About Alexandra Heep

About Alexandra Heep: The internet has allowed allowed Alexandra to maintain a semblance of life when encountering an unexpected, lingering health crisis. The Internet is a lifeline which not only allows her to remain connected to friends, but also survive, via writing.While Alexandra Heep is her pen name, she does not hide behind it. Instead, she used it to brand herself on the Internet and to create opportunities.

Alexandra published her first book, a collection of her best poems, on July 11, 2012. You can buy it at Lulu.com

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Harnessing the Princess

No, this is not about restraining Kate Middleton's breasts. I don't think she is a princess yet anyway. This is about trying to train Princess Gracie, my cat (now there is a real princess!) to use a harness in preparation for a long journey.

Now, I've had plenty of cats in my life and they always wore collars, but Gracie was the exception. I had one on her, until she caught her jaw in it while grooming herself. I know to not keep the collar too loose, but she is very flexible, too flexible at times, it seems. It was a bad experience, I was lucky that I saw it and that she let me help her out of it. Since then I have not forced her to wear one.

Anyway, with the long trip looming a friend suggested a harness. It arrived today and I had done some research prior on how to get a cat used to it. The advice given was to place the harness next to the cat's sleeping place for a few days, I guess so kitty can get used to it.

Well, the Princess would have none of that. She attacked it, put it in her mouth and tried killing it. When she was about to drag the thing under the bed, never to be retrieved by me, I snatched it just in time. Obviously, this was not going to do.

It was close to her dinner time, and that gave me an idea. Whenever I get her dish ready, she jumps on the bathroom sink, while I give it a final cleaning, and supervises. So, since nothing deters her from that, I used that time to put the harness on. The package said "one size fits all," so I was not concerned. There was lots of room on the neck and I snapped it in place and adjusted. So far so good. Now the second part, to affix it behind the front legs. Well, I had to adjust the buckle to the maximum girth ... Yes, Gracie definitely needs more exercise.

I gave Gracie her dinner, but she started rolling on the floor, trying to get the harness off, despite my continued efforts to soothe her. I knew from my research this was supposed to be expected. She ate a little bit, but then she started freaking out, biting at the harness. Then she ran under the bed.

It was obvious she did not trust me anymore. Remembering the incident where she got her jaw caught, I was trying to coax her out from under the bed. I did not want her unsupervised. I finally got her out, then she hid under the chair. I tossed some toys, and finally she started playing. I removed the harness and she went back to her normal self. We lasted a whole 15 minutes, if that.

Regardless, tomorrow I will have to put it on again, as I need her harnessed so I can put a leash on her. Articles also suggest using treats for rewards, but I try to leave them as a last resort. After all, one size fits all does have its limits, in a cat's world as much as the human world, and it would not do for her to outgrow the harness before we can even use it. And we haven't even gotten to the leash part yet ...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Most cats just don't do well with restraints. Don't give up on her though.

Glorygarden@msn.com said...

Omigosh, the day has come! So happy for you! Good luck to you, Tom and Gracie, too!