Brave New World. Not.

Regulars readers know:  We’re poised on the brink of a new frontier.  Bugs is stepping out.  He’s the modern-day male equivalent of Alice. He’s through the looking glass.  He’s headed out into OutTV.  Living the dream.

But first he must pass a tough fear-aversion, virtual-reality exposure therapy regimen.  Teresa of Tellington and I are introducing him, by degrees, into situations that ask him to learn to moderate his intense-fear pattern response.  This includes gradual but increasingly mounting exposure to highly suggestive sound- and scent-triggers like – well, like anything, really, that may be encountered Out There and not In Here.

Bugs is confronting his fear.

That’s the tone that seems to fit Mr. The Bugs.  You know Mr. The Bugs.  The one that’s 400 pounds of fury.

It just doesn’t seem appropriate to say – we’re training Bugs to walk on a leash.

It does seem appropriate, however, to add that I, too, must learn – well, I’m trying to learn, anyway – to tolerate my own confusion, frustration, and impatience in the face of, shall we say, a lack of clarity about what’s going on.

Two mornings ago I was on the phone when Bugs started bouncing off the chandeliers, even more than usual.

A Late Triassic Humvee was parked outside.

A regular prehistoric, yet fully baked, reptilian example of the Great Outdoors.

Over the past couple of days, I’d been introducing Bugs to the harness and leash very very very slowly, like putting it on and taking it off, in the house only, leaving it on for five minutes, inducing him to move forward with treats, all like that.  But at Mr. Turtle’s appearance, Bugs was in such a frenzy, I thought, well OK fella, let’s have at it.  I slapped him into the harness and carried him out the door.  (After making sure Mr. Turtle was safely out of range.)

That went OK, surprisingly enough.  Bugs was fairly amazed – round-eyed, rapid breath- and heart-rate – but he was still reasonably soft.  So I put him down, he salamander’d around a little, and we had an inexpressibly proud moment as he scootched over to feel the real ground under his belly, for the first time in almost two years.

When we got back into the house, I expected him to turn into a cat-puddle and we could get some rest around here.  He did, eventually –

Mr. Bugs studies the Bankruptcy Exemptions Manual.

– but first we had to run through all his usual routines.  Massacre the feather wand, chase-and-hide, ear-scritching, treats treats treats.  It seemed to me like he was saying, “Oh yes.  Now I remember who I am.  That other wide-eyed guy?  Not me!  I am The Bugs!”

So yesterday Teresa came over and we upped the ante.

Here is what I had hoped would happen.


It did, now and then.

Here’s another fun moment.

Mr. Bugs samples the salad greens.

Not all, however, was comme il faut.  Mr. Bugs attempts the Crocodile Death-Roll.

“Get this cursed thing off me!”

But pretty soon Bugs began to get his feet under him.

“This may not be so bad after all.”

Pretty soon, though, Bugs was getting a little friskier than I felt quite comfortable with.

Pretty soon Bugs approached The Jungle To The East.

The Jungle To The East is where The Bolt-Hole is to be found.  You remember the Bolt-Hole.

holeThe Bolt-Hole is where Bugs took refuge that one time, when it took Teresa and me four hours to get him out of there.

So here is where we went, then, like immediately.  Back Inside.

Back to Where All Is Known.

Back to where Bugs and Bean can recover.  Regroup.  Lay in more supplies.  Accept some appearances on the talk-show circuit.  Drum up some more funding.  And get ready to undertake – The Next Expedition.

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About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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18 Responses to Brave New World. Not.

  1. Bugs, you stay outta the bolt hole, and in your snazzy walking jacket! You are rocking the sartorial catwalk in that thing.

  2. Marcy Benham says:

    Go Bugs!!! Go Bean!!! Two brave souls livin’ the dream!! Where did you get that walking jacket, anyway???

    BTW, saw you drumming last night but didn’t want to distract you by catching your eye! Looked like you were havin’ some big fun!! Y’all sounded GREAT!

  3. nadbugs says:

    Oh Marcy — I didn’t see you, so good job on the hiding tho I’d have loved to say hello. It was BIG fun. I’m glad you liked the show. My impossibly high standards weren’t met — but who cares, really, when there’s fun to be had like that.

    Here’s where to go, to find the jacket Bugs is wearing. It really is a good one. Here’s a link to an intro site. I’m not sure why there are so many; caused some confusion. . . Anyway, here’s one link with plenty of info:

    http://www.kittyholster.com/

    And this next link is one of several links where you can order. I like this one to look at, even before you order, because of the videos on it. Scroll down past the sizing info, and past the video that duplicates the one on the link above. You’ll see “Product Videos.” Those are the ones – especially the “how to” ones.

    http://crazykfarm.mybigcommerce.com/custom-handmade-in-the-usa-kitty-holster-cat-harness-free-shipping/

    Let me know how it goes for you and your Uma. Didja know, BTW, that “Uma” is awful close to Oumou Sangare? A great W. African griot singer. Woman griot — not too many of those. Whoop.

  4. Catsparella says:

    Wow, sounds like quite the outing you had there, Bugs! I laugh and laughed at the “So I put him down, he salamander’d around a little” line because I’m in the midst of trying to get Charlie to walk on with a harness/leash and all he will do so far is flip and flop around like he’s made out of Jello.

    • nadbugs says:

      My sympathies. Now I’ve tracked things way back, and chunked things way down away from the point I describe in this post, I’m seeing how truly hateful Bugs seems to feel the thing is. At first it was hysterically funny to see him come up with escape-ideas but, really, when you get right down to it, I think he may actually be feeling some distress. I want to work through that, before I try uploading more challenge on him.

  5. Anya says:

    Love it LOVE it! Gorgeous harness – not seen that type around here. Not much new on my end – 10 yes 10 cats for breakfast one morning – half not mine – yikes!

    • nadbugs says:

      No, I agree, I haven’t seen anything remotely like it in the big-box stores. Only on-line. See my answer to Marcy. TEN cats? Were there not fewer than ten, but just moving around? Ten? Really? You are a great soul, to be offering that kind of soup kitchen!

  6. lifewith4cats says:

    love, LOve, LOVE it! Three cheers for you.
    1. love the photos
    2. love the humor
    3. love team NadBugs Yay!
    And the links. You deserve a drum roll. 😉 get it? heheh

  7. MelanieJ says:

    He looks so handsome in his harness! Maybe we’ll get a couple for the cats around here. Though honestly, Annie and Bit really aren’t all that interested in the great outdoors, only Charlotte. I used to take her out in a much less snazzy harness, and she would do the belly-crawl and try to get out of the harness, sometimes nearly successfully. But sometimes, sometimes she would at least sniff around in the bushes, and that made me happy.
    I laughed and laughed at the photo of bugs sampling the greenery. He looks positively delicate doing it. I do think that the visits outside are a great idea, especially for a cat of his personality and energy levels!

    • nadbugs says:

      Handsome is as handsome does! as you’ll see in the next post. And aren’t you fortunate that Annie and Bit are homebodies. Still — it is such a great feeling, isn’t it, when they start looking like they’re enjoying themselves. A little. And thank you so much for the encouragement, about the outside-visit idea. Your support really helped, at the next stage of operations next post. At one critical point I seriously questioned whether I should abandon the whole idea, like WAY seriously, until I remembered your encouragement.

  8. I love your harness! Aside from looking like the coolest thing ever, it also looks easier to put on that the standard strap one. I found that to be quite a challenge figuring out where everything went, and by the time I got it on my cat, he was so exasperated. I think Bugs’ outing sounds like fun!

    • nadbugs says:

      Oh I’m telling you, just looking at those other complicated contraptions gave me conniptions. This harness really is well thought-out. Actually taking it off is a little harder than putting it on, because it’s so secure. As for the fun? I was really hoping for that — in fact, when things started to go south, I was explaining to Bugs that the outing was supposed to be fun, and it was starting not to be fun. But I didn’t really understand what “not fun” was, until the next post.

  9. Pingback: The Catio | catself

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