Yesterday, I took Parker out for a walk. It was a very pleasant day, especially for November. The sun shone, the temperature was reasonable, there was no wind. As is often the case, I let the orange boy determine the route we would take.
We walked down an alley that runs crookedly alongside my apartment building. Parker sniffed the dead and dying grass, and tried to eat some; I would say, “No, don’t eat,” repeatedly, and urge him along. Things were normal.
Then he worked his nose along the base of the wooden-board fence that runs by one side of the alley. Without warning, he leaped straight up and landed on top of the five foot high barrier. From there he dropped to the lawn on the other side. All of this happened too swiftly for me to react properly, so I now was on one side of the fence, my foster-cat was on the other.
Still connected by the leash to Parker’s harness, I tried to coax him to the fence so I could pull him through a space between the boards, a space wide enough to accommodate a cat, even of Parker’s girth. To emphasise my intention, I tugged on Parker’s leash several times. When I did that once, he retreated – and slipped out of his harness.
Now I was on one side of the fence, my loose foster-cat was on the other. For the moment, he was not moving, but if he saw something that interested him, that could change, and I knew, despite his sturdy form, he could move fast, faster than I. So while he was stationary, I ran - not as fast as a cat but not bad for a human – around the fence, hoping my untethered animal would still be on the other side. He was, and when I approached him, he trotted over to me.
I gathered him up then and there and took him inside. What a fright he gave me. I brought him out again today, but have a new awareness of how easily he can slip out of his fetters if the dynamics are right. Since the two loops of the harness tug against the body in any direction but from the front – there they work together to slip over increasingly slimmer portions – pulling from that direction could undo the harness’s purpose. All Parker would have to do to escape is lift his forelegs as the larger loop is pulled past them. A new lesson has been learned.
Parker, of course, felt that nothing was amiss. He came in, had his mid-day snack and settled down to snooze in the sunshine. What a to-do these humans make of some things - like heart attacks. These cats will kill me one day.