One evening I was sitting on the porch, enjoying the warm spring weather, when I noticed a movement behind me. It was Kipling, staring at me through the window, looking very much as if he wanted a headscritch or two. “Do you want to come outside?” I asked him, and he chirped back at me. That must mean yes, right?
I went inside, got the harness, and put it on him. He didn’t argue about it at all, so I thought that perhaps he’d been on a harness before, and would be fine. He tried walking backwards out of it, and slinking out from underneath it, but after a few minutes seemed to forget it was on. (This bodes well for next winter, when I will try to put a sweater on him. He was so cold this past winter that he learned to roll himself up in one of the couch blankets. Cute, but probably not so comfortable. And he’s extended the trick to burrowing under the bed blankets when I’m trying to sleep.)
We went outside together. First he looked around a bit. So far, so good. I thought he might be so distracted by birds and other wildlife that he would forget his apprehension and enjoy the breeze as much as I was.
Then he cowered under a chair and made unhappy noises. I hate to laugh at him, but he sounds as if he’s crying “woe!” and it’s really quite funny to hear. Laughing only made him cry more, so I tried to hold it in to save some of his dignity. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t fooling him at all.
Floyd was brought outside as well, hopefully to be a calming influence. It worked the last time the cats had to go to the vet, but it didn’t work so well today. (Perhaps the heavy doses of pre-vet catnip helped more?) He produced the most pathetic mewing when he first set paw on the deck.
Floyd doesn’t like the Big Room With No Walls very much at all, and after a quick sniff at Kipling he made a beeline back to the door.
He’s a smart cat.
His short stature and lack of opposable thumbs seem to be a constant source of frustration for him.
Kipling, on the other hand, had trouble figuring out how to go through a glass door.
He looked this way and that way.
No amount of encouragement could convince him to look around the door to the inside of the house. His small brain couldn’t quite comprehend the glass.
Finally he wailed, “I just don’t understaaaaand!” It’s a good thing he’s cute, because he’s certainly lacking in the intelligence and courage departments.
I tried going inside to see if he would follow me, but he was still confused and probably too scared to move anymore. Eventually I had to go out, pick him up, and carry him through the door.
It was dinnertime for the cats, and I thought feeding them would be a positive reward for their good behaviour with the harnesses and going outside for a little while. I would love to spend a good chunk of my summer reading books on the front porch with the cats keeping me company. Unfortunately Kipling was still so nervous about his experience that he ate his dinner and promptly yarfed on the kitchen floor. I don’t think I’ll try taking him outside again if he’s going to react like that – who’s training whom, here?