May 14th, 2005

outdoors again

We tried out the harness again today, and things went much better. We were outside for about an hour. The yard is one big salad bar for her, and she spent a fair amount of time just going around munching on various blades of grass.

She's surprisingly very skittish about other people, and would even stop to peer suspiciously at people across the street. At one point a couple guys, one on a bicycle, were coming down the sidewalk, and I picked her up, carried her back up to the porch steps, and held her while they went by. She did try scrambling out of my arms when I did that, apparently because she was very alarmed by these two approaching guys, but once I got up by the steps and held her she was calm enough. On the other hand, when my downstairs neighbor came outside to garden, Nimiel recognized her and didn't get scared off. She's a bit skittish even with me when she's outside - if I make a sudden noise behind her, she turns with a start and crouches in her ready-to-flee position - so it was good that she was not startled by my neighbor.

The session finally ended when a nearby car, once started, turned out to idle with a loud rumble. Nimiel didn't like that, and ran for safety in the house. Fortunately I wasn't caught completely off guard, but still had to scramble a bit to keep up with her up the porch steps. Once she was at the top and heading inside I dropped the leash and let her run upstairs, then followed her back into the apartment, where she was calm enough that I could remove the leash and harness right away.

My concern now, belatedly, is whether it's likely she'll pick up fleas or ticks when she's outside. Normally I wouldn't worry about myself picking up fleas just from being out in the tiny urban yard, but cats (and dogs) may just be more appealing to the neighborhood fleas - lots more hair to hide in, or something. I guess I need to ask the vet about that.
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