Feeling Like a Cat On a Leash

I’ve recently started taking my girl kitty, Raven, out on a leash.  As of June 04, she will be six years old and has been a strictly indoors cat (not including the times she ran out the door and got herself lost in the local neighborhood and caused me to cry so hard I nearly vomited).  While there is also a boy kitty in the house, Gir (pronounced GRRRR), he wants nothing to do with this crazy foolishness of willingly leaving a warm, cozy home with food, toys, and humans who cater to his every whim.

So what new level of crazy possessed me to try and take a cat out on a leash?  (I’ll wait for you to finish laughing first. . . )

Back in April, when me and my son went to go see Jay in The Netherlands, I took the cats to a cat sitter.  It’s a special place set up just for cats.  A cat motel, if you will.  This place also had a cat proof outside play area for them to go out if they wished.  So, long story short, Raven got a taste of the outdoors, and now she pines for the outside.

Problem is, as soon as she steps outside, she becomes freaked out and disoriented.  She’s an indoor cat, with an outdoor cat stuck inside of her.  She doesn’t understand it, all she knows is that she wants it with every fiber of her body.  Even though it scares the living shit out of her.

I happened to have a cat harness and leash because when I got them as kittens, I was delusional in thinking that was going to happen.  After finding it,  I got down on the ground with Raven and explained to her, that if she wanted a chance at going outside, she was going to have to suffer this harness.  And I’ll be damned if she didn’t stand there and let me put it on her.

This from a cat, who as a kitten weighing less than a pound, was able to wrestle her way out of getting her temperature taken.  Even while in a towel taco.  And two of us holding her.

So there she was, with a cat harness and leash standing at the front door looking hopeful at the door handle, and me standing there not knowing if I wanted to laugh or cry.  I have cats for a reason.  Namely, because they don’t need to be walked.  I’m lazy like that.

So fine.  I sucked it up and opened the front door.  But she’s doing this weird thing, where she lowers all of the way down on her haunches and belly to the ground.  Cats hate anything restricting their movement, so they get all weird about it and basically lay down.  As one owner put it, “it’s not taking them out for a walk, so much as taking them out for a drag”.  Ah, yes.  Now, I remembered why this didn’t work before.

At this point I’m standing there with my hand over my face and shaking my head.  What am I doing to myself?  This is so ridiculous.

But she must have seen a bird or smelled something good, because instinct or not. . . she was finding a way to make her way to the stairwell.  She looked like a miniature version of the cartoon pink panther as she slinked along the ground being all sneaky sneaky.  This was one determined cat.  Nothing, but nothing . . . was going to stop her from her dream.

Because I wasn’t going to watch her suffer down 3 flights of stairs, I picked her up and walked her down.  I got her to a grassy area free of any dogs, and let her have her moment.  I stood there patiently and gave her encouragement.  Since I was in broad daylight and visible to my neighbors, I figured I was in it for the long haul and just gave in to the crazy.

She was shaking like a leaf, just like she normally does when she’s outside.  But her determination was shining through.  She low crawled in a hurry to a place that was less open.  I kept talking to her gently that she was okay and that she just needed to get used to being outside and on a leash and that she was doing great.  Slowly but surely, she calmed down enough to explore and sniff a few things.  After about 15 minutes, she gave me a mew that sounded like, “I’ve reached my limit for now, please take me back inside.”

After we got back inside and I took off the harness, I let her know that she did wonderful for her first try.  Once free, she seemed awfully damn proud of herself.  She went prancing around the house like she was just given an award for kitty of the year.  Gir was pretty disgusted with her behavior and the attention she was getting from me.  Within an hour, she was meowling at the door to go back out.  I had created a monster.

I took her out again the next day and she adjusted more to walking with a harness.  By the 3rd day, we actually walked a full block with her pattering along side me like a happy puppy.

In the following walks, she met and greeted a puppy with no incident.  She learned to not scatter and run for the bushes every time a car passed.  She decided that she preferred the sidewalk to the grass and mud that got her paws dirty (maybe I influenced that, maybe I didn’t).

We were laughed at several times, and greeted with smiles and friendly chatter by others.  In a neighborhood full of dog owners, we were quite an odd sight to behold.

She would still shake like a leaf, and she would still hit a wall where she had hit her limit and would stop and give me the “please take me home” mew.  But she had done it.  She overcame her disorienting fear with determination and a need to do this thing that she wanted so badly.

I helped her, because I was familiar with her situation.  I have an outdoor cat stuck inside me too.  I wish to explore the neighborhood known as the world and satisfy my many curiosities.  I want to run free and frolic.  I know there are adventures to be had and things to chase and food to nom.  Trouble is, I’ve been an indoor cat my whole life. . . and getting into the wide open space scares the living shit out of me.

But I do it anyways.  One low belly crawl step at a time.

Comments

  1. Just loved this ❤ and cats too
    and yes so true for me too. lol.

    Much LOVE,
    Mirjam ( Sunshine)

    Like

  2. Ophelia says:

    *cheers for raven and her mommy*

    Like

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