Even though we live right near the edge of the city in a barely-urban residential neighborhood, there’s still enough traffic on our street that I’d never be comfortable with having any of our cats running completely loose outdoors. While Annie doesn’t appear to have any desire to either go outside or interact with the dogs, Oliver always seems very disappointed when the dogs go out in the yard without him. He’d watch them through the window, or if we accidentally left the kitchen door open, he’d stand up on his hind legs and try to watch them through the storm door.
At first, an enclosed cat playground seemed like a great idea, despite the stratospheric prices. I still think that, especially in the larger configurations, it would be a safe place for Oliver to have fun outside. Or at least, it would be fun until Axel decided to mark the playground and the kitty inside. High price is one thing I might be able to get past, but giving the dog the opportunity to pee on the captive cat? Deal breaker!
So it’s back to the cheaper and probably more logical plan of a harness and leash. Notice I didn’t say easier. An attempt to harness-train Oliver as a kitten didn’t go particularly well, even though I suspect we just gave up too quickly. For this attempt, I bought a Coastal Size Right harness in the largest size available (12″-18″) and a 6′ lead for a total of about $8.
This time, it didn’t go too badly. Oliver’s attempts to bite me were half-hearted and didn’t even draw blood. He did try to wriggle out of the harness at first, but he gave up much more quickly than I expected. Like most cats, he doesn’t really walk on leash. He mostly just sits or stands there and moves only when an approaching dog or dog toy requires him to do so.
He was a bit overwhelmed at first, but now that we’re a few days into it, he does seem to enjoy being out in the fresh air and sunshine with his Rottweiler siblings.
(NaBloPoMo | July ’10: 11 of 31)