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Diary of a Cat Walker #8

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post and things have been a bit hectic with work and then the holidays. Instead of taking Gloria out every day, it was every two to three days during this time. I tried to keep up the regular walks, but it didn’t happen.

So time for a little catchup. Here are some of the things on my mind.

Weather change: It’s chilly and damp here now. Gloria definitely likes warmth, so she’s having to adjust to cooler/damper weather. I don’t think she like it much. Also, here favorite park has lost some of its charm with the weather change. The lizards have gone where lizards go when it gets cold and the park is full of leaves and dried, pointy pine needles. I’m pretty sure walking through parts of the park are painful…I’ve seen her lift her paw and shake it slightly, so I’m carrying her through areas that look harsh. Also, when walking through the manicured part of the park, she likes to walk on the decorative slate patio blocks, seemingly because they’re smooth and easy on the feet, or maybe it’s just fun.

Who’s guiding who: Because she enjoys the park still, I now let her lead at times. She does for a short while, and then looks up at me as if to say, “where to next?” and I take over the lead. It’s pretty wonderful, actually. She’s really good at following my lead, but still stops and refuses to go on every once in a while. I respect that, because it means something is either scaring her or bothering her. I generally pick her up and carry her a few feet until she’s ready to go on. I think this will go away in time as she realizes I’m there to protect her and would never take her someplace dangerous. This is a BIG step, and will only happen with continued trips outdoors on a regular basis.

Avoidance: She’s beginning to run and hide when it’s time to go for a walk. In about five to ten minutes though, she comes out of her hiding place. That said, 5 minutes or so in the park and she’s enjoying herself. Purrs, even. When we return, she’s a bit clingy, as if saying thanks for taking me out to explore the world.

Sitting: I’m trying to teach her to sit with me and man, is that working. On our walks now, she’ll guide me to some concrete steps, picnic tables, etc. We’ll sit there and she’ll climb in my lap and look around, peacefully. The last time we went out, I realized I could actually do a little meditation while she just sits there and enjoys her surroundings.

Other places: She’s still not keen on other places…but she’d getting better. I take her to a crowded café near the park sometimes to get a coffee for me. I hold her – it’s an eating establishment – and walk around as she cries to get down. It’s a one cup at a time place, so it takes a while to get my drink. The last time I took her (last week), I sat down on a bench to wait and miraculously, she calmed herself down and was comfortably looking around until my coffee came. They have an outdoor seating area, but moments after we went out a couple with two rambunctious dogs came out. She’s not usually freaked by dogs, but she wasn’t very comfortable, and after knocking over my coffee and spilling two thirds of it, well, the trip got cut short!

I also took her to Petco with me just so we could walk on a chilly day. She did pretty good. It was early, and the store was pretty empty, so she kind of enjoyed walking through the isles. She followed my lead unless there was a person in the direction I was headed, and then she put on the breaks. She’s still a bit skittish – most of the time – with walking toward people. That said, If I stop to talk with someone, after a couple minutes, she’s comfortable around the people. This happened in the park one day…and it was astounding to see her walk up to the couple and let them pet her. Inside the house, she’s a social butterfly with company, so it’s nice to see her losing her stranger danger feeling outside.

Okay, that’s if for now…I’ll likely take her on a walk later today.

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