Monday, September 24, 2012

Walking Cats - A Good Idea?

Have you ever seen someone taking their cat for a walk? It looks....weird. I can only remember one time in the past ten years when I personally observed someone walking their cat. And I was both surprised and fascinated.

Given that we have just moved to an apartment from a large house with a very open yard, Thor, the only cat we've brought with us here to Alabama from Indiana, has mostly been restricted to the apartment. Being a inside/outside cat in Indiana to transitioning to an inside cat here has been...difficult for him. The move itself was difficult. It sounds like he meowed the entire way down (seven or so hours) not to mention having to spend the night in the car when the hotel didn't allow pets. Upon arrival he was placed in the back bathroom and for the first week or so went between sitting in front of the front door wanting to leave the apartment and hiding under the ottoman in the living room. 

Since my arrival, it seems like he's mostly resigned to the apartment, and it does have its positive benefits for him. Since the apartment is fairly small, it's easy for him to receive lots of attention from us. Which means he camps out on my bed day and night when we're home because I'll let him sit by me and pet him. Not such a bad life.

To add variety, however, we purchased a cat harness yesterday, you know, to take him on walks. After putting it on him, we all clustered around the front door to see what he would do as Kyle held the leash. For ten or fifteen minutes he slowly sniffed around our front door, rolled in the pine needles, and investigated our neighbors front door (who has a small dog). No problems. We had to pick him up to take him back inside to eat dinner. He seemed to be content ignoring us and the leash. And once inside, he meowed incessantly to be let back out. Too many curious things to smell and discover!

However, after dinner Kyle took him back out and apparently things went less smoothly. Thor hadn't at any point really stretched the limits of the leash. But when Kyle took his phone out at some point, it spooked Thor and Thor did his best to get as far from Kyle as possible, difficult given the reserved length of the leash. And then there was a bit of a stand still. Kyle had the leash pulled taut, but every time Kyle tried to move closer to Thor, Thor would scoot farther away as the leash grew slack. Finally Kyle pulled the leash tight and started to move towards Thor picking up leash as he went, only to have Thor hiss at him when he got close. Stand still. Kyle needed to get to Thor, but Thor wouldn't allow himself to be touched by Kyle. As Kyle was about to call someone on the phone to come out and help him, our dad went out and saw the trouble and between the two of them they were able to get Thor back inside.

Once inside Kyle had be come over and take the leash and harness off of Thor. As he was hiding under the ottoman, I tried to pull him out using the leash but he had pretty much plopped down and refused to move from where he was. So, I maneuvered around and was able to pull him out from an adjacent side. Like a lump he let me help him out of the harness, pick him up, take him into my room, and received attention without a flicker of emotion. I think he may have been a little traumatized by the whole thing. But he seems to be doing fine now.

We'll be making more excursions to the wild outdoors, but perhaps we'll have to go in pairs for awhile until a good system figured out.

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