Cats Performing in the 1980's

All over the world cats have been training in private homes for decades. People and cats have learned to cooperate in fun ways to develop all sorts of skills.

These photos show some cats training in the early 1980's before cat agility was ever thought of becoming a public event. Obstacles were designed from cardboard and other materials, and living rooms became the arena.

A simple small flashlight was the tool to direct the cat to the next obstacle. Here Titan is asked to get on top of a speaker and her cue to pose is by putting the light up to the ceiling.

After she has reached her position, her completed pose looks like this.

Here is Saturn on a completed pose on a small footstool.

Of course the hoop is the most fun to start with. The hula hoop can be set between two cardboard boxes. Just throw some wadded up paper, or a little toy, and they learn to jump through right away.

After awhile you can work on perfecting the form. The best jumps are the ones where the arc of the jump is centered right over the obstacle. The arc of the jump is called the bascule. In the photo below, Saturn is showing perfect form.

Saturn then monitors Titan to work on centering the arc.

Walking a plank can be another favorite. The obstacle is easy to set up, just a simple piece of lumber between a couple chairs. Cats are curious and often get the idea right away.

In early stages of training things can be confusing if two cats approach the plank from opposite sides.

Another "obstacle" was for a cat to get in a little sled made of cardboard and be pulled across the living room carpet.

After learning the sled, they were given a cardboard sailboat.

Attempts were made at musical skills, focusing on a simple rendition of "3 Blind Mice," but these attempts met little success other than some cute photos.

One of their favorites was "Attending a Tea Party" where they would find tiny treats in a variety of places.

Once your cat is ready for more advanced training, there can be more than one use for an obstacle. Here Titan was asked not to jump through the hoop, but to retrieve a small object hanging from the top of the hoop. To avoid confusing her, the object to be retrieved was never present on the times she was asked to jump through the hoop.

Good luck to you and your kitty and remember that


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