The cats have been staying inside for the past two and a half years or so. This is because before that, Astrid ate some kind of creature outside and got very sick. She almost died, plus it cost me about $800. We think it was a diseased vole. She basically was on the vole-a-day program which wasn’t a problem until she got a hold of this one. She was dehydrated and very feverish and limp, not eating or drinking. The vet had no idea what was wrong with her. They did bloodwork ($$$) and tried the usual pick-me-up, a cortisone shot. 24 hours later, she was worse. I took her in and they kept her overnight, hydrating her by IV. The next day they said she was better and she came home. It took quite a while, but she came back to health. And so, what? I was going to let her go outside all over again? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Astrid adjusted pretty well to being inside and Tikita was fine either in or out. But Carmella never forgot. Every morning and evening at the time they always used to get harnessed up and go out, she ran to the door, squeaking and crying. Not so much in winter, but when spring came, she became adamant. She actually became depressed, I think. I know what the “experts” say about how keeping the cat in is so much better. For the human maybe, but it was time to think about the cat.
So we decided to take them out in their harnesses and on leashes like we did when they were kittens to get them used to the yard. All I have to do is shake the harness and sing the Outside Song, which I hadn’t been able to for ages. They have a very predictable routine. Astrid runs down the steps and throws herself on the bricks, rolling and talking. Carmella heads for the Grass Patch and Tikita usually just settles down after a brief walkabout.
They are so good! We couldn’t believe it. Mostly they want to eat grass and throw up. They don’t get to go back in until they do. Astrid has been a little more timid but all are progressing nicely. They pretty much stick right on the patio with us and actually let us know when they are ready to go inside. We have had a few slipped harnesses but no escapees yet. They run for the house, not away.
We are looking forward to being able to let them out when we are on a long bus trip if it’s quiet and unpopulated. We will have to start orienting them to run for the bus instead of the house. Mostly, they just stick with us.
Carmella relaxing by the pond
Tikita after slipping her harness. We also got Tikita a lion cut – what a difference!