Last weekend marks the annual festivities of the fourth of July and full immersion into summer. Portland celebrates uniquely with a wonderful Blues Festival. And Portland is growing! Forbes makes it the 10th fastest growing city in the United States. Like it or not, we are getting bigger. That means more people, cars, bikes, more of everything.
ats that are allowed to roam put themselves at risk for road accidents, getting lost, attacked by other cats and various viral infections. In a fast growing place like our city, more of everything means more perils for our kitties. But living entirely indoors isn’t without its perils either. Indoor cats who don’t have anything to do can develop emotional trouble from stress and boredom, obesity from inactivity and some inappropriate behaviors.
One of my cats, Andy, tries for the door every time someone approaches it. He has snuck out and decided it was a wonderful place to explore. The dangers are too great in our neighborhood, especially lots of traffic.
One way we are working to keep him happy and safe is by leash training him. He has a fitted harness that is both sturdy and lightweight. Collars are not as safe as harnesses. If he gets in trouble I can just pick him up by the long strap that runs from front to back, quickly and safely moving him out of harm’s way. Once he got comfortable with the harness, we attached a leash to it and off we went.
I can’t say that I walk him yet, rather he walks me. We head off into the neighborhood making our way through yards, sidewalks and tall trees. My impression is that he is in heaven. He rolls in the dirt, chews grass, picks little bits of stuff up with his semi-prehensile feet. I am constantly on the lookout for peril while he, not mindful at all, just goes exploring.
Though he is a purebred Burmese cat, he reverts to the cats of history. The “stalk run” crouching posture, the “watching posture” pressed fully to the ground for prey, ears erect and forward, then the back legs raised and lowered as he prepares to pounce on a lizard look exactly like his ancestors’ moves.
He is safe with me on the end of his leash. He gets to act out his “catness” without being exposed to the perils of free roaming, a bargain we are making and remaking regularly. At Cat Hospital of Portland, we are here to help you provide a rich and varied life for your cat. This is one way. Just ask, we’ll be happy to share our experiences.