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Discussion Starter #1
We went on a lovely walk to a park we hadn't been before (which is also 1 block from the apt., same as the park we always go to). This park is even more beautiful and it was very early morning on a holiday, so the air was crisp and we were alone. We smelled the flowers, rolled in the grass, chased birds and bugs, it was a little paradise.

Alas, soon dog owners started getting up and strolling their dogs and Prince was attacked by 2 dogs. He managed to escape by climbing the nearest tree, but the tree branches happened to have the most impossible shape to get down, so he started crying and crying to me for help.

I lay on the ground beneath him encouraging him to jump on me (though he weighs 14 lbs), but he wouldn't. I raised my arms encouraging him to jump onto them, but he wouldn't. We were like that for about half an hour. I didn't know what to do, and I didn't have my mobile phone with me to call the Municipality emergency service (who come to rescue pets from trees, free of charge).

So I took a courageous (desperate) decision: I abandoned Prince. I turned my back on him and walked away and started playing with and feeding some strays far from there. Prince got even more stressed out (he has abandonment anxiety) and decided to just jump off the lowest possible branch of the tree so he could follow me. At first it was a jump, then it became a fall.

Fortunately nothing happened to his body, but I'm afraid what it may have done to his psyche.

A positive effect is that this coming out unharmed has made Prince a lot more valiant and trusting in his dexterity, so he now enjoys more stuff because he tries more things.

What would you have done in such a situation (if you have an outdoor cat, of course)?

I know many would condemn my taking Prince to the park unleashed, but I think there's a hard balance to reach between the risks of a rich life and the safety of a long one. I now know to leave the park long before dog owners start strolling them at about 8:00 am on weekends. We'll be going from 6 to 7 am. I just can't bear the thought of Prince living a life of a 2-room apt. and the downstairs tiny, filthy, public garden with the same strays always fighting the same fights.
 

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I don't think anyone should condemn you because I think its clear here that everyone knows you love your little Prince. :)
If he's brave enough, I also take Grimalkin out for walks during the daytime. He doesn't really run anywhere, just enjoys the fresh air and follows me around.
Honestly if Prince was on a leash, I think it would have been worse. There's no way you would have been able to pick him up in time (nor that you would want to lest you be turned into sliced meat xD) and he would have yanked on the leash trying to get up the tree and then if the leash got caught in the tree.. >__<
I wouldn't worry too much about him being traumatized or anything, just dont expect him and dogs to get along at some point in the future. xD
 

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That's exactly why I take mine for "walkies" in a pet stroller. Though they don't get the exercise (mine get enough running around our house), they do get the stimulation, and they're safe. I think if you had him on a leash he would likely have ended up on the top of your head! He definitely would have used you as the tree. Is there another park, field, or school yard you could take him where there wouldn't be any dogs?
 

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The same thing happened to us once with Sinatra. Luckily, my boyfriend climbed the tree and got him down.

Edit: He was on a leash at the time and the same thing happened, except my boyfriend got clawed up while Sinatra escaped the harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for the support.

I hadn't thought of that, actually I don't know much about leashes...

I forgot to say in my first post that I "abandoned" Prince as a way to force him to jump down, not because I meant to leave it there, of course.

I also didn't make it clear that "2-room" apt. here means 1 tiny bedroom and 1 smallish dining+living room, with a tiny kitchen and bathroom. Basically no room for Prince to move around.

catloverami, I'm now trying to think of some place like you say, where there are no dogs or dogs are not allowed. I took him to the bank (across my narrow street) the other day, because they have signs everywhere saying that dogs are not allowed inside. They weren't able to chase Prince out because there's nothing written about cats LOL I have to think with a dog-owner's mind to find the places where they wouldn't go walk their dogs.
 

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I have just adopted my first cat and I had no idea people took them for walks! I guess my childhood cat would follow us around the neighborhood when we would walk the dogs.

Can you locate a park with a playground I have always noticed there are not many dogs where there are small children.
 

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Do cats get stressed out if you take them outside to a new area? I let Lumen play in my front yard, which is a nice big area, there are no dogs allowed but a few rambunctious kids. I hadnt thought about taking her somewhere else, and that just interested me what her reaction might be (to run away?) She follows me around in the front yard as it is, and comes when called.
 

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I think it's wonderful that you take your cat for walks! It's such a great bonding ritual. The "abandoning" must have been hard, but sounds like a really good idea--if you'd stayed there for comforting, it's hard to say if he'd have ever jumped down on his own! Give him time to get over it; he might be sketchy about if for a while, but it's also good that he knows there are dangers like that out there. He'll adapt, and I'm sure future walks will be better for it!
 

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Now this activity is part of his arsenal of solutions to problems. No different from learning how to get from one room to another. Part of the basic load of experience of all animals - adapt and survive. Hard for us humans to witness, but has been going on for thousands of years. Good job!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Now this activity is part of his arsenal of solutions to problems.
Yes, I think so too. The first time we went to the park, he climbed a tree to chase the birds and, though it was the easiest tree to climb down, he cried and cried for me to rescue him. He had no idea how one climbs down a tree. One of my strays was with us and when she climbed down, he copied the way she did it, and since then, he's had no problems climbing down relatively easy trees. He learned a skill. I never saw Prince as happy as that day. He became much more confident in himself by having acquired a new skill. And tonight I noticed something new: he now sends a quick glance up to the tree before climbing it, to see if it's a difficult one. Indeed, a new skill in his arsenal.

And indeed, I remembered today that I had decided to take Prince to the park only from 10 am when it's parents and kids' time and then either there are no dogs or they're walked on a leash only, because the owners are very afraid of a lawsuit if their dog causes any harm to one of the kids.

To those thinking of maybe trying going for a walk with their cat, I would like to recommend, please do it gradually over a period of a year or so, depending how used your cat is to the outdoors. Prince was a stray till 4 months ago, and that's already an easy start. His whereabouts as a stray were the same places I take him to, and in the last 4 months, after checking and re-checking a million times that Prince sticks to me no matter what, I started very gradually each week expanding his comfort zone a little bit further till we reached the park at about 1 block distance. Whatever you do, do it very gradually and when you have total confidence that the next step is such a small one that the cat won't freak out nor find it very strange.
 
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