A little over a week ago we had a mishap. It started innocently enough, The Girl went Pokemon Go -ing (I assume I’m allowed to make that a verb by now) and took a gym. I know, who cares? Well, she took the gym from a pair of 13-year-old boys, who turned around and took it back – killing her Pokemon in the process. This shouldn’t matter. She’s five years older, and more mature anyway. But it’s apparently a Pokemon thing, so it mattered. She went back out right after coming home and retook the gym again, killing the offending Pokemon in return. Whatever. The same scenario repeated with another trainer The Girl didn’t have anything strong enough to take on the next day and she lost. So the following day, last Tuesday, when she went out Pokemon-ing, she put a harness on Nimoy (who is getting a little chubby and could use the exercise the game is designed for) and took her kitten for a walk. I gather she decided she needed moral support for her venture this time.
Nimoy is not nearly as enamored with Pokemon Go as The Girl is, let’s just get that little factoid out in the open right up front. Neither is Jingles, but Jingles is an active cat, so The Girl doesn’t feel the need to take her for walks to enforce an exercise regime on her. Also, Jingles dislikes her harness and leash, but long ago learned there was little point to fighting it. Nimoy isn’t that smart.
I’m going to take a moment to enlighten non-cat owners on the subject of cats and leashes. Yes, you can walk a cat on a leash. Unless you train them to accept this form of torture from kittenhood – early kittenhood – it’s more trouble than it’s worth. You also can’t just clip a leash on a collar, they’ll squirm right out of it and take off like a bat out of hell. No, you have to get a harness, like for ferrets. And it may seem cruel, but cinch that harness down pretty snug because cats are slightly more slippery than most people give them credit for. Even the extra furry ones.
The first time you put a harness on a cat/kitten, they tend to fall over as if you’ve just broken their back. Honestly, a harness doesn’t weigh eight hundred pounds, but you’d never know by watching a cat. Don’t cave in. If you take the harness off, they win. If you walk away and leave them lying there, (view it as a sort of work-in-progress of “Beaten Cat Performance Art”) eventually they get tired of not having an audience and low crawl away. Also, cats have fairly short attention spans and – hey, there was that speck of dust that floated by….
The point is that they’ll get used to the harness. Then you’ll repeat the process when you add the leash. Then start over again when you’re holding one end of the leash. The look of indignation on Jingle’s face when she realized we expected to lead was priceless. We’ve since learned our lesson. She leads and we just sort of stop following if we disagree with her chosen direction. We stand there while she tugs on the leash and allow her to change her mind then resume following her in our acceptably submissive manner.
Nimoy was a whole other matter. The Girl was still doing the “gently tugging her along” thing. Most of Nimoy’s experience with her harness and leash wasn’t for going for walks, it was to allow The Girl (occasionally me or Hubby) to hold her with confidence she wouldn’t run off. I suspect, since Nimoy doesn’t actually care for being outside, that it was more of a comfort for her than us – you know, that we wouldn’t run off because she was attached to us. At least I always suspected that was how Nimoy saw it. It was her security blanket. Leave it to The Girl to prove me wrong.
So The Girl and idiot cat went for a walk. We got a frantic call that the cat slipped her harness and disappeared. Why? Was she scared off by a virtual Pokemon? It wouldn’t have surprised me, but no. It was the garbage truck. Something any of us should have been able to predict. Great. The cat wasn’t the idiot this time around, it was us.
The scene of the crime was only a couple of streets over, so Hubby made The Boy put actual clothes back on. (The Boy comes home from school and get straight into an old t-shirt and threadbare sweats from maybe five years ago because they’re comfy. They’re also rags and he’s not allowed to leave the house in them.) Hubby drove around, The Boy and Girl walked opposite directions, and I circled our cul-de-sac, all calling for Nimoy. I caught every neighbor. The Girl caught Jingles. The Boy caught a bad attitude, which caught Hubby’s attention. No one caught Nimoy.
Side note: since she was wearing a harness, she wasn’t wearing her collar. I assumed she was chipped, but after checking two days later at the animal shelter, they looked up her file and told me she wasn’t. How they managed to charge me for every other imaginable thing on a two-page long checklist and miss that is beyond me, but there you have it. The Girl began to panic in earnest at that point and printed out pictures of her generic tabby. Now her walks are to make sure signs are still up. I can see this going well.
Here’s a picture of a cat with no distinctive markings. She’s a really fluffy tabby that doesn’t answer to anything in particular, although we like to call her Nimoy. Hobbies include eating, sleeping all day, unrolling balls of yarn, and walking across your face at 3 am. Also, she’s paranoid about bath tubs but jumps in the toilet, and doesn’t get along with other cats or kids. Don’t try to adopt her because she’s litter-box trained in theory, but occasionally misses. She’s not graceful, so if a cat meeting this rough description falls off your car, fence, or roof, it’s probably ours and most of the house would like her back.