Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Sarah Hepola Can Walk Her Cat on a Leash

She wrote about it! In Salon! And included a video!

She's clearly a very determined person, since my cat, like hers, falls distinctly into the "collapse angrily to the ground, refuse to move" camp of leash-cats, but Hepola clearly managed to eventually make it work.

This story also, sadly, reinforced my belief that Salon commenters are the meanest people on the internet (this follows a quotation from Broadcast News by an individual who calls himself "deargodwhy"):

"That's you, Joan, lowering standards slowly, bit by little bit, every day. You have taken a once-great webzine and turned it into absolute shit. This is the lead story? Are you fucking kidding me? You have no right to criticize Sarah Palin IN ANY WAY. She is far more intelligent than the shit you are shoveling. And, BTW, I DESPISE Sarah Palin and everything she stands for. Thanks again, Joan."

And then, right, you have the "what kind of evil bitch keeps their cat inside" comments, and the "if you fed your cat a raw-food diet, your cat would be able to fly and solve crimes" comments, and the "why would anyone care about an animal when there are DYING PEOPLE IN THE THIRD WORLD" comments, and eventually you just stop reading Salon and go make a cup of tea.

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yes, Salon commenters are the fucking worst.

raised amongst catalogs

@rootmarm It makes me want to feed my cat a raw diet of Salon commenters.


After watching that video, I can firmly say that she is not walking her cat on a leash. The cat is walking while wearing a leash to which Hepola is coincidentally attached. As it should be, I suppose.

fondue with cheddar

@annepersand I would agree. There's still a big difference between that and the usual cat behavior on a leash, which is NOT BUDGING UNTIL YOU GET THIS FUCKING THING OFF ME.


The Hairpin is trying to subliminally make you get more cats with today's post. Where's Jolie to talk some sense into everyone?


I love that there have been so many cats featured on the Hairpin today :) My cats protested like crazy when I attempted to walk them on a leash. And yes, Salon commenters are terrible, as are the ones on the Boston Herald website.


@Impybat when there are "communities" that hateful I wonder if they have meetups and what those meetups are like.


@rootmarm they're probably terrifying! And angry.

raised amongst catalogs

@rootmarm Picture a mob of angry villagers with requisite torches.


@Impybat I have learned not to read comments on practically any blog - only my trusted few, which includes the 'Pin obviously - because it seems that assholes are everywhere! Ugh.


@romastrega So true! All the hate just exhausts me. I also have a certain few that I read because the commenters are so funny and kind-- including this one and AlreadyPretty.com


But what about the Kurds?! I do have to agree with annpersand on the cat attaching versus cat walking bit. I take my cat outside on a leash but it's more to keep her from running away faster than I can catch her than actually leading her anywhere.


True fact: someone brought a baby to work today and I did not react with as much squee to the baby as I did to that cat's awesome striped tail.


I bought a harness and a leash for my cat because we had a long roadtrip to take, and I thought it would make pottytimes easier.

Holy shit, the thing was like kryptonite.

I put it on him at home, so he could get used to it. First thing he did was tear around the house backwards, trying to back out of the harness. When he realized he couldn't, he dropped to his belly and spent the rest of the afternoon army-crawling all over the place, because he had suddenly lost the use of his legs.

It makes me a bad catmom to say it was the funniest thing I've ever seen, but I don't care.

There's also my dad's cat who is afraid of wet spaghetti. Terrified of it. Sees it and peels off to hide behind the couch.

Cats are so fucked up. But god, I love 'em.


@LaFabuliste YES! I did this too(decided to try cat-on-a-leash on a cross-country move)!! My cat would try to run away, choke himself, cough, try to run away, choke himself, cough... I was so paralyzed with laughter that I couldn't pick him up so that the cycle would stop. I was at a rest stop and 3 strangers came up to me to tell me that I had made their week with the cat-on-a-leash spectacle. Oh, Kitties.


@Wondajules Ahh! I wish mine did that. He pretends like he's some badass, but then open the car door at a rest stop and boy can't get his claws into your shirt fast enough.


@LaFabuliste I would feel guilty for the public display of kitty torture but the little bastard got me back the next day by peeing in the car...in my lap...while we were stuck in traffic...over a bridge.


My cat would take walks with me without a leash. He would ask to take a walk; when I decided it was time to go back in, he would reluctantly follow me inside. When he decided it was time to go back in, he would lead me to the door.

A week ago today, when it was time for him to die, he came in and said hello to the visiting vet and tech, climbed onto the cushion I put down for him, curled up, and let them do their work.

He was an amazing cat.


@atipofthehat Oh, I'm so sorry about your cat. I am not an internet hugger, but, well, (HUGS). Sounds like you gave him an amazing life.


@atipofthehat Oh Honey! Hugs, hugs, hugs. I adopted a cat 4 months ago and basically cry when anyone's cat is ill, injured, or has had to move on to the next 9 lives.

Nicole Cliffe

@atipofthehat So so sorry!!!!


A tip of the hat to your slip of a cat.


@Bebe @sox


When we lived in Brooklyn, we had a backyard. I built an enormous cat enclosure with a connection to the window so they could do the outdoors think safely. The squirrels knew they couldn't get out on their own and teased and taunted them, but the cats LOVED it.


@Nicole Cliffe

Thank you. He'd been ill for a while -- our hope 16 months ago was that he would get to know our daughter, who'll be a year old soon, and he certainly did! Now she knows what a real cat is like (the surviving two are a quasi-human dandy who needs constant attention and an animated, fur-covered bolster with a bath mat fetish)!




"The sailor imagines the mermaid as having a pair of legs, and the cat imagines her as all fish.”


@atipofthehat Oh Tip...I'm so sorry.


@atipofthehat That's a beautiful story. I hope my kitten can grow up to be half the cat of your little gem. Thanks for sharing, so sorry for your loss.


@atipofthehat I just pulled my own reluctant cat into my lap and wept. Oh, man. I am sorry about your sweet cooperative fellow.


@atipofthehat So very sorry about your kitty :( He sounded amazing!



The funny thing about the "cooperative" -- it really was a relationship, and the trust had to develop. He started life on the street with a fully feral mom. I can well remember dressing in a heavy sweater and unseasonable gloves and crawling far out onto a dusty beam in a raw Greenpoint loft to snatch up the fierce little guy, who would have much preferred clawing me to shreds to being stuffed into a bag for a trip to the vet. But once I understood how much he liked to be stroked while eating we got along fine.


@atipofthehat So sorry about your kitty...mine used to do the same thing. He'd follow me whenever I took the dog for a walk, sometimes skulking off when he got bored. I was convinced he didn't wanna miss out on any of the fun we were having, and then realized it actually wasn't that fun.

Cat on a leash is lame-o. Bunny on a leash, however...whole different story.


@atipofthehat So sorry about your cat. He sounded like an awesome companion, and I am sure he appreciated everything you did for him.


@atipofthehat Lovely story about your cat. Sorry for your loss.


@atipofthehat i'm sorry your kitty has passed. i just burst into tears in the library at your story.


After an apartment fire I lived in a hotel for a few months, with my cat. She was only a few months old then and FULL of energy so I used to try and walk her on a leash in the hallway.

And by leash I mean ribbon tied to her breakaway collar.

Oh also the hotel was no-joke haunted, so between encountering the other guests and the no-joke-really-ghosts this resulted in me chasing her all over the hotel hallways with a ribbon in my hand whenever I tried to 'walk' her.


@FromTheFuture Wait, I'm curious about these no-joke-really-ghosts! Can we gather around the fire for a story time? Yes? No? Maaaybe?


@FromTheFuture I want to hear about the ghosts too!


@darianlo and @impybat gather round, ladies... Twas Atlanta's Highland Inn... when I first arrived right after the fire the only room was the creepiest darkest room on an air shaft where for some reason lighting was all yellow-y. AND there was a framed photo of an old lady hanging in the room.

I asked the Goth girl working at the front desk. "What's up with the picture of the lady in my room? Did she die in there or something?" (ha ha--also never ask this at a hotel, I learned) She replied VERY seriously, "Don't joke about that. This used to be a flop house. And its haunted."

The next three months brought: hundreds of instances of the cat staring transfixed at some random spot at the ceiling , then freaking out running around yowling. The sounds of footsteps walking down empty hallways. (Insert cat/ribbon freakout here) Hearing people talking in the room next to mine when I knew I was the only one occupying that part of the hotel. And all this was even after I moved out of the creepy room with the old lady picture.

Of course all this could be attributed to an old building, noise carrying, etc. And anything scarier than that-- you know... creepy twins, people having sex wearing animal masks... and I would have lost my shit bc I'm a wuss, but the Goth girl who worked at the front desk of COURSE insisted any time I tried to be rational about it: GHOSTS!!!!! FOR SERIOUS GHOSTS!


@FromTheFuture OMFG!!! FANTASTIC story. That is truly creepy yet awesome! Thank you for sharing :D

Oh and, Shining sidenote: My husband was visiting his sister in Colorado recently (I could not go due to work obligations, boo) and they planned a trip to Estes Park to see the Stanley (Overlook) Hotel...but it ended up being too far away and thus couldn't plan it.


some sites make my heart sad what with the comments. I can only imagine that a jealous cat who is unable to contain himself upon a leash would type such vile things. Damn typing cats.


My mother tried this years ago with our 2 very well fed, very pampered, very lazy cats. The first one let us put the harness part on him because he was a scratch whore - I scratched his neck, and my mom slipped it on. Once he stopped freaking out trying to rip it off, he totally just collapsed, panting, with this look on his face like, "WHY? WHY???"

For the second cat my mom did a sneak attack to get it on her - after which the cat immediately starting running for her life, eventually wrapping the leash part in a huge tangled mess around 3 dining room chairs. Poor thing tried to claw me when I crawled under there to cut her free, then fled with the harness part still on her and hid for 2 days.

So, yeah, we never tried that again.


@Bebe These are the reasons I am terrified for my life to try this.


@sox I know. If I tried this, my cat would take my face off. I love her, but if you do things she doesn't like, good luck to you.


There is a woman near where I work who takes her cat for walks on a leash to the park. I have seen it happen and it is the most awesome thing ever.

young preeezy

@Nutmeg I've spotted one in DC as well, a year or two ago... my friend and I actually thought it was cute at the time, and the cat didn't seem to mind (or notice). It wasn't a regular leash or harness, just a etsy-ish type of thing, made out of soft cloth, it looked like. We talked to the owner, and she seemed like a really sweet, loving owner. I think it had something to do with the fact that she just wanted to be able to bring the cat to places outside her apartment (like the park we were in) without the fear of her running away.


@prizzzle I would like to know what that woman did about the fact that every park and inch of public grass in D.C. is colonized by dog-havers and treated as some kind of triumphalist 'dog park.' Where are the cat parks? If I took my cat to a public square she would bite the fuck out of some dog and I'd get sued. And she would bite me too, but I can't sue her, she's got no money.

Pound of Salt

Uh, what is that cat's mouth doing? Chewing tobacco?


Goddammit my cats eat raw food and the only crime they've ever solved is The Case of the Annoying Feline in which they proved that Bella is actually way more annoying than Oliver, contrary to popular opinion. (Being named after the stupid Twilight nitwit instead of Mr. Twist may have had something to do with it - thanks, teenage helpers at the pound, for that.)


Wow. I was really hoping someone beside me was going to say, the most hilarious thing to do to a cat is tie some string/sash LOOSELY around their waists. They can't walk! Its amazing. They just flop over. I think a lot of "refusing to walk" in a harness is related to this phenomena.

fondue with cheddar

@E That's always hilarious. :) Another fun one is sticking a piece of tape to their back and watching them try to pull it off.


@atipofthehat I am so, so sorry for your loss. :-( I'm so glad he went peacefully.



He made me wish I had the integrity of a cat!
Thank you.

Kira Garcia@facebook

I call that "collapse angrily to the ground, refuse to move" thing "civil disobedience".


yes, but can she RUN with her cat?

Mad Dog

That video pretty clearly depicts Sarah Hepola's cat walking Sarah Hepola on a leash, but whatever. It is still adorable. The best ginger is a kitty ginger!


My good friend just got a cat stroller for her birthday. Actually, two, because her husband didn't think the first one would be delivered in time.

I'm considering taking my gregarious cat for a walk, but I'm concerned about all the broken glass on the streets...


II gave up on harnesses for small animals after even my fattest, most bottom-heavy ferret managed to slither out of a snugly-fitted one in less than a minute by letting his forelegs go limp and pushing with his hind legs with all his might.

Also, never, ever read the comments.


It is true that Salon commenters are pretty much the worst, but Salon is also pretty bad these days. I think that Alex Pareene's posts are the only thing I really bother reading now that Kate Harding is gone and Rebecca Traister mostly (?) is as well. Oh, and Aaron Traister.


When I was a teen growing up in San Francisco I had a kitty that walked on the leash. We started putting it on her when she was a tiny kitten and she liked it. People would flip when they saw her but she was totally mellow.

Once she was drinking and a wolf hybrid came over and shared her bowl and she was still relaxed. She was amazing.

fondue with cheddar

One of my cats used to walk on a leash. She'd actually follow the sidewalk at my old apartment and occasionally try to stray off into the brush. Now I live somewhere with no sidewalk, and she just plops down in the grass (not in a defiant way, but in an I LOVE OUTSIDE way).


My boyfriend is so sold on the idea of my cat going out for walks.
I am mostly sold on it, but hate the thought of her tracking in goose shit and fleas. How about a cat stroller instead, kitty?


have you all seen this... SWOON! haha

had to share.


Cara Motts@twitter

I tried a leash on my 16 pound cat. He ran into the bushes and I never saw that leash again.


I have taught three cats to walk on leashes. You only have to be patient (more patient with some than with others). A cat is not just a small dog, so you can't simply throw a harness and leash on a cat and expect to have no problems (although with my sweet tuxedo boy it was almost that easy). Also, don't give up just because the first try wasn't a success.


This was so adorable & endearing! Stupid Salon commenters, trying to ruin something so pleasing.


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