Advice – October 2012

Dear Sparkle,
You and I both know that humans are generally clueless, but why is it that male humans are even more clueless than females? Seriously, all I have to do is give my human a look and she gets my dinner in a flash, but if it were up to the guy she refers to as “Sweetie,” I’d probably starve to death! Last time she came home late and asked him to feed me, I climbed the curtains, whapped the remote under the couch (boy, did he hate that!) and screamed in his ear — he thought I was “annoying” him for no reason. Hello, I was hungry! My human walked in the door and could tell just by looking at me I needed food! Plus this Sweetie guy does not know how to pet me — I just get these ham-handed pats, no skritching, no butt tapping. And his wrist action with Da Bird? Forget about it! It’s more like getting divebombed by an angry magpie than chasing a tasty sparrow. So tell me, do you think male humans can be trained at all? Or is it just a waste of time?
Miffed About Men

Dear Miffed,
Although there are some exceptions to the rule (and they know who they are), the majority of male humans are just not as tuned into the feline mind as female humans are. There’s some sort of inner instinct female humans have that makes most of them fairly simple for us kitties to train. They understand what goes into proper care and feeding of themselves, and they readily apply that to the living beings around them. This means they are hard-wired to cater to a kitty’s needs. Male humans, on the other hand, tend to get lost in some faraway mental space and next thing you know, they’ve forgotten about dinner (his and yours), personal hygiene and possibly, what day it is. This is one of the main reasons male humans are so hard to train — it is hard for them to retain the lessons you teach, or they take it the wrong way. For example, the moment that remote went under the couch, your female human would have known you were hungry, while I bet the male human just thought you were being spiteful.

The good news is that Mr. Sweetie guy sounds like he is at least trying — he is petting you, however gauchely, and he does pull out the interactive cat toys, even though he can’t use them properly. That shows he has potential. He just needs a little more direction from… guess who? That’s right, your female human! Since she already speaks cat with some proficiency, have her tell him the right techniques and proper feline etiquette. To have her act as translator is easy — the moment the male human does something the wrong way, go fetch the female human. She will suss out what is going on and give the male human instruction on proper petting or playing. Keep in mind that Sweetie won’t become an expert cat servant overnight. It will take time and a bit of effort, and he may never be perfect. But any attempts to do things the right way should always be encouraged.

* * *
Having problems with your human or the other cats in your house? As the internet’s “Dear Abby With Claws,” Sparkle had answers to many annoying problems in her two award-winning books! Visit her author’s page on Amazon to buy one or both of her awesome Dear Sparkle books!

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  1. says

    Sparkle, that is such a good description and answer to the problem. Our Person found it very funny. Sweetie does need some training. Hope all of you have a great week end.

  2. says

    Fortunately for us Sparkle there isn’t a “male” living here – he died some months before we arrived – which wasn’t a very good welcome but still there’s lots of room on the bed.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  3. says

    It’s funny Sparkle, my hubby turned to me the other day and said “when did I become a cat person?” I just smiled at him but in my head I was thinking “years of training!!!” Don’t give up hope Miffed :-)

  4. says

    My husband spoils our kitties something fierce and they love him to bits but he doesn’t know how to pet them even tho I show him what Miss Frankie and BB like. But then he doesn’t know how to pet humans either.

  5. says

    My Pop is the best. He really knows how to give a girl cat a FURminating. He’s also the only human I’ll let pick me up and hold me. Oh sure, he doesn’t know when I want to be walked to my food—TW has to remind him—and he isn’t very good about playing with me. He claims that’s TW’s job cos he works and she’s home all day. Sigh.

  6. says

    Our dad was the first cat person in our house, and had to convince our mum. He started out trying to be strict, but now he is completely under the paw- especially mine!

    P,S, we liked your post from yesterday a lot. Something mum read a few years ago made a big impression on her regarding the language used in pet adoptions, even if the comparison was a little crude. It was about how used car salespeople market their vehicles, you never hear them talking about dumped/ unwanted/ problem cars that shouldn’t have been manufactured. We should avoid it with animals too, unless we want people to look at them as less awesome or less valuable.

  7. says

    While the Male is useless, I do find that after watching Jackson Galaxy he is great with da bird and quite like it when he uses it better than the Woman. It is the only reason I keep him around.

  8. says

    Some men just don’t know what to do with women or kitties! Our daddy is very good to us though and knows how to pet us right even with the butt tapping! He’s way better with Da Bird than our mommy is too! Plus he cleans our facilities out every day without complaint.

  9. says

    Male human in our house is like Mr. Sweetie. He does petting and playing in wrong way. I’m trying to train him, but as you said it would take a long time!

  10. says

    boy oh boy sparkle you are right on! I feel the same but when it comes to my Sheltie brother, Dad is alllllll over giving him FOOD AND TREATS!!! He forgets that I exist! Oh yeah he “pets” me but not the way that Mom does. My Mom knows what I need every minute of the day but Dad? Geeze……………

  11. says

    Generally excellent advice as always Sparkle. However, the Human tells me (I have no first hand evidence) that her dear friend, Aggie & Wally & Madie’s Dad, is an exception to the BadDad stereotype. But then he went out and voluntarily acquired three (count ’em, THREE) kittehs on his own.

  12. says

    Oh they can be trained, trust us! Ryker broke him in for us and did a really good job. (In fact, we’ve got him trained to HIDE the fact that he gives us treats from the MOM person, who is – in OUR opinion – waaaay too strict.)

    So don’t give up!

  13. says

    Hi, Charlotte here. Angel MoMo says her furriends are my furriends so I am visiting while I am staying here at her home.

    I am totally in awe, you run an advice column for kitties???? oh my, (note to self), must tell my mom about this when I return to live with her later.

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