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Cats Are Smart!

Your Cat Stories

Hello,
My name is Rebekah Thomas. I live in Queensland, Australia.
I'm writing to tell you that your information on taking cats for walks isn't completely accurate.

When I got my cat Girflax at 2months old from a pet store, who was about to have him and his sisters put down because nobody wanted them.
After giving him a month to get used to the new surroundings and new people, I started thinking about how he could spend time out doors without getting hurt or injuring wildlife or mating or lost.
Finally I decided, cats can learn, and he's pretty young I might be able to teach him how to walk on a lead. So I grabbed a small bit of thin rope and tied it around his body like a harness and let him walk around the house with it on and without me holding onto it to get used to it being there. I also gave him a bit of tuna or ham to reward him for staying still while I tied the make shift harness. I did this for about a week while my parents and brothers weren't home in the evenings.
After that week I put his food away so he would be more inclined to come towards people and look around at things. I tied another piece of rope onto my makeshift harness and sat in the middle of the lounge room and put food all around the lounge room, sometimes hiding a tit-bit behind a leg of a table or chair or up on top of couches or coffee tables.
Then holding on the a piece of rope almost the length of the lounge room I let him wander around. When he first pulled on the rope and struggled a little bit with the annoyance of it holding him, he laid down and submitted to the force holding him, since I would not like him to lay down and a speeding car might fly around a corner and he wouldn't be quick enough to move or too scared to move, I let the rope out a bit and made him stand up. He quickly learned that laying down isn't what I wanted him to do and he rarely sits or lays down unless I'm not moving or if he spots another cat or dog. I did this for about 3-4 weeks. I also said commands when I wanted him to do things, like walk with me or stop or up onto a chair or table. (come-on!, stop!, up!)

After getting used to the rope I took him out in the back yard in my arms at first to get him used to being outside and put him down with the rope attached to his collar. At first he tried to run around the yard, so I held onto his collar or onto him to get him to slow down.
Once he was calmed down enough I slowly took him around the yard as he sniffed things and checked out things. Lots of times he would rush about so I made sure to use a long rope until I got a sturdy yet adjustable lead and small dog harness.

He soon became used to the outside and walked every day with me. Then I took him out the front of the house which was basically the same deal as out the back it just wasn't a contained area. We walked up and down the street until he got used to it.

I have moved 3 times since then and he still loves it and is quite calm if I take him outside.
The only annoying thing is he wants to be outside all the time and sits at doors meowing or scratching at them, thankfully we clip his claws so he doesn't mark the doors or windows.
We have also got a run for him out the back yard so we don't have to watch him all the time.
We only let him out there if someone is either out side with him to make sure he doesn't do anything silly or a neighbouring cat doesn't attack him, and he can't fight back well enough with clipped claws. If the run is near the window and we have a clear view of him we let him out there alone.

I just wanted to tell people that you CAN teach a cat many things.
If I say 'up', 'come here', or 'come on', 'dinner', 'get it'. He will try and do as I ask.  Not all cats will do this but a lot of cats I have met are capable of doing it.
Cats are smart.
I often get weird looks while walking my cat.
Oh and it's best to walk them during the day at first then alternate between evening and day so no matter when you want to take them for walks they will be eager.

Thank you,
R.L.Thomas.

 

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