Friday, June 18, 2010

Cat in the Box Part I

Prior to moving to our loverly new home, I was worried about my Puss.  She had accompanied us on two prior moves.  The first one, when I moved from the "Towson ghetto" -- which I thought was just fine and I wasn't actually aware of this reputation until after said move -- my Puss was just a year or so old.  On moving day, she was holed up in the bathroom with a litter box and some food, and she sat happily in the window sill.  She acted a bit wacky when we crated her up and took her to her new home, but later that night, she emerged from under the bed and seemed not to notice that she was relocated.

Move number two, the Puss was older (and wiser?), and she was FREAKED OUT by her new home.  She slinked about for nearly a month, sniffing around in a confused manner.  She seemed to recognize that the things around her were her things, but the dwelling was all wrong.

I attributed this to her age, which was about five.  I am more set in my ways at my ripe old age of 32, so I can relate. I figured she would be even more freaked by the house.

Turned out, I need'nt have worried.  Puss was more at home in the house than we were.

But now, it is summer, and the Beast wants O-U-T!  (We have to spell it, but I think she is catching on to that - I'd say she's a genius, but she was just in here a moment ago chasing her own tail for a spell and is likely puking somewhere now.  I don't think many geniuses do that.)  I figured all I would need to do is train her regarding the boundaries of the yard.  Stop laughing.  Seriously!!  She is (mostly) aware that she cannot jump on counters or dining tables, and I thought we could use similar tactics (squirt bottle) to teach her where she cannot roam.

OK, are you done laughing?

I'm waiting....

Well, HA!  I did teach her the boundaries of the yard through consistent reinforcement of the lines.  She is absolutely aware of where her yard ends, and the world begins.

What I hadn't counted on was that she just doesn't care.  She wanted out SO BADLY, that it seemed cruel not to allow her to go.  Who am I to deny a fellow mammal the joy of grass between her toes and blue skies above her head?  But, she was consistently vacating the premises.  I watched her pretty diligently, but invariably, I would turn my eyes away because watching a cat sniff for more than ten minutes can get surprisingly dull.  The instant I let my guard down, she zipped away.

Frankly, it was starting to get embarrassing.  I would be seen by many a neighbor, looking for the damn CAT!  One would likely be wondering why I kept letting her out.  But one would not know how she begged and wanted to be out so badly.

So, I bought a cat harness.

Oh yes, they sell these at Pet Smart.  For cats.  They also sell ties specifically for cats.  I did not buy one because it was only 10 feet long.  I got the 40 footer.  (Which, it turns out, gives Miss Puss the ability to walk nearly the width of the whole yard.  My property is very long, but not so wide.)  It also turns out, Miss Puss does not care for the harness.  Totally expected.  But I did not realize she'd be able to get out of it.  Apparently, cats do not have shoulder blades, and this allows them to dislocate their shoulders at will and without pain.  Also, their necks are thicker than their heads.  It is as though cats were designed to get out of harnesses.  Luckily, I can use the 40ft tie as a clothesline....


That one girl said...

See, yeah, cats are such jerks. They don't care at all about what YOU want. I don't have a cat but I cat sit once and the thing was BEGGING to be let out... so I let it out. I got a call a week later asking where the cat was. Guess it wasn't an outside cat and how was I suppose to know that I should of not left until the thing was back inside? They never saw their cat again. Oops.

Danielle Mari said...

Yeah- we tried this, too. Same failure. My cousin, on the other hand, is able to walk her cat on his harness and leash. I've always suspected that her cat, though, is... a bit... slow. If you know what I mean.

Good luck.