HOUSE CAT WITH PRIVILEGES

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A RARE TREAT.

Sasha and Sophie are house cats.  They are not allowed to go out.  Not without me, that is.

Unfortunately, going out with me involves wearing a harness with a leash attached.  Cats don’t take kindly to being harnessed, and Sophie — the younger of the two — still will not submit to it.  Out come her claws as she struggles, and back into the drawer goes her harness. Another time perhaps.  But Sasha, now five years old, has learned the rare appearance of the harness means something exceptionally good is going to happen. She will get to explore the great Outdoors.

Our cats are not entirely housebound.  There’s a wire-fenced deck off the kitchen, from which they can smell foliage, hear birdcalls, spy on squirrels scampering through the underbrush in the rear of the condo.  But there’s no grass under the paws, no growing leaves to munch, no trees on which to scrape the claws.  And Sasha certainly appreciates the difference.

We don’t go out together often, Sasha and I.  Not in winter, when it’s too cold for both of us.  Not in summer, when it’s too hot for me, since I can’t crawl underneath the low spreading leaves of a grove of trees where it’s cool and shady.  But there’s still spring and fall.

However, walking a cat is not like walking a dog.  You go where the cat wants to go,  not vice-versa.  It takes a long time, it’s tedious, and sometimes it’s hard to get her back in the house when I’ve had enough.  Not that we go very far.  Usually she just slowly circles the five-unit structure in which our condo is located, investigating every ground planting in the front, and making a few careful forays into the uncleared and dedicated forest land behind.

Exciting though it may be for her, it’s boring for me.  Especially as there’s really nowhere to sit down while she explores.  But she makes me feel so guilty when I go out without her — and don’t think she doesn’t try to second guess which door I’ll be using so as to run out with me when I leave — that once in a while I carve out an hour of the afternoon just for her.

Sasha Getting Her Greens.

SASHA GETTING HER GREENS.

Then she can poke around to her heart’s content. Although it makes Bill nervous when he sees me do it, I do let go of the leash if she ventures where I can’t or don’t care to follow.  The harness is red, so it’s easy to spot, even at a distance.  And she doesn’t go far. When I call, she even waits for me to catch up. That way I have both hands free to try to take her picture.  Or should I say pictures? I have to snap six for every one that’s usable.

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WHEN I LET GO OF THE LEASH, THE HARNESS TWISTS AROUND. BUT SASHA DOESN’T SEEM TO MIND.

Occasionally, someone walks by pushing a baby carriage and does a second take at the sight of a cat on a leash.  But if Sasha’s off the leash, they do a second take at the sight of me, lounging against a tree or sitting on a rock in a residential neighborhood as if I had nothing else to do.

But I am doing something.  I’m enjoying her appreciation of the big wide world.

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 WE CAN ALWAYS TELL OUR TWO CATS APART BY SASHA’S GOLDEN EYES.

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APPARENTLY A CAR JUST PASSED BY. THAT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. (ACCORDING TO SASHA.)

Eventually, though, even she gets tired.  When we pass the deck chair on the front walk, she settles down for a rest.  Soon I’ll be able to pick her up without her fussing, and carry her into the house.

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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

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 LOVING LOOKS MAKE EVEN THE THREE ITCHY BUG BITES I COLLECTED OUT BACK WORTH WHILE.

 

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15 thoughts on “HOUSE CAT WITH PRIVILEGES

  1. zentalfloss

    First, GORGEOUS cat! Sasha is just beautiful. We just got a harness for our cat, Milhouse, so we can take him with us in our motorhome. Otherwise, he’ll be at home getting fed by one of the kids when we’re gone. We are hoping that he can tolerate the motorhome and that this will be a “good things happen” type of thing for him, too. I don’t know. We’ve got the harness on him now and it’s very lightweight and it’s not hurting him at all (I keep checking on it), but he’s not thrilled. He’s definitely older than your kitty, so hopefully he’ll adapt. We’re going to try the leash in the next couple of days, see if he enjoys a quick neighborhood walk. If he can pair the fun of the walk with the harness, we’ll probably be okay. If not, it won’t be fun for anybody!

    Great photos, by the way. I love the cat “action” shots.

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    • On behalf of Sasha, thank you for the compliments! As for Milhouse — no, I don’t think he will ever be thrilled by the harness, but if he associates it with being outside he’ll tolerate it as one of those peculiar things that his persons seem to require of him. So it’s probably a good thing to get him out sooner rather than later. However, if you can get him to “walk” with you (rather than you walking with him), you’re a better woman than I am! Bill found a quote somewhere that he often repeats when our cats prove unresponsive to our wishes: “Dogs come when you call. Cats take a message and get back to you.” Good luck! And happy travels!

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  2. Enjoyed the opportunity of getting to know Sasha a bit. My own cat, Nechama, Has been taking walks with me in a nearby forest, and around the neighborhood since she was a little kitten. I’ve had cats all my life, so I’m quite familiar with the problems involved. It’s much better when they learn to take walks with a person when they’re quite young. Then they will walk with us (without a leash), and stay fairly close. The leash, of course, makes them want to get away. Without the leash, they are much more attentive to our desires. Nechama has a similar color to your Sasha, and she’s never locked in. Though she does spend about 90% of the time in the house. Recently, I moved to a new home, and had to keep her inside for a couple of weeks so she would adjust to the new place. I have to admit that she has adjusted better than I have.

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    • I think it’s probably too late to begin the harness-free outdoor life with Sasha. Once in a while, now that the weather is good, she manages to hide in the garage (which connects to the condo by a door) until one of us, not knowing she’s there, opens the garage door. And then out she flies, to begin her explorations. Not so easy to get her back then. We didn’t start with S & S when they were kittens for at least two reasons. (1) They come from a breeder of British Blues, and part of the sales contract is the obligation to keep the cat housebound. It’s true the breeder would not know if we broke our promise. But (2) the statistics in the United States for domestic (not feral) cat life expectancy is 12 to 17 years when kept indoors, 3 years if let out to roam. And she’s a precious cat. So….we do what we can. Maybe we should move to Israel? It sounds as if it’s safer there — for cats! 🙂

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      • How interesting to hear that she’s a British Blue. Nechama is a Russian Blue, and I see some real similarity. For the most part, she lives at home, but she does like to enjoy the outside too. I can’t say for sure about all of Israel, but here in Jerusalem, cats seem to enjoy their lives, whether inside or outside. There are a lot of people who make it a point to feed street cats.

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    • Oh, Jilanne! If I took a book, my eyes would be on the book, not the cat. And then she’d be out of sight when I looked up again. But thank you for admiring her all the same. Now that the children are long grown and gone, a cat is sort of a child substitute. Which means I always feel I’m not being “good” enough. Especially as she’s learned to push my buttons with her various miaows. I probably anthropomorphize too much. Soon I may be feeling sorry for the house plants if we don’t pay them enough attention! 😀

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    • Thank you so much, Taylor, for the lovely ping back about my cat Sasha. I wish she did walk on a leash. What she does is wear a harness-and-leash with me attached to the other end. Then she walks me on her leash. However, she IS adorable. If she knew about your ping back she would miaow at least twice. Maybe lick your hand, too. 😀

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  3. Obviously, I’m all in favour of catwalking.:) Isla actually demands to be walked twice a day, in almost any weather (otherwise she’ll complain loudly). It’s good because it gets me to take breaks and leave my desk for a while, but I know what you mean about it being a bit boring at times (I solve this by listening to audiobooks on my phone).

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  4. Gorgeous kitty there! What a lovely stroll I just took with the 2 of you! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for the like… I look forward to future chats with a fellow cat lady! You will note no reference to craziness. Oh, i’m crazy alright, but I only have 2 cats!.😊 Cheers, Mother Hen.

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    • Thank you right back for crossing the pond to reciprocate the visit and the like. Sasha also thanks you for the compliment (although I imagine there are many like her in your adopted country: she’s a British Blue). As for “crazy,” it’s not a word I use anymore, since it could easily also be applied to me. I prefer “unusual.” Cheers to you, too. Hope to see you again soon. 😀

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