Follow by Email

Showing posts with label kitten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kitten. Show all posts

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 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, 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, March 14, 2020

Feline plot failure

Larry the British Top Cat was within a whisker of political triumph last week. 
Larry, a master feline manipulator, is at the centre of British government (Number 10 Downing St) having seen off three human prime minsters. But he has been plagued by a mongrel dog who has been power sharing with him.
The Times claimed that Dilyn the dog was on the way out. The reason?
The pregnancy of Carrie Symonds, partner of Britain's fertile Prime Minster Boris Johnson. Human females find pregnancy long and difficult and only give birth to one kitten at a time. Pathetic, compared with our litters. As a result humans are paranoid about pregnancies.
So a clever bit of fake mews was put out by Larry supporters who feel he needs Number 10 to himself. Dylin was a danger to the pregnancy and would go.
We cats don't care much for human kittens which are noisy, leak at both ends, and very late developers.  But the absence of Dilyn would have made up for a lot.
Alas, the plot failed. Dylin stays...
 

  • If you want to know more about coping with human babies read my book here

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Does your human smell good to you?

Dear George,
I’m sitting here scratching my head as I can’t figure out how we choose our humans. I’m not talking adopting or rescuing them! I’m talking about something that transcends that stage.
Let’s assume we already have adopted/rescued them for, let’s say a month now and, of course we share our forever home with them. We all try to adjust and, if we train them well from the beginning, they’ll make good servants!
Then….boom! We find ourselves more attached to one of them! Why is that? How do we decide which one?
The only thing I can think of …..is the smell! Even so, how come?
They don’t smell like bacon or cheese or mice (I’ve heard that some humans smell like rats though) or roasted beef? What people smell like? I know my mummy’s friends buy expensive perfumes but, the perfumes smell like flowers or grass…not necessary something to be attracted to. Men don’t use so much perfume, at least not the ones I know.
So, George, what makes humans appealing to us? Why am I so attached to my dad?
Just asking,
Leo

Dear Leo,
Why are we attached to them at all, Leo? If we care for humans, is it somehow the instinct to care for kittens? Gone wrong? Or at least gone odd! Obviously we adopt or rescue them because they will  house us in the manner that befits the superior species, and be good butlers, house maids, and cooks.
But why love them?  Why roll in front of them, sit touching them, climb on to their laps, bunt them, and sometimes even groom them? The relationship between cats and humans has only been going on for about 9000 years: they are only semi-domesticated (and some feline scientists argue that humans are not domesticated at all). 
I am sure scent plays a part in why we love one more than the other. I agree that the powerful odours that females use are often aversive to cats. Men have more of a nice cosy human odour. And, of course, who feeds us makes a difference too. Follow the food bowl and you may understand your preference better.
This is one of the great issues of our time, Leo, and I am still struggling for an explanation.
Yours
George 
PS. A good job they don't smell of mice. I'd be tempted to eat one.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Celebrating Tortoiseshell Cats....

Dear George, 
As I continue to grow-up into a beautiful cat (as you can see in the photo attached)….my curiosity grows along with me as well!  There are so many things I’d like to know; so many questions to ask! I don’t even know where to start. But, I will settle for one question now and will leave the rest for later.
How and why do we come in so many colors and exquisite marks?
What makes some of us so colorful and some of us …just unicolor? I’m being told I’m a tortoiseshell. Some humans called me a calico cat! I kind of like “tortoiseshell” much better than calico. What is the difference between the two? Is this a breed? Can any cat be a tortoise? Is there something special about tortoises?
Please enlighten me as I’m also told that I have a cattitude specific to tortoiseshell cats.
So, what’s that? I’m very playful and up to cute mischief!
Just curious,
Cara

Dear Cara,
I am powerfully attracted (only insofar as the snip allows) to tortoiseshell (or calico) cats. I love that mixture of black and ginger. I particularly love the little straight line down the face with ginger one side and black the other. Cutest of the cute.
"Naughty Torties" is what tortoiseshell cats are always called. Maybe there is some difference in behaviour between colours but it is possible the lighter shades of cat are more friendly, because they are picked up and cuddled more as kittens. Cat rescuers don't mean to do this, but sometimes the unpopular colour kittens (black and brown) get less attention. So they grow up less cuddly. It would be very difficult to prove....
To be a tortie, you have to be female with a double X sex chromosome, XX, or a rare chimera male with an extra female chromosome X, ie an XXY. Males (XYs) with the dominant ginger allele are all over ginger because they only carry one X gene. Female  have two XX genes and one is randomly inactivated in each cell in favour of the black or brown producing the tortoiseshell coat.Various other coat colour genes then add white or dilute the colours.
I shall post some photos of my favourtite torties with their two-sided faces
Yours
George


Saturday, September 01, 2018

Lauging at my humans' inability to become Master Mousers.

Dear George,
Looking at my photo (attached) you might think I’m yawning or screaming but I really don’t! What I’m doing thou is laughing out loud… at my human pets! You see, I live in a posh neighbourhood where everybody is minding their own business ….neighbours don’t share too much of a social life! I think my humans are the only ones enjoying the outdoors and once in a while a BBQ! It looks to me that my humans are the only ones eating meat on our street! I don’t know if the others are barbequing carrots but

I decided to teach my humans how to hunt for a fresh, juicy steak, sorry…mouse! 

I must admit I totally failed! When I first came home with a fresh, still alive mouse my mummy screamed so hard that she scared the heck out of me and the mouse! So, I gave up on her. Next I tried my human daddy but I wasn’t any more successful than first time!

When I brought him a little bird to taste he was in such a shock that I really gasped in disbelief and the bird flew away! Phew! Damn it! I said to myself I’m not going to give up on him so easily! Next I brought him a baby rabbit! Do you think he was pleased or grateful? No! He yelled at me! Well, this was too much! Having enough of it I let the rabbit go!  George, why are humans so difficult to train? I’d like to know what I did wrong that I failed so miserably. In the meantime I’m rolling on my back laughing out loud as I let my humans believe that all meat comes from the frozen section at the superstore!

Yours….in disbelief

Bear

Dear Bear,
Humans are so ungrateful. I have over the course of several years presented my human with mice, shrews, rats (dead and alive), a dead weasel (really hard to catch), and several baby rabbits, some of them still alive. Like you, I have suffered from screams, yells and hysteria (over the live rat). It is extremely hurtful.
The live rat was my final effort to teach them to hunt. I left it in the kitchen for Celia to finish off. I thought that its athletic abilities -- it ran up the corner of the wall - would arouse her hunting instinct. Nothing of the kind.  So I had to grab it myself and she shooed me out and shut the cat flap.
The smallest kitten learns to hunt. How can these humans be so foolish. I have repeatedly tried to educate Celia - she just cannot learn.
Yours
George.

-->

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Music for cats.... where can I find something suitable?

Dear George,
I need to consult you about human music. My humans feel the need to have music on almost all the time. The male has a preference for loud rock music, while the female prefers classical music - baroque, actually. I find the latter just about acceptable.
But the former is really hard on my ears. It thumps through the house and I find it difficult to ignore. Where can I find some music which is more suitable than this?
Yours
Sam.

Dear Tony,
Human scientists have been studying this and have proved that classical music, like Mozart, is less stressful for cats than loud pop or rock.
Better still, there is a human called David Teie who has composed special music for cats! He has had the good sense to pitch is two octaves higher than similar human classical music! Cozmo's Air, so called, has a rhythmic pulse similar to purring and Rusty's Ballad has a rhythm similar to kittens suckling. The notes slide up and down rather like cats miaows.
Cats much preferred it to human music, when a scientist Charles Snowdon tested it! Teie has now produced an album which can be heard here. Get your human to play it to you. 
And make your appreciation known by purring loudly in time to it.
Yours
George

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Who gets the snip? And why Spay Day?

Dear George,
I’ve heard February 27 was declared the big “Snip Day” or to be fair the “Spay and Neuter Day”. Hmm! I wonder why one day only? Is everybody getting spayed or neutered in one day? I’m kind of disappointed as “the Snip Day” must be valid only in the UK since we have in North America a whole “Snip Month”! It looks like a full celebration up to the occasion! But, I wonder ….is it really a celebration?  George, I’m too young to understand the intricacies of the human thinking! I found human rationale quite appalling! For example: February 14th – they celebrate Valentine’s Day! Meaning …romance, chocolate, blind dates, falling in love and of course mating!
February 19th – Family Day here in Canada - Humans enjoying the “fruit” of their Valentine’s Day night! Meaning new parents enjoying their new born babies and generally speaking parents, kids and relatives they all come together and celebrate!
February 27th – Boom! Snip Day! Are humans crazy? I means who is actually getting spayed or neutered? Our human pets? I don’t think so? It is us who get the snip! So, why are humans so happy and ready to celebrate the moment? I’d like to see a human getting snipped! See if he’ll be in a mood to celebrate after that! Also, I’ve realized they don’t bother to ask for our opinion! Can I be spayed without my consent?
I’m scheduled for the operation by the end of March! So, please explain to me what is with this Snip Day that humans get so crazy about?
PLEASE enlighten me on the benefits of getting spayed!
Yours….very confused
Whiskers

Dear Whiskers,
It's World Spay Day, yes World not just the UK, according to the American Humane Society (https://www.animalsheltering.org/worldspayday). They say "creating a culture of inclusivity and understanding within your spay/neuter programs." (When will humans learn to keep things, and their words, simple.) What on earth is inclusivity? Well, apparently, that means helping people of different ethnicity get their cats neutered and spayed. Most people, no matter what their race or religion, want the best for their pets but many can't afford the snip for them.
Nobody asked us cats, of course? Do we want to be neutered and spayed? Would some of us prefer the risky lifestyle of nights on the tiles, rather than the deep neutered peace of the double bed with our humans? An exciting but short life versus a long contented one?
There are benefits of course. You won't be exhausted by repeated kitten bearing. You won't catch FIV from a mating tom. You won't leave home in order to have your kittens on the street - and then become homeless.
But it would be nice to be asked, wouldn't it?
Yours 
George.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I hate foster kittens - many of us cats do....

Dear George, 
Maybe you’ll be able to help me understand why my mum got all of a sudden “the fostering fever” – I call it a “fever” as I look at her latest passion for fostering cats as a temporary “disease”! Please don’t judge me! I know it is a very noble thing to do but….why now? I’m getting old, I got used to be the only cat in the house and, honestly I don’t feel like “fighting” for my territory! And, what’s most upsetting is that she does it so deceivingly! She sneaks in at night like a thief bringing in some cat that takes up the guest bedroom! So, the following morning I get up smelling “enemy” in the house! Ugh!  I wish she’ll stop! Last night she even tried to “introduce” to me the intruder – a perky, young kitten who just walked towards me unfazed by my presence! Wow! I gave her THAT look (as you can see in the photo attached), turned around and went to bed!
I am very upset! Not talking with anybody!

Shumba

Dear Shumba,
I so much sympathize. Cat loving human pets sometimes think we are dogs. We are not. Most cats have strong feelings about territory and do not like feline intruders.
My pet Celia does the same. Only, thanks be to the Higher Cat, she never introduces us. Particularly since I dislike all cats, even kittens, in my home territory. I will tolerate their presence in the spare room but nowhere else. Luckily my views are respected and the kittens stay there.
There are laid-back cats that like kittens. My friend Toby is one of them, so while a foster kitten  is still in a kitten pen, Toby goes in to see if there is any food around. Celia does this to assess whether the kitten will be suitable for a home with a resident cat. Some kittens fall instantly in love with him: others hiss. There's a sweet video of this here. Toby and Abby went on to play with each other. He never has to meet hostile kittens a second time.
But he is the exception.
Your human should recognise your stress and keep the foster kittens/cats away from you at all times.
Yours 
George

 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Just a box - every cat should have one.

Dear George,
I found this box just under the window - an ideal place for a nap in the sunlight. A blissful morning. Then she, that human I call my pet, got rid of it. "I'll take that to the dump," I heard her say.
Why do humans do this? We all love boxes. They are not expensive. Yet humans buy us elaborate cat beds, when just a box would be better. 
How do I get the message across?
Yours Tilly.

Dear Tilly,
The only way to get through to them is to use the box as soon as they take anything out of it. So, if they order a box of wine, jump into the box as soon as the wine is taken out of it.
And make it clear what you think of these expensive cat beds or cat trees by using the box they came in and refusing to set a paw on the new item. If you do this often enough even the stupidest human may get the message... We Cats Demand Boxes.
Purrhaps we could start a campaign for rescue shelters with the slogan  "A box in every pen."

Yours
George.
PS. Kittens like them too - look here.

Friday, December 09, 2016

A Christmas gift for all cats

Dear George,
The other night I was watching this video with this kitty whacking her human’s fingers.
Immediately I realized the potential of getting rich quickly by intelligently marketing this game as well as mass producing these cardboard boxes ready to use (something like “pret-a-porter” in fashion world). I really like this cat game: it is entertaining for us and educational for humans – our human pets will perfect their skills and we, the cats, enjoy the interaction with them! I shall call this “spending quality time” with your human. 
So, late at night I was sitting on my favorite counter and contemplating my sketch (both my photo and my sketch attached) planning the business venture, suppliers, insurance (what if a kitty literary “kills” her human’s finger – the game is meant only to whack not kill), shipping….you know…all that boring stuff coming with any successful business.
And, on second thoughts, I decided to post the sketch and the game on your blog free! 
Why not? It’s Christmas and in the spirit of giving ….I give the game free!
Any human can reproduce my sketch and make some holes in a cardboard box and have fun with his/her kitty.
Merry Christmas to all
Diego

Dear Diego,
Thank you for sharing this. Yes, it's a good game but only for adult cats. We can control ourselves and not injure our humans too badly. Personally I prefer fishing rod games, as humans can play them with us  while watching TV. But this finger game is fun too particularly for cats that live indoors.
It's not for kittens. Kittens enjoy it but it can make them too scratchy to humans. Let me tell you the cautionary tale of Tommy (still waiting for a home).  His humans played fingers games with him as a kitten, then when he got a bit bigger they punished him for biting their fingers. And so he bit harder. And they punished harder.....  So they then threw him out of the house for being "vicious." It wasn't his fault - he was just playing.
He had to go into rehab with Celia and learn to be gentle. 
I love the way your fur colour matches the kitchen.
Yours
George

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Rescued - severely hydrated, starving, tiny and very ill.

Dear George,
This is me, Merlina. Somebody picked me up at a farm where there was a feral colony of cats. I was so ill that I couldn't run away like the rest of them did.
Everything hurts. My eye is swollen and raw where I scratched it. My right leg is almost hairless and inflamed from where it touched the eye. It's hard to breathe with all the phlegm nearly choking me
After a vet's visit, I arrived at Sunshine Cat Rescue who put me in a kitten pen with a water bowl. I was so thirsty I drank for a whole minute. Eventually I started eating too.
Now I am settling down to a regime of food, eye drops and antibiotic pills. I'm still scared.
Yours Merlina.

Dear Merlina,
Welcome to your new life. You will now live to be a happy loving pet cat. Your beautiful grey markings and the fact that you will learn to trust humans means that from now on, it's going to be a thousand times better than it has been so far.
Your photo shows how vaccinating cats is so important. Millions of kittens die from cat 'flu ever year and the ones that survive often have long term health issues. And if only the farmer had allowed his cat colony to be neutered and spayed, there wouldn't have been kittens dying of cat flu all over the barn. It could have been a healthier happier colony.
A message to all other cats - make sure your humans vaccinate you if you are allowed outdoors. Help the local cat lovers who are trapping, neutering and returning feral cats in established colonies.
Because I was originally a rescued feral kitten too, I support Sunshine Cat Rescue in Oxfordshire with regular donations. If you'd like to help pay Merlina's vet bills, go to their website here. The donation button for PayPal is on the right, at the bottom of the page.
Yours George.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Four weeks old - abandoned twice, but now in a safe home

Dear George, 
My letter will be very, very short as I’m a four weeks old rescue and I can barely reach the keyboard! I desperately need your advice! I was abandoned on a front lawn when I was less than four weeks old. The home owner or rather said the front yard owner said she’ll keep me but later changed her mind. Luckily the next door neighbour (a very nice and loving lady) volunteered to take me in (even if she already has a rescue cat)!
So, I was abandoned twice in my young life so to speak!
My new good mommy never had to take care of such a young kitty and even if she’s trying her best we both need some solid advice! She takes me to work with her (in her purse) so she can bottle feed me but what else does she need to know or do?
George, please help!
Franklin 

Dear Franklin, 
Thank goodness you have finally found a human pet who can be relied upon.  If your new pet needs to be up to speed on bottle feeding, she can find advice here. How wonderful that she takes you to work in her handbag (or purse as you say in Canada). She must have a great boss. What a great way to socialise you to other human beings.
If you are now four weeks old, it's time to think about weaning and there is good information here.  Slowly introduce kitten food.  Because kittens need the right food ingredients, it's best to feed ordinary over the counter kitten food made by a reputable manufacturer. They've done a lot of research into growth rates over the years. Later, if you want to, you can switch your adult cat to organic or ethical diets. At the moment some of these are not reliable (because of libel I can't name names) and therefore should not be used for the first year. Home-made diets can also lead to stunted growth or even bone deformities. 
You look really good - unlike the little kitten handed into Celia last week, which had infected eyes, cat flu, hair loss on two feet, and a belly swollen with worms. 
Yours 
George
PS. Remind your human not to play games with her hands with you. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Was I weaned too young? Will I have behaviour problems?

Dear George,
I’m sitting here, on the stairs (as you can see in the photo) and left to ponder over my human’s words “that I was way too young” when I was rescued. It seems that my human mummy has this obsession about who could abandon me at such a young age.
The truth is that I can’t remember how old I was but probably I was about 4 weeks old when I “landed” into my humans’ backyard. How did I get there? No one, including myself, has any idea! Based on the comments I hear it seems that I lack some skills that only the biological mother can teach the kittens. Well, I purr-sonally don’t think I miss anything! Actually I think I’m purr-fect! And I live a very happy life! 
So George, why four weeks is “way too young” and “12 weeks is a bit old”?
Is there such a thing as “an appropriate age” for adoption?
A bit confused but otherwise Purr-fect!
CAT Victoria 

Dear Victoria,  
There are two reasons why cats should stay with their mother for about eight weeks minimum (if possible).  One is food. Mother's milk is the best way for them to grow big and strong, though they can take solid food as well from 4 weeks. If they are orphan kittens, most shelters will supplement solid food with special formula milk. 
But cats are very adaptable. If there is no mother, and they are put on all-solid food at four weeks, most will survive.  Feral kittens, that lose their mother, often start hunting earlier than those that still have a mum. They have to, if they are to survive.
The second reason is behaviour. Kittens learn a lot from the mother and siblings. They learn how to play without being too rough. They learn what is good to eat. Kittens brought up with a mother but without siblings may be less sociable towards other cats (we think). They may be more aggressive to other cats. 
If they are bottle fed by a human, it is said that they think they are human. They have difficulties mating. The other possibility - and research is under way on this - that they cannot tolerate frustration.
A mother cat starts pushing her kittens away from her when it is time to wean them: but human bottle feeders often don't do this. So the kitten doesn't learn how to tolerate not getting what it wants. 
None of this matters much, Victoria, if you have a good home, have been neutered, and have learned to be gentle with your humans. Yes you are Purr-fect!
Yours
George
PS. Going to your final home at 12 weeks, which is what most pedigree breeders suggest, is OK as long as you have had a proper upbringing with the breeder, met other cats, and met lots of humans. If you were born in a chalet and not handled enough, 12 weeks is late to learn about humans. But it is not impossible - look at Abby's progress here.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

A “Cat proof house” - what does it mean exactly?

Dear George,
I’m Pepe! I’m now 11 weeks old and, of course brilliant; I was featured on your blog before (I’m one of the cute kittens born to a feral cat rescued by a nice human). 
I must admit I have a very happy kittenhood being loved and nursed by my biological mother, playing with my other four siblings and being taken care of by my foster human mommy. But! And there is a big BUT ….it looks like I’ll be adopted soon and I’ll go to my forever home which I’m sure it will be very nice! At the moment I’m totally confused and I need your help George to sort this out! I heard my foster mommy saying that she won’t let me go until the people have a “cat proof” home and prove their abilities and capabilities to take care of me and obey my orders! Hooray! I like that! So, it is my understanding that a “cat proof” home it’s something very safe for cats. My foster mommy worries so much about our safety that I had to mastermind a “cat safe” game which actually means playing with a ping pong ball in the bathtub (as you can see in the picture). But, my confusion come from the fact that I’ve heard one of our neighbours saying that she “burglar proof” her house when another neighbour said that were some “cat burglars” lately in the area! Just by listening to their chatting it made me think that I will never be able to get into my new home since it will be a “cat proof” house! That’s scary!  George, can you explain please? 
Totally cute….and confused 
Pepe 
Dear Pepe, 
A "cat proof" home? It could be that your foster mummy is looking for the ideal owner - a human who will serve you well, make sure you stay healthy, play games with you, give you proper health care no matter what the cost.....
Or it could be that she is looking for a home where you cannot roam and get lost. Here in the UK that can mean a home where you will always be indoors, not allowed to go out at all. If so, you will need plenty of things to do - places to climb, food dispensers to roll around, toys for play (ping pong balls are great) and humans who will play games with you every day.
Protectapet fencing
 

The other kind of cat-proof home is one where people have fenced in the garden properly. There are instructions how to do this at International Cat Care  There's also a good website which sells DIY fencing or who will come and fence your garden here.
So a cat proof home should be a good one. Have faith in your foster mum. She's doing a good job.
Yours
George
PS. There is only one kind of fencing to avoid - electronic fencing which gives an electric shock if you go over it. That kind of fencing doesn't stop dogs or predators coming into your territory: it just stops you going out of it. It's not safe for cats.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How to avoid getting an "unsolicited" brother

Dear George, 
How much I wish you had never posted the letter about the kittens born to that wild cat!
Ugh! The minute my mommy read your post I knew she’s up to something!
It seems that I’m getting an “unsolicited” little brother! No, no, no! Of course my mommy is not pregnant but now….she wants to adopt the little tabby! He even got a name: Pepe! Well, Pepe is totally unsolicited (by me); he is not welcome in my territory!
What am I going to do with the little bugger? Being born to a wild cat probably he has no manners! Definitely he knows no etiquette!
George, any tips on how to be properly introduced? I don’t want him to step on my paws! Any rules to be set up? Any specific language that he’ll be responsive to? I mean …something simple as, mind you, he doesn’t come exactly from aristocracy! Or….teach me how to make my mother change her mind.
I’m royalty after all (photo above). Can I share my house with a pauper? Should I take him in my life?
Yours with apprehension
Princess   

Dear Princess,
You can't stop them, alas. Why do humans think we cats want another cat? They want another cat. It is not natural for cats to share, except with close relatives. Myself I have had to adjust to another cat in the household but I would have preferred to be the only cat. The centre of all attention. The focus of all eyes. Second, or even third cats in our territory just mean there is less human attention and less human service for me. No wonder you are apprehensive.
A very slow introduction is best with Pepe in a cat crate or a carrier or a separate room (Details here). You need to get used to his smell. Feliway Friend, a new product designed to encourage intercat friendship, will help here. Get them to plug in a diffuser where territory will be shared.
I recommend avoiding Pepe as much as possible at first. Make sure your humans feed you in different locations, not in row. Close-up feeding bowls look sweet on Facebook but are stressful for cats. In nature we are solitary eaters and solitary hunters. Make sure there are plenty of beds - human beds, cat beds, sofas, armchairs. You need a place to sleep undisturbed by a kitten.
Although it will be irritating to watch your humans playing with the kitten, at least it will mean that some of that kittenish energy will be soaked up and he will be less likely to harass you...
Best of luck. 
George
PS. Celia is helping Muriel Brasseur next year put on a course, Companion Animal Behaviour: Listening to and Understanding Animals. Animal Communication (Dogs, Cats and Rabbits) Day and Weekend Course at the University of Oxford on Fri 26 May 2017 to Sun 28 May 2017.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Born to be wild.... or perhaps not.

Dear George, 
Is this a valid statement or not so much? We were born of a feral cat but in a human house! Does that make us wild? We are five kitten - seven week old now - and quite social. We are ready for adoption (if anybody is interested). Our mother, who actually let this nice, generous human touch her, is getting to the clinic to be spayed. We heard our “temporary” human mother saying that she won’t release our feral mother back to the wild since she’s quite used to human touch now. But, what about us?
Are we going to be OK? One of the "girls' in the gang is getting used to catnip toys as you can see in the first photo.
Any wise advice George?
In a very playful mood,
The Three Musketeers (out of five)

Dear Kittens,
You are getting the best education you could have for a happy future  - warm shelter,  regular meals, soft beds, and attentive human servants. Train them using rewards (purrs, rubs, and the opportunity to stroke you) and punishments (hisses, ignoring them, and if necessary swipe and bite).
Start as you mean to go on. An intelligent kitten will have trained his human within the first four weeks to feed the correct food, change the litter tray regularly, and play enjoyable games with him. And all this without the human knowing that she has been trained.
Don't be too selfish. Allow them to share the bed with you. They make good hot water bottles.
Love 
George.
 





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