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.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cats in Command: A Short Story

Curiosity Quills, a site of which I greatly approve for its cat-centric content, has published a short story by my scribe. Read it here. http://curiosityquills.com/cats-in-command-a-short-story/ There will be a quiz.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Unfriendly Cat

Dear Tara,

I read your post on the importance of making friends with the current feline resident. All well and good, but this cat has no interest in being my friend, and she has no understanding of the importance of feline solidarity. She hisses at me and bats me around the tiled kitchen floor. Am I supposed to silently tolerate these indignities?

Batted and bruised

Dear Batted,

A cat NEVER tolerates indignities. However, a certain amount of patience is mandatory. Yours is not the only impatient email I've received. I recognize that the insights I have to share are important and long overdue. However, I cannot simply pour out all I know at once. Furthermore, my scribe, although well trained, insists that she has other things she needs to do. I am working on her attitude.

Furthermore, I know that kittens have short attention spans. That's why I left the details of diplomacy out of the previous post. In this post I will address them.

The example you gave makes a good starting point. Certainly nothing is more humiliating than being used as a hockey puck, and feline self-respect demands that you protest with plaintive cries. Timing, however, is everything.

If the older cat is stupid or aggravated enough to bat you about while humans are present, add to your protest a dazed look and, if you think it will be effective, a slight limp. This combination of actions will solicit sympathy for you and "Bad kitty" for the offender. The older cat will soon realize that such abuse will lead to unwanted repercussions.

A clever older cat, however, will be careful to abuse you when no humans are around. In such circumstances, you must subtly provoke him into public abuse.

Subtle is the keyword. Your purpose is to adapt a principle of martial arts by using the other cat's aggression against him. An excellent ploy is to act very affectionate with the other cat. Rub against him or perform another action that makes your intentions seem innocent and friendly. This will irritate and provoke the other cat into a hostile response. Immediately adopt the dazed look, plaintive cries, and possible limp.

This approach may have the drawback of making the older cat even more hostile to you, but you can neutralize this effect. Choose your moment carefully.

A good time to approach the other cat is when he has just been fed or brushed. Adopting a submissive pose, (don't worry about this; you're only pretending) express your appreciation for his wisdom and your desire to learn from him. Introduce the idea that two cats are better than one when it comes to the training and discipline of humans.

You may need to do this more than once—another reason for adopting patience. Eventually, 90% or more of cats will see reason. Should you be unfortunate enough to encounter a member of the small percentage of cats who refuse to see reason, stay out of the creature's way, and make sure that every one of his attacks on you are noticed.

This constitutes an official state of war. It pains me to admit that some cats never learn. If you find yourself living with one of them, your priority is to make certain that the other cat is always seen as the aggressor.

When all else fails, pray to the Long-whiskered One to knock some sense into the stupid cat's head.

The above protocol can be adapted to any hostile act on the other cat's part.

To your continued success,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dealing with Other Cats/Part 1: The Older Cat

With this post, I return to my advice column.

When you enter your new household, you will need a very different approach to a resident cat or cats than you use for any dogs. In the absence of other evidence, your keywords should be respect and cooperation.

Here's the most common scenario: You are being brought in to fill a vacancy. Prior to your arrival there were two cats of similar ages. One of them died. The humans believe that the other cat is lonely. You are there to provide the surviving cat with companionship.

The resident cat, however, may have an entirely different perspective.

1. She may not have been fond of the deceased cat at all. Many cats, despite mutual dislike or indifference to each other, recognize the importance of a show of solidarity against other species. Also, since cats are place-oriented, they prefer a peaceful environment and make arrangements to tolerate each other.

The remaining cat, however, may have been looking forward to sole rulership of the household. Your arrival disrupts her plans for domination.

2. Nothing makes a cat feel his age like a lively kitten. It's not your fault that you're young, adorable, and highly energetic, but stop your prancing for a moment and consider that the older cat has the right to feel insulted. He may wonder if the humans were dissatisfied with this older model. He may feel that they've been disloyal in the face of his years of faithful service (or behavior that looks to the humans like service, which is good enough).

If the contemplation of this attitude makes you impatient or irritable, consider this: Someday you will be in this situation, an older cat whose life and status are about to be disrupted by a charming little ball of fur. Put yourself in this position. How do you feel? Not so wonderful.

If you keep the older cat's attitude in mind, you can form a successful and indeed vital alliance. An agreeable older cat can fill you in on information critical to your future. She can, for example, give detailed personality profiles about human residents in the household and update you on the training program currently in effect. Together, you can accomplish more than twice as much.

Therefore, your first priority should be the winning over of the current feline resident.