Nonsense you might say! If you are a dog owner who believes that dogs are THE rock stars of agility and would not deign to think that a feline could ever be as good or proficient as a canine or there be any point in the first place, for cats participating in the sport, this may come as a shock to you. It turns out that the feline is surprisingly and uniquely suited for the activity and could be a natural. What? Okay, we’ll take this slow, so as not to get your blood pressure all up there and high.
First, you’ve got to admit that if you’ve ever watched a cat effortlessly and efficiently manoeuvre around things, you can’t help but notice that cats are very agile. In segment one of this week’s episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, I explain how they most always know exactly where their feet are.
So, the part about them remembering the path ahead of them, is explained because cats have a VERY LONG short-term memory of any environment they find themselves in – a cat’s memory retains it for up to 16 hours compared to a dog’s 10 minutes. And along with cats being quick learners, getting the order of the obstacles committed in their minds is a no-brainer. Well, actually a very good use of their brain.
And jumping over the bars and through hoops? If you have a cat, or have ever watched one, you know a kitty can leap up to the top of the refrigerator or a person’s shoulder (as my cat, Willie, used to do to my unsuspecting father) in an easy split second bound. Ready for another comparison? The average housecat can jump six times its height. Typically dogs jump one times their height and we……are pitiful – the average person if they were so inclined to do so, would only be able to jump one quarter of their height. (not talking about Olympic athletes here – talking about you and me, well maybe not even me – hopping up a step is my limit.)
The whipped crème on the cake is their speed. Being natural sprinters, cats are able to run around 30 miles per hour at top speed. They are FAST – whizzing through the tunnels and through the weave poles. It’s kind of fun to watch.
Suki, the agility cat.
This is a nice example of setting up your own course inside or outside your house.
Cat agility and tricks with Heavy and Elino.
There’s even more reasons cats are suited for agility than what I already told you. Check out the International Cat Agility Tournaments website at catagility.com. This is where I got these stats. Pretty impressive.
Here is a nice video from Pet Dish TV that takes you through a bit of how a cat is trained initially.
Cat agility Training.
By the way, here is that video I mentioned in the podcast about the agile cat and clumsy dog making their way through a homemade obstacle course (it’s a set up for that poor dog, I’m sure,) but it’s funny nevertheless.
Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 66.
Title: Service Dogs Taught Without Training Commands & Why Cats Are So Agile.
First, I’ll answer a question from a listener – Scott from Highland Park, Illinois asked why cats are so agile with their feet? I go into the juicy details but overall the secret has to do with them needing to be great hunters.
Next, there is a newer revolutionary approach to teaching your dog that does NOT rely on the traditional method of training commands. Rocket, the NutriSource Pet Food, dog that is working as a service dog in a children’s’ hospital, (featured in the episode 64 and episode 65) was taught using the Bond-Based approach. My guest in this episode is Jennifer Arnold, the founder and executive director of Canine Assistants, the non-profit company that teaches and places service dogs, is the developer of the bond-based approach. In this episode she explains how this works for educating service dogs and pet dogs as well.
Then, you’ll hear the personal true pet stories told by a friend and podcast listener himself. Michael Birnbaum shares the story of his dog that stopped him from getting into a nasty physical fight and the emotional tale of how he was going to protect the life of a cat at all costs.
I’m inviting you to have the opportunity to have your stories told. If your pet, dog or cat, has saved your butt somehow write and tell me your story. I may contact you, we’ll talk about either me telling your story on air, or you telling it yourself, on the podcast. Send me your brief story at email@example.com.
Additional Resources for the Show.
Source for the story about cat’s feet – “Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet” by John Bradshaw.
How to Order Jennifer Arnold’s book, “Love is All You Need: The Revolutionary Bond-Based Approach to Educating Your Dog.”
A resource about the “Do It” program, by Claudia Fugazza, mentioned by Jennifer Arnold – dog’s learning by imitating humans.
Interesting article about how dogs learn through imitation, “Owner to Dog – Just Do It” by Claudia Fugazza and Adam Miklὀsi.
To request more information about Bond-Based dog education approach – write Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the storyteller, Michael Birnbaum on Facebook, Fine Artist and Color Design Stylist.
His website: Transformed By Color.