By: Deanna Chesnut. M.A.,
Author, Purrs & Promises
When I got my first cat, a slinky Siamese, I let him outside. That’s where cats lived, right? Eventually, that became the death of him, which event I will not relate in this blog.
By the time my Maine Coon kitty found me four years later, I knew better and kept cats strictly indoors. But what could I do with this incredibly energetic, inquisitive little four-legged devil? Then I heard about a cat-walking woman. Bingo! This could be perfect…it would give us both some exercise.
There weren’t any instructions though, so I had to figure out a way to safely and securely let my fur babies outside to enjoy the air, the grass, and the wildlife without endangering them.
Having no idea how to do this, I first looked at a harness type contraption, an inexpensive one… what I call a “y” halter. I Took it home and convinced Slinky Sami, the Siamese, to let me put it on him. As soon as I let go, he threw himself on the floor and made it clear he wasn’t moving. I tugged, then pulled on the harness—and it slid right off of him. I decided to try another day (which never came).
I put the harness on my square-bodied Maine Coon, Bear, an 18-lb. ball of energy. He also threw himself on the floor, but didn’t protest when I dragged him around like a fish on a line. Hmmm. I got a treat, walked over to him, set him on his feet, pulling the lead at the same time and showing him the treats in my hand. He walked, just like the proverbial donkey following the carrot. So I picked him up and took him outside, to his obvious fascination. He gazed around, his nose wiggled, so fascinated he didn’t even struggle to get down. However, I soon heard some strange noises and turned my head to see my Bear strangling! Back into the house. Lesson: do not use “y” collars/leads.
On the next shopping trip, I investigated and found an H halter for little dogs. If you looked at it sideways on the cat, the straps formed an “H” with the crossbar stabilizing the straps! Yes! That would work.
I took it home, wrapped it around Bear and walked him around inside the house to get the hang of me leading and him being led, testing what happened when I pulled on the lead. After getting a good grip on the concept and the lead, off we went on the start of 13 years of “Walking the Cat.”
And this is what happened. On the first trip, a guy almost wrecked his car as he came swooping around the corner and saw… his wide eyes stared at us and appeared to be trying to control the car, refusing to take his eyes off this fuzzy, not-a-dog trotting around on a fishing line.
- Drivers may accidentally run over you trying to figure out what you are dragging behind you.
To continue reading, click here: WALKING THE CAT…PART II