Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 30, 2007

SATURDAY SMITHERS BLOGGING....Yes, this is my darling cat, Smithers. And yes, that is a leash. We started getting her used to a harness when she was but a kitten, and while other cat owners are frequently surprised to hear it, she's never minded it a bit. In fact, she usually comes running the moment we take it out of the drawer.

I've never entirely understood why it's considered odd. Sure, leashes are generally associated with dogs, but we've taken Smithers for many a stroll. (We do, to borrow a phrase, get the funniest looks from everyone we meet.)

Is walking Smithers like walking a dog? Well, no. She stops quite a bit and, compared to a dog, she's far less interested in going in the same direction we're going in. That said, it's probably not as awkward as one might expect.

And with that I give you, 24 hours late, a hearty dose of cat blogging for your reading pleasure.

Steve Benen 7:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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Comments

Ah, I see other people keep their cats on a leash, too.

Good for you!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on June 30, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

The second step is just strapping the cat to the roof of the car.

Posted by: gussie on June 30, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

That is a fine looking feline, Steve. She looks much livelier than my cats, the laziest creatures who ever owned a human.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 30, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

While Bush's poll numbers have dropped into the 20's, the conservative movement like a trapped rat remains rabid - and dangerous. The UK terror attacks, Cheney's fourth branch of government, showdowns over subpoenas and right-wing wins at the Supreme Court are behind the Conservative Threat Level being raised to Orange/High (Church and State to Merge).

For the details, see:
"Conservative Threat Level Raised to Orange on UK Terror, Cheney's Fourth Branch."

Posted by: AngryOne on June 30, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Congrats.

Our cat is a little too agoraphobic and he knows how to get out of the harness in about 1.5 seconds.

Posted by: B on June 30, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

Once upon a time, I had a cat who would heel. He, Alf the Cat with Glasses, would walk around the neighborhood with me staying by my side. He was a remarkable beast and I miss him very much along with my friend, Gato the Nameless Cat, who spent over 20 years with me.

Posted by: gmoke on June 30, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Who is this black cat that dares intrude upon our space? The space is ours, all ours! MEOW! Go away little kitty or we will bat at you with our mighty paws! MEOW!

Master kevin, please do something about the black cat. Come home and strap it to the roof of the car. Strap it high and tightly, like Mitt Romney's dog. MEOW! Strap, strap!

We are tired; do not disturb us, we are going to sleep. Do not disturb us, we want to be alone. Master kevin will feed us in our dreams. Prrrr.

Posted by: inkblot & domino on June 30, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Our younger kitty is fine with it. The older one is psychotic.

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on June 30, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Taking a cat for a walk on a leash was a very popular pastime in Victorian UK. It somehow fell out of favour/fashion during the early 20th century.

Posted by: lightflyer on June 30, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Is walking Smithers like walking a dog? Well, no. She stops quite a bit and, compared to a dog, she's far less interested in going in the same direction we're going in. That said, it's probably not as awkward as one might expect."

Add endless sniffing, and that sounds just like walking a beagle.

Posted by: aplomb on June 30, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

My brother had a cat he walked on a leash. His favorite story about this was when his cat climbed a tree in an elderly couples' yard, he heard the man tell his wife "That man's dog just climbed our tree!", a cat on a leash being apparently less conceivable than a tree-climbing dog.

Posted by: Noordijk on June 30, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, 'taint nothin'. Gerard de Nerval, after all, walked a lobster on a leash (or was it a ribbon?)

Posted by: Gene O'Grady on June 30, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Taking fat cats for walks can be a hazard. My brother gifted my mother with a cat named Spooky. I consider him to be a funny looking dog...he considers himself to be human in many respects. Anyway, my mother recently took Spooky for a walk. Spooky does have spasms of energy from time to time but tires quickly...and this walk was no exception. She took him down the hill, but on the way back up Spooky got tired and my mother had to carry him the rest of the way...

Posted by: sunship on June 30, 2007 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Smithers is the spittin image of my long deceased cat, m. le Pussycat.


He could never abide the presence of any other cat, except this one, absolutely identical, black cat, who would appear every two or three months, as if by arrangement. They would sit on opposite sides of the driveway and stare at each other for about two hours.

Then one of them would leave.

But I'm quite sure it was my cat who remained. He just was my cat.

Posted by: cld on June 30, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

We're used to Kevin's cats, which at best sit and look at something, but usually just sleep. Smithers actually walks! Woo, hard to get used to!

Ok, just kidding. I remember when Domino was introduced, the tale was that old Inky ran upstairs to hide under the bed. It's just that Kevin didn't get a picture of the mad dash!

Posted by: Greg in FL on June 30, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

What a beautiful cat, damn.

Posted by: paradox on June 30, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

what paradox said

Posted by: thersites on June 30, 2007 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

"She stops quite a bit and, compared to a dog, she's far less interested in going in the same direction we're going in. That said, it's probably not as awkward as one might expect."

You've just described walking a schnauzer. Make it two schnauzers and the lack of direction becomes more interesting.

Posted by: PCBrown on July 1, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Smithers is the spittin image of my long deceased cat, m. le Pussycat.


He could never abide the presence of any other cat, except this one, absolutely identical, black cat, who would appear every two or three months, as if by arrangement. They would sit on opposite sides of the driveway and stare at each other for about two hours.

Then one of them would leave.

But I'm quite sure it was my cat who remained. He just was my cat.
Posted by: cld on June 30, 2007 at 11:10 PM

Did you live in my neighborhood? We had a black cat Topo (named after Topo Gigio) that looked just like Smithers (except golden eyes). A few times another identical black cat would show up at our back porch. Maybe our cats pulled a "Parent Trap" on us...

Posted by: doug r on July 1, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Steve. Smithers is a very handsome cat.

Posted by: scruncher on July 1, 2007 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Love Smithers!! Thanks.

Posted by: monzie on July 1, 2007 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

'to borrow a phrase' ??

Posted by: Who on July 1, 2007 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

What a beautiful lady!

Reminds me of Midnight Bear, a household top cat of very independent tastes. She liked to run outside, which was worrying since her previous owner had had her declawed.
I suggested a leash and a nightly walk.
She was agin it.
VERY agin it.
It's really impossible to walk a cat who insists upon rolling over onto the leash and placing all 4 paws in the tuck position.

We agreed, she and I, that leash walking was beneath her dignity and my intelligence.
She was gracious about it, since she could see that I meant well and didn't know any better.
But it was clear that she felt that I should have.

Posted by: clio on July 1, 2007 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

Apologies to Smithers (she's had 12 hours :) ) . . . but has anyone else noticed a certain new found restraint among the national media to use the f-word. I've heard "did not invoke cloture" a great many times, but. . . .

It would be interesting to get on LexisNexis and graph the use of cloture vs. filibuster through time.

Posted by: Wally on July 1, 2007 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

Smithers is beautiful!! It would be interesting to see who leads when walking a cat. My money's on the cat.

Posted by: Susan on July 1, 2007 at 7:17 AM | PERMALINK

We had 2 dogs and found a very tiny kitten at the shelter that had been taken from its mother too early so brought it home and the cat grew up thinking it was a dog. At night we'd go for a walk down to the park, the black lab pup leading us strainnig on her leash, then me, then the cat, then the old golden retriever plodding along bring up the rear. It was quite the parade. But after the golden died, the cat was uninterested in going on our evening walks anymore...

Posted by: Ethel-to-Tilly on July 1, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

doug r, A few times another identical black cat would show up at our back porch. Maybe our cats pulled a "Parent Trap" on us...

I really think there's something more to black cats than superstition.

When he got older his whiskers turned white, but so did the other cats' !

Posted by: cld on July 1, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I'd take my cats for walks if I knew I could protect them from dogs off leashes. I wonder how you do that.

Posted by: lilybelle on July 1, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

we tried to put our cat lucifer on a leash once when we were forced to live in an apartment complex too dangerous for cats to be out.

his response was the very physical definiton of a "caniption fit",

or maybe i should say "flip".

jumping, turning, flipping over, biting the leash, running, howling.

he got his way in short order.

i think we needed to have followed your lead and started him out as a kitten.

Posted by: orionATL on July 1, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

orionATL, your story reminded me of this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51yQ7vxKQkE

I first saw it on TV somewhere.. funniest home videos or something like that. That cat must have really sank the teeth in...

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on July 1, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

She looks just like my (now deceased) cat, who also adapted easily to a leash and harness. I lived on a busy street, so I would tie a long leash to the front porch and let her bask in the sun there. She would start purring when I buckled the harness on her. She also liked to play with flies (catching but not killing them), talk, and take baths. A truly exceptional cat--I'll always miss her.

Smithers is lovely too.

Posted by: Jess on July 1, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh God. Another goddamn cat. What the Hell is this, a conspiracy? I thought when Benen took over at least we'd get a ferret or something. Or a cat on a stick. Sheesh.

Posted by: jim on July 1, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

I have two indoor cats that I put on leashes and take out to walk around the yard on a nice day. I have never tried to walk them around the neighborhood, as their walks around the yard are very random and slow (with lots of eating of grass, sniffing of everything, and rolling in the dirt), that it seems walks with an actual course would not work. They are not wild about putting the harness and leash on, but once on they are always excited to go out and explore. Only downside is our little girl cat Marigold (who turns one tomorrow) always wants to climb trees which has led to some difficult situations.

Posted by: J.B. on July 1, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Mrs. Smithers Goes to Washington Monthly...

Which is fine by me.
I will be an uncategorical fan...
Just so long as she doesn't also drool.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on July 1, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

My cat fetches.

Posted by: MNPundit on July 2, 2007 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

Top Quality cat blogging!!

We had a great big fetching cat too, but he passed of cancer a coupleof years ago at age 13. He was a great cat.

Posted by: mirror on July 2, 2007 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

When we first got our cat Mr. Barkley (a wedding gift--we didn't name him), I tried to leash train him, but he hated it. We moved to a house on a cul-de-sac with a marsh behind it and allowed him free range after that. This January, the now-16-year-old B lost an eye in a fight with another cat. After trying to convert him to an all-indoor cat (incessant yowling, furious running around and up every conceivable object, and the occasional spraying), I started to take him out on the leash mornings and evenings. Other than a propensity to attack the harness before I got it on him, he was remarkably well behaved with it. But it only lessened and did not end his bad behavior in trying to provoke us to let him out. The second time he sprayed the stove was it--if it happened again, my wife was definitely going to take the fireplace poker to his head. He goes out on his own again, albeit never after dinner. I've told him that if he gets eaten by a coyote or suffers more than a couple of hundred dollars in damages, that's it--he's going down.

Posted by: Dano on July 2, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

I think leases and cats are only a tolerenced mix at best....and all bets are off the moment when something scares the nickers off the cat.

No leash, or human for that matter, can retain a feline convinced of its own personal danger.

I was training my three to walk on a leash until a large moving van pulled up to the house, its brakes hissing. There I was holding 3 empty leashes.....

Posted by: zit on July 2, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, taking my cat for walks -- most of the time without a leash, but she was fat enough that she could not get away from me -- was what got Kevin's *very* shy brother to start talking to me, back in 1994. He was one of my neighbors, and he saw me out with the cat a few times over the years, and then just screwed up the nerve to ask me more about her. After we got to know each other, I'd take her over to his apartment to visit.

Posted by: quietann on July 3, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Smithers is superb. Thank you for sharing her with us!

Posted by: Leaves on the Current on July 5, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

She's gorgeous. Thank you so much for indulging us. I can't read this website during the week -- I'd never get work done. So I visit only for catblogging, and count on my boyfriend, a regular reader, to fill me on the highlights of the more pertinent posts.

And I loved the comment about getting to see a pic here posted of a cat that actually moves!

I think Smithers needs a kitten with which to play. ;)

Posted by: Angela on July 7, 2007 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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