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Diary of a Cat Walker #4

Gloria in all her glory...ready to take on the world!

Yesterday was great...Gloria actually started purring on her walk and I was over the moon. So here's the thing, cat training is not a stairstep process. You take one step up, two down, and over time improvements become more permanent. I was hoping she'd be happy again today, but I really didn't expect her to purr again.

So did she surprise me and purr?

I'm actually not sure. She was leery when we arrived and walked timidly for a couple of minutes until we reached a bench. We sat there for about 5 minutes and she looked around and checked out the surroundings. Then she jumped down and headed for some juicy looking plants (more on that in another post), and with that, we were off. With Gloria, you know how confident she's feeling based on the angle of her tail. When full-on happy, it's up and curled over her back. It didn't take long for that to happen.

But here's the kicker.

When Gloria sees a person, and they could be 15 feet away, she stops and flattens herself on the ground until they pass by or disappear around a corner. It's something I've worked with, and hoped she'd get over it in time. It the couple months I've worked with her, I've seen zero progress; people she encounters on her walks simply terrify her. I was hopeful that that day might be within the next six months to a year, but it turns out that that day came early. We were walking when a woman crossed our path with her cocker spaniel. The spaniel was yappy...barking crazily at Gloria and me. So much so that we (me and the owner) had a little trouble hearing each other. When Gloria spotted them she stopped in her tracks, and stared. I was waiting for her to flatten against the ground, but she didn't. And as I spoke to the dog walker, Gloria did the unimaginable, she turned away and continued to explore her surroundings! The dog continued to yap, the dog-walker and I continued to chat, and Gloria walked about as if there was nothing to fear. Each time she came to the end of her leash, she simply pivoted and move in a new direction.


Okay, that's not all. It gets better. About 20 minutes after that encounter, a couple arrived. Park volunteers. They were there to look at a bench that needed repair and do a little weeding. Again, Gloria stopped and looked at them. Again, I expected her to lay low. Again, she didn't. They came closer, and when they were five feet away, we exchanged pleasantries and they asked about my cat. Gloria was still exploring the area as I explained the training she was going through and how she was making progress. The woman bent down and Gloria walked right up to her and let her pet her. The woman's husband then did the same, and Gloria walked up to him and let him pet her too.

Two truly magical days in a row. I couldn't be happier, and I suspect, neither could Gloria. I can't wait for tomrrow!

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