A Big Purr of Welcome

This blog used to be written by Tara, cat and author of Cats in Charge: A Guide to the Training and Education of Humans. She is also a leading character in Big Dragons Don't Cry, Book One of A Dragon's Guide to Destiny and in its sequels.

Once Tara realized that the rewards of writing a blot didn't include treats or catnip, she assigned the job to me, human and nominal writer of her books.

However, she has final approval of all posts, and she advises you to visit often. The advice you'll read here can land you in a field of catnip if you follow it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cats and Water Do Not Mix

I'm headed for a safe space under the couch or possibly in a closet for the next undetermined period. My human scribe informs me that, type as she may, electricity is needed to convey a message to my readers. Science is not my strong point.

I have learned that many shelters from the storm that take humans will not take their pets. Cats, this is discrimination. In addition, our humans need us to calm and comfort them. They just don't understand weather like we do. Take action.

Cat(ch) you when things calm down.

Stay dry,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Assuming Dominance: The Unfriendly Dog

I hope I've made it clear that even when you evaluate and choose adoptees according to your powers of observation and logical principles, it's still a crap shoot. In that case, your most important duty is to make sure none of it falls on you.

This sums up the situation with an unfriendly dog. Let me assure you that it's workable. For an intelligent cat who knows which way to leap, everything is workable.

In dealing with dogs, keep this fact foremost. Far more than a cat does, a dog seeks the approval and love of his master. Yes, it will make mistakes, sometimes on the rug, sometimes through the miscalculation of chewing a beloved sock, shoe, or slipper. A wise dog can extricate herself from such disasters with a soft-eyed, plaintive and the faintest of whines.

This, however, is not a guide for dogs. My point here is that your corpse isn't one of those mistakes from which a dog can extricate himself. You want to avoid such unpleasantness.

Take the attitude that you're in the midst of battlefield negotiations. This is no time for long speeches or flowery prose. Got for quick and to the point. If a dog is thinking of lunging at you, shriek at the top of your lungs, "I wouldn't if I were you! They'll send you to the pound." The mention of this frightful word should freeze a dog in mid-lunge.

The other reason you limit yourself to brief communication is that you must also prepare to activate Plan B. Know where the closest couch is and make sure the space beneath is large enough for hiding. If you are close to a human adoptee, calculate the distance to his or her lap.

Above all, unless your life depends on it, make no hostile gesture towards the dog. I'm sure I don't have to list all the swipes, growls, and other legitimate behavior you must avoid. Maintain your status as the innocent victim.

Make no comments as the humans chastise the dog. The dog will probably get the message, but don't turn your back on him until you've had some more negotiations. Establish with the dog that you're open to a friendly division of property, humans included. You won't eat his food (this is the easiest promise to make, because their food tastes awful), and you demand that he not eat yours (much harder for the dog, which is why you insist).

If he's already carved out the bed as his personal domain, don't argue in these early stages. You may actually prefer to sleep elsewhere, but later on you will want to establish that you have every right to occupy that space—or indeed, any and every space.

These, however, are the earliest days. Your task here is to establish civility and to demonstrate with every paw you lift, that you have a friendly and conciliatory spirit. It's like catnip in the bank in terms of investing in your future.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Establishing Dominance Part I: The Friendly Dog

With this post I resume my advice column and return to the theme of how best to take over any home you enter. Part of that, of course, involves establishing your dominance over any other creatures who may already live there.

Humans are accustomed to think of the "pet-owning" (forgive me while I expel a hairball of disgust) world as being divided between dog people and cat people. This would be convenient and would give me no need to write this post.

However, to their possible credit, many people describe themselves as "animal lovers." This may mean they are kind-hearted, and if you evaluated them thoroughly when you considered them for adoption, you will already know this.

In other cases, though, you will find a household where a dog person and a cat person combined households. This raises the possibility that, once the glow of love and mating dissipates, they may be in trouble, due to deep emotional incompatibility. This will mean trouble for you, so be on the alert for early warning signs. Your first action must to be to make yourself indispensable to the cat person.

I will cover this area more thoroughly in a post entitled "What Divorce Means to You."

Whatever the reason for a dog being already established in the household you intend to conquer, you must deal with this presence. His seniority need not concern you as much as that of another cat would. It must, however, be taken into consideration.

For this reason, I recommend that you exercise the maximum in self-control. Evaluate the dog. Is her tail wagging? Is she panting in a friendly way? If your impressions are positive, make the most of the opportunity.

If you're a kitten, assume the "I'm just a tiny, adorable, helpless ball of fur" attitude. Move very slowly towards the dog, pacing yourself by the volume and frequency of the remark, "Isn't that the cutest thing?" and by the flashing of cameras and cellphones. If you hear the statement, "We should put this on YouTube," up the attitude and accompany it with heartbreaking whimpers.

If you are a mature cat, don't try to overplay cute. Instead, go for pathos. Remind your new servants that you've had a tough life on the street where you learned to trust no one or that the death of a human forced you into homelessness. Convey with an ever-more-confident step that being in this loving and nuturing atmosphere is already healing your psychic wounds. If you play it right, you, too, may earn Internet exposure.

Regardless of your age, keep the climactic scene well in mind. You will end up crouching or lying between the dog's legs, your head buried against his chest. (I hope for your sake that he will have been recently bathed.) Hold that pose. Humans love scenes of interspecies friendship because they don't understand that we are far more tolerant than they usually are. Or maybe they do understand and need the inspiration of the lion and the lamb and the dog and the cat.

It costs you nothing to make them happy, and you will be greatly rewarded. They will talk about you to their friends, and they will put your picture on their Facebook pages and web sites. You could become famous.

It's worth suffering a small amount of dog hair.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Are We Famous Yet?

A quick note to readers of this blog: my scribe, C. M. Barrett, was interviewed about the book in which I play a starring role, Big Dragons Don't Cry You can read the interview here.

Comments are welcome.