO NOT STRESS over human incompetence or their lack of intelligence.

We should adopt a more “humane” attitude towards our human pets and ignore

them completely ….unless they bag us (with treats) for forgiveness.

We may have some more ideas, but we’ll stop here and wait for other cats to join us and come with their list J. So, George, what do you think? Is our list good ?

A Happy and safe 2011 all cats (and their humans)


Fluffy & Cayenne

Dear Fluffy and Cayenne,

Your wonderful letter set me thinking. What kind of resolutions should I make for 2011? You both set an example in 1010 when you recession-proofed your food. Now your resolutions can act as an inspiration to other cats. So here are mine:

1. I shall try to be more understanding of the human need to sleep on my bed. True, Celia has a perfectly good bed downstairs (it's called the sofa) but she obviously has an emotional need to sleep where I do. In 2011 I will share it with her. My efforts to push her off completely weren't working anyway.

2. Eat more. I am supposed to put up with tinned cat food and biscuits. If I sit closer to her plate, while she eats, I can help with her consumption of steak, chicken, lamb, fish and pork. She can eat the vegetables and I shall eat the protein - much healthier for both of us.

3. I will practise a more active survelliance of the kitchen - in particular, the trash can, the food preparation surfaces, and the floor near the cooker. I will also help with washing plates before they are put in the dishwasher. This is part of resolution no 2.

4. I have my eye on the old age pensioner across the field (fond of cats, good central heating but with no cat). Perhaps I will stroll over and see if he would like to offer me a meal. It would be making an old man happy and would contribute to resolution no 2.

5. Nap more often and nap in imaginative places - spread over the computer mouse, on the printer, just near the dishwasher machine (see no 2), curled round the phone, linen cupboard (of course), in the in-tray, on the lap of any visitor who hates cats.

Readers please add their resolutions in the comments section.

Love George

PS. Photo of my friend Harve, to go with his comment below.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The latest New York hairstyle - should cats shave?

Dear George,
Your blog is getting better that any fashion magazine. Better then "In Style" or "Vogue"! I like to think of myself as a fashionista ....always interested in the last fashion trend!
Blue hues, hats, nail covers, etc. Really impressive! How about hairstyle?
But..let me introduce myself! My name is Bondocella and I live in New York! And ...look at my picture....THAT'S hot & trendy in NY!
What do you think? I personally would love to be a little more of a "shaggy cat" but my human thinks that this is cool (or hot...whatever). What do you think? What is trendy in UK?

Dear Bondocella,
Your photograph without the fur took me by surprise.
You look pretty good to me, Bondocella. I like the way that the beautiful fur round your face emerges from the shaved body - very very hot. Or rather, as we used to say, cool. Your human has been really thoughtful in making sure you don't suffer from heat stroke.
In the UK, where it is cold and wet most of the time, the only cats that need shaving are those who have neglected matted fur. So cats don't shave in this part of the world. Only humans shave. (You can see why. Their facial hair is so bristly and odd - neither proper whiskers nor proper fur.)
However, I do acknowledge that some cats need to shave, particularly if they are living in hot climates and have too much fur. Is it possible to have too much fur? I fear that in hot climates it is. Long fur, of the kind humans cannot grow for themselves, is extremely helpful for cats living in cold climates, but difficult for cats in hot places.
Once again, the fault lies with humans. If they had left our species alone, we would all have naturally adapted to whatever climate we live in. My ancestors in England might have grown slightly longer hair, while cats in Finland would be very furry indeed. New Yorks cats would be sleek and short haired.
Humans have stopped us breeding naturally and have invented all kinds of breeding programmes that result in long fur, snubby faces, weird coloured fur, strange ears, and even stumpy legs. Frankly, it is not right. Some of us now suffer serious health difficulties because of a limited gene pool.
It is moments like this that make me feel it was a mistake to domesticate humans. That we have domesticated monsters who now have too much influence in our lives. I mean, it isn't as if they have good pedigrees, is it? Celia is just a mongrel. There's no class there. So why should cats have to have pedigrees? I am happy to say that I don't. I wouldn't like to have so much hair that Celia had to shave me. On the other hand, I might look rather cool like you if she did.
PS. It's important not to let shaved or hairless animals to spend too much time in direct sunlight, according to a vet that works in Spain. They can be sunburned very easily.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Teach your humans about cats and cancer

Dear George,
You may notice that there is something wrong with my ears.... it was skin cancer. I came into the care of Downham Market Cats Protection
because my owners couldn't afford the treatment and the vets bills. Luckily Cats Protection could and did. So I am now cancer free.
We need keeping indoors when there is a great deal of sun. My owners didn't know this, though my new owners do now. It's particularly important in the middle of the day when the sun is at its height.
Please can you warn other cats so that they can wise up their humans and help protect us.
Love George, your white namesake.

Dear George,
Cats with white faces are very sensitive to sunburn on the non-furry bits - ear tips, eye rims, and nose. Sometimes they suffer from solar dermatitis which is the pre cancerous condition. This may then turn to cancer.
How can humans recognise it? The flesh looks as if it is being eaten away. The ear tips shrink. The area may be crusty and scabby. The tumour is not a lump but more like a red crater with a rim round it.
Some people put sun lotion on their cats but nobody knows if it works. And besides, we normally lick it off. So it is best to make us take a siesta inside the house. We can sun ourselves on the window sill as the sunlight is safe if it has passed through glass.
We cats also need to purrsuade our humans to stop smoking. Scientists have looked at cats with squamous cell cancer and discovered that they are more likely to have been exposed to tobacco smoke. The reference, for anybody who doesn't believe this, is at the bottom of my letter. Save your cat's life: give up smoking. I feel strongly about this as my late companion William died of oral cancer and had spent some years exposed to Ronnie's tobacco smoke. Perhaps he would have lived longer without it.

We should all support The Animal Cancer Trust which was set up in the UK to tell humans more about cancer in all sorts of animals including cats. For a special article on cats and cancer go to the Feline Advisory Bureau website.
Stay well.
Love George
PS. Ref is: Snyder et al., (2004), 'Expression and Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Feline Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma', Veterinary Pathology, 41, 209-214

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunbeams, heat and human house reorganisation

Dear George,
Do you know anything about these new things called sunbeams? They come through the window, settle on the floor and you can doze on them. The trouble is they move when you are not looking and I can't think of a way to keep them still. I expect you could pounce on them to pin them down but bunny binkying doesn't work. What can I do? I have written to Smudge for ideas but she hasn't replied yet.
Harvey the House Rabbit
PS. This is a photo of me watching TV

Dear Harvey,
I do hope you are not relying on sunbeams to keep warm, Harvey. If so, you need to stir up your humans to put on the central heating. It may be April but today, as I write, there is snow outside. One of the basic needs of us cats is proper warmth - and I should think that applies to house rabbits too. To remind your feeble minded humans of this, start shivering ostentatiously. Climb on to their laps and try to burrow into their clothes. Your excellent digging technique will be useful here. During the night insist on sitting so close to their face that they cannot breath. (I assume you are sleeping on the bed). Gaze into the empty fireplace or at a cold radiator then gaze pathetically back to them. This is the use of eye-gaze to communicate your needs. The better trained humans will respond correctly.
As for the sunbeams... No, you can't keep them still. They are even more flibbertygibbet than humans. In the long term you may need a conservatory rather than relying on these uncertain sources of heat and light. Start working on your humans to get the house organised rather better for your, rather than their needs. I suggest you keep an eye out for any conservatory advertisements in the magazines. When you find on, position yourself and gaze at it. Soon you will hear a shriek of "Look Harvey's actually reading a magazine!" or 'He's looking at the pictures!" If you can do this three or four times, always gazing at the right subject, you should be on the way to getting what you want into their feeble minded heads.
PS My favourite TV programme is the Life of Birds

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