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Showing posts with label human stereotypies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label human stereotypies. Show all posts

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Training my human -- should I purrsist?

Dear George,
My name is Prudence, like you I am a black cat, and like you I am lively, highly intelligent and insatiably curious. Unfortunately my human Rose went off to university leaving me stuck at home with her rather dim mother, whom I have spent several years trying to train. I have managed to get her to understand a variety of very simple MEOWs: - Get Up its 5am! Open the door NOW! Any nice food in that bag? Catnip NOW! but we seem to be reaching her limit of understanding. 
Any ideas on how to extend her ability to learn would be most useful. I am getting bored of saying the same old meows every day. 
I do rather wish I could have gone to university too, perhaps to study human behaviour and cognition. Or mice.
Best wishes, Prudence

Dear Prudence, 
You have done well to train your older human so effectively. It will not be easy to improve her much more. Do you have the time and the patience to purrsist? You might try training her (if you have not already done so) to buy the right kind of cat food.
This requires self discipline, because it is done by refusing to eat inferior brands or, at least, pretending to eat with great reluctance, then covering the food as if it was something in the litter tray.  (Yes, you can of course eat this on the sly from the food recycling bin once she has thrown it out).  Loud purring when you get the right kind of food followed by a lot of rubbing against her will reward her. Most humans can learn which food to choose on the supermarket shelves.
I am sorry to hear about Rose. Humans that get obsessed with studying often suffer from stereotypic repetitive behaviour. Celia has been particularly trying lately, spending all her time on the computer and showing every sign of being stressed out. At her age she should know better and would do, if only she was a cat.
Many Oxford and Cambridge colleges have career opportunities as the college cat. Register with Felinked in. Purrsonally I wouldn't bother studying human behaviour at university - it is blinding obvious that the species is just thick.
PS. More details of college cat life here.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Hsss..... growl.....that's what I think of celebrity cats....

Dear George,
Celebrity culture really annoys me. It's bad enough when humans do it. I'm a Celebrity Get me out of Here, for instance, shows the innate trashiness and lack of intelligence of the human species.
But now cats are muscling in - Doing the Rounds with Oscar. What's so special about Oscar? Just a cat that lives in a nursing home.  A street cat named Bob. There are thousands of cats on the street so why highlight just one of them?
The latest celebrity memoir is Tilly the Ugliest Cat in the Shelter. This really infuriates me as it seems she is proud of being ugly. We cats are graceful and beautiful. Why sink so low as to be proud of being bad looking?
Yesterday, I felt I simply had to express my feelings about this ridiculous trend in celebritising cats. I sank my teeth into the offending book!
Tore it to pieces. I felt better after that. Sort of purged.
Disgusted of Brixton

Dear Disgusted of Brixton,
I share your loathing of celebrity culture. Its meaningless and the pathetic humans that take part in it. I don't know even who they are most of the time. My interest in TV is focussed solely on wildlife programmes and I usually just sleep through the rest of it. MIndlessness may appeal to humans: but not to me.
I am less sure about this trend for feline memoirs. Is it a step forward that, for the first time in years, cats are becoming celebrities? In one sense I think it is. Putting felines in the forefront of literature must be a good idea. True, we have had Saki's short story about Tobermory, and several Thomas Hardy poems about cats, but the idea of cat personalities has never really made it into the lower forms of popular literature. Till now.
Like you, I feel some of these books are frankly undignified in their appeal to those dumb creatures who are our pets. Yet humans, intellectually limited as they are, really seem to like these stories. I am not sure why but I feel we should encourage our inferior species to study us. And these books usually contain one or two necessary bits of information, the pill below the sugared surface so to speak.
Yours still pondering,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Help my human is a paparazzi - she's always papping me.

Dear George
My human is obsessed with this thing she calls a camera; I know I'm very cute, but I only have to roll over or play with something and she gets out this great black thing and clicks away. But it's not just me she clicks at, I've seen so many cat faces on her computer screen that it makes me worried that she is going to get a lot more cats to crowd out the house! (At the moment it's just me and my bigger brother, and we rub along OK, mostly.) I've heard her say that the pictures of cats are for something called a 'website', which belongs to some nice people who try to find homes for poor lonely cats, ( <> ) but I know she gets very interested in some of them, and would like to bring them home. I don't want to share my human with any more cats - I sometimes have to push my brother off the bed when he's taken my place beside her! (It's really easy, I just wash his head hard till he gets fed up and goes away to sleep somewhere else.) Luckily the other human is dead against any more cats, so I think we are safe, at least for now, but it's quite worrying.
Love Pansy

Dear Pansy,

Humans are obsessive by nature. My own is just as bad. She's got completely overcome by the desire to photograph cats, so much so that she puts the brakes on, j
udders to a halt, just to photograph any cat at all. And if she has to continue driving, she literally moans with frustration about the photos she didn't get - the cat on the roof, the cat raiding somebody's goldfish pond and so forth.
Obviously she photographs me - though she says the black makes it a bit difficult. I say not at all. Black is the most beautiful of al
l colours. I am adding a couple of black cats, myself included, just to make the point. I rather like the shaft of sunlight hitting me, as I play with a dead mouse - like one does.
It's not just taking our photos, is it? I think Celia shows signs of cat addiction. She spends a lot of time thinking about
cats, obsessing about cats, planning her next cat, worrying about whether she has enough cats, and the only reason why she hasn't got hundreds of us, is that William and I would object strongly. In her heart of hearts she knows that our welfare must come before her disordered desires for too many felines. Her local branch of cat rescue is There are usually a few black ones on the website because for some reason, although black cats are thought lucky in the UK, they are harder to home. People seem to think tabbies are prettier - how wrong they are.
It's quite amusing to tease human photographers. Put on a nice pose. Wait for them to run for their camera. Then just the instant they get it out and begin to focus it, drop the pose. A tease variation on this is just to walk towards the camera and rub on it. That frustrates any hope of a good photo. And it is fun to tease humans. They are so simple minded.
Love George
PS. Please sign this petition against the cruel practice of
pulling out cats' claws. Cats need their claws just as much as humans need their fingernails. If not more. Click here -

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Outrageous human behaviour - screams over mice

Dear George,
Do you know of any books, something like “Understanding your cat for dummies”?
If you do, please let me know. If such book doesn’t exist yet, please write one; my “parents” can be such an inspiration ☺ They are DUMMIES!!!!!!!
Last Sunday I was expecting to have breakfast with my mom when she, instead of making breakfast, picked up the phone and started talking with a friend!
So, I waited (quietly) for her to finish her phone call. After about 30 minutes staring at her, I said to myself; “fine, let’s help her with breakfast”. That’s when I brought in the first mouse (quite dead) which I deposited at her feet.
She didn’t even blink. I could not believe this; usually she freaks!
So, I waited for a sign from her! Nothing! She was still on that damn phone talking and talking and talking! I couldn’t take this any longer, so….I went out and got the second mouse (alive, but dizzy) that I deposited at her feet. She still didn’t blink! I tried to tell her…”hey, mommy….breakfast is served”! But, no response from her.
So…I started “eating” my breakfast alone! That’s when they both jumped, screaming and yelling and scaring the hell out of me! WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE who call themselves “my parents”? He grabbed my mouse and threw it away!
Now, tell me George, what parent would take the food from their kid’s mouth and threw it away? See what I mean? You tell me what I should do now!
With lots of love …but …speechless, Minnie

Dear Minnie,
Humans ARE dummies. All cats over the age of eight weeks (old enough to understand humans) agree with your assessment. There's something seriously wrong in their attitude, particularly their attitude when we are kind enough to bring in mice for them. Do they tuck in and thank us? Do they praise us for our keen hunting skills? Do they gather round to admire us as we eat them? NO. NO. NO.
It is particularly painful for us when they just don't notice. Phones seem to do that to humans. They place these items (which can occasionally make interesting squeaking noises) near their ears and they vocalise repeatedly and meaninglessly into them. Very odd, very dysfunctional, behaviour. I personally have tried to take part in this, pushing my nose between phone and cheek, and received some very unpleasant human brushing off behaviour. It's some kind of sterotypic behaviour, compulsive and out of their control.
As for the screaming at mice... that can be more fun for us. Humans that jump up on chairs to avoid living mice are at least noticing us. I quite enjoyed Celia's frantic attempts to catch living mice, using a Wellington boot. The other day she had to try and catch a small wren nestling which (because wrens hide in small places like dry stone walls) flew into the corner of book cases etc rather than flying towards a window. It took her two hours to catch it in a dishcloth and liberate it. It had taken me a mere five minutes to grab it in the first place.
But, as you say, the principle is outrageous. They STEAL our mice. Without shame or second thoughts. Humans, why do we love them? Sometimes I don't know if I do.
Love George.
PS. Celia has just finished a book titled Cats Behaving Badly and Why we Still love them. I am busy writing the synopsis for a Cats' Guide to Humans so as to have my say.
PPS. Lovely tummy!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Interrupting human computer behaviour

Dear George,

My human housekeeper, Jilly, is failing in her duties. Her time should be spent caring for the four of us, keeping the wa
ter bowl clean and filled up, renewing the dry food in the kitchen feeding bowl, heating the house to a tolerable level for cats, turning down the beds for us, providing a warm lap at all times and providing emotional support at all times. It's not much to ask. She doesn't have specifically to cook for us. Although we appreciate it when she shares her meals, we don't demand cooked food for every one of the 12 or so meals we like to take through the day and night. However, her care is substandard. She is spending a lot of time staring into a square lighted box, where a series of mouse tracks appear. I think it may be obsessive compulsive disorder or a kind of stereotypy. Any ideas of how to prevent this stereotypic behaviour in humans?
Dear Blaireau,
There are several stereotypies or obsessive disorders in humans. As you say, one of them is the compulsive vigilance associated with the square screen of a computer, across which mouse tracks are seen. I am told that 30 years ago, this kind of behaviour was almost unknown, as computers were not found in the territory that humans share with cats, ie the household home. Such installations, with their ability to turn humans into computer addicts, were only found in the human hunting territory, ie the so called office, and then rarely.
However, for many years, there has been another square screen. This can be black and white or nowadays in a black and white version with some semi-coloured green and red version. (Humans appear to see a wider range of colour than us as they describe this as "coloured" TV.) The screen has a series of very small flickering dots through which we can see vague shapes and the humans appear to see as definite shapes. Humans also watch this obsessively.
The human obsession with TV is relatively easy to live with. First, the screen emits interesting noises such as mouse squeaks, bird song and occasionally (on Animal Cops Houston, my favourite programme where very large women rescue very small kittens and cops turn up armed to the teeth to help subdue animal hoarders) cat noises. There are also snoo
ker games with moving coloured balls, just about clear enough for us cats to follow. I take an intermittent interest in TV programmes, myself, though obviously I am not an obsessive watcher like my human.
However, we can also use TV-watching time for my own interests. Humans have an unfortunate habit of being busy around the house doing displacement activities when they should be cat caring. A human watching TV offers an inviting lap and, even though humans are not as intelligent as cats, they are capable of doing two things at once - stroking us at the same time as watching.
TV watching can be interrupted by jumping on top of the set and looking cute. Angling a tail across the screen, attacking the screen, sitting in front of the screen and mimicking the human compulsive viewing. This activities will often distract the human and make them attentive to us again. I have added a photo of myself on top of the TV to show the sort of thing.
These can also be used to interrupt a human at its computer. Other possibilities involved the keyboard, a device which seems to influence the mouse tracks on the screen. Press this with your paws. Anywhere will do.There will be a satisfying change on the screen. If you simply stand immobile on the keyboard, a series of identical tracks will appear from left to right continuing downwards in ever increasing lines.
Then there is the "mouse". I have not mastered feline use of the computer mouse. Any suggestions for this or other TV games?

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