A few months ago, the Photographer and I adopted a stray cat. She’s turned out to be a little high maintenance. She loves to be outside, but her instincts for self-preservation leave a bit to be desired. Since she’s been with us, she has managed to have several pretty spectacular falls, eat all available poisonous plants, and stick her head into a storm drain. She has managed to get lost in our basement more than once (which leads me to wonder, is it possible I actually share DNA with this cat?). In short, this is not a cat that can be allowed to roam freely. I’ve never attempted to walk a cat on a leash before, but for this one, I gave in and tried it. She handled the harness ok, but she hated the matching bungee leash that came with it. The Photographer theorized that it was too heavy and fashioned a homemade one out of clothesline. She likes it much better.
I try to spend at least a few minutes outside with her each morning. To let her be as much of a cat as possible, I give her a long lead. I watch her track and stalk. I try to follow without making too much noise. I requires me to move slowly, to pay attention, and to notice what she notices. We must look completely ridiculous, this small, lithe cat creeping and stalking gracefully through the yard, tied with a clothesline to a large, clumsy human. This is probably the perfect metaphor for my own split nature. There is a part that is totally in the moment, guided by instinct. Another part is thinking ahead, aware of possible danger and of time passing. Spending some time getting those two together each morning seems like a pretty decent idea.