Dear Squirt,

Holly and JimmyI have this annoying problem with my ‘dad’, Jimmy. As you may well know, he is a columnist with your Daily Mews website, so I’d better watch what I’m saying.

Me and my sister Daisy spend hours with him asleep. When it’s the bed or settee, no problem. Our keepers have a leather ‘IKEA’ chair and the three of us can fit on it, but it’s a tight squeeze. If I’m honest, I’m the boss of the chair. I decide who stays on it by stretching out and moving around.

Trouble is, Jimmy gets annoyed for no good reason, and gives me a couple of ‘swipes’ at random. I won’t move off - this is my chair - and I’ll swipe him too, but I don’t like it. We don’t fall out, but sometimes I have to sleep with one eye open, and if he starts to move then I’m on edge.

Jimmy is twice my size, and is all but blind, but he’s no fool, and still can hurt.

I have plucked up the courage to nudge him out of his dish if he gets too stroppy too.

So, what do I do? I’m not giving up my favourite chair, and I love spending time with the ‘Big Lad.’ You can’t reason with him. His two priorities in life are 1: His dish, and 2: Not being disturbed.

Any ideas will be very welcome.

Love, ‘Little Hol’ [alias Holly].

Dear Holly,

SquirtThis is indeed a problem and thank you for contacting me.  I think you are slightly wrong in that you are clearly not the Boss of The Chair.  If you were truly the boss you would not be writing to me, you would be dealing with the situation yourself.  A leather Ikea chair is high on the list of Desirable Spots so let’s see what I can do to help.  It occurs to me that there are two of the Unwritten Laws concerned here.  I will try to balance them to come up with a solution for you.

Unwritten Law No. 1“A cat has the right to rest comfortably at all times.”  This applies to Jimmy as well as you, young lady.

Unwritten Law No. 2 “In the feline world seniority takes precedence.”

Jimmy is clearly flouting Law No. 1.  He should not do this; a cat of his age and experience will be aware that he has a duty of care to all younger cats, especially those of his own blood, so he should not try and hog all the space and he should definitely not compromise your comfort by swiping you across the chops.  However, you also seem to be in breach of Law No. 1 by stretching out and shoving, though you are right to observe Law No. 2 and not push Jimmy too far.  Firstly he is Senior Cat and secondly, I’ve read his Mewsings and he is obviously a cantankerous old git with a troublesome attitude.  As far as his food dish is concerned you must not touch it, I’m surprised you even mention that!

You are going to have to accept equal rights for all of you.  None of you can rule The Chair if you are to live together in peace.  Let’s consider Jimmy for a moment; to be honest he probably needs a bit of extra space to rest in due to age related arthritis and also, because his vision is not so good, he could be a bit wary of sharing space with younger, quicker cats who could unintentionally hurt him.  Swatting is probably his way of telling you this.

I have two suggestions for you to try.  Firstly, the BiF/fart Combo* is excellent for shifting people and may well work with cats.  It’s worth a try if you want to encourage Jimmy to vacate the chair for a while.  Secondly, can you enlist Daisy’s help?  If the two of you abandon the chair in favour of the sofa you will be quite literally leaving Mr Grumpy Pants in the cold.  He may feel a bit lonely and vulnerable so he might invite you back to The Chair and be a bit more accommodating.  Or possibly he might come and join you in your new pad which would entitle you to insist he abides by Unwritten Law No. 3 which states: “He/she who discovers the sleeping place makes the rules and has a statutory right to enforce them.”

So in short, if the BiF/fart Combo* doesn’t work try and manipulate the situation so that you have some control.  Be confident and believe in yourself.  Daily repetition of the mantra “I am a strong cat” for one week prior to taking action will strengthen you both mentally and spiritually.  I hope this helps and please let me know how it goes!

Your friend and helper,


*The BiF/fart Combo is my own method for moving a person out of a space I want to use.  Climb upon the person, gaze into their eyes to get their attention, then turn your body 180 degrees so they are looking at your other end.  Add insult to injury by breaking wind.  Result!







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