Back To The Drawing Board

We’ll call it a learning experience.

But I don’t want to keep you “in suspenders,” as my brothers and I used to say.  Here’s a spoiler.  Bugs back at Base Camp, after the learning experience.

“Let’s not do it that way any more, OK ma?”

And now, the experience.  No pictures, because Bean was trying to concentrate.  You can see how well that worked!

Recall Bugs’s perceived friskiness on the leash.  Next time, Teresa suggested, I should sit down instead of trying the “walking on a leash” theory.  That would establish Camp One.  Then Bugs could salamander out in forays, but there’d be an outer containment boundary.

That strategy went off without a hitch.  The next morning I carried him outside in his jacket, sat down, and put him in my lap.  He got tired of that fast (typical response to the Dreaded Lap) and, despite being boneless, still managed to pour himself off Dreaded Lap and onto ground.  Thereafter, the Camp One thinking proceeded as planned and the enterprise was a complete success.

So successful, in fact, that in the evening I thought I’d try it again.

“In the evening,” right?  The first sign that if things did go south, we’d run out of daylight fast.

But Bean was preoccupied, not paying enough attention.

So the evening expedition started out fine, as in the morning.  Until a friendly male neighbor decided to drop by.

Bugs flipped.  I do mean flipped, literally.  You’ve seen cats do this?  Jump straight up, three feet or so into the air.

So our nice neighbor backed away and went along about his business.

Five minutes later, though, he walked by again.

This, too, could have been OK.  But as I said, Bean was distracted.  There were several reasons for that, the most salient one being that, as part of the endless construction-project going on next door, this nice neighbor had cut off the water.  With a sinkful of dirty dishes and Bean needing a shower on a hot day, I wanted to know, with a fair degree of urgent asperity, when the water would be back on.

Understandably, empathetically speaking – but extremely regrettably, I transferred my attention to the neighbor –

– and Bugs saw his moment and bolted.  It happened so fast that the leash came right out of my hand.

I was after him the next nanosecond, so fast I actually managed to grab ahold of the leash.  Heaven only knows how.  Like mamas lifting up cars to free their trapped children, I suppose.

But it was not enough.

Here’s the replay, as best I can reconstruct it.

Bugs is sh*t-terrified of the nice male neighbor.  Perhaps he looked like a lion or a hippo or something.  Would Bugs fight?  Even despite 400 pounds of bravado, in the safety of Base Camp territory?  Not hardly.  He’d turn and run, hide, climb a tree.

So that’s what he tried to do.  But:  Bean grabs the leash.  Screeeeech.

OKaaay then.  Further forward motion halted.  So the awful lion must be faced – with tooth and claw if need be.

When Bugs did that turn-about, my hand on the leash instantly transformed from being a stopper to an assist, to help Bugs get free.  As long as he was moving forward, the pressure of the strap against his chest would keep the jacket on.  With the leash pulling over his head, though – thrash out to freedom.

I wish I had on tape just how he did that.  It happened so fast, plus with the stress of the whole thing, my brain couldn’t really track what he did.  But it looked like he sprouted wings, did a back-flip in mid-air, jet-propelled himself out of the jacket, and lifted off into the stratosphere.  A greased-lighting gray-and-white streak into the wild blue yonder.

And there I was, holding a leash and a snazzy little leopard-print cat-shaped – empty – jacket.

Not to worry.  More in the next installment.  Til then, here’s another shot of Bugs safely back in Base Camp.

“I can look at flying feathered objects from in here just fine.”

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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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11 Responses to Back To The Drawing Board

  1. Oldcat says:

    Julius did something similar when I tried putting a harness on him outside a long time ago – turn backwards and flip back out of it.

  2. nadbugs says:

    Magnificent athleticism, no? Truly amazing.

  3. that is why I NEVER use harnesses. When I used to take Bobo out I actually bought an INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH DOG COLLAR and a chain leash….the dog collars and leashes are made MUCH better than they are for cats!

    • nadbugs says:

      Actually the jacket I’m using with Bugs is very well -made and -designed, so I’m grateful for that. The solution I’m working on here is to focus not on the deficiencies of the jacket, because I believe any hardware has deficiencies of one kind or another. Rather, I want to focus on Bugs and his emotional state. I want to see him tail-up and proud in the jacket before we try outside again. That way I’m hoping he’ll be less prone to panic. And as for the software deficiencies on the Bean-end of the leash — well, nothing much can be done about that. Old-dog new-tricks, to coin a phrase. But I’m trying nevertheless.

  4. Anne D says:

    Now you know that the jacket harness cannot strangle him, It is an ill wind that blows no good.
    anne d

    • nadbugs says:

      I enjoy your attitude! Always some kernel of knowledge to be found somewhere. I did like the idea of the band across his chest, rather than something around his neck.

  5. lifewith4cats says:

    Now that I know how poorly designed the harness is I won’t be buying one. If it can’t contain the cat, it’s useless. The same thing happened to Pooh when I tried last year taking him out on leash. At first he loved it. But my hubby came around the corner too fast amd scuffed his feet, Pooh freaked out. It was not a happy time for anyone. I must confess I wasn’t a loving wife to the poor hubby after that incident.

    In the beginning stages it’s important to isolate sudden stimuluses when ever possible. I never brought him out side again. But I do want to try it agin someday,

    • nadbugs says:

      Yeah. There is more to this than meets the eye, isn’t there. I do feel a bit timid about the jacket now, after this — but I’m not quite as ready as you are to diss it entirely out of the picture. Surely if you don’t rely on a collar around the neck — which I don’t want to do, I’d rather have the cat escape than get his neck jerked like that — then you’re pretty much left with something the cat can get out of? That’s the best I could find, in my research . . . . So I’m working on fostering a calm state of mind (in both of us), so, on his end, he’ll hopefully be less stimulated by suddenness, just as you say. One can hope.

  6. Pingback: Fall Guy | catself

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