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Diary of a Cat Walker, #36

The better Gloria Vanderbilt gets at walking, the more she wants to lead. She still lets me lead for the most part, but there are days when she just doesn't want to cooperate. On those days, I pick her up and carry her to a bench, picnic table, or a boulder to sit on. She spends a couple of minutes wandering around and then, when she realizes we’re not going anywhere, she sits down beside me or climbs in my lap.

Sitting with a cat is pretty wonderful. And it’s something she enjoys as much as I do. As we sit, she takes in her surroundings. Her nose leather twitches and her head slowly swivels from side to side, cataloging the sights, the smells, and the sounds that surround her. After a while, I close my eyes and breath. I would let go of the leash, but sometimes a bird, a squirrel, or a lizard enters our space and Gloria bursts into action. This doesn't happen a lot, but enough to err on the side of caution.

The hunt.

Sometime the walk is interrupted by the hunt. Sometimes the hunt becomes the end-all, be-all of the walk.

Gloria's favorite park has lizards, and lizards are her favorite thing to hunt. When we approach a spot where she's spotted lizards in the past, she stops, sniffs around, and then sits and patiently waits for them to return. There's a tree in the park, “The Lizard Tree”, that's her favorite hunting spot. She takes me to it, then plants herself before the large, craggy tree and waits, patiently, for a lizard to emerge.

Like a fisherman waiting for a bite, she finds the wait intoxicating rather than boring. Sometimes her patience is rewarded and she instantly goes from zero to sixty as she takes off after the lizard, hoping to catch it before it disappears again into one of the tree's many cracks and crevices

So when it's time to hunt I stand a polite distance behind her and wait. I breath. Relax. And try to clear my mind. I give us a good ten to fifteen minutes of this. If nothing shows, I explain it to her and coax her to move on. She doesn't always want to, but seems to understand. The hunt should not be looked at as a disruption, but a major reason for the walk. It gives your cat the opportunity to fully become what it was built to be. So don't be disappointed when your cat crouches down to wait. Make sure the walk is as much for your cat's well being as your own, and you'll both come away invigorated.

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