Over the last week, I started walking my cat on a leash. Pretty random, right?
Here is the cat in question, wearing her harness.
And now, a bit of context. If you look back in the July 2015 posts, you may recognize this cat as Rosie, the cat I was supposed to keep for a few months as a favor for the Montreal sibling. I ended up keeping her for good, which I suspect was the goal all along.
During our first yearly vet appointment, I was advised to keep a closer eye on her diet, because she was a little chubby. The Montreal sibling had a strong reaction when I made the report: weight control isn’t just about diet, it’s also about exercise. I needed to play more with her, and I might consider leash-training and taking her on walks. She gave me a harness and instructions on proper training. (I never actually followed those instructions, because I wanted to keep Rosie an indoor cat. I would let Rosie out on the apartment balcony, until last summer, when learned that a colony of wasps had built a nest in one of my patio chairs. Yikes!)
I focused on controlling her food portions, and when we moved to the new house, she naturally started doing more exercise; the house is two story, and there are more windows compared to the apartment where Rosie could only look outside from the balcony sliding door. All was looking good.
Then, at the beginning of the month, she decided that she had finished exploring the inside of the house and starting meowing at the outer doors. (Or maybe it was just the “cats don’t like closed doors thing” but the result is the same.) Cats don’t meow in the wild; that sound was developed by domesticated cats to draw the attention of humans, it is very hard to ignore. So I caved, with conditions. I dug up the harness and bought a leash. If Rosie wants to see what’s outside, I’m going to be there, holding on to her every step of the way. I also talked to the vet about my plan, at the second yearly appointment, and was given some heart-worm preventive medicine. (She is just a little over her weight goal, for those who care, and has no health issues.)
Last Saturday was the first time I hooked leash to harness and actually took her out. She’s not going very far, just around the back of the house and back. I, for one, appreciate her timidity. I also appreciate that she doesn’t need to be guided back to the house; when she’s had enough, she makes her way back without a fuss. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s a good start.