Somebody once said ‘A hungry cat doesn’t have a snooze button’ And how! This set me musing, the other day, on the many cunning plans cats in my house use to attract attention.
A. Fox. I inherited Foxy and, being quite lazy with names (see below, Cat C) I have abbreviated her name to Fox. She bites if I annoy her too much by stroking her, so doesn’t deserve the rather sweeter ‘Foxy’. I hope noAmericans call round and use her name. It’s going to sound wrong, let’s face it. Fox has huge paws and is the most heavy-footed cat I have ever come across. When hungry, she stomps through the house, tail aloft, wailing. When this fails to get the desired result there follows clawing of chair and hissing at other cats. Then there is ‘Cute’, rolling around purring, paws waving and general ‘Look at me’ behaviour. Nothing new to see there. But as a last resort there is reaching up to the door knocker and rapping it. That is spookily intelligent, in my experience.
B. Buffy The Gecko Slayer. (When bothered). I hate finding these poor upside down, tailless creatures around the house. Of course, some of them escape, grow a new tail and now live behind the pictures. Buffy is a cat of comparatively little brain but knows about clocks. At exactly twelve past five, his tactic is to stretch out nice and long to trip up, get trodden on or be jumped over. Failing food being served immediately, he embarks on a persistent attack on the food container - with pretty good results. I was wondering how he was getting quite fat until one day I caught him frantically digging at it with his paws. If totally ignored or still hungry he will race through the house full pelt and skid into the kitchen. (Calls to mind a certain art teacher at school whose ‘party piece’ was to commence her lesson with a flourish by skidding across the linoleum into the art room) Teachers were very odd back then.
C. White Cat. Beautiful, wild, vain and untameable. Her tactic is to do her evil blue eyed stare from a safe distance. Laserbeams. Then comes the sudden attack on the imaginary moth or spider. She is obviously quite mad. However, White Cat can actually become friendly for about 30 seconds before food arrives. As I am the Mother Ship, she tolerates me living here and feeding her. She is completely indifferent to humans otherwise. Though quite
grown up, now 3 years old, she still appears to suffer from Mammary Anxiety and suckles on things, mainly Buffy. He doesn’t mind that much. Enough said. It’s a mad house. Mad Cat Woman (nom de plume)
Cooper reviews: GR222 Coast path of Santa Margalida- part 1
The main GR222 hiking trail splits at Son Serra de Marina where there is a 7km linear coastal extension to Son Baulo near Can Picafort.
. There’s plenty of parking on the roads of Son Serra de Marina but also 2 car parks, one by the marina and one at the opposite end by the main beach, both have explanatory signs and state that I must be on the lead along the whole of the path. The views of the Arta mountains and across to Alcudia are beautiful, the sea can get quite big waves and attracts many surfers. Wherever you park head to the sea and go west on the trail which is a mixture of rock, sand and depending on the tide there can be a lot of seaweed.
. There are no bins on the path so be prepared to carry everything. Little black bags are not my style so I let my hoomans carry those, aren’t they lucky.
. Following the trail we pass the wetland of S’Estany, old machine-gun bunkers from the 1930s and remnants of an ancient quarry.
Remember we have to walk back the same way so don’t overdo it and always, even in winter, make sure you bring some water for me. If we walk further we come to the Illot des Porros, a small island which was the burial site of Majorca’s first plague victim in the 1300s and the necropolis of Punta des Fenicis which dates back to the Iron Age.
. If we turn around here and head back to Son Serra I will have walked about 10kms and we can all have a refreshing drink at one of Son Serra de Marina’s dog friendly bars.
Many dog owners struggle to walk their dog on a lose leash. As this is a rather complex topic unfortunately here we only have space for a few brief pointers:
1. What do I need?
A long leash (I recommend 3m, for PPP dogs max 2m in public spaces due to regulations), a normal collar or harness and most important something to motivate and reward your dog, for most dogs their favourite treat will do.
2. Where do I start?
Begin teaching in a place where it is very easy for the dog to be attentive to us, like the living room or the garden. The more distractions there are the harder it will be for the dog to focus on us. Proceed to teach in gradually more distractive environments.
Focus on where you WANT the dog to walk, i.e. reward the dog when they walk with you. When they walk ahead or walk off simply STOP, GIVE them as much leash as possible in the situation and wait for them to return, then reward them heavily and keep on walking (in a different direction if you can).
Be unpredictable, i.e. change direction often and reward when they come with you.
In the beginning you may have to reward them on EVERY step and then gradually phase out the treats.
Let the dog THINK, don’t talk to them or give them clues by “leash-wiggling”
Be patient, when you are waiting for your dog a few seconds can feel like minutes!
Make sure the dog leaves the house calmly, the calmer they are the easier to get and keep their attention during the walk. DON’T “fire them up” by shouting “Let’s go walkies!”
If your dog already gets excited when they see the leash: Pick it up various times during the day and put it in a different place in a fashion that the dog sees it.
Ignore them when they get excited and reward them when they remain calm. Within a few days the dog will not get excited any longer.