The first rule of having a Cat Going Places is to know them well. Know their body language and their typical responses to situations. This is going to be your first and best defense in a new situation or if something unexpected happens while you are out.
For me, it happened a few weeks ago. The local cat rescue where I volunteer had another fundraiser at a local brewery (see our post last year https://catsgoingplaces.com/
We arrived and I got her out of the car and into the stroller with her harness on and all her stuff in her bag ready to go. A friend had decided to go with us and we headed inside. Chanel immediately wanted out of the stroller and I let her wander around a little bit. Once back in her stroller, we ordered drinks and sandwiches and sat around talking.
I always make sure that her stroller is positioned that I can keep a close eye on her. As we sat there, she started to show signs of being stressed. She was breathing heavier, though not panting. She got up and curled in the back of her stroller. I watched closely but decided to call it a night fairly quickly. We packed up and headed out the door to go home.
The minute we got outside, she sat up in the stroller (it is zipped shut while we are moving around) and was looking around. My friend and I decided to take a moment and we sat on some outside steps and I unzipped the stroller. Chanel was a completely different cat. Curious and engaging as she normally is when I have her out places.
At that point it dawned on me that it must have been the noise inside the bar. Nothing else made any sense as to why she was so uncomfortable inside but seemed fine outside. Just to prove her point, she gave me a hard time as we packed up her stroller and put her back in her carrier to go home – she jumped out of the stroller and into the back of my SUV and then attempted to jump out of the car and take herself for a walk. Too bad it was just way too hot that evening to be outside. Maybe next time.
The lesson here – I knew by watching her that something wasn’t right. My commitment from the start of this project has been her well-being. I have said that if I become convinced at any point that she hates anything about going out with me, she can be done. The nice part about this particular evening is that I know I can trust my instincts about her reactions. Plus she made it clear that she may not like that space, but she isn’t done going out.