A big part of Summer’s blog, her Facebook page and much of what I write about her here involves her doing things that are outside of an average cat’s comfort zone: she walks on a leash, she competes in cat shows, she travels long distances. People who are used to having homebody cats sometimes wonder how she can be happy doing all this, or if I am forcing these experiences on her. I would question myself about this too, except for one thing: every time I introduce her to a new adventure, it brings us closer together.
When she spends a lot of time at home, Summer tends to take me for granted. I’ll be working upstairs in my home office and it will occur to me that I haven’t seen her for quite a while. I’ll go look for her and find her downstairs, off doing her own thing. Or she’ll be at the far end of the living room, by the sofa. She knows where I am; she just doesn’t need to be near me. Of course, this doesn’t go both ways, and often I’ll pick her up and bring her to the office cat bed to hang out because I do need to have her close.
But then I’ll take her somewhere. It could be as simple as a trip to the pet store, or as big as a long weekend out of town for a cat show. Then it reminds her that we are a team and it’s awesome and fun! If Summer didn’t like the experiences I give her, the moment I brought her back from them, she would probably hide from me, worrying that I would take her away again. But instead, she hangs around me more than usual, as if to say, “I really liked that! Can we do it again?” She likes feeling special, and she enjoys our time together. In fact, I think she feels that being stuck in the house for too long is rather dreary.
Over the past weekend, there was a house fire a few blocks away from us. My fiancé and I decided to walk over to see what was going on, but as we opened the front door, I could see Summer’s little face. It looked to me like she was saying, “Why are you leaving without me?” So I indulged her and put her in her sling carrier, and the three of us went down to the scene together. The fire was mostly out by the time we got there so there wasn’t much smoke. After talking with some of the neighbors (nobody was hurt, but the house was badly damaged), we turned around and headed back home. As soon as we were past the fire trucks, I clicked Summer’s leash onto her harness and let her walk most of the way back. She loved it, trotting along with her tail proudly in the air, leading us along like she had her own agenda. How can I deny a cat like that her fun and leave her cooped up?
When we returned to the house, Summer got treats and praise, but even before that, she pranced around like she knew she was special, greeting Binga like she had just returned from a big excursion, which in her mind, she had. Later that evening, she stuck close by as I worked, stretching out behind me on my office chair. Sometimes, instead of worrying that I am stressing her out by taking her out now and again, I wonder if I am not taking her out enough. The more often I do it, the more she seems to want it — and the closer our bond is.
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