My friend Gail is not only fur-parent to three of my testing panel, namely This Cat, That Cat and the Other Cat, but she is also a fabulous book editor and thus I consulted her regularly while writing my cat lifestyle book “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat.”
We had endless dicussions about safe outdoor enclosures and what type of features should be included in any proposed enclosure to ensure it would be a veritable theme park for felines. We both got so involved throwing ideas back and forth that Gail’s enthusiam prompted her to convert her entire back garden into a “catitat,” the focus of which would be a real tree that nature had created with wonderful branch formations making it ideal for feline fun.
The most important thing was to make sure the “roof” would be well-sealed so that no feline adventurer would climb to the top of the tree and attempt to leap off elsewhere in the nieghborhood. Bamboo poles and sturdy green netting did the trick. Flower beds were planted to make it a feline jungle and stepping stones laid out to give it a nice landscaped look.
On the day of the grand opening, That Cat and Other Cat shot outside and took to the great outdoors like ducks to water. They inspected the plants and climbed the tree, played hide and seek and had to be coaxed back inside at the end the play session. And so it has been since Day One.
But This Cat is a totally different story. She is a total princess. When the other two tumble about, she looks at them in disgust and with disdain. This type of rough play is beneath her dignity.
So when it came to introducing her to the “catitat,” Gail was interested to see how she would take to the idea. Her only previous experience with nature was when her brother sent her over the balcony ledge when he disguised himself as a plastic bag.
Eventually she could be persuaded to stick her nose out the door. There were the other two cavorting around and having fun. But she just stared. Finally she ventured outside. But when she discovered that the area between the stepping stones was just dirt, she put on the brakes. Oh no! She was definitely not getting her feet dirty. Instead, very gingerly she hopped from stone to stone and then stood staring at the other two, who, in their own way, were trying to encourage her to join in the fun.
She declined their invitation and trotted back inside where there are soft carpets or wooden flooring beneath her paws.
And so far nothing has persuaded her to change her mind.
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