Allison's Book Bag

The Cat Agility Series: Introducing Rainy to the Great Outdoors

Posted on: July 28, 2017

Training rule number one: Start simple.

Training rule number two: Provide high incentives.

As I noted in my first post about Rainy, my cat Rainy and I visited Hearts United for Animals this past week to train on real agility equipment. The experience was educational! You see, it is one thing train your cat in your own home where she feels safe; it’s an entirely different thing to train your cat in an alien environment. At Hearts United for Animals, Rainy also had to deal with pounding rain, barking dogs, and strangers. She was more than a little scared, which helped me realize that I need to expose her to a greater variety of new situations.

We’re starting simple. Day 1, Rainy and I sat on our front porch. Rainy huddled in my lap and quivered. In the distance were the sounds of rumbling lawn mowers. In addition, strangers strolled past on the opposite side of the street. Not a happy time! Rainy was more than willing to go inside when I got up.

I’m using high incentives. Day 2, Rainy left the living room as soon as I took out her leash. She hesitated when I rustled a cheese wrapper. Cheese is one of her favorite foods. I buckled her into her harness, snapped on the leash, and took her onto the porch. Again, there were those lawnmowers. And passing strangers. Even worse, some strangers had dogs. Rainy looked pleadingly at the door. I gave her a piece of cheese. She pawed to get into my lap. I lifted her up and there she lay, happy just as long as I fed her. In fact, when I got up to go inside, she didn’t act overly excited.

Day 3: We ventured onto our porch on this rainy day. I immediately handed her cheese. After gobbling it down, Rainy decided it was time to explore. Even with the patter of rain and the whirring of traffic. Only after she’d taken in the sights and sounds did she jump onto my lap. I gave her another piece of cheese and then settled into a book. She jumped back down and sniffed the air. For this, she got her third piece of cheese! When I got ready to head inside, Rainy didn’t instantly follow but instead tried to convince me to stay outside. Progress!

Day 4: I switch to commercial cat treats for two reasons. One is that I discovered that Rainy has been the cat with an upset tummy, and so I suspect she might be lactose-intolerant. None of my other cats have ever gotten sick from dairy, but many cats do. Two is I wanted to see if she’d stay outdoors with me with just regular treats. Aside from this one change, everything proceeds like the past two days. The sunny day brings on the people and the noises. Rainy explores the porch, snuggles in my lap, and headbutts me for treats. That’s my brave girl!

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.

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6 Responses to "The Cat Agility Series: Introducing Rainy to the Great Outdoors"

Hi Allison. It was nice reading about Rainy’s progress. This training seems perfect for skittish cats if you don’t want them to be that way. My BIL has three cats, one is a scaredy cat. I once blogged of being a cat whisperer to my daughter’s cat, Amber, when I was keeping her. My cat for today is on my BIL’s calendar.

I’m back. One thing, cheese and other milk items are not good for cats and dogs. But we fed our beagle, Adi, Vanilla Lite ice cream. Her Vet said it would be okay if we would stay constant with it and if it didn’t make her sick. During her last six months it did make her sick. She still loved it but soon after eating she would vomit.
My “Cat Whisperer” link:
http://jimmiehov.blogspot.com/2007/04/cat-whisperer-and-cat-in-window.html?m=1
..

Many cats are lactose-intolerant and so the safest option is to avoid dairy products with them. That said, Rainy is my first cat to have that quirk. The others love their milk and never get sick. Just to be safe, they now all get goat cheese instead, which is viewed as an acceptable alternative. There’s also apparently milk made specifically for cats that one can get at a pet store, and maybe one day we’ll check that out too.

Thanks for the link to your blog. You’ve been blogging for a long time! Congratulations.

Thanks for being interested in Rainy’s progress. I try to post an update every couple of weeks. Rainy is a fairly relaxed cat and I trust her outside with me. I do have a more nervous cat and her I am teaching simply to accept a stroller. Should that happen, I think she’d enjoy the sights from the safety of the stroller. Every cat has their own personality and so a unique training program. 😉

I linked Rainy to Feline Friday. If you swing by you’ll see why.

Have a purrfect Feline Friday. ☺

Thanks for promoting cats on leashes. 😉 Have a purrfect weekend!

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