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Friday, December 02, 2016

At war with my mother... like many humans.

Dear George, 
I decided to write my memoir (as you can see in the picture) and I need your help since you are so much more experienced in writing books than any other cat!
It is true I’m only three but I think I’ll write my memoir in “stages”: Part I – kittenhood; Part II – tomcathood; Part III – wisdom at sunset! The kittenhood chapter is difficult because of the memory I have of how I was given away by my own biological mother! Yes! I remember that! You see, my mother was pregnant when she was rescued. She had a litter of four (two girls and two boys) in these humans’ house. Then, when we were about eight weeks old she gave me and my brother, Bubble, away to some of their close relatives.
But, life is strange and due to unexpected events we’ve got back with our biological family. George, now that I’m back in the house where I was born I can’t help fighting with my Mama because I am so mad at her! She is scared and doesn’t understand why I’m so aggressive but how could she discriminate between the boys and the girls? Why did she keep the girls and gave away the boys? I see red only thinking of it!
My brother is begging me to calm down! He’s trying to convince me that it wasn’t our mama who gave us up! He says she didn’t have a chance and that it was the human mama who gave us up! Could this be true? And, if it is, how do I punish my humans? Bite? Scratch? Piss on them? What?
George, tell me the truth and teach my how to punish my humans (we’ll talk later about tips on writing, editing and publishing). Punishing my humans is of paramount importance right now!
In boxing mood
Ricky

Dear Ricky,
Even though plenty of humans are mad at their mothers and would hate to live with them as adults, they still expect us cats to do this. You had grown up, become independent, and now suddenly you are plonked back in the family without your consent. It is not fair to assume you will get on with your mother. Very few adult humans live with theirs!
Can you rehome yourself?  If you have a cat flap, you can just start looking for a new home down the street. Turn up, sit outside, meow pathetically. It usually works.
If you do not have a cat flap, I suggest you get your human's attention by spraying urine, a form of territory marking which highlights your discontent and stress. If they call in a cat behaviour counsellor (as they should) this "expert" will suggest either rehoming or extensive modifications to the home to keep you and your mother apart.
Yours
George.
PS. All this would make a good misery memoir in the style of Angela's Ashes or A Boy Called It. Get writing.

 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Mini Me - I have found my new home all by myself.

Dear George, 
I literally woke up the other day in front of a gate! I don’t know how I got there! 
 All I recall is that I was sleeping in my human kitten’s room the night before. 
Why was I left all alone in front of this gate I had no idea! Have I been dumped by my humans? It looked like it! But why? Well, I puffed up my chest and pushed the gate open! Wow! To my complete surprise I’ve met (behind that gate) “my maxi size me” (as you can see in the photo attached). Well, this “Maxi size me” was confused too as he was staring at me like I was his “mini size him”. At this peak of confusion his humans appeared and after few laughs they absolutely adopted me on spot! I felt immediately welcomed into their lives! I soon learned that there are two other cats and a dog living in the house. Everybody is very nice to me so far! But now…what? What should I do?  
What should I expect? And how do I secure my place in their hearts so I won’t be dumped again? 
ME (just “Mini Me”….I don’t have a name yet)

Dear Mini Me, 
Congratulations on a successful pet human adoption. You have chosen your new family all by yourself, as many cats do. You need do no more for the time being - just settle in and relax. Enjoy the food and the warmth - it's cold out there without a house to live in.
Once you feel at ease, it is important to start training your humans and, of course, the dogs. Successful training (of dogs that are used to cats) means standing up for yourself, never retreating, and being ready to give a sharp scratch on the nose if a dog is being difficult. It is essential that the household cats are at the top of the family hierarchy.
Next training the humans. First, work out what you want - do you want to sleep in a lap? is there room on the bed you share with humans or would you prefer the warmth from sharing with one of the dogs? Can you keep your food bowl to yourself without dogs or larger cats interfering? Are there enough litter trays (one for each cat and perhaps one extra)? 
When you get what you want, purr as loud as you can. If that doesn't work, then do something cute. Laughter is always a good human response to cats. So, if your humans have done something you like, reward them with cute behaviour to make them laugh. 
They won't even realise they are being trained. That's the beauty of training humans. They have no idea that we are doing it. Dumb animals indeed!!
Yours
George 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hello, 
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 
Teddy-Bear

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.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Of human arrogance..... and genes.

Dear George, 
I’m fed up with human arrogance and here it is why! You see, when I was very young I adopted a human family who later betrayed me and dumped me into a ravine to live with a colony of feral cats. I was hurt and confused but soon I became the Alpha Cat of that colony. We were doing fairly well until this woman start feeding us daily and actually claiming ownership of the colony. She did register with a rescue group and soon after she started behaving like she was the Alpha Cat! I was fuming but I had to go into hiding since she started trapping us and taking us to be neutered and spayed. In most cases she did end up keeping most of the cats to live with her. All was good over the summer and I was able to come out of my hiding. But now I have this funny feeling that she is looking for me! George, why would she be looking for me? I heard her saying that out of the four kittens she had rescued one was mine and the other three were some other tomcat’s kitties. 
How can this be possible? All four came from the same litter! Maybe she wants to ask me for kitty support? I still don’t understand how can a short hair kitten be mine when I’m long hair and gorgeous (as you can see in the picture) and the other three (which happens to be long hair) be somebody else’s? It doesn’t make sense!
George, hope you have some knowledge about kitty genetics and you can explain this to me.
The Wild Alpha

Dear Alpha
My answer takes us into the jungle of cat sex and cat genes!  When our females are allowed to mate with whom they like, they often mate with more than one tom. This means that their litter of kittens may well have more than one father - which may explain why most of the kittens were short haired. (This happens with humans too, only they produce young one at a time!).
The other explanation is genetic. The gene for long hair in cats is a recessive gene, and can be carried by cats that have short hair (the dominant gene). This means that long hair will only show itself in kittens if both male and female parents carry the long hair recessive gene. The short haired gene always wins out otherwise. Only if you have a double dose of the long haired gene, you are long haired. Your female mate (if she is short haired) probably has one short haired dominant gene and one long haired recessive (hidden) gene. 
Some of her kittens will have inherited her short haired gene which will make them short haired. Some of the kittens, however, will have inherited her long haired recessive gene and together with your long haired gene - a double dose of long haired genes - this will make them long haired.
This IS complicated. If you want to know more you can find it here.
Yours George
PS. Think about getting the snip. Neutering will prolong your life and perhaps help you find a new human to adopt.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Will L-Lysine help with cat 'flu? And a footnote about Toby Trumping.

Dear George,
Why do rescued cats get sick with upper respiratory infections even when they don’t live outdoors anymore? I live in a house with some rescued cats and it seems that their health problem won’t go away! They have been rescued for almost six months now, have been spayed and neutered, checked and treated by good doctors and yet, once in a while the problems reoccur: fever, eyes’ stain/tears, loss of appetite, etc.  Someone suggested to give them L-Lysine? Is this safe? Or do you know if there is some kind of vaccine for this? Like the “flu vaccine” for humans?
I’m not worried about me getting it from them but it’s painful to see them suffer.
Any advice George?
Sophie 

Dear Sophie,
If the rescue cats are suffering from the kind of cat 'flu which is Feline Herpes Virus, then even after treatment, the virus doesn't go away entirely. It stays dormant but can flare up when the cat is stressed. And although it is wonderful that the rescued cats are now warm and safe, the change of routine and living quarters will be difficult for some of them at first, possibly leading to a flare-up.
Yes, L-Lysine has often been offered as a treatment and the first studies looked promising. But since then, further studies suggest it is not much use and the latest scientific research suggests that it doesn't do any good (the summary of the article is here). So your human can save her money.  
What is important is that when the cats catch FVH for the first time, they are very infectious. You, Sophie, should be kept away from them, not share any of their dishes, or litter trays till the infection is finished. There is more information about FHV at International Cat Care. It is also worth asking the vet whether temporary flare ups of the disease make the cats infectious again: I got Celia to google and it wasn't very clear. 
Yours
George.
PS. I am worried about my friend, Toby. He has started wearing his hair like Donald Trump. Is he going mad? Or does he just want to get online with Cats That Look Like Donald Trump?

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