Between cold winter weather and being away, we didn’t take Chumka for many adventures in the past 1-2 months. We took him for a car ride last week and it didn’t end up too well – he was very anxious and pretty much cried himself to sleep. And when I tried to take him for walkies on our usual route – he was shaking and wanted to go back to the car ASAP.
I could tell that he wanted to be outside and explore – he was very interested in the outdoors and happy to explore my parent’s garden so I knew that he needed some “ground work” to make him confident when adventuring.
Little steps are big victories
I wanted to start little and allow Chumka’s instinct to kick in, rather than his fears first. So I started early in the morning when the birds and other little animals are very active, and the daily activities haven’t started. What I didn’t know is that there was now some construction happening in our neighbourhood and they started at 7am! So the first 2 days we didn’t venture anywhere past 6 feet from our front door and the cat was pretty much shaking from anxiety.
Now, before anyone says that I was putting my cat through a traumatic experience – the door was open so he could have gone inside and hide. You know what they say, “curiosity killed the cat”. Chumka’s curiosity and instinct were stronger than his fears and we spent about 15 minutes before heading inside. I call that a big success! 🙂
Now day 3 happened to be Sunday which meant no construction! It was the first day when Chumka ventured pretty “far out” into the yard to explore, and it was the first day when he didn’t shake from being anxious – despite it still being fairly cold outside. But since we keep our sessions fairly short, I didn’t feel the need to put a sweater or a jacket on him.
He was still cautious when walking around but you could tell that he really was enjoying being out. He even had his tail up at times!
The Next Steps
The next couple days after that brought me A LOT of joy as Chumka would come running when he heard me grab his harness and leash. It’s actually quite funny because he doesn’t particularly enjoy putting the harness on but he loved his outside time so much that he would be by the door in a split of a second.
I took Chumka on a car ride to see how he would do, now that he was a bit more confident being outdoors. He had a quick meltdown after a bit of driving but it was significantly better than the last time! And you could tell that despite being unsure at times, he was enjoying looking through the window.
Now it’s only been a week of “training” and though our steps and “adventures” may seem small or insignificant, I think Chumka rocked it. Our plan for the next week is to see how he does outside of his “safe zones” – the yard and the car. Like I said, little tiny steps are big victories as they help to build the foundation of a confident adventure cat. And by keeping “excursions” short and sweet (for now) I leave Chumka with wanting more – which further helps with training.
This is a wrap for our part 1 (or week 1) of getting Chumka to be a little adventure cat once again. I anticipate that it will take another week or two before I am confident to take Chumka on a “bigger” adventure. I want him to feel “self-assured” when outdoors as that can prevent your cat from getting spooked easily and taking off. We never had him escape his harness despite experiencing some startling situations but it’s better to be safe than sorry 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the article and please give your pet some love from me 😊