We spent a grey Saturday afternoon testing Patrick’s parkour ability in our kitchen. We decided to use things we had around the house (mostly made from cardboard) to create our indoor agility course, creating simple, easy activities for Patrick to get his paws around.
We tried a number of items before we settled on our final course which includes; cardboard tubes to weave in and out of (the tubes are my favourite bit – it was definitely entertaining training Patrick to use them and very satisfying when he achieved this!); a cardboard tunnel to run through and; a hurdle using a table and tubes.
We tried a few items that Patrick couldn’t get the hang of, these included a soft play tube, however he’s a bit big for this and didn’t seem comfortable running through it, choosing to go around it instead. We replaced this with the cardboard box with the ends open so he could dart through it more easily. Another item was an exercise hula hoop – this would have been perfect if it was a little smaller, but I think the size made it unrecognisable to Patrick as something he should jump through.
I would never describe Patrick as the most cooperative cat, and he certainly lives up to the notion that cats are stubborn and independent, however with a little bit of coaxing (and a few treats) he definitely got the hang of the course. It took patience and lots of praise but the results were definitely worth it (for both of us!) - it was important not to get frustrated when things didn’t go to plan – when Patrick began to lose interest, we stopped and came back to it later. This little and often approach did the trick and kept us both interested in the task at hand. I have added a few tips we found helped for each obstacle below.
- Use treats or toys which they love to keep them focused enough to weave through each pole
- Start with two poles and once they’ve got the hang of it, add one or two more
- Little and often worked best as Patrick wised up quickly that he could just walk around them and still get the treat!
- Ensure the tunnel is big enough for comfort and ease
- Start short – you can always extend the tunnel once they get the hang of it
- Again we used treats for this to coax Patrick through the obstacle but toys would work just as well
- This takes time to get the hang of so be patient
- Start with the pole lower and coax them over it with treats or a toy
- As they get the hang of this, increase the height of the jump
The agility course was fun to make and definitely great for testing Patrick’s learning ability. This type of engagement is a good way of enhancing your bond with your cat and makes for really rewarding time spent together.