Indoor Cat Goes Out

So, my cat Slim is so desperate to go out during the summer months that every human departure from the apartment becomes a struggle with her clever stratagems. The usual is to hide under the coatrack as the door opens, then make a run for it. Not only that, but every time a human reaches for an article of clothing, shoes, or keys there ensues feline moaning and wailing and reaching for the doorknob. (I kid you not. She reaches for the doorknob.)

A couple years ago I decided to experiment with putting her on a leash and harness to see if it would be feasible to take her outside. It didn't work very well. She tends to feel like she's in a narrow space and huddles down and creeps along, wailing. So after trying this out in the hallway with negative results and in the basement with disastrous results (she freaked out and ran in every direction), I abandoned the experiment.

Until Kris suggested -- based on her own experience -- that maybe Slim needed to associate the leash with something good. Like, getting to go out--not just being put in a scary basement. A genius idea!

So, I've been taking Slim outside. I have learned several things.

1) Slim loves eating lily leaves and grass, in that order.
2) She also loves sitting in dirt.
3) I need a longer leash.
4) Birds don't notice the leash--they screech agitatedly at the barest sight of her.
5) Slim doesn't hear the birds. Whatever she is trying to do when she clucks at birds at the window, she's not trying to imitate whatever it is they're saying.

Here's a question for anyone who has tried this with a cat: is there any way to avoid trauma when you pick her up to take her inside? I've never been growled and hissed at so much (is it because she smells other cats?), though she seems to get over it quickly.


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