Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Rule Britannia

I often grumble about my country of birth. England to put it bluntly has gone to the dogs. Morals have completely disappeared, most of our traditions are now politically incorrect, including Christmas and Easter, the Labour government is being pilloried, the Countryside Alliance have infiltrated the Conservative Party and are baying for the hunting ban to be repealed while MP’s are living high off the hog using taxpayers money to clean their moats and buy chandeliers, champagne and light bulbs. I know that cruelty is at an all time high and that dreadful things are happening everyday to humans and animals alike.

But this morning it dawned on me, you know what? For all that, I’m bloody proud to be English! And the reason is that there are some bog standard, run of the mill, everyday people who are absolutely, wonderfully and genuinely kind and who love their animals just the way they are.

I was browsing an English cat lover’s forum and came across a question from someone who’s cat keeps insisting on scratching the wallpaper off, and I believe when they said off they mean just that, the wallpaper is gone, removed, shredded and merely tatters remain. Full of trepidation I looked at the replies, I say that because as readers may know I frequent Yahoo Answers Cats section quite a lot and on there a question like this would receive numerous answers from those over the pond in the USA, I then decided to compare English answers and USA answers to this type of question.

So I did a bit of a search for a similar question on Y/A USA, and these are some of the suggestions to similar problems. OK here we go, the least offensive is of course trim the claws down, no problem with that if the cat is happy to sit and have the claws clipped without panicking, if that solves the problem then sighs of relief all round. Then there are the dreaded soft paws, now I shouldn't criticize this weird invention because I know that their use has saved many a cat from being declawed but somehow I still don’t like the thought of sticking rubber caps onto cats claws. For a start do they not stop the claws from retracting into the sheaths? I would imagine they’d feel pretty uncomfortable in that case and think that’s probably one of the reasons why cats chew them off as quickly as possible, plus the thought of a cat with pink/blue/ yellow caps on it’s claws “looking cute” seems a bit sad and undignified for such beautiful creatures. And when they chew them off do they not run the risk of making their toes sore or even swallowing them? Could they get lodged in their intestines I wonder?
Then there is often sticky paper suggested, this must be something like the glue traps that small creatures get stuck on and perish. I wouldn’t like to think I’d deliberately made one of my cats get his paws stuck and have to drag them off the sticky paper risking sore pads or twisted “ankles”. One suggestion was “sticky tape and shouting” whereas another of just using masking tape seemed kinder and more reasonable to me. There was a suggestion to put chilli pepper in the area – hmm what about the cat’s delicate nose and eyes then? There was one suggestion to take a tin and fill it with pebbles and shake it to “frighten” the cat away (But away from what? From the owner I’d say). Get a balloon, blow it up and squeak it at the cat, get a Doberman (Get a Doberman? How helpful is that? Would another breed not work as well I wonder?) Get a water pistol and squirt it at the cat when it claws, and here there were a variety of suggestions as to what to put in it, there was lemon juice, vinegar, chilli pepper (yes again) in water and all sorts of horrible liquids, and plain water of course. And then in the end it came, the answer I’d been waiting for “Declawing it is your best solution”.

Everything there was doing something to the cat, shout at it, frighten it, wet it, make it’s eyes sting or alter it’s paws in some way, from merely trimming the claws to sticking things on them or going all the way and amputating the offending claws along with the toes they were joined to.

So, going back to the English board here are some comments in reply to the person who asked what they could do about their cat scratching the wallpaper to kingdom come. Someone said exclude it from the room, someone else said get a scratching post and point the cat at it and give it treats when it uses it, and someone else recommended a spray from Kleeneze that smells of lemon to spray on the wallpaper (not the cat) but my favourites, and I can’t really choose from them because I love them all are: One, surprisingly from a man is “Take the wallpaper off and paint the wall”, I just love the logic and simplicity of that, remove the problem by removing the paper. Two is ”Mine scratch more when their claws are clipped to sharpen them again, but they also scratch when they need clipping and in between as well - nothing works but I still love them. And three is a beauty – “Nothing on this planet will stop our beautiful feline friends doing what they want”

See what I mean? What a difference in attitude. On the one hand it’s all about “punishment” and the other it is all about tolerance.

That’s why I’m proud to be English today.


  1. Brilliant article Babz and I totally agree. Why do USA people who have zero tolerance for cats have a cat? Surely they aren't shocked to see they come with claws ? It's far too easy to get a cat declawed over there. What would they do if declawing wasn't an option ? Hooray, not get a cat !! Which would be a good thing as they certainly don't deserve to have the pleasure of a cat's company !
    I too am glad to be in England !

  2. I do apologise to the majority of American citizens who would probably rather stick pins in their eyes than abuse their furry companions, but doesn't it always happen that we all get tarred with the same brush?

  3. Thanks for this excellent article, Babz. It is folks like you that get the truth out about feline behavior and to help those of us who are owned by cats to learn how to "speak" cat. Feline behavior always has a reason, even if at first glance it seems strange. Cats always are expressing something about themselves. Thanks for your excellent work.

  4. NOTHING justifies torture! I have a gentle heart which means it's tough to read and see the abuse and sheer torture animals continue to endure in veterinary offices, labaratory testing tables/cages, and even in the privacy of people's homes. I've had cats for 35 years with many fine antiques and no damage. It just takes some very minor reprimanding with a stern voice and to offer an alternative scratching post and they'll be fine...and so will your furnishings!