by Greg Mayer
Today’s New York Times has an article about something I didn’t even know existed: cat agility competitions!
The cats must run an obstacle course of tunnels, steps, hurdles, etc., and competitions are held at the major cat shows (which are better known for the judging of pedigreed cats; for the dog version, see Best in Show). Some cats are well trained but others “make it clear to the eager onlookers that they could not care less.”
Trainer Jill Archibald has posted a number of training videos online at Monkeysee, and also on Youtube.
If there were a box-jumping-into event, Maru might be good at it.
A number of the cats featured in the NYT article are so-called ‘Bengal cats‘, which are not domestic cats (Felis catus), but hybrids between domestic cats and leopard cats (Felis (Prionailurus) bengalensis), which have undergone several generations of breeding and selection past the F1. I’m not sure if crossing with a wild species makes them better (more agile?) or worse (harder to train?) at competing than domestic cats.