Newsday Tuesday – Does Your Cat Want to Join the Circus?

Lately, I’ve seen a couple of videos featuring trained cats—yes, cats actually doing some pretty amazing moves on cue. Here’s the one featuring the Savitsky cats who performed on Idol. (Spoiler Alert: Simon loved them).

A friend sent me this link to a video showing the Acro-Cats troupe of trained house cats.

After living with cats for most of my life, I find these videos absolutely amazing—breath-taking and almost unbelievable. I’m especially intrigued to see that the cats seem to enjoy performing.

I remember reading an interview with someone who trains and performs with cats. He said that cats are trainable, but that you have to have a sense of humor when working with cats and, I would imagine, a great deal of patience. Sometimes a cat will get distracted and go off in an unplanned direction or take longer than usual to perform the activity.

Why train a cat? I suppose some do so in order to show the world what a cat can do—to give cats greater exposure. But someone adopting a cat based on one of these performances is going to be mighty disappointed when that cat doesn’t bring him a beer every night when he gets home from work. Here’s a link to a site that shows you how to teach your ordinary cat how to do five things—and we’re not talking about punishment for bad behavior here. No punishment. It’s called clicker and treat training—reinforcing good behavior. Check it out and let us know if it works for you.

Lily Actually does perform cutely–every morning she plucks a pair of my slipper socks from a large basket and drops them at my feet (or nearby). Sometimes she empties the basket at night. I reach in there for a pair of socks before stepping on the cool floor and it’s empty. I have to go all over the house in search of a pair. And this activity is not of my making. She began doing it all by herself. Did she see me wearing them on my feet and want to help?

One evening she surprised us when she dropped a pair of my pink slipper socks at Dennis’s feet, then sat next to them looking at him as if saying, “Well, put them on and get cozy!”

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