Everyone has seen the amazing dogs who excel at agility training. Did you know that cats can do it, too? While that fact seems to fly in the face of the general thought about cats never obeying commands, it’s true!
According to Petcarerx.com, there are lots of great reasons to introduce agility training to your cat! Two of the most important relate to cat health. If your sedentary cat is putting on a pound or two, agility training is a great way to help him lose weight. While a fully indoor life is much safer for cats, indoor cats often lack the same exercise opportunities as outdoor cats have. Even a few minutes each day of agility training can make a difference in your cat’s weight, muscle tone and overall health.
Is your cat the opposite of sedentary and instead has lots of energy? Does he run around your house constantly or do things like tearing up toilet paper rolls or knocking things over? That cat needs a creative energy outlet and agility training can provide it while saving your belongings! Maneuvering through an obstacle course can help focus and release all that energy.
There is lots of evidence that cats really do enjoy “working” this way as much as dogs do. Think you’d like to try it with your cat? Create a small obstacle course in your home and tempt your kitty to try it out with a treat or two. If he takes to it and enjoys it, keep at it! If nothing else, agility training gives you and your cat some quality time together and helps strengthen the bond you already have. Half the battle with agility training is the connection and communication between the cat and his owner!
You don’t have to be a professional or purchase lots of expensive toys and equipment to get started. All you need are common household items your cat can jump over, crawl under, weave in and out of and run through. Petfinder.com has a great list of easy ways to get started. They suggest a very easy task, like finding a treat in a paper bag tunnel. Look around your house for things like phone books, cardboard boxes that can be tunnels, even large cans of soup can be set up! It’s all there if you get creative. If you decide your cat is really enjoying agility training, it’s also possible to purchase equipment, too.
Once you test these waters, you’ll know if your cat is interested an finds it fun. You know your cat better than anyone so you’ll be able to decide what seems to work or if your cat seems to find the whole thing stressful. All the experts agree that, as with many things cat related, agility training takes time and patience!
If you find that your cat is really an agility star, there are competitions to enter – your cat could be a champion! It seems that cat agility is a growing phenomenon and even Cat Fanciers Association is building them into its cat shows. International Cat Agility Tournaments is dedicated to promoting cat agility and recommend that cat owners approach training this way:
- “Practice for agility can be done around the house (over the bed, chair to chair, under the table, etc.) The key is to play with your cat every day!
- Train with patience, respect, and affection, because domestic cats are colony animals (not pack animals, like dogs are), and cats have a more cooperative nature than is customarily recognized.
- Take time to decode their communication and form a connection with your cat — you will both enjoy it. “
Still wondering if agility training is for you and your cat? CLICK HERE to read a wonderful testimonial from a couple who decided to try it with their own cats and whether they had success or not!
Want to meet some amazing kitties who are already agility stars? CLICK HERE to meet the Acro-Cats and find out how their owner, Stephanie Martin, made it all happen!