The words “training” and “cats” are not typically uttered in the same sentence, and for some obvious reasons -- cats are nothing if not strong willed and independent creatures. So, it comes as no surprise that many people are still skeptical about the idea of training their cat at all, let alone training them to complete a complex obstacle course. But cast aside your apprehension! Training your cat is not as absurd a notion as you might think. In fact, more and more groups every day are starting to see the value of a sport designed for cats.
While not every cat is going to jump through hoops on command, with a little bit of practice, some cats might surprise you with how quickly they take to the challenge. Here are some reasons why you should try cat agility training for yourself.
1. Weight Loss
We’ve all seen one -- a cat that has fallen victim to the trappings of a sedentary lifestyle. With the inherent dangers that come from letting our cats roam outside, many people are opting to keep their cats indoors, which is fine, and in many ways safer. However, this choice also makes it easier for them to find a comfy spot and effectively do nothing all day -- just eating and napping on the sofa. A healthy amount of agility training every day is sure to help your corpulent kitty shed that extra weight in no time.
2. It’s Easy To Get Started
While you can certainly shell out some serious moolah and get a professional grade agility course, you can also just get a little creative with it. All you really need is something to jump over, crawl under, run through, or weave in and out of. Stack some phone books, put a broom handle across some chairs, or make a tunnel out of old cardboard boxes -- so long as your cat is running around, anything you do is a great start and your cat will go nuts for it.
3. Get in Some Quality Time
Outside of sitting on your lap, what activities do you really participate in with your cat? Dogs get daily walks, fetch, tug-o-war, and a dozen other games, while cats tend to get the short stick when it comes to quality play time; outside of tossing a bag of catnip around, there isn’t much out there. Until now! With a few makeshift obstacles, and a thing-on-a-string to motivate them across the course, you could be that much closer to having another “special something” you can do with your cat.
4. Gives Your Cat an Outlet for Their Energy
Is your cat constantly climbing all over your furniture, knocking things onto the floor? Are they tearing around your house at breakneck speeds, or just generally underfoot? Help them vent some of that extra energy in a controlled environment. After a few runs around the ol’ obstacle course, the only thing your cat will want to catch are some Z’s.
5. Impress Your Friends
If you are tired of hearing your dog loving friends talk about how cats are somehow lesser because of their inability to be trained, put a stop to it with some jaw-dropping feats of feline acrobatics. After watching your cat jump through a couple of hoops, even the most outspoken dog-lover is going to change their tune.
6. It’s Fun!
Whether or not your cat is up to the task, simply setting up the course and trying to get your cat to play along can be entertainment enough. Should your cat embrace the activity with open paws, great! But even if they don't, watching them try to avoid participating makes it well worth the effort.
7. You Could Be A Champion!
Cropping up at cat shows across the country, feline agility competitions have become a popular event, bringing with them a whole new audience. Still in its formative years, the feline agility circuit is still wide open and looking for some breakout stars, and your cat could be it! With a little bit of practice, and a small amount of luck, you could have a champion in your midst.
How To Get Started
A little internet reading can go a long way -- check out our friends at mousebreath.com
, for example, who have some great tips on getting started in cat agility
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