As 2019 comes to a close and we rush into 2020, I decided it's time to train Gloria Vanderbilt's sister, Anderson Cooper, to walk on leash. Anderson loves to go out into the back yard and wander about on her aerial lead (but would prefer to be off it), but when I take her other places, she's curious, but pretty scared. I don't take her very often though as in 2019 I;ve been pretty focused on Gloria. And while Gloria is far from done (see my book, The Zen of Cat Walking, for more on the topic of being done with the training), I need to find time to walk Anderson regulary. I probably won't be able to take her out every day, as I generally do with Gloria, but I'm going to aim for at least three times a week, 4 when possible.
One of the reason's I haven't devoted much time to walking her is that she's been a bit standoffish with me. She chose Greg as her person, and she's been pretty indifferent to me and most times prefers I don't touch her...even when she's sitting in my lap. And she never, ever purrs for me, but purrs for Greg all the time. At least, that's the way things were. Recently, when Gloria didn't want to go out for her daily walk, I've taken Anderson. It's only happened a handful of times, but almost immediately, I saw a change in how Anderson responds to me.
I've said that the most important thing you can do for your cat is to leash train it. A pretty bold statement, I know, but I believe it more and more. Almost to the point of considering it a right. Anyway, taking your cat out in the big scary world is the most amazing bonding experience you can create with your cat outside of play. Anderson is still in the "frightened" stage of her training, and doesn't want to go, but when we return, she spends more time with me and is more accepting of petting. She hasn't purred for me yet, but that's coming. She chooses to hang out with me more and more, and when I call her, she often comes to me where before she'd give me a "you're beneath my contempt" glare at best. Still, I love her and joke about her being a prima donna. She still is, for sure, but she's bringing down her guard with me and letting me in. It's something I've seen with all the cats I've trained...the bond just tightens. It's as if they know what you're trying to do, and love you for it. Even with cats that already adore you, adore you even more. So 2020 is her turn. Our turn. And I know we'll come out the other end closer, happier, and ready to explore the world together. So while I'll be focusing more on Anderson Cooper in my 2020 posts in this series, there will still be plenty of looks at Gloria and our walks.