One of the few things you can get my whole family to agree to watch on TV is dog agility competitions. The animals are trained to quickly pass through a series of obstacles at their owner’s command.
Apparently, people run their cats through obstacle courses as well.
Apparently, its a growing sport.
Apparently, I even missed Whoopi Goldberg running her cat through the course yesterday.
The only difference is these cats aren’t trained. This is one of those only-in-America, people-and-their-pets kind of things that you have to see to believe.
So how do you get the cats to run through the course? You kind of have to trick them.
“Oh they’re not following orders, absolutely not,” said Jill Archibald, head of feline agility for the Cat Fancier’s Association. “Cats, They have a committee and they come to an agreement and basically the consensus is ‘OK you’ve got a cool toy and I want to play with it.'”
And the sport is serious. A CFA agility course consists of 10 obstacles which the cast must go under, over, around or through all while being timed. Archibald said there is about one competition a month.
Now why did I end up spending my Sunday watching feline agility demonstrations?
Weeks ago, my classmates and I were sent out to record a “process” with several interviews. The footage wasn’t spoken of for a couple weeks so I went ahead and deleted it. Bad call. Our instructor wanted us to edit it up for a later class so I had to shoot something new. I looked in the AP daybook for something and found the Cat Fancier’s Association and the American Kennel Club were putting on an exhibition called “Meet the Breeds” at the Jacob Jarvits Center in Midtown. It was funny being there, because only a month ago I had been at the same place to see my mother at an Amway expo.
Anyway, I figured I could find something story worthy with just about every dog and cat breed known to man in one giant room. I even saw Uno, the beagle who was crowned last year’s Champion at the Westminster Dog Show.
How’s that for a Sunday well spent?