Diary of a Cat Walker, #29
It's been a while since my last post. I'm going to have to make up for it, but things in the cat walking department have slowed a bit, but definitely not stopped.
Gloria Vanderbilt is an Oriental Shorthair...a breed, true to its name, with very short hair. But it's not only short, it's also very thin. So she and her sister, Anderson Cooper, get cold easily and often. We keep the house around 68-69, which isn't warm enough for them. To help them keep warm, I've purchased a pet-rated heating pad and warm Sphynx cat clothing. The clothing is great, but you can't keep it on all day because they need to groom themselves. After a few hours, they begin to groom their clothing! The heating pad is a favorite, but cats like to sleep/rest in various spots throughout the day. There's a floor vent underneath my desk, so when I'm working, there's generally a cat beneath my desk, sitting on the vent. There's also the bed. Both Gloria and Anderson often sleep under the covers.
So that brings us to the point of this post: winter walks. A couple weeks ago, I took Gloria to her favorite park. Immediately, she began looking for lizards...but they were nowhere in sight. Their favorite area, a small garden area full of large stones, tree stumps, plants, and trees was completely covered with a layer of dead redwood tree branches. It looked really different as it took on the changes of the coming winter. You could see it in her eyes as she took in the changes to her beloved park.
It ended up being our shortest stay ever in the park. Within 20 minutes, she was ready to go.
On our next visit, as I parked in our regular parking spot, she stared out at the park, but she didn't want to get out of the car.
This is Northern California, so when the temperature dips into the 50s, shivers run down our spines. Call us wimps, but the truth is it's all relative. So, when I say cold, that's what I'm generally talking about. It's our rainy season, too, and Gloria expects me to throw my coat on the puddles so she can walk over them. Cold water isn't her friend. I've tried bundling her up in a sweater and harness, but it's a bit constricting and she's not all that comfortable.
So what's a cat walker to do?
She's made a lot of progress in 2019, and I don't want her to regress. Not walking her isn't really an option. So short of moving to a warmer climate, what's a cat walker to do?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Take your cat on car rides. Even if your cat stays in the car, it gets to look out the window and continue to habituate on traffic, people, and natural scenery.
2. Take your cat to the pet store with you, and let it walk through the aisles. This is a great way to expose your cat to people.
3. Take your cat to Lowes or Home Depot. I'm not sure this is a company-wide policy or a local one, but both of these stores in my neighborhood allow pets on leash. This is another opportunity to expose your cat to people on its walk.
4. Take your cat to a restaurant that has a pet-friendly outdoor seating area with heat lamps. Tomatina's in my neighborhood is one such restaurant.
5. On sunny days, when the temperature is warmer, call in sick and take your cat for a walk.
6. In colder climes, indoor shopping malls often allow people to come in and walk through the mall, like in a park. Check to see if any in your area allow pets on leash.
And don't forget the treats. If your cat is used to getting treats on its walk, give them to it in the car, the pet store, the hardware store or the restaurant. Try to maintain as much of your walking routine as possible.