With improvements in the weather, Hazel (at her request) was spending more and more time outside on a leash.
Instead of walking her around the garden, we attached the leash to various spots giving her freedom to explore different areas- length of leash permitting.
The washing line was a favourite attachment spot as (when it worked) it meant Hazel could move up and down the line and cover most of the garden in relative freedom.
The system was by no means perfect.
Even though we kept an eye on her whenever she was out, coverage was never 100% and inevitably there were a number of entanglements that had to be attended to.
A full length double-leash in fact (we attached a retractable one to that which came with the harness) gave her plenty of capacity to cover large swathes of ground but also meant tangles were probably more likely and severe.
Additionally, she had the length necessary to jump onto the garden fences.
This was good in that Bengals like a bit of height, so she could survey her territory (and that of neighbouring cats) whilst squatting atop a fence panel.
This was bad in that she then thought she had the leash length to make it into a neighbour’s garden. Which she didn’t.
So a Bengal kitten suspended in mid-air was the outcome.
Escaping The Harness
Some harness manufacturers claim their products are escape proof- at least they’re supposed to be.
We fitted Hazel’s as well as we could, but she was able, on occasion, to wriggle free of it especially if the leash snagged or wrapped itself around something.
Fortunately this was rare and she’d never get far before her new found freedom was noticed.
That was true most of the time…
The Neighbour’s Garden
Hazel must have noticed a small gap at the bottom of a fence which had loosely been covered by a piece of wood.
It then looked like the leash had snagged on something and she’d managed to wriggle free of her harness.
All whilst I was occupied.
Although she responds to her name, the urge to explore somewhere new was clearly too strong, so my attempts to call her back failed.
Fortunately though, I spotted her fairly quickly- and this time my calls for her to return were met with a stern look, then ignored.
Toys and treats had no effect, other than sparking interest, but not enough to get her to return.
During this time, she was slowly exploring this new found land, which meant she sometimes disappeared behind shrubbery- and yes, calling her was yet again futile.
Cats are territorial which means they often take time to feel comfortable and safe in new surroundings.
And it was this I could take advantage of.
A neighbour was in, so I asked them to chase Hazel thinking she’d bolt back to where she’d come from- namely under the fence and home.
And this is exactly what happened.
So no harm done, but a warning- even though realistically, she’d probably have returned on her own accord anyway.
It was clear though, this ‘leash system’ wasn’t going to be good enough long-term for both us and Hazel…
Featured photo by Annie