When it comes to agility courses, why should dogs get to have all the fun? Here's how to make just the right agility course for your cat.
Why should dogs get to have all the fun training for agility? Training your kitty to go through an obstacle courses provides her with essential exercise and mental stimulation. Plus, that's quality bonding time for the two of you.
Here's how to make your own cat agility course right in your living room.
Don't jump right into full-on agility training. Start with something easy, such as having her retrieve a treat from a paper bag tunnel. Cut off the bottom of a bag and turn it on its side. Place a treat at one end and encourage your kitty to walk through the paper bag to get it. Once she's mastered this, she can graduate to a pop-up mesh tunnel (you can find these at most toy stores). If your cat doesn't seem interested in treats, try waving a feather toy or mouse to get her instinctual predatory drive going.
Jump Through a Hoop
Jumping through hoops isn't just for big cats at the circus. You can also train your house cat pretty easily. First, encourage your kitty to walk through the hoop while the base of the hoop is placed on the ground. Place a treat or toy on the other side and have your kitty step through. Over time, you can slowly raise the hoop and the treat higher and higher. Eventually your cat will need to jump to get through it.
Walk an A-frame
You can also train your cat to walk up and down a ramp, known as an A-frame in the agility world. Simply use the feather toy to lure her up and over the obstacle. This is a pretty easy obstacle for cats. You just have to ensure that they don't step off the side of the ramp. To make an A-frame, the Cat Fancier's Association recommends using two slanted cat scratchers set up back to back when starting out. You can also construct a larger A-frame out of pieces of plywood, once you feel your cat is ready to move on.
Dart Around Weave Poles
Teaching cats to weave around poles is another part of feline agility training. It might not seem like a complicated task, but it's actually one of the most advanced obstacles. To begin, place two poles standing upright in a line. You can use water bottles or you can attach PVC pipes onto a piece of plywood. Encourage your kitty to weave through the poles. After she catches on with two poles, add a third.
Don't Force Her
While creating your at-home agility course, remember not to force your kitty to do things she doesn't want to do. Agility training should be fun for both of you, but not stressful. If she's tired or not in the mood, move on to something easier or try again later.
Check out the CFA's Feline Agility website for training videos. All it takes is a little creativity to make your own cat agility course. Once she's got a few obstacles down, you've got the basis for a course tailored specifically to her skills. Continue to train, play, and enjoy!