Follow by Email

Showing posts with label purr. Show all posts
Showing posts with label purr. Show all posts

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Of cats and feline temper.....

Dear George, 
I think I have an anger management and impatience issue! Don’t get me wrong – I do a lot of soul-searching and self-development work! I meditate, I do yoga (as you can see in the photo attached), I chant (ah! you should listen to my meowing repertoire) and, still, at times, I feel like smacking someone, especially my humans when they don’t understand or pretend do not understand and are slow reacting to my demands! They say I’m high maintenance! Of course I am – I’m royalty after all, right? But, if I snap it won’t be pretty! So, George, do you think it’s me? What do I do?
Impatiently yours,
CAT Victoria

Dear Victora,
You are not alone. Dealing with humans on a daily basis can be absolutely maddening. It's been argued that humans can think but, apart from "higher" order thoughts such as Freudian analysis, Brexit and the God particle, it seems to me that they are just dumb animals. They lack both wisdom and understanding.
Be patient. I know you can be, because all cats are patient enough to sit at a mouse hole waiting for a mouse to poke its nose out. Apply this patience and your own purrsistence to your relationship with humans. They may have poor purrception but they can be trained. Do not give up. 
Yoga for cats works. It is true that we do have a little difficulty with one of the five guidelines for a harmonious life – asteya, non-stealing, but we are truly skilled in brahmacharya, the wise use of energy.
PS. My nephew George is working on a book that will help cats in their dealings with humans.  It will be published in the UK this September.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Do they know we love them?

Dear George, 
Last week was Valentine’s Day and my humans gave a cozy candle-light dinner for me. We shared the food less the chocolate cake but that’s all right as I love better my healthy cat treats made with wheatgrass and catnip!
It is true thou that no matter how dummies our human pets are we still love them.
We know, for example, how much you love Celia. And that’s all right too. You let her get away with lots of things out of pure love. I’m sure we all try to tell our humans every single day how much we love them but I’m not sure they all understand. 
Since you are the human behaviour expert what’s your opinion? Do they understand why we head butt them? Or why we purr loudly? Or kneading? Or giving them those little “love bites”? Or cuddle with them with our tummy up? What do you think?
I’ve turned upside down (as you can see in the photo) to understand them and understand their signs of love. How do they tell us “I love you”? What signs should we look for?
CAT Victoria

Dear Victoria,
How far do our humans understand that we love them? They are pretty dumb when it comes to understanding our behaviour, partly because they are so blind to our body language. They sort of understand purring, head butting and kneading. But how many humans do you know, that can distinguish between the slow blink "I love you" and the fast blink "I am frightened so I am cutting off eye contact?" Not many, I fear.
So what are the signs that they love us? Well, they are very vocal and most of them pitch their voices a bit higher and sort of croon a little when they are "talking" to us. Rather like the way they "talk" to babies. Then there is stroking. The best humans know where we like to be stroked and do not stroke in places some of us dislike - the tummy or the backside under the tail. Then there is food, of course. Humans that love us feed us. 
However even loving humans take us to that horrible smelling frightening vet surgery where we are stabbed by needles....  We have to realise that our human pets are sometimes difficult to understand and accept them with all their failings.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Snoring or purring? That is the question.

Dear George,
I was sound asleep (as you can see in the photo attached) when I was suddenly awakened by loud laughing! I jumped up scared that maybe some strangers found the door opened and got in but, no…there was my human mommy laughing her head off! What was she laughing about? Well, she said she was laughing watching me snoring out loud! What?
Was she bluffing? I know I purr quite loudly but I don’t snore! I don’t even know if cats snore! I know my daddy does and pretty heavy too but, at least he has an excuse as he can’t purr. Believe me he tried many times but the noise that came out from his throat was rather comical! So, dear George, do cats snore?
And, by the way…what’s the difference between purring and snoring?

Dear Leo, 
Do cats snore? Some of us do. Snoring happens when our throat muscles are relaxed while we sleep so they don't move the air through freely. Then the surrounding tissues vibrate making a snoring noise.  It also occurs if we have a blocked nose from cat flu. We cats are also more likely to snore if we are overweight or if we have short noses. Sadly humans have bred Persians and other breeds with such snub noses that their upper airways are kind of twisted up. Thus the snore. The really badly affected cats may make a snoring noise when they are awake. Shocking.
It's absurd that humans should laugh at our snoring. Their own snoring is so much louder and unpleasant. I have sometimes had to leave the bed, when my human has a blocked nose and snores horribly.
Purring is completely different. Humans can't do this. The muscles in our throat intermittently close our glottis, the area which includes our vocal chords and the opening between them. Our diaphragm muscles also move and the sound comes out both when we are breathing out, and also when we are breathing in. Some cats purr silently: some loudly.
I purr at medium loudness because it helps my human sleep. And I prefer them to sleep soundly so that they don't wake me up by tossing and turning.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Rules for sharing the bed with humans....

Dear George,
 I have been wondering whether I have been spoiling my humans. I allow them to share the bed with me? Will this give them ideas above their station and make them think they are my equals?
If letting them sleep on my bed at night is a bad idea, what alternatives are there? The sofa? Or perhaps just the carpet in the living room?
Please advise,

Dear Coca,
This is a dilemma common to all cats. It's good to be generous to our humans and, to be realistic, they wouldn't fit into those odd little beds that they bought for us. So share the bed, but do so in the right way. 
Here are my rules for bed sharing with humans.
1. Get on to the bed first and choose the position which suits you. They can fit themselves round you. The middle of the bed is yours. The edges are theirs.
2. Insist that they sleep without moving. If you own a couple of humans, discourage any thought of human sex by walking up the bed, sitting firmly near their heads on the pillow, and staring at them with utter disdain.
3. Make sure they do not take up too much room. By gently but firmly leaning against them, you can imperceptibly move them to the edge of the bed without even waking them.
4. The bottom of the bed is yours on hot nights, when their bodies give out too much heat. Spread yourself over their toes, which will be withdrawn giving you more space.
5. The top of the bed is yours if you enjoy waking and petting your human. A strong purr and some careful grooming of their fur will ensure they give you enough space.
6. The space between two human bodies is yours during cold nights. Too bad if they want to cuddle: they should have thought of that before they got a cat.
Sleep well.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Seductive charm is the way to a forever home.

Dear George, 
I’m trying to find a forever home and I need your advice.
I won’t bother you with the details of my life but, you need to know that I’m in a foster home right now. This would be my second foster home and I would very much like this one to become my permanent home. I like my foster human too – he’s quiet! At times he seems to be grumpy but I know he’s not! He is kind and generous! I believe he had cats before because I can still smell them. He doesn’t think I’m a good fit in his life right now but I know he likes me! He travels summertime and he worries as he doesn’t know what to do with me! George, how can I tell him that I’m OK to go for a month or two in a cattery or one of his friends’ house if I’ll be with him for the remaining 10 -11 months of the year? I really like him! I’m happy here! 
With thanks,

Dear Petrushka,
Foster homes can become forever homes, if a cat plays her cards right! But be careful what you wish for. If he really is away from home for several weeks, you might not enjoy being in a cattery for that length of time. Of course, if there is a partner or a best friend who could help out by boarding you, that would be great. Many cats have two homes - an official one and the one down the street where the people give him a second breakfast.
To turn a temporary home into a permanent one requires you to exercise all your charms. Purr at him frequently. Roll on your back and when he tickles your tummy, do not scratch (always tempting, I admit). Practice little loving looks with your head on one side. Jump on his lap and knead - gently.
Greet him with your tail up when he comes home from work. Watch TV with him. Play with his newspaper. Sleep on the bed with him purring regularly and quietly to help him go off to sleep. You know the score. Seduce him with charm. Make him love you. It's what we do when we want something.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I'm handsome and affectionate - so why can't I find a home?

Dear George,
My name is Chilli - but I am gentle not peppery. I'm loving. I'm handsome with wonderful white whiskers but here I am stuck in a cattery without a human pet. 
Can you give me any advice on how to get out of here.  And how to purrsuade a human to be adopted.
I want to get back into the real world again.

Dear Chilli,
The first step is to get noticed. As people pass your pen, you must make them stop to take a look at you. This requires you either to walk to the front of the pen and miaow. Or  if you are sitting on a ledge nearer human eyesight (which is uncomfortably high) as well as the miaow you must do something unusual. Sitting back on your haunches might work. Or better still standing up on your hind legs.  Putting a paw to your eye, as if wiping off a tear, might also work.
Once you get their attention, you can begin purr very loudly indeed. You already have your tail in the correct tail-up position - the position which tells them that you like them. If you are near the wire of the pen, go right up to it and rub. 
If possible roll over and expose your tummy to them, always giving them eye contact at the same time. 
Miaow some more. And some more. In between the purring. Humans do a lot of vocalisation so this is likely to appeal to them.
Yours cheerfully

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I’m my Mama’s boy! How to keep it that way.

Dear George, 
Yes, I’m my Mama’s boy and it feels sooooo good (as you can see in the picture).
But, I’m in a fierce competition with my brother Rocky; not that Rocky cares, not even for a faint second, who in fact is the mama’s boy! He just wants to annoy me! And he does! Rocky is such a mischievous cat! I know our Mom loves us both but I was her first rescue! I was her first “fur baby”! So, in the name of my “rescue right” I expect to be recognised as my Mama’s boy and I want everybody else in our household to acknowledge it! George, what do I need to do to maintain my Status Quo?
Any tips or tricks?

Dear Stanley,
That is a cute pose - tongue out, paws up, and tummy exposed. Few humans could resist that one! It feeds into their innate maternal instinct for cradling.
Purr loudly and purr often. They love to listen to purring. It soothes and pleases them. Miaow in moderation. The frequent and intense miaowing made by Siamese is not to every human's liking. So use miaows less frequently than purrs. But they still work well to get attention. High pitched is better than low sounding. Run a few tests. Do your humans like one long-lasting miaows or several short ones?
Tactile signals are cute too. While your human is lying in bed rub your cheek against hers. That's a no brainer! A gentle purr at the same time will seem even cuter. Rubbing against the legs and arms is fine too. Slow blinking is another great sign of affection too. And don't forget the slow little paw pat on the face as a wake-up call (claws firmly retracted for this one).
A little gentle play with whatever toy is around will please them too. Show off your graceful pouncing. It is our cute looks that seem to turn them on. Why else have cats taken over the internet, a visual medium if ever there was one. Charm never fails.
Do all this, and you keep Rocky into second place without  doubt. 
Yours admiringly

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Reward and punishment (occasionally) are the key to a good relationship.

Dear George,
I have adopted a new human family - male, female, and two human kittens about half grown and therefore a sensible age. You know my background growing up which turned me into a growling, biting and scratching adolescent.
This is my third home - first the bad one, then with Celia, and now this. Of course, I can adapt. I don't miss Celia at all though I miss the games I had with Toby. Within two days, I was sitting on the male owner's lap and (good news) he was keeping his hands away from interfering with my grooming routine!
So these are sensible humans. I have taught the children that if I sit up and beg or jump over a stick, they must give me food. What else should I do?

Dear Tommy,
Reward and punishment are the basis of a good cat-human relationship. In the first month of your new home, you should at all costs avoid punishment. This is the time to reward them with cute looks, lots of purring, rubbing and making them feel loved. As Barnum said: "You gotta get the suckers into the tent." These humans need all the reassurance and kindness you can give them so that they form a deep bond with you.
After the first month you can lay down a few boundaries - no interference while I am grooming: no human thrashing about the bed I allow you to share: if you use your hands to play with me you must expect to be nipped; etc. These cat rules will vary from individual to individual and in the second month you should be training them to obey by very small nips. And don't forget to purr when they behave well.
By month three, all four should be trained into proper cat servants. The key is good timing and consistency. Good luck.
PS. If you need to bite, you haven't made your rules clear to these dumb humans.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

New Year.... New life.... .. and training a human

Dear George,
 I am Lila (the fluffy) and my sister is Angel (the tabby). We came from same litter and we are about 10 weeks old now. Before being rescued we were living under a deck but now we live in a mansion!  We spent our first Christmas with our new family and their relatives and sure enough people can be fun! At some point they all were talking about New Year’s resolutions. We don’t fully understand what that is but it seems like a good plan to follow in the year ahead! Our list would be very short: sleep, eat, play and getting lots of love from our humans. I also understood that in cats' ‘world it is a MUST to train one’s humans. I’ve heard you even wrote a book on the subject, is that so George? Then, we definitely need your help! Where do we start?
Gratefully yours,  

Dear Lila,
Start as you mean to go on.  Help your humans settle in to a sensible regime - regular meal times and regular times for sleep. Train them with reminders. Reminders include rubbing, loud purring, winding round feet, walking to the food bowl, even nipping toes under the duvet if they show signs of wanting to lie in at weekends rather than get your breakfast. 
Establish petting boundaries. Some humans are cat harassers. They want to kiss and hug and stroke for hours. Or they insist on petting in no-go areas like the lower tummy. A sharp nip will usually train them to stop. Punishment teaches them what is acceptable. Be humane - just a nip, rather than a bite which draws blood.
Litter trays (one for each cat) should be cleaned twice a day. If your human is idle about this, show them what you want. As soon as they clean the tray, use it. This makes the point that you were waiting for it to be cleaned. If they still don't get the message, and the tray is filthy, pee outside the litter tray. 
You can learn more about rewards and punishments in my book, One Hundred Ways for a Cat to Train its Human. Celia pretended she had written it but her role was purely secretarial, as I cannot type. I was the real author.
George, the real author. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

My name is Teddy .. I am 3 years old and the most adorable long haired ginger male cat . I have a brother called Dolly he's very thin and unattractive (we are true brothers and came to live with our mum at the same time ) as soon as we arrived our human mother completely and utterly adored us .. Me probably more than dolly .. We were very spoiled well loved kittens .. Our human Mother's Day revolved around us... We had the best of everything. 
My problem is I cannot stand my human mother. She tries to pick me up and I push my paws into her to get her away . I stay out of the house as long as possible only popping in once a day for food , then I leave as quickly as I can. She always gets excited when she sees me. Because I am so very big fluffy and beautiful. I never want to spend time with her or in the house. Where as my skinny brother adores her and stays in the home all the time and even dribbles when he's on her lap! Yuck.. So my question is why do I hate her so much? Have you got any tips on how I can be like Dolly and love my human mother.
Yours perfectly 

Dear Teddy,
Let's face it. Some of us just don't like our human pets. We have them because they are useful - for feeding us, providing warm beds (though they take up too much room), and a house for when it is bad weather. That's just how it is.
I wouldn't bother too much about your feelings. Remember, we are the superior species. Humans are lucky that we want to spend any time with them at all. But there are moments when it would be worth faking love - before feeding time and at night when it is cold and you want to sleep next to her for her warmth.
So try to fake a purr now and again. It could pay off. She will probably be so pathetically grateful for any attention, that more food will come your way.
And if she harasses you for a cuddle just give her a little nip.
Yours George
PS. Dolly can't help being a creep. It's just her genes. You've got the lone gene and she's got the snuggle gene.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The power of a purrrrrrrrrr......

Dear George,
I have been a bit worried about my mummy.
She doesn't seem to be quite herself and seems to have to leave me more often at different times.
Still, at least, food appears regularly and she combs me and plays with me sometimes when I don't even want to!
I try to behave and come on her bed every night and she still gets up if I desperately need attention at 5am, so nothing really has changed, but I do worry if her routine changes.
What do you think carry on as usual, and hope she seems more like her old self in the New Year. We pussycats don't like change!!!.
With love from,

Dear Toby,
My friend, Tilly the Ugliest Cat, went through a somewhat similar experience with Celia. Horrible routine changes and she could tell that Celia was worried and upset. Celia would disappear then come home smelling as if she had been in a vet clinic.
Try to see this as an opportunity for snuggling close to your human, particularly if she is taking a lot of rest (which she should be). She may smell a bit odd but she is basically the same loving pet as she always was. We cats are great healers and this is your chance to practice purr therapy. There is nothing like it to make your human pet feel calmer and less frightened.
She will recover, when the veterinary treatment is over, and the normal routine will back. So practice that healing purr. Purring heals.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The difference between purring and…..snoring!

Dear George,

As an expert in human behaviour I’m certain you’ll be able to explain the difference between purring and snoring. Why cats purr but humans snore? I heard humans saying many times that our purrs calm them, make them feel happy! Well, I can’t say that humans snore have same effect on anybody. My mommy doesn’t snore but definitely she doesn’t purr either. I’m trying to teach her (click the link) but she simply doesn’t get it! The noises she makes make me laugh! How do I teach my human properly purring?

With loud purrs


Dear Sophie,
What a great purr.  If anybody can teach a human to purr, it will be you. They will want to imitate you when they hear it.
I don't think it will work, however. Humans just can't make that noise. Lions can. Tigers can. Cats can. But poor humans cannot.  
Eat your heart out, you humans.
PS. I am putting the video of you purring here, but the sound doesn't seem to work. Cats will have to imagine a HUGE purr.  If any cats know why the video is silent please tell me.  I don't have purrmission to upload it to YouTube and put a link.
 PPS. There will be no blog next Saturday. I shall be imprisoned in a cattery while my human enjoys herself. Must remember to bite cattery owner. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Co-ordinated counter surfing and the unfairness of feline life

Dear George,
Toby and I do not get on very well. But we do have something in common. We have to eat boring cat food every day. So we feel it's an important part of our lifestyle to snack on human food. 
Yesterday we made a co-ordinated effort. Toby checked the counter surfaces, while I jumped on to the higher shelf where sometimes she leaves food (as she thinks) out of our reach. She had left the cupboard door open by mistake so it was worth looking there.  By chance there were only a few fragments, alas. I ate them while Toby licked up the two spots of milk left over from when she was making breakfast porridge.
Why do they think it is acceptable to feed us the boring food when they eat chicken, steak, rich pasta sauces, cream, milk, yoghurt.... 
Yours with a growing sense of injustice,
Tilly the Ugliest Cat in the Shelter

Dear Tilly,
Co-ordinated kitchen theft sounds good to me but for one unfortunate fact. As cats never share, if you find some tasty snack you will have to gobble it up fast before Toby gets it. However, in view of the unfairness when we compare what humans give themselves and the pathetic food they give us, counter surfing is a must for any cat who wishes to rebalance the food odds.
The human species has no real sense of justice or fairness. Have you noticed, for instance, how much space they take up on the bed. How they attempt to push us to the margins of it or banish us to the bottom of the bed, refusing to share the pillow.
It's the same thing with arm chairs. My human, having assigned me an armchair which is furthest from the log fire, expects me to sit there while she luxuriates in the warmth nearer the flames. Naturally, when she is not sitting down, I sit in what she thinks is her place. It's mine, not hers. She is deluded. But what is so unfair is that she then uses brute force to push me off it so that she can sit there.
I am currently working on a new technique which involves inserting my body at the side of hers. She thinks I am being friendly. I simper a bit and purr loudly. What I am actually doing is slowly pushing her to one side with the aim of first sharing, and then completely taking over the best chair in the room.
Yours in commiseration,

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Gratitude is not a Cattitude. No excuses for poor service.

Dear George,

I’ll try to be short since I’m using my laptop and I don’t know how long the battery will last. We have a major black-out in Toronto and we are “in the dark” J so to speak!

I have two issues to write about; one is about my teeth and one about my human.

But, let me start with my teeth. If you remember I’m a rescue. I lived my first few years on the streets and this took a toll on me. Lately I couldn’t eat and I lost a lot of weight. Thanks God my human is not dumb and she took me for a check up. The vet found out that I had a terrible gum and teeth infection and I couldn’t eat because of the pain. He operated on me and pulled out all my teeth except for the canines.

My Mom panicked that I won’t be able to eat now with no teeth. Au contraire! I eat very well and have no more pain. My picture attached will prove that I’m well and quite rounded (I got back to my 11.5 lbs). George, I hope other cats and their humans will learn from my experience that actually a cat with no teeth can still live a normal life – I’m an indoor cat, that’s true!

The second issue I want to write you about is my human. She spoiled me more then usual when I was sick and in pain. Now, that I’m back to normal she refuses to get up at 4 am and feed me or play with me. She is trying to ignore me. Can you imagine this? Her excuse? She’s too tired and stressed from work and she wants to sleep and rest.

But….how comes that she could do it when I was sick? I have a little trick to make her get up but I can tell she’s very upset. I start scratching the walls in the bedroom.

I don’t know what drives her nuts – the noise or the damaged wall?

Anyway, do you have a better solution? Please help.



Dear Shumba,

Humans do something called gratitude. It is an attitude of mind, an attitude of gratitude, which means that they are pathetically pleased when we pet them. We cats don't do it. Yes, your human has been an excellent house servant. Yes, she rescued you off the street. Yes, she paid the vet bills.

So what? She is only doing her duty.

Duty well done is rare in humans and of course, it needs rewarding with purrs and head rubs. But rewards given too freely, without being contingent on proper human behaviour, are devalued. Training theory is absolutely clear on this point. Never give a reward for nothing.

Punishment, in which I include scratching the wall, also works well on humans though there can be what is known as "fall out". When the punishment is administered, the human becomes aggressive. This is the risk of your very clever punishment device of wall scratching. The technique may need reviewing.

Of course, scratching is an understandable way of you expressing your frustration. Punishment is almost alway an emotional relief for the punisher, which is why both cats and humans purrsist in using it. If your human had her wits about her she would block the wall with furniture and supply a good scratching post. (I have tested several and decided that the Fat Boy post is the best for a good stable scratch). However, being a dumb creature of an inferior species, she may not go for this solution.

Aggressive humans throw stuff, scream and sometimes even hit cats. If you think this may occur at night when you scratch, I suggest you forget punishing her for lack of response and instead try rewarding her for the right response. Wake her up with loud purring in her ears, snuggle into her arms, turn round and round butting her face. She will be charmed into waking.

Mew piteously. Walk towards the door then jump back on to the bed. Start the laborious process of purr and rub all over again until she gets up to feed you. Keep doing this ten or twelve times.

We cats can out purrsist any human.

Love George

PS. Love the fat photo. Your tummy looks gorgeous.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pain - how do you tell if your human is in pain?

Dear George,
I am looking after an elderly human who has some health problems. I am finding it difficult to know when she is in pain. Obviously when we cats are in pain, we hiss, scratch or bite if somebody tries to pick us up. She doesn't do any of this when I crawl up the bed and sleep close to her. However she does make odd noises - sort of intakes of breath, wimpers and yowling noises. Is this pain?
Yours worried

Dear Annie,
Humans show pain in a different way to us. Apart from scratching or biting when being picked up, we stay silent. We don't make crying noises when in pain. That's because Nature has designed us to stay quiet in case a predator hears us and kills us. Look at it this way, a cat who cried loudly after a car accident would pretty soon be eaten by a fox here in the UK.
We are much much more stoic than humans, who really are pretty wimpish - another sign of their innate inferiority. We usually just go very very still - stay in our beds quietly resting, may not eat, and possibly have to pee outside the litter tray if it is too far away or too difficult to get into.
Humans are noisy and show their pain in their faces. You will see her face sort of twist up. She may have an intake of breath, as you have noticed. Some humans even shout, swear, yelp or cry. Poor creatures. Just not brave enough in the face of adversity.
There's not much you can do for her anyway, Annie. Go carefully on the bed, so that she isn't tempted to push you off. Purr loudly. That really helps a human who is lying unable to sleep. Purring acts as a kind of therapy for them. We have a responsibility to our pets so try to be helpful, even if you despise her lack of courage.
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, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online