This comes from three years ago to the day, but I thought you’d prefer it to me going off on one about Posh Shoes blaming ‘liberal elites’ for slaughtering the first born of hard working British families. The Toff conference beggared belief.

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This is one of those spurious bits of ‘new research’ so beloved of the tabloids when they’ve lost interest in the Middle East crisis and impending annihilation of the human race by Ebola. Usually some anonymous ‘expert,’ and you know how highly I regard tabloid experts, will tell you something you don’t need to know, and which is palpably untrue.

This article was advice to cat owners. Here’s a good one. ‘If your cat seems down in the dumps, the last thing it needs is to be made a fuss of. Just because humans like to be looked after, cats are very different, need to be left alone, and picking a cat up and stroking it may actually increase its stress levels,’ or gibberish to that effect. Pointless. If you pick up a cat that doesn’t want to be picked up you may as well sign your consent form for euthanasia, and just stroking a cat that doesn’t want to be stroked is a likely to entail a lengthy trip to A&E.

Other signs that your cat might be stressed or neurotic. Excessive sleeping. How can you tell when a cat is sleeping excessively? It’s all they do, and they’re really really good at it. On the other hand, not sleeping enough is apparently a danger sign too. Having been owned by several well loved felines, I can report I have never had one that didn’t sleep enough. From my viewpoint, the only time a cat wakes up is when it’s got the hump that you’re making love with your partner is disturbing its favourite spot on the duvet.

Excessive eating. This might be something to be mildly concerned at. Cats are pretty good at self regulating their food intake. They may look at you reproachfully if the dish is empty and they are still hungry, but unlike dogs will stop eating before they explode.

Soiling or urinating in the house. Most likely cause is that it’s raining or snowy outside. Not neurotic, just annoyed. Sensitivity to loud noises. I had a cat who adored Bonfire Night, and would return in the early hours of the morning smelling strongly of smoke and with multiple singe marks like mini crop circles in her fur where she’d got too close to the pyrotechnic action.

Anybody who has been owned by a cat knows exactly how they behave. Instead of the lengthy article in the press, I’d have changed the focus and kept things brief. ‘In the absence of any direct evidence to the contrary, assume your cat has the hump about something.’

By the way, did you know that animal sanctuaries find black or black and white cats the hardest of all to rehouse. My second favourite cat was all black, lovely to look at, and a distinctly uncharacteristic happy attitude. Sadly I wasn’t the only one to think he was a great cat, and he got catnapped.

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