If you’ve read much of my blog, then you will know I’m crazy about my cat, Mozzie. We’ve had him not quite a year and a half, and he adds so much to the family. Maybe it’s because he’s indoors, and the dogs aren’t, but he’s a character.
Right now, as I type this, he’s sleeping on the back of my office chair, a front leg dangling over each side, eyes closed. It’s so cute how he’ll do that.
We had always guessed Mozzie had been an outdoor cat with his previous family. Last summer, his first summer with us, he managed to escape a couple times by pushing out the screens and squeezing through. My grandmother caught him once, Pet caught him another time. And, he always sat at the doors, looking longingly outside.
This spring the outdoor gazing got worse. If you left the door open longer than to step outside, you were pushing Mozzie back indoors with a foot or grabbing him and packing him back inside. Not even his long standing rivalry with Kody would stop him from trying to get out.
My agreement with the CAT Adoption Team spelled out very clearly that he was not to be an outdoor cat. I had talked to them about letting him out as long as he was harnessed and leashed, and they said that would be fine, but they didn’t recommend it. Why give him a taste of the outdoors if he really couldn’t have it?
This year, Pet and I bought him a harness, a length of clotheline, and some clips. We got him used to the harness, and a couple weeks ago we took him out on his makeshift leash. It was that, or worry he’d get out one day and not come back. He loved it, and went all over the back deck.
The next day I’m petting him, and I notice my fluffy white cat is now a grainy, tan cat. There are smudges on him that he couldn’t have gotten when he was outside, because he never rubs into anything that would put smudges down his spine. I ask my grandmother if she took him outside, and she tells me no, she’d been gone all day.
But, she added, when she came home the back deck screen was open about 8 inches. She called Mozzie, and he came up from the basement, so she just assumed the dogs rubbed the door open.
We determined Mozzie escaped, had an adventure, and came back home. This was a little unsettling, but we figured it wouldn’t happen again.
Yesterday, Mozzie was losing his tiny mind about wanting to go outside. I harnessed him and clipped his clothesline leash on, and let him out on the back deck. It’s a 60 foot clothesline, but we only give him about 15 feet of tether. Nonny and I spent the time passing the leash back and forth, because we have a lot of deck furniture, and Mozzie kept getting wound around it. He kept wanting off the deck, into the ivy where we know a rat lives. I didn’t feel like traipsing through the ivy, so I picked him up, and we headed to Dog Park.
Dog Park sits between my house and my father’s. Once a cow pasture, the last few years have seen it morph into our own private park. Last year it was the planting of rhodies, this year saw a horseshoe pit, picnic table, and fire pit go in. Kody, my grandmother’s 2 year old German Shepherd, loves to play fetch in Dog Park, so we spend a lot of time there.
I dropped Mozzie into the grass of Dog Park, and he had a good time chewing grass and exploring a bit. Eventually I got him over by where my dad was, where Mozzie could choose sun or shade, and I could sit and talk to my Dad. About this time Kody showed up, and he and Mozzie have an uneasy friendship, usually protected by a screen door. Mozzie stayed closer to me, usually under my chair, enjoying the outside, and occasionally growling at Kody. Kody spent his time orbiting my father and I like an energetic furry black and tan satellite.
I can’t help but share this photo, because it’s so cute. I’m sitting on the ground, on the end of his leash, and he’s just chillin’.
Our little outing was cut short by a series of events. Dad wanted to light the fire pit, and I was only a couple feet away, so I moved my chair. That exposed Mozzie, who was uncomfortable with it. Then Dad turned on the propane burner tank he uses to light the fire pit, and that scared Mozzie. Mozzie tried to run, but couldn’t get very far due to the leash, but that excited Kody, who wouldn’t leave him alone. I had to get to Mozzie by drawing in the leash as I walked, and scooped him up. We went to the house and he was taken out of his harness and allowed to calm down.
He doesn’t seem any worse for wear, Nonny and I discovered later that day that he’s he reason all the screen doors in the house are off their tracks. He lies down on his side, and uses his paws to pull the screen doors open. Our house is old, and the doorways are square, so there’s small gaps at the bottom of where the door and door frame meet. He managed to get the door open over an inch before we stopped laughing and moved him away.
I think we’re going to have to find a way to give him more supervised outdoor time. I can’t let him be an indoor outdoor cat per my adoption agreement, but if I don’t give him some outdoor time, he’s going to find a way to get it, and that can turn into trouble.