Saturday, May 22, 2010

Here Come The Meow-Meows

Years ago, I had my two boys--Quinn and Shamrock who were born in the barn at the race tracked where I worked. Confusing? Back in 1986, I worked as a racehorse groom for a trainer in his barn in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico. My then sister-in-law brought her pregnant Siamese to the barn we lived in. She gave birth to five kittens, two I ended up adopting...Quinn and Shamrock who were named after my all-time favorite race horse--O'Quinn's Shamrock. Because we lived--the cats and I--lived in a barn, I decided they needed to be leash-trained for safety's sake. That thought has stayed with me ever since when it comes to cats.

Some people have told me that cats cannot be trained to a leash, that they aren't like dogs. True that. Cats can be leashed trained easily enough. You just can't walk them like you do dogs, so word to the wise here. 

Early this morning, Ava informed me that she wanted to "GOOUTSIDENOW!" Then Topaz chimed in that she desperately needed outside time. So I readied my second cup of coffee, took our stake out outside and sunk it in the ground. Then came leash up time. First Ava--because she doesn't try to run off. At first anyway. Then Chile because she usually will calm down once she sees Ava. Finally Topaz--who hits the door ready to run, so she better be harnessed quickly. D joined us later and I was able to add Arby to the first group of outdoor time kitties. 

When taking cats outside on a leash, one must be diligent. Ava will try to escape her harness if given a half a chance or gets tangled. Chile will run for the front door if she gets spooked. Loud noises, loud boom-boxes or mufflers, and people are enough to spook cats. And there's always the one dog person who hasn't put their dog on a leash and the dog is running free. So leashing cats doesn't mean you can go back in the house and leave them be--one must be out there with them. Always. 

After the girls (except Ava) spent their time outside, we bring out Merlin and Buddy. Buddy is learning that harness and leash are not bad things. Merlin doesn't care for the harness but puts up with it for a few minutes outside. Buddy actually is adjusting well. 

When I brought Buddy back in, Harley was demanding to go outside. I explained to him he can join me but he has to wear a harness and a leash. We've put him in the harness a few times to let him get used to it but he's a typical cat. He hates things that resemble clothing. So here are his first pictures of leash training. 
 Isn't he handsome in red?
 This isn't so bad...restricting but not confining. I walked over here by myself.
 You've heard of soap on a rope? I give you Cats-on-a-Leash for an alternative. Just don't try to bathe with them. 
 Mom didn't tell me the birds would be CLOSER outside! 

On a side note, I bought a pot of calla lillies to place over Blue's spot. While Buddy and Ava watched from behind and the kittens watched me from the window above, I planted them over Blue. We still miss him.

Everybody is back inside and napping. Going outside is hard work.

Hope your weekend is going as you need it.  


  1. They seem to be enjoying their great outdoor adventure. Most cats are smart enough to figure out that an little annoying inconvenience is worth it to get what you want!

  2. That does seem like a lot of work but I bet they enjoy the time they get to go outside.

  3. I crack up laughing every time I read the words "New Mexico" bow, remembering one of your last stories. And it was nice to plant the flowers for Blue - makes me a bit sad though, too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. That is so cool that you can do that! The flower you planted is wonderful and an awesome remembrance of a great friend. :)

  5. I love it, cats on leashes! We have a lady that "walks" her cat on a leash in my neighborhood. Thankfully the cat is very lightweight because all the jumping, if it involved even a small dog, would do major back and shoulder damage. Your darlings are beautiful!!

  6. My 'girl' cat sits by the open window every night and then 'boy' cat shows up and they go out on the town. I ask her about it next day, but she is very discreet, and has 'no comment'.