We’ve Created a Monster

Rose’s mom came to visit on Thanksgiving and accidentally let Frankie outside. If you read my previous post, “Frankie’s Big Adventure,” you would know that Frankie is a cat who likes to run and does not stay close to the house. Twice he led us on a wild chase and I fear we will lose him if he gets out again. Fortunately, this time, the three of us surrounded him and Rose’s mom grabbed him as he tried to go under our truck.

That short jaunt outside rekindled his passion for the outdoors and he spent a lot of time that day crying at the door and scratching on the window. I decided this would be a good time to put his harness on him and take him outside. I bought the harness a few months ago but Frankie refused to let me put it on him so I gave up and put it away somewhere.

It took awhile before I found where I put the harness but the lead wasn’t with it. I had to call in the help of our resident expert tracker and Rose located it with no problem. Again, Frankie would not let me attach the harness. I managed to get it over his head but he struggled too much and I couldn’t put it around his body and attach the clip. Finally, Rose helped me. I held him while she attached the clip. I then attached the lead and opened the front door. Frankie and Chris both ran out the door at the same time. Frankie took of in a sprint and was surprised when he reached the end of the rope and was suddenly stopped. He rolled onto his back and was quite cute when he suddenly go up and ran again.

This behavior repeated a few times and then, as if by magic, he had the harness off his head and was just being held around his belly. I knew that wouldn’t last so I scooped him up and put him inside. I then collected Chris and we stayed in the rest of the day.

The next day Frankie was at it again. He seemed to be desperate to go outside. It was a nightmare to leave the house or come back because he was right there trying to escape. We have put up with Chris doing that for years but never had to worry about losing him because Chris stays close. He will wander off after a while but I usually get tired of watching him and bring him inside before that happens. Frankie will run and keep running, stopping briefly to investigate whatever catches his eye, before returning in the direction away from the house.

I decided to let him out again but skip the harness and use a regular cat collar that I had in the closet. I bought a few collars four years ago when we moved back to Florida from Myrtle Beach. I wanted to put one on each of the cats with our contact information in case they escaped during our trip. Rose poo pooed that idea. She thought I was being weird and paranoid so the collars never got used.

Cat Frankie on leash

Cat Frankie on caair


Cats Frankie and Chris

I put the collar on Frankie. It had one of those plastic clips that are easy to put on and take off. I then hooked the lead and opened the door. Again, Chris went out with us and again Frankie ran until he reached the end of the lead. I tried to keep up with him because I didn’t want the collar to choke him but he was too fast.

He eventually figured out that running was not good and slowed down a bit but he had to investigate everything. He would walk around bushes or under our neighbor’s chairs and I had to keep moving his lead from one hand to another to keep it from getting tangled. After a few minutes he saw a lizard and lunged for it. When he did the color snapped open and he was free. I was able to grab him right away and pick him up only because the lizard distracted him. I carried him into the house and gave up for the day.

Saturday we tried again. I realized what we did wrong when attaching the harness and wanted to give it another try. Of course, he made it very difficult to put it on him but when I did we went out the back door this time. Frankie was becoming a real pain about trying to get out the door and Rose didn’t want him to expect to be let out that door. I understood her reasoning but I first wanted to get Frankie used to the area so he would know where home was if he got out by mistake.

I asked Rose to help because I wanted Puck to go out too. I felt bad that he was always left inside. So off they all went, Frankie on the lead with me and Puck and Chris under Rose’s watchful eye. Frankie immediately led me away and we found ourselves at the far side of the back yard where Frankie tried to slip through the fence. This time he couldn’t. I didn’t want to pull him like a dog or horse so I picked him up and walked him closer to our back door.

Cat Frankie with harness

Rose was having a little trouble with Puck by then and decided to try to catch him and bring him in. Frankie was investigating the bushes by our neighbor’s patio when Chris stopped by to say hi. He and Frankie exchanged sniffs and then Chris noticed the screen door to their patio was open slightly so he decided to go inside to investigate. That complicated everything so I picked up Frankie to bring him inside. Meanwhile, Rose had put Puck inside and then went to retrieve Chris.

Whew! That was an exhausting eight minutes. I don’t think I want to do that again for a while. Now we just have to put up with Frankie picking at the window screen. I tried blocking it with objects today but that didn’t stop him. Hopefully that won’t last long.



25 thoughts on “We’ve Created a Monster

  1. Summer

    My human is very glad that none of us kitties has a really strong urge to go outside. Binga will do a door dash just to get attention… but she does not really want to be out there. I get to go out anyway, so while I’m curious and would wander if the door was left open, I don’t beg or make attempts to get out.

  2. pilch92

    It sounds like you had lots of excitement. We adopted a cat last year that was outside most oof his life and I am afriad to give him a taste of it again. Please visit us for a giveaway.

  3. kittiesblue

    We all wear collars with IDs 24/7. Mom would never let us be without in case one of us should slip out, which has happened fairly often. Hope you and Frankie can come to a compromise on what is allowable behavior. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  4. onespoiledcat

    I think it must be more difficult harness training a cat that has known the great outdoors in total freedom! Sam was a “baby” when we adopted him and we started him on the harness for walks immediately. For 15 years we’ve used the harness when he’s on a walk outside in the dark but as long as one of us is with him in daylight we don’t bother – he’s learned “there’s no place like home” !!!!


  5. krick123d

    Very alarming! This could ruin a holidays forever! Please consider putting all the cats on a leash till guests have arrived and all doors closed, then again when people decide to go. Imagine how it would be if one ran away!

  6. Lily Lau

    I know what you mean, we also adopted a street cat and wanted to go out all the time, once he escaped in the early morning and when we woke up two neighbor dogs had attacked him to death… please, be careful with this little monster, I don’t want the same for him!

  7. 메간 Megan

    My cat Chester doesn’t get far if he gets “out”, which is just into our complex hallway. If I take him for a walk though, oh yeah he will definitely do the stand up on his back legs and scratch the window thing. It’s super annoying.

  8. Charles Huss Post author

    Reblogged this on Bad Cat Chris and commented:

    Here is a post for Throwback Thursday from November 2014. It is when Frankie started going for walks with the harness. It was a difficult begining but now, with a different harness and a better attitude, it is much easier.

  9. onespoiledcat

    I think we have been lucky that Ted was easy to train with the harness and leash……and got so used to having us (or one of us) with him outside. We took off the harness and leash after a while and he was so used to us being right there he has only run off once and that was to chase a very tempting rabbit. Otherwise he’s within ten feet of us and just lies in the grass – he knows our yard and where the boundaries are. We do use the harness and leash when we take him to the vet though. Some cats just want to be FREEEEEEE even though it’s not what WE want!!


    1. Charles Huss Post author

      I think Chris and Teddy are alike. Chris stays close when we are outside so I don’t need a leash but I do need to keep an eye on him because he will wander after a while.


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