|The world is mine oyster.|
Walking cats on a leash is rather boring.
I don’t even know why I’m writing about it.
The hardest part is convincing the cat to wear a harness. It offends their deepest sensibilities. Olive feigns a struggle on principle, knowing secretly that the harness is her ticket to the mysteries of the unknown.
It’s adorable for the first five minutes or so, watching the cat behold the breathtaking world of grass, trees, and swarms of insects. Within seconds, there is a cloud of flies in orbit around my head like space debris. I want to go home.
When I walk Olive, the first thing she wants to do is ditch me. She tries to duck under a spiky bush or crawl into the spaces under the stairs. No amount of arguing will dissuade her from exploring tight crevices, so I pick her up and move her somewhere more human-friendly, hoping to disorient her enough that she forgets just how fascinating the spiky bush is.
Then Olive sees a majestic cardinal and she ducks down to watch it for the next ten minutes, chirping with predatory flicks of the tail. I wonder if the chirping is Olive’s interpretation of a mating call, in hopes of luring a desperate and confused bird into her open jaws. The bird is twitching its crest, fanning its tail feather – a come-hither in the universal language of love.
Soon she finds something a hundred times more interesting than either bird or bush. It is a bit of sidewalk covered in a metropolis of ant hills for Olive to roll in. These are ants either of the red, bity persuasion or the refugee ants that gorged on our tahini last year, eventually conquered by Dave and some borax. Somehow they all live in quiet harmony in the cracks of the walkway. Olive collapses onto her back as though coerced by something stronger than her will. I lift her away from the anthills before the ants recognize Olive as a point of entry into our home.
Once Olive is begrudgingly within the apartment, freed from the leash that binds her, she is already craving more. What secrets lay entangled within the spiky bush? Will rolling in the ant hill fill the emptiness inside her? Now Olive will never know. Penny is nearby and before she knows what is happening I have the harness slipped over her head and fastened around her legs, secure as a straitjacket I am very proud of this accomplishment. After six months with Penny, I have never managed to hoodwink her into a harness. Now she’s nice and snug and I lift her through the door.
For ten minutes, Penny stands just outside of the doorway. She is testing the waters. I don’t think Penny remembers grass and dirt. Then the spiky bush calls to her like a relentless siren. Come all ye cats, says the spiky bush. Alas, I cannot hear the bewitching music myself.
Penny weaves her way up the stairs to my landlord’s part of the house and gets tangled in the railing. With a tremendous tug, she shoots through the harness and leaves it dangling on the rails. Fortunately for me, she is too bewildered by nature to get far. I scoop her up and bring her indoors.
Once cats get a taste of taking walks outside, they can never go back. Olive is at the door now, trying to turn the doorknob with both paws, falling short of the strength and the appendages needed to actually do it.
Now that Penny has experienced the harness, I’m one step closer to training my cats to pull a chariot – the only reason I take them for walks at all.