Cat Agility: The New American Sport

Back in the 1980’s, I used to train and show my Doberman pinscher in obedience. Agility was on the high end of the obedience scale, and we never got that far due to my dog’s back issues, but it was always fun to watch.

Though I love all animals, I have always been more of a cat person than a dog person, and now I can enjoy watching cats in agility, which, in my opinion, they are much more suited for than most dogs. Cats are lithe and flexible in ways that dogs are not. This makes them absolutely amazing in running obstacles and flying about in agility competitions.

Cat agility is becoming more and more popular at cat shows around the country. One such cat agility trainer is Anthony Hutcherson, who trains the Bagel cats he breeds in Maryland.

Modeled after canine agility competitions, the tournaments feature a ring in which cat owners — some of whom have trained their pets from kittenhood — brandish a feather or sparkly wand to try to coax a cat to climb stairs, weave around poles and leap through hoops in as little time as possible.

“You have to get the cat to focus on the toy,” said Hutcherson, who raises his cats in Port Tobacco, Md., and whose oldest cat, Justin, has run the course in nine seconds. “Cats will pretty much chase a feather on a string anywhere.” [source]

Cats are reputed to be un-trainable, but this is untrue. Cats are simply not trained in the same manner as dogs. Cats do not respond to a simple pat on the head as a reward. Usually, food is used as an enticement and fun interactive toys such a feathers.

Cats love to jump high, play hard and run fast. I have a feeling cat agility is the sport of the future. Please click here for Photos and slideshows of  cats in action!