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Showing posts with label scratching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scratching. Show all posts

Saturday, October 05, 2019

The blessing of a cat

Humans occasionally show their gratitude. This week, my human finally wrote something which I can fully appreciate, even if I longed to get my paws on it and change some of the sentiments... 

My book not hers.

May you be blessed with a cat...

May you be blessed with a cat,
A starving stray from the street
Or a scruffy kitten from a shelter,
Who hides under the bed
For the first few days

May you be blessed with cat fur
On the new carpet,
On your best clothes,
On your bed and
In little balls in the washing machine

May you be blessed with scratches,
Happy scratches on the sofa,
Exploring scratches on wallpaper,
Greeting scratches on the door mat,
And sometimes even on the scratch post.

May you be blessed with a warm body
Close to you on the sofa,
On your lap while watching TV,
Spread out on the bed asleep
Or even snuggled under the duvet.

May you be blessed with purring.
Loud purring requesting food,
Happy purring when stroked in the right places.
Gentle purring during the night,
While both of you sink into sleep.

May you be blessed with that look,
The urgent look requesting food,
The look that says: “Play please,”
The look of loving contempt
That says “You are not my superior.”

You may not know if you own or are owned
But this love too is stronger than death.
                        c.. Celia Haddon

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cats in books - and how to make an affirmation board

Dear George,
I’d like to share some good news and some not so good!
Good news: I took up reading! I had to since my human pets are avid readers and like to cozy up with a book by my side! One on each side. 
Not so good:  I have to stay put…sometimes for hours! I know they need my emotional and physical support but sometimes I feel like a book holder – holding a book for each!
At the beginning I was like “OK! I’m killing time…so I was napping! But after a while I started browsing through their books and I must admit I found interesting things!
Interesting sayings! Words of wisdom! I’ll share some: “The purity of a person’s heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals” - Anonymous or “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Mahatma Gandhi
“I’ve met many thinkers and many cats, but the wisdom of cats is infinitely superior” –Hippolyte Taine or “I’m fond of pigs! Dogs look up to us! Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals” – Sir Winston Churchill.
And my favorite of all: “There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats” – Anonymous! Isn’t this great wisdom?
George, I’d like to make a “daily affirmation” board for my human pets! How do I make it? Any suggestions? Ah! So, so inspirational!
Hmm! I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by my own ideas …I think I’ll take a nap for now!  
“If you want to write, keep cats.” – Aldous Huxley

Dear Chico,
I have made an affirmation board for myself out of a bedroom door. If it is shut, I go into creative mode and run my claws downwards and slantwise. This results in interesting affirmative patterns which inspire me to  artistic further effort. My human, however, has no artistic taste and dislikes these intensely. However, they have inspired her to leave the door half open most of the time. (This means it swings so I cannot add to my art). 
Try it, Chico. The path of a feline artist is a lonely one. But maybe your humans are more creative than mine. 
PS. Love the quotes.
PPS. Maybe wallpaper would make a good affirmation board.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Ways for a cat to exercise its human.

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

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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Watch me jump for a forever's black and white cat week in the UK.

Dear George,
This is me showing how clever I am in photos and a video (below). I have white socks on my forepaws, white boots on my back legs, and fine white whiskers.
I am clever but naughty! I love jumping in the sink. I love cardboard boxes.  I love doing tricks, but I have difficulty controlling myself. When I get over-excited I nip and scratch.
Will somebody give me a home? I need a specially patient person who understands cats.
When I was a kitten, my first humans taught me rough games, punished me then gave me up. When I first was rescued, I growled and bit deeply often.  Now I just nip occasionally but it still hurts my foster mum a little bit.
If somebody in Oxfordshire, UK, wants a clever but difficult cat, purrlease adopt me. I need a forever home.
Jumping Tommy

Dear Tommy,
Be patient. The right person will come. Any cats living in Oxfordshire and reading this, please share the blog address. Tommy needs a forever home. You can find his details at Sunshine Cat Rescue.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Make declawing illegal....

Dear George, 
Mommy signed a petition asking to ban declawing in Canada. You can sign it here. She was very upset and was saying that this was mutilation and vets should refuse to perform it and should educate people instead. Guess this must be something terrible if mommy was so mad!
I can only imagine how painful the procedure must be and the terrible feeling after.
I know I need my claws to protect myself, to strike a chord on my guitar or to strike my brother Stanley (like in the picture attached).
George, can you explain why declawing should be banned worldwide and how can we better educate humans on this issue?

Dear Rocky,
Human beings enjoy cutting bits off animals. They used to cut off the tails of horses until it became illegal. They still cut off the tails and part of the ears of dogs in the USA (not in the UK, thank goodness). And in Canada and the USA declawing is still legal. But it's not just declawing. The operation involves cutting off the end joint of each digit (which includes the claw). If somebody cut off the end joint of their human fingers, they would protest.
The operation is painful. Most cats survive all right after it, but they live diminished lives. Cats enjoy scratching and leaving their scent where they scratch. They can no longer do this. Cats enjoy climbing and now they can climb less easily, though they can still jump. There may be neuropathic pain for some of them: and they find some kinds of litter difficult to manage. So for declawed cats, life presents fewer pleasures and more problems. 
But the the so called "owners" of these cats, life presents fewer problems. The furniture is never scratched, neither is the human. In Japan, they go even further. If your cat scratches or bites, you can have it declawed and all its teeth pulled out. Human problem solved. The cat is now defenceless against owners who mistreat it.
"I think humans have reached the peak of cruelty, greediness and selfishness," says Rocky's friend, Michelle. She's right. I'd like to get my claws into the vets that do the declawing.
Yours gloomily


Saturday, January 17, 2015

I stuck my tongue out to my human

Dear George,
What my human did to me is outright outrageous! She tried to shame me (see my face in the photo no 2) by calling in an animal behaviour specialist "to assess my destructive behaviour"! It's hard to believe but that's exactly what she did! Ah! about my destructive behaviour? She claims that I destroyed the walls in the flat we live in; she claims that I shred them to dry wall! But, I did not! It is just one corner (of course...a junction between two walls) that I scratched and I'll continue to scratch not because I lack calcium but because I can smell, feel "something" in the walls. It might be a mouse or squirrel or who knows what....but I can smell it! I can feel it! And, she doesn't get it! The animal behaviour specialist's conclusion? That there is nothing wrong with me and she should call in the property manager! Aha! In response to that I stuck my tongue out to her! 
Here! (see it in photo # 1). So, George...did you hear of other cats behaving like me? Any tips? Advice? I really think there are mice running up and down the walls! Her argument against mine is that our flat is in a new, modern building! Have you ever heard of something like this before?

Dear Shumba,
I scratch therefore I am..... a cat.
It is difficult to remember than humans are smell-blind and nearly deaf. They just don't have the noses, the hearing, and the brain power to notice smells and tiny noises like we do. Of course there was some rodent or other behind the wall. There's nothing to stop house mice making a home in a new building. Many do. Modern buildings are well ventilated and warmer than old ones. Mice, like humans, often prefer them.
I am glad that she called in a relatively sensible human to help out - sensible because this human agreed with you that there was something there. (Poor Celia is studying hard to try to get the level of expertise that will allow her to become a better cat behaviourist. Just a glimmering of understanding cat behaviour may result.... or not.)
I hope your human has provided a good scratching area. Celia bought a nice new armchair two years ago which is splendid for cat claws. I also have a Fat Boy post - nice and stable and occasionally I even use it if I am bored with the chair.
Good job humans are dumb animals. Your human could just have blocked the area with a piece of furniture. Too stupid to think of that, I suppose. Nice for you though. It must be fun to scratch there.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Training my human to wave at me....

Dear George,
I am a 13 year old Norwegian Forest, known for my high intelligence and sheer drop dead beauty, and I do not feel that this picture shows either, do you?
I have taught my humans to wave to me. I wave back, with one paw....two would be excessive!
I "beg" [Ha!!] or more to the point, demand, by waving both paws up by my ears. My human has a nasty habit of ignoring me as I balance beautifully on the arm of her chair, so I sometimes have to wave harder, to the point where I wave myself right off the chair.
She then has the damn nerve to laugh, sometimes hiding her face in her paw, and snorting, but I know what she's doing, and stalk off, tail at 'full flag".
I give her time to reflect, then return with a very patient expression, and go through the whole thing again ....usually she gives in then, and I get the biscuit I've been asking for. Humans can be so slow, can't they? If she's good, I will then shake her paw, to assure her she's been forgiven. If I don't feel she's being genuine, I administer a quick bite, to make my point.
My humans are the third family I've had. My birth family had a human who named me Chaos, because he said I was a lout? Then I had a lovely human who gave me a whole tree trunk to play on, in the living room, but she had to go away, and then these humans took over my household duties. 
The first night I was with them [scared to death, as you can imagine] one of them wrote to the human I'd lost, who was a long way away, in Canada, in an email which said "Hi Mom.." and she answered me!! I have been writing to
her ever since, and am working on a book, to be called "Chaos to Canada"
Best Wishes

Dear Chaos,
You are right. The photo doesn't do you justice. It brings up another cat-human issue. Why are humans so obsessed with our tummies. They go gooey when we do our social roll exposing this part of our anatomy. They try to pet us there. In my case, they get a bit of a shock as I respond by scratching. Hard.
On a more serious note. Your letter is proof that humans are trainable. For years most cats have argued that humans cannot be trained to do tricks. Dogs, maybe. Humans, never. This misunderstanding arose because many cats didn't realise how competantly they were training their humans to buy the right food, open doors, and give attention when required. 
But as you have shown, as well as the training basics, you can teach them agreeable little tricks such as hand waving. I am working on teaching Celia how to jump through a flaming hoop. Due to the inevitable lack of human intelligence, this is taking some time. 
But patience and persistence are all!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Dear George,
This is me among the heather. I think  I look  rather  sweet, but  I swiped  Mummy 's finger  just  after she took this photo. Blood everywhere,she seemed a bit  upset. Humans don't seem to understand that there are times when we need space.
A good swipe usually gets that space but does rather upset the humans. They are sensitive souls. She cooked me coley a couple of hours later, so think  I've got away with it.
But has she learned her lesson? Less likely, I fear. Humans don't seem to able to take in the fact that when we punish by swiping or biting they need to review their conduct and amend their ways.

Dear Toby,
It's a problem isn't it? Trying to get through to them. You would have thought they might realise that if we purr or rub, we are relatively pleased with their behaviour. Or even that we are encouraging future behaviour (such as putting out more food).
When we scratch, we are displeased. Whatever they have done just before the scratch was bad. I just wish I could miaow in human language 'Bad, human. Bad, Celia"  I do our feline body language but she fails to understand.
Still, they are sweet. Warm in bed. Generous with cat food. As pets go, they are definitely better than dogs. A human is a cat's best friend.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A hat for the royal wedding!

Dear George,
Watch! Stillness! Watch more! Get a little bit closer! ACTION!!! No, no way with my female human clapping her hands and shouting “fly bird, fly! WHAT? Is this for real?
I can’t believe her! Is she insane? Am I clapping my paws shouting “fly turkey, fly” when she cooks that big bird? No! I’m waiting in silence until it is nicely roasted and then claim my portion! George, why are humans so insensitive? I was so focused, “intensively” watching a little bird (as you can see in my photo) not even with the intention of killing it. All I wanted was a few feathers to ornate my hat for the Royal Wedding! I am CAT Victoria after all, right? Now, the bird is gone and so is my royal attire! I have to miss the wedding and watch it on TV! Phew!
George, any ideas how I can train my humans to not interfere with my activities? I even heard her saying something about a little bell around my neck? What? Does she think I’m a rattlesnake? I want revenge! She should be punished, don’t you think so?
CAT Victoria

Dear CAT,
I took little interest in the Royal Wedding, except to lie on my back for a bit so that Celia could stroke me while watching. The idea of bagging a pheasant (plenty outside) in order to snatch one of its tail feathers hadn't occurred to me. Nice idea. Nice try. As always, our best intentions are frustrated by our humans.
Sneakiness is essential, in order to have a satisfactory life with this rather dumb pet. Like you said, sit quietly waiting for the turkey to roast before claiming a portion. I do a special upward imploring look at my human, in order to get titbits. I almost look like a dog - soulful, deferential, pleading. In fact I am silently muttering "You silly human. Give. Give. Give. Idiot."
However sometimes guile, deviousness and dishonesty get what we want.
Bells round the neck I hate. For one thing collars on cats always are somewhat dangerous. My favourite charity Cats Protection every now and again will pick up a stray cat that has got its paw caught in its collar. My human says she has never come across a really safe collar. And (though I hate them) flea spot-ons from a vet are far more effective than old fashioned collars that have potentially dangerous chemicals.
Should you punish your human? I use punishment, as I use deviousness, guile, sneakiness and downright cheating, to get what I want. Scratching? Yes. Biting? Yes. But only in circumstances where it will work.
See if you can't just outwit her with your grace and charm.
Love George

Friday, March 18, 2011

To shred or not to shred - for those who enjoy frills!

Dear George,

Why are humans so dysfunctional? Why are they in a sort of quasi-confusion state most of the time? The other day I was trying “to play” a game with my male human and obvious he didn’t understand the rules. I was quite bored so when he came home early I was very happy! I started playing “let me in” and “let me out” and it worked fine up to a point! And THAT POINT was when he didn’t open the door for me to let me in because he couldn’t remember if I was inside or outside! It was getting dark and cold and I was shivering outside in the snow. That’s when the female human came home and start calling my name. Of course I didn’t bother to answer! I was furious and I felt hurt!

They both started a frantic search! I hid under a neighbour porch ENJOYING every minutes of their despair. Soon they were joined by their son. I know he (the young male) loves me very, very much so I kind of jumped into his arms. They were overwhelmed by joy and happiness! I almost cried with joy myself but, hey! they deserved to be punished, right? So, once inside, I overcame my emotions and shredded a curtain to pieces!

They looked at me in disbelief. “Why?” – that’s what they asked. As I’m writing this letter they are still looking for answers and “remedies” (ha!ha!ha!) to avoid such things in the future! My question to you George is; should I shred more curtains or should I shred some furniture?

CAT Victoria

Dear CAT Victoria,

First a few words about training your doorman. Naturally you want him to stand at the door like a hotel commissionaire to let you in and out, at the times of your choice. What are humans for? I have a perfectly good cat flap but I still train Celia to let me in and out, as required, because I prefer it that way. I also like sitting at the open door, surveying my outdoor territory while keeping my backside warm from the expensive heat which issues from the house.

Just crank up the door training, Cat. The memory loss sounds rather alarming. Is it just that your human, like all humans, has limited cognitive function? Or do you think there is something wrong with him? Forgetting that you were out in the snow is really, really bad. He is lucky to have got away with merely an altered curtain.

Redecorating the house with frills is always a pleasant option for us cats. In an ideal world we have frilled wallpaper at cat height, frilled furniture, frilled bedsteads, and frilly curtains. Lovely. Warms a cat's heart to see the artistic effort that has gone into the scratching. I particularly enjoy walking past and ignoring the costly scratchpost. Then I look at her, and deliberately stroll towards the back of the armchair nearby for a good scratch.

Like you, territorial problems (being shut out, new neighbouring cat etc) seem to set off the scratching side of my nature. It is as if any insecurity brings out the artist in me, and makes it even more imperative than usual to mark my territory. No wonder, after such a distressing experience in the snow, you wanted to scratch the curtains. Such behaviour is natural for us cats, and, frankly, humans should put up with it.

Instead, they tend to resort to unpleasant devices such as Stickypaws or double sided carpet tape which they place on curtains or soft furnishing. It's very unpleasant and I personally stop scratching when Celia puts it on. About a month later, she decides it looks horrible (as indeed it does), and takes it off believing I won't scratch there again. Then I prove her wrong with a really long scraaaaatch.... Gotcha, you dumb human animal.

It's not all fun and games caring for this inferior species. They can be very irritating at times. So go shred some more curtains.


PS. My sympathies to Fredericon on the loss of his companion rabbit. See comments below.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My journey from victim of dysfunctional home to human trainer

Dear George,
I am on the brink of becoming a human trainer and I am eventually aiming to become a human behaviour counsellor like you with a B Sc in applied human behaviour. But learning about this species and putting the information into effect is a very steep learning curve for a cat who started life in a three-walled shed with an upturned dustbin full of straw as a home. The next 18 months in West Oxon Cats Protection gave me proper health care and regular meals, but I became disillusioned with the humans who came and stared at me, and my pen mate, Mini. I simply didn't want to adopt any of them. All of them preferred Mini and they would make wounding remarks about my dark fur and ugly looks as if I couldn't understand what they were saying.
Eventually I got so desperate that I settled on your secretary, Celia. I took over the two spare bedrooms and just lived under one of the beds for two months, emerging to use the litter tray in the other bedroom, and sometimes exploring the house at night. I didn't much care for Celia until by sheer chance I discovered I could train her to tickle my tummy. I have trained her to do this for half an hour at a time. But the woman wants to pick me up? How can I stop her doing this?
Yours anxiously
Miss Tilly Purr.

Dear Tilly,
A strong wriggle usually deals with the picking up obsession - an obsession shared by many humans. You have to understand - as your further education in human behaviour will help - that this species is desperate for our love. They are naked, awkward, and cat dependant. They seek the high of a cat cuddle and will go to any lengths to get it. Thes
e are human cat addicts. They can't help it. They are people who love cats too much.
If a wriggle doesn't work, try an Miaow rebuke. If that is not enough to deter her, scratch. If further measures are needed, bite. If the human holds you high up, go for the nose. It is an exquisitely sensitive organ (though hopeless for smelling) and a sharp nip there will really hurt.
Personally I am
out of all patience with my secretary. She got above herself and has been writing a book about cats. That is my job. I am the writer in the relationship but I fear her envious nature has prompted her to try to ruin my literary career. Worse still, I have only completed two chapters of my book while hers is now in the book shops.
She has stolen my title. The working title was
Humans Behaving Badly. Heaven knows, they do. Now I shall have to think of something else. I am considering stealing her thunder by using a picture of a naked human splayed across the floor in the same way as the kitten is on her book.
All in all I am in a very bad mood with her. I suggest you use strong measures and perhaps together we can put her in her place. Let's miaow, scratch, bite, and sneer as much as possible.


Friday, June 25, 2010

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

Dear George,

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are the expert!


Yuppie & Anji.

Dear Yuppie and Anji,

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to dazzle a human being

Dear George,

My name is Marti and I think I’m a gorgeous cat! I LOVE glamour! I love to be pampered and cared for.

I love “fame & glory”. I love sleeping on my human’s chest!

Hope no one will find this weird.

I’m a rescue from a local shelter. I was rescued by my human along with other two cats but, I’m the only one loving glamour. I’m the only one loving caviar and a sniff of champagne! I love shaggy covers

But I don’t think my human understands this. The other day I tried to shred my cover (see picture) into a “fluffier” one. It was taken as a bad thing.

George, only you, as a human behavior specialist can tell me how can I razzle-dazzle my human?

In awe


Dear Marti,

Wow. Champagne, caviar, you really do do the luxury life. You surely razzle dazzle me - and you are the right colour too. We black cats should stick together. I am a cat who is into huntin', rattin', and rabbitin' (sorry Harve), and if it wasn't for that I would ask you to come over some time - snip, or not!
Shredding. We all do it. We all love it. Personally I think Celia's curtains look all the better for their frilly ends. This very day she lunched with a fashionista who was wearing a shawl full of shredded bits. Just like the effect that I put the bed valance so successfully, when I wake her up with a well timed morning scratch.
I have to admit that the business of beautifully shredded furniture is something that we cats find instinctively and artistically satisfying. But I don't think any of us, no matter how good we are at communicating with humans, this simple minded species, has ever been able to explain the sheer beauty of it - the almost musical sound of the material tearing, and the aesthetically pleasing movement of the graceful downward strop, followed by the sheer exaggerated fluffiness of the resulting fabric. Wonderfully pleasing to the feline ear, paw and eye.
But they don't get it, Marti. They just don't understand it at all. Sometimes I think that they don't really have artistic natures. They are blind to beauty, impervious to scent, unable to distinguish the subtleties of body language, the minute alterations of the tail that mean so much...
I have also been unable to persuade Celia to pay attention to the zen patterns I draw on the litter inside the litter tray. I did a beautiful Japanese garden effect this morning. What did she do? Just scooped it out. But I love the stupid species. Somehow the sheer pathos of their limited abilities makes me fond of them.
P. S. I haven't really answered your question on how to razzle dazzle humans, I suppose. Just be yourself, Marti. You are so purrrrfectly beautiful.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Scraaatch - the way to get attention from these humans

Dear George,
I wish to pass on a good way to get attention from these absent minded humans. I expect, like me, you get irritated by their inability to
concentrate on what really matters - me, my food bowl, my sleeping places and my need for fun. Too often they will spend their time selfishly doing things for themselves - eating (better food often), sleeping, watching TV or even going out shopping without bringing back Whiskers. So get their attention fast - choose an antique chair, look at them, and then while you have that nano second of their attention, scraaaatch.
Love Jaffa

Dear Jaffa,
I can see that you have it down to a fine art. I particularly
admire the use of the left front paw, holding it up as a asign to "collect" their attention, rather in the way a conductor holds his baton just before the orchestra starts with the music. Then the quick swivel round and the double scratch downwards. That shiny covering material - is it brocade? - must have been expensive. All the better to make your mark.
Other good places to leave the sign of the velvet claw include the side of the bed - this is often upholstered with a satisfactory cushion effect. A few downward strokes help wake them up in the morning like a speaking clock. "At the third scratch, it will be 6 am. At the next s
cratch it will be 6.03am." Makes a change from biting their toes under the duvet.
Scratching also has its place in the garden, particulary the rockery. For years dogs have marked and killed small focus conifers planted on rockeries. We can do our part too in improving their garden design either with claw or spray.
Have you tried scratching the carpet? I know that it is rather boring to have to do a horizontal rather than a vertical scratch, but it becomes quite pleasureable once you have broken down the carpet so that the strong hession backing is showing. Masterful horizontal scratches near doors will stop them ever shutting you out again. "We can't shut him out - he just ruins the carpet."
Finally, don't forget curtains. Some cat-wary humans don't have curtains down to the floor, because they know what will happen. Others, in a spirit of optimism and folly, buy long expensive brocade or velvet ones that sweep downwards. Not only are these delightful for kittens doing climbing exercises, but they also have good adult cat potential for scratching.
Let them have it, Jaffa.
Love George

PS. Sign the Canadian petition against declawing at
PPS. Rabbits do it too. Here is a photo of Harvey - read his remarks in Comments below

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Do books make me an intellectual?

Dear George,
I have decided to become an intellectual cat and the reason is that I’m fed up with my female human. I can’t stand her any longer telling everybody that my sister Cayenne is “the intellectual one” and that I’m “the frivolous” one that needs to be entertained. Well, since Cayenne decided to find her “inner kitten” ….I decided to become an intellectual and teach my snotty female human
a lesson!
Firstly, I started sleeping on books as you can see in the picture. It’s a bit “tough” but I hope this way I’ll accumulate more knowledge quicker.

Secondly, I think I should “shred” some curtains, art, something in the house…just to tell her that I don’t like it. Why can’t she have a normal painting, something like a big, fat mouse next to a piece of cheese? Even that chubby, smiling woman (the one who smiles, no matter from what angle you look at her) would do it! But no, she likes “melting clocks” or men flying hangin
g on umbrellas. And her favorite?…that guy looking in a mirror and seeing his back! See what I have to put up with?
George, I badly need y
our help to punish this snob! Or should I do something to impress her? What should I do next?

Dear Fluffy,
Sleeping on books is a good idea. It's high up which gives an immediate impression of superiority. Its draught free. Looks good, looks very good, and if the books are large enough it is not too uncomfortable. But the big question is - which books? I can't read the titles so I am not sure.
In an ideal world the books we would choose would be Purrsuasion, Scratch 22, Mouse Catcher in the Rye, The Cat of Mounte Christo, Great Catsby, The Cat is a Lonely Hunter, Bleak Mouse, Plain Tails from the Hills, Tail of Two Kitties, Goodnight Mr Tomcat, Middlemog, The Brothers Catamazov, Zen and the Art of Mog Maintenance, and The Purrsuit of Love. Just one fully human book - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, because in it Mark Twain suggests installing a royal family made up of cats.
Shredding, as you can so plainly see, an art form
in itself. Most of us favour the downward scratch at the back of loose covered armchairs, but several have experimented with wallpaper and report a really beautiful effect. Curtains can be more difficult, as they swing loose, but with experience a completely frilled effect can be achieved. Finally, do not forget carpet. There's lots of it, and horizontal scratching, once you get used to it, can play its part in Home Decoration.
Finally, the litter tray. The philosophical and beautiful patterns of a Japanese gravel garden can be achieved in most litters, though wood and paper litter refuses to co-operate. Dig deep. A pleasant scatter effect can be achieved from an open litter tray. Performance art - think about digging, using the tray then rushing round the house scattering litter as you go. It's
the litter skitter.
Happy Scratching. Happy Digging.
Love George.

Please suggest some more book titles in the comments. There are some that have made me laugh out loud already. Puss Puss has contributed this photo of himself on the book by Churchill, the country's leader and a good inspiration for all cats anxious to take their place as leader of their household.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Help stop the barbaric declawing of cats

Hi George,
We are just wondering if you know how declawed cats manage without their toe ends and claws ? As we live in England where declawing is thankfully banned, we have no friends without them who we can ask.How do they balance properly to walk,how do they groom their fur to regulate their body temperature and how do they exercise, as we need to dig our claws into our scratching posts to exercise our leg,shoulder and back muscles don't we ? Is that why so many of them get arthritis do you think ?

We know lots of USA cats don't go outside but they still need their claws anyway for all those things and what happens if they escape ? They have no defence have they ? We
heard that some start biting due to being declawed , well we don't blame them ! And we also heard some stop using their litter trays as the first agony of trying with their painful stumps after the operation, stays in their mind forever.
Do you know George, some cats in the USA are even declawed on their back paws too, however do they scratch an itch ? Please sign our petition
Walter and Jozef

PS. That's me Jozef at the top and my friend Walter at the bottom. Both wearing our white bibs. Very smart!

Dear Walter and Jozef,
We UK cats are lucky that vets refuse to do this. I've signed (under Celia's name) the petition on And I read your human's blog on too.
Personally I feel that the house is much improved with frilled soft furnishings - particularly the arms of armchairs and sofas. I also have enjoyed, in my time, frilling the
edges of long curtains - giving what I call the Bohemian gypsy look. I do have trouble with my human who doesn't share my ideas about decor. But pulling out my claws? She wouldn't be so cruel.
I have seen horrible pictures of cats with their paws bandaged as they recover from this operation. This is mutilation, like cutting the tails off dogs (or, in the USA, cutting their ears too).What is it about humans that they think cutting bits of living animals is OK. Pulling out finger nails was torture done by the Nazis and I think it is torture for animals too. I can't imagine what it is like to live without claws. They are an essential part of me. Imagine not being able to scratch an itch - horrible.
My soft furnishings enthusiasm has been modified by being given a scratching post in every room that I use - one in the bedroom, one in the living room and one in the upstairs bathroom. I use them all and I particularly enjoy the really tatty one that has bits hanging off it. I purrsuaded Celia not to change it for a new one as, like all cats, I like scratching posts that smell of the glands on my paws and that have nice stringy bits to scratch. We cats need to scratch. It is part of our natural behaviour. Apart from the pain of declawing, cats without claws must have difficulty making their living quarters smell right. And smell is so important to us.
Celia uses double sided sticky tape to stop my scratching the furniture (which she claims belongs to her though I know better). The stickiness is horrid so I don't scratch there again for about a month. She says the sofa looks odd with this tape all over it, but if she leaves it there for a month she can take it off for about three months before I notice and start scratching again. There's a posh version costing four times as much called Sticky Paws which looks slightly less odd.
Best of luck with the petition
PS. I read this blog on claws too -

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why buy scratching posts when furniture is better?

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

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

Friday, June 29, 2007

Boundaries, collars and the famous Mr Lee

Since we got out of gaol, William and I have been checking our boundaries, updating our marks by rubbing our chins against tings, scratching tree trunks, and putting well aimed urine sprays at key points. Boundaries are everything to a cat. With them, we feel safe. Without them, we get very anxious indeed.
Celia is too stupid to know where most of them are. Humans are sense challenged in many ways. They can see but they can't smell anything. All our chin rubs go unnoticed and even our spray marks in the open air aren't strong enough for her. She does notice the scratch marks on the tree trunks. And even though she is visually competant, she loses sight of us very easily. Most of the day she doesn't know where we are. Which is how we like it.
Some humans are crafty. There's a cheeky human who has attached a camera to his cat's collar. Mr Lee is the cat and his privacy has been completely invaded. The camera takes regular photographs showing his every movement - when he sits under the car, his meetings with neighbouring cats, his excursions in the forest, his boundary walks. It's all on I asked Mr Lee's permission to post his photo on this entry. Here he is. Of course, it's shocking that he allowed his human to photograph his life but it's interesting too.
I wouldn't let Celia put a collar on me. Neither would William. We don't approve of collars ever since we met a thin wounded stray with her paw caught in her collar. And it's a question of pride. Dogs wear collars as sign of their inferiority to humans (if you can believe any species could be inferior to homo sapiens). As cats are superior to humans, a collar would not be appropriate - though I'd quite like to see Celia and Ronnie in one. They'd look sweet.

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