ONE COOL CAT
Ozzie isn't crazy about his vest.Maybe he's not fond of the fabric. Maybe he's not crazy about the pattern. Maybe he doesn't like the color red. Wait, are cats color blind?
"Want to try on your vest, Ozzie?"
Ozzie skedaddles away.
I'm feeling a little discouraged.
My husband Jim asks, "Who takes a cat outside on a leash?"
Well, that would be me. If dogs wear vests, why not cats?
Greyhound, the Chihuahua, the French Bulldog, and many terriers and pinschers have trouble staying warm outside and benefit from wearing a vest. According to www.orvis.com, "Dogs whose bellies are close to the ground—the Dachshund and the Corgi, for example—need extra protection from frigid sidewalks and snowy paths. Toy and small breeds, light-bodied breeds, and breeds with very short or thin hair (even if it’s long by nature but you keep it clipped close) need the extra warmth of a dog jacket or sweater outside in the cold."
Though most cats don't need a vest to stay warm, a vest would keep an indoor cat safe outside. The decision is up to the owner and of course, the pet's cattitude. Our vet said that getting Ozzie outside for some fresh air would be good for him because he is an indoor cat. That's all I needed to hear. And since I need to take breaks from writing and marketing Maggie, being outside would be good for me, too.
Day 1 - 3: Let Ozzie sniff the vest and get familiar seeing it
Day 4 - 6: Let him wear the vest around the house
Day 7: Let him enjoy the great outdoors
I placed the vest next to Ozzie's food bowl. He didn't tear it to shreds. He didn't pee on it. I took this as a good sign.
But the first time he wore it outside, he hugged the back door, crouched, and slunk around. This was not a good sign.
And yet, he didn't growl or cry. So, here we had another good sign.
I wasn't going to torture him with a lengthy stay, just long enough to sniff plants and experience bugs and birds. To feel sunshine on his back. To feel grass beneath his paws.
On one occasion with Ozzie outside and all-vested up, Putt-Putt (our loving stray) wandered by. I hadn't expected he'd show up. His schedule is fairly random, unless it's breakfast or dinner time.
When Putty comes to visit, I leave the deck door open and the screen locked, so that he and Ozzie can enjoy each other's company. Since they are buds, I allowed Putt-Putt to get close to Ozzie. But then clear out of the blue, Putt-Putt bit Ozzie.
Ozzie screamed. My interpretation: get me the hell out of this vest and back inside where I belong.
I felt terrible for Ozzie and never expected Putty to bite him. But Putty's home is outside and he felt inclined to defend it.
My husband snickered. The look on his face said are you really going to do that to him?
Yes, yes I am. I wasn't going to give up.
It's been several months and Ozzie is still not crazy about his vest. Though, he is a good sport. He humors me. We hang out on the front porch away from Putty's backyard space for a good five minutes! We take in the sunshine and enjoy the great outdoors. Or, at least one of us does.
Trying new things takes time. Ain't that right, Ozzie? He may not believe it now, but one of these days Ozzie will know he is one purrty cool cat.
✌ and ♥