Cat Agility TrainingPublished November 28, 2011
Flickr User broadsurf
Does your cat have the same issues that we do in regard to trying to stave off the extra pounds we gain during the holidays? If so, then perhaps cat agility training may be in his future.
One of the best things about Thanksgiving is those incredibly scrumptious turkey leftovers accompanied by all of the tantalizing trimmings. But there is a huge downside to what I love best about Thanksgiving dinner; the danger of adding on all those unwanted pounds and those not so attractive “love handles."
And even though our two charming Oriental Shorthairs enjoyed a bit of the holiday cheer munching on a few treats of white meat turkey and a sampling of our delectable mashed sweet potatoes, I definitely don’t want these beautiful kitties to get plump.
Exercise is not in the top 10 of their favorite pastimes. In fact, they are in serious training for the upcoming Olympic Games in the power napping division. So I got to thinking about what we could do together to keep all of us in better physical condition. Incredibly, my prayers were answered with an email containing an article from the New York Times which arrived in my mail box within 24 hours. The subject line: “Cat Agility Training”.
Stimulating the feline brain to keep it in tip-top shape is equally important to cats as physical exercise. In fact, according to The New York Times article, Cynthia M. Otto, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, claims that veterinarians are in favor of this kind of play. She said, "I think we let cats' brains rot, and I think it's really sad."
Additionally, humans who choose to get involved with their kitties in the sport of cat agility training also reap the benefits of the physical exercise necessary for participating in this fascinating activity, and at the same time have the opportunity to build stronger bonds with their cats.
The game of feline agility training was conceived almost 10 years ago when two couples who became acquainted while showing their cats went out to dinner together. Their conversation turned to bragging about all the tricks their cats had learned. They made some changes in dog agility obstacles and presented them to their cats, which ultimately gave birth to the International Cat Agility Tournaments (ICAT).
Cat Agility Training began showing up at cat shows around 2004. And while the sport has not caught on as widely as its founders hoped, they claim it is not due to the lack of interest which cats seem to have in this stimulating play, but due to finances. Most cat clubs lose money sponsoring cat shows, so space sold to vendors is far more lucrative than providing a ring for cat agility competition.
Some cats respond extremely positively to the sport, while others seem to lose interest in the middle of a competition. This said, however, this writer thinks cat agility competition is fascinating and appears extremely enjoyable for both kitty and handler.
For a treat, watch this talented Bengal cat run through the Cat Agility Training obstacle course, uploaded to YouTube by Lajko1.
Would your cats enjoy agility training? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.