It appears my recent thoughts on leashing cats triggered several fine feline fanciers to write in defense of such trappings. Their thoughts were, well, amewsing.
OK, I admit cats are a mystery, as can be their owners. And part of that mystery (or so I thought) was that, unlike man’s best friend, the domesticated wolf, cats had never taken to being broken to the leash.
Not so, says longtime friend Barbara Flynn.
“Taj is a purebred Abyssinian fixed male, 2 years, 4 months, and has been walking on a leash since I picked him up (at 14 weeks) from the breeder. ... He came with his own vest, and the leash was easy to adapt to on the trip home from Canada. As he grew up, I got out the sewing machine and made more vests. The one in the photo is actually a guinea pig harness from Petsmart, size large. He outgrew that one, too.”
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(Barbara’s casual remark about “a guinea pig harness” raises the question: Is there a cult of guinea pig walkers out there that remains under our collective radar?)
Barbara adds that they recently returned to their Baywood home (where Taj gets a daily leashed walk) from a two-week camping trip in Washington.
“On his leash, he recently found gophers, lizards, chipmunks, garter snakes and chased a peacock. We have a strict touch and release policy.”
Another letter that was, well, the cat’s pajamas came in from Ann Brooks, daughter of the late, great Telegram-Tribune sports editor Johnny Nettleship and sister of the legendary Jane Nettleship Maxwell.
Ann wondered if I’d ever heard of Johnny and “his several generations of bad-natured Siamese cats that walked on leashes? These were mean ones that demolished rolls and rolls of paper towels and toilet tissue and upholstered furniture and laughed about it among themselves.
“I personally witnessed Chang the Second wrap his leash around the legs of my first husband (Cal Poly baseball pitcher Roger Pfaffenberger) and drop the 6-foot-4-inch, 185-pounder on his hiney on the sidewalk. … I laughed a little bit. Dad justified their behavior on the grounds that they ‘picked’ football game winners out of a hat. This was a made-up story. They didn’t like football. They liked Mickey Mouse cartoons. Their eyes dilated for Mickey.
“The outside walks involved attaching the leashes to the harnesses. This signaled the cats to run to the front door and jockey for position. Once the door was opened, they shot out in different directions.
“My point here is that many cats can walk on leashes if you are strong enough to drag them home. And not all cats are killers. It just seems that way if you have upholstered furniture.” Bill Morem can be found bridling at bmorem@thetri bunenews.com or 781-7852.