Here is Frankie on one of his walks. Taking Frankie for a walk is less common these days because he escapes so often a walk on his harness is almost unnecessary.
What do you do when you missed the lizard you were after?
You look around to see if anyone saw you, of course.
Last week I took Frankie for a walk and he dropped down and started rolling in the dirt. I assumed he was taking a dust bath and thought it was cute so I pulled out my phone and snapped a picture. Shortly after he stood up I noticed his entire harness was around his waist and he was seconds away from escaping, so I grabbed him and fixed his harness before continuing our walk.
It wasn’t until later, when I looked at the photo, that I realized he was doing his Frankie Houdini act for me.
Our cats are stuck inside most of the time so I can’t blame them for trying to get out every time someone opens the door. Lately Frankie has been relentless. He stands by the door and cries or he runs to the door every time someone in the house gets up.
I try to put a harness on him at least once each weekend. When I do, Chris is right there ready to run out the door. I try to stop him but I often fail and he is outside with Frankie. That is what happened Saturday. I tried watching Chris while I had Frankie on the harness. It was easy at first because Frankie and Chris were both content with staying close to home while eating grass.
The problem started when Chris wandered to the back to see what Frankie was doing and then kept going to the neighbor’s driveway behind us. I then had to put Frankie inside the house and retrieve Chris. I then brought Chris inside and let Frankie back out again. It was a pain but Frankie was happy in the end.
I discovered a flaw in Frankie’s harness. I know it is a little big for him and not the the most secure harness in the world but it is very easy to put on him and it has worked so far.
Walking a cat is not like walking a dog. You go where they want to go. On a recent walk, Frankie took me behind our house and across the next street. The roads get very hot in the summer time around here and I saw that Frankie was being affected by it. He seemed to hurry across the street and stand in the grass where it was cooler. After inspecting the bushes for a while we headed back to the street. A few seconds later, Frankie found refuge in the shadow of a car.
I normally try to keep him away from Cars because I don’t want him under them, but in this case I knew his feet were hot so I thought I would give him a minute or two to cool down. Before I knew it he was under the car pulling at the leash. In an instant I was holding a leash and an empty harness. It seems that the trick to escaping this harness is backing up.
I was not thinking like a news reporter and put my phone in my pocket and stop taking pictures at that point. I tried to coax Frankie out from under the car but he wasn’t having any of it. Eventually, I walked home and came back with a pool noodle that was in my shed. I thought I could intimidate him with the noodle but that didn’t work. Instead, he growled, hissed and attacked the noodle.
I gave up on the noodle ideas and brought it back to the house. I look for something else that might work and found a water bottle. I thought a little water might encourage him to get out from under the car, but when I returned he wasn’t there.
I looked around for a minute thinking he would be very difficult to find, but I found him hiding in the bushes next to the car. So I picked him up and carried him home while he hissed at me all the way.
Sunday I decided to take Frankie for a walk. He loves to be outside but since he is an adventurer, I have to bring him out on a leash and harness. That means he doesn’t go out much because I am either too busy, too tired, it’s too hot outside, or I am just plain lazy. These are the same reasons I don’t have a dog.
Frankie likes to travel in a straight line down the sidewalk, like he knows what it is for, pausing occasionally to smell stuff and then moving on.
I let him lead and keep hoping he will eventually start travelling back toward home but he rarely does. I usually have to pick him up and carry him home. I tried to pick him up on this day but he would have none of it and changed direction on his own and headed home.
When we got home he walked up to the front door, instead of the usual side door, and I opened it a bit for him to go inside but he changed his mind. I changed it back for him and picked him up and put him inside.
Chris was at the door wondering why Frankie got to go outside without him so I let Chris out. Chris usually goes out the side door and eats grass next to the driveway so this was a bit of a treat for him.
He started by looking for lizards but found none so he ate a little grass for a while.
Before I knew what was going on, Chris was at the door with a lizard in his mouth. Even with his added girth, he is still the King of the Lizard Catchers.
I tried unsuccessfully to get him to give up his lizard but he is stubborn. Finally I was able to get him to drop it and the lizard ran away, but Chris was off in hot pursuit. He caught him, lost him and followed him into the brush to catch him again. Check out the video of the incident below.
Just so you know, the lizard survived the ordeal.
Chris was being very annoying this morning, crying at the door to go outside. Rose asked me to let him out for a few minutes so she could have some peace while she got ready for work. I complied, since I had things to do outside anyway and then brought him back in after a few minutes of him eating grass.
While he was out, Frankie was very upset that Chris was out and he wasn’t, so when I got back inside Rose said I should put Frankie’s harness on and take him for a walk. I didn’t really feel like doing that but I got his harness and my camera (just in case there was something worth sharing) and opened the door to let him out.
Frankie was a little nervous at first, for some unknown reason, but he soon was on his way. Within two minutes of being outside, Frankie managed to slip out of his harness. Fortunately I caught him in time. I brought him back inside, Rose put his harness back on and then I tried again. Chris slipped out the door at the same time and Rose said not to worry, she could see him from the door. It soon became clear that, despite Rose’s assurances, she was not watching Chris. I tried to keep Frankie close so I could also watch Chris but it wasn’t easy. Eventually I had to bring Frankie in, a little earlier than Frankie wanted, so I could go get Chris.
That was more difficult than expected because Chris pulled Frankie’s old trick that Frankie learned from Chris. He hid under Rose’s car. My efforts to get him out resulted in only growling, hissing and biting. It didn’t help that the lady across the street chose that time to take her two dogs for a walk.
Rose needed to leave for work so my only recourse was to turn the hose on and squirt him out. That worked, but then he got under my truck. Eventually, I was able to get him close enough to the edge to pull him out. He was not happy about that.
Saturday morning Chris and Frankie were being very loud and annoying in their efforts to be let outside. Since Chris was throwing up a lot on Friday and a little more that morning, I thought eating some grass might be good for him, so I let him out. He didn’t go for the grass as expected but instead went up the driveway and found Rose’s plants. He then did some nearby exploring before settling down and eating grass, which he soon up when he got inside. I guess he needed that.
It was then Frankie’s turn. He’s a runner so I had to put his harness on before going out.
I then grabbed my Canon Powershot camera and then walked out the door with Frankie. The camera is about six years old, ancient but today’s standards, but it takes good pictures. It was also close and my good camera was in the closet, too far away to make an excited cat wait. I turned the dial to video mode, pushed the shutter button and off we went.
Frankie is quite the explorer and we went here, there and everywhere. He even saw a bunny before I did and ran after it, surprising me and probably him too when the leash tightened up. Towards the end of the walk we came across a couple of neighbors which made him a little nervous and hastened our return.
Later, when Rose’s mother and sister came to the house, I cooked some hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill. As I was bringing in a plate full of food, Frankie ran out the door. I quickly put my shoes on and went after him. Eventually I ended up on the next street over trying to coax Frankie out from under a car. I actually was giving him space, hoping he would move on.
That is when Rose’s sister, Felice (our hero kitten rescuer), showed up to help. She kneeled next to the car to see where he was at. I knew she was thinking about grabbing him and dragging him out from under the car but I remembered when I tried to do that Frankie scratched up my arm and became even more entrenched and angry as well. Felice managed to grab Frankie and drag him out without getting a scratch.
When everybody left, I was excited to upload the video I took of our walk but I had an unpleasant surprise. I discovered that the video was set to the smallest resolution possible. It was so small that it was essentially worthless except for maybe an iWatch.
I did find another video though. It was Frankie and me walking around the neighborhood for the first time about two weeks ago. That day Chris escaped when I took out Frankie. He normally stays close so I was trying to watch him while I was walking Frankie but he wandered too far and I had to put Frankie away and get Chris. When I came back out I couldn’t find him at first. When I did find him, I brought him in and took Frankie out again.
Walking a cat is not like walking a dog. They go where they want and if you try to influence them too much the resistance increases. The best I could do is keep him from going to far into people’s yards.
After the trouble Frankie caused for me during the last couple of cat outings, I decided it was time to put him back on a harness. The harness he had was just too hard to put on a struggling cat so I looked for a harness that was very easy to put on. I found one from a company called Bark Appeal. Judging by the name, I assume it is a dog harness but it also works for cats. This harness has two Velcro strips and putting it on is just a matter of wrapping it around his neck and abdomen.
Frankie seemed perfectly fine wearing it. He made no attempt to get out of it and gave no indication that it might be uncomfortable. I bought the mesh version because I thought it would be cooler and lighter but there were other fabric choices. I also got a size large and it seemed a little loose on him but if he wasn’t so excited about going outside I am sure I could have wrapped it a little tighter.
Rose did not want to partake in our little adventure so I had to leave Puck inside because watching two cats is hard enough if one cat is Frankie and the other Chris. I felt bad but Puck cares less about going outside that the other two boys. The outing was fairly short-lived because Chris disappeared on me and I had to bring Frankie inside so I could look for him. As soon as I got inside I saw him from the window peeking around the corner where I just was with Frankie.
What do you think? Anyone else have a harness that is easy to put on?
Sunday we let all three cats explore the back yard again. Frankie still needs to be on a leash so he doesn’t run away but Chris and Puck were free to play while Rose kept an eye on them.
Frankie is getting used to the leash and harness and did not get as freaked out by the sudden stop like he did in the past. The three of them spent some time, just like last week, trying to catch lizards. Unfortunately for them, the lizards were a bit quicker than they were last week when Chris and Puck both caught one.
Everything went well until after we brought the cats inside. That is when, after noticing how desperate our plants needed water, I decided to go back out and water them. I should have been more watchful for bad cats because on the way out Frankie surprised me and slipped out the door with Chris right behind him. Fortunately our neighbor left their patio door open and Frankie went inside to explore. I didn’t have my camera so I was not able to get pictures of him trapped in someone else’s home.
I didn’t want to possibly break the law by going inside so I went around the other side and was able to get him to head towards Rose who scooped him up coming out the door. Hopefully someday I will be able to let him out without worrying he will run away.