Warm greetings, friends, and my best wishes to you all for 2014.  I would like to start this month’s column by getting something off my chest.

I am completely furious with Staff; actually I am so cross I could burst.  Last night I was out on rodent patrol, it was freezing cold but a lovely still, clear night and I stayed out for hours working hard to keep the place free of vermin.  I came home this morning ready to get a bit of shut-eye, I was absolutely pooped.  So there I was, sleeping peacefully in my bed when I subconsciously became aware of movement in the room.  Then I heard the click of the camera shutter – Staff had taken my photo.  Taken liberties more like, to say she had captured me looking less than attractive is an understatement!

Squirt not posing!There ought to be a law against taking photos of a cat in an unflattering pose.  She looked at the camera screen, giggled and said “I must send this to The Daily Mews!” And I’m afraid to say she has.  Please do not laugh, it’s a dreadful photo and does not in any way do me justice.

Awful, isn’t it?

As revenge, I’ve decided that this month’s scribbling is for cats only.   Felines, do not allow your staff to read this under any circumstances.  If a human comes too close just hit some buttons – any buttons, or swipe the screen (personally I hate touch screen devices, it’s so hard not to scratch them), do what you must to prevent any non-feline reading this, it is strictly entre nous.  A word to the wise – be careful not to accidentally navigate to what I believe is called a pawn website or your staff may have apoplexy.

I am going to share with you my personal methods of staff management.  If you follow my advice you cannot fail to get attention, be forgiven or whatever it is that you want to achieve.  Paws up, who amongst you has committed a sin and found forgiveness hard to get?  Who has failed to get the attention that should so rightfully be theirs?  No more!  My methods are tried, tested and guaranteed to work. 

Squirt in shopping bagIf you have committed a sin or a crime the fundamental principle of effective staff management is distraction.  Humans are easily distracted; to be honest I think they are all a bit thick.   One of the most basic ploys you can use is to do cute stuff.  The first thing you should do is look at your staff with ‘those eyes’ which is a simple strategy but often very effective.  Should that fail then climbing into a shopping bag is quite good, they can’t resist this one, trust me I’ve used it many times in a crisis.  Antics like this will often prompt your staff to get the camera out.  By all means allow a snap or two.  Why not?  Your stunning poses will be on record for all to see, with any luck you might get a few likes on Facebook.  Don’t worry you’ll easily handle the fame.

Who could fail to be side tracked by that?

If there are no bags to hand then you need to be inventive.  Basically just act the fool; leap about, dance, lay down some funky moves.  Your staff will always pay attention to a well choreographed routine and as an added bonus you get some healthy exercise.  Once you’ve mastered the basics you are ready to up your game and try something a little more advanced.  Pretend to hurt yourself.  Leap in the air, do a couple of toe-loops and a triple wotsit and then pretend to land awkwardly.  Look worried for a couple of seconds, give a little grunt and then walk towards your staff with a slight limp.  This results in sympathy and, if your performance has been really convincing, a treat or two.  Careful not to overdo it though or you will be risking a visit to the v*t.  Making a ‘miraculous’ recovery is advised.

Okay, now let’s suppose that you want the best chair all to yourself but your staff is sitting there.  How do you solve this problem?  What you do is this; climb up onto your staff’s lap, put your paws on his or her shoulders and stare intently into their eyes.  When you are satisfied that you have their full attention, turn your body through 180 degrees so that your other end is uppermost.  My friends, there are very few people in the world who can’t be persuaded to move using my patented BiF (Bum in Face) technique.  In the unlikely event that this doesn’t work for you there is only one course of action to take.  You must repeat the manoeuvre and while giving your staff a second BiF you need to break wind.  The BiF/fart combo has been known to clear a room completely which means you are free to choose whichever seat you like.  Mission accomplished!!

So there you have it, Squirt’s Manual of Staff Management.  Give my methods a try and by all means feel free to experiment to see what works best with your own staff.  You have nothing to lose and I wish you good luck, I am confident you will succeed.

Don’t forget to join me next month,

Your friend,


Squirt has written a fantastic book: Reservoir Cats: True Stories and Cat's Eye Views from Squirt (aided by his Staff member: Penel Ashworth).

Available on Amazon Kindle here: Reservoir Cats

For a review of Reservoir Cats, click on this link










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