Day 7 of our cruise was a travel day to one of our favourite anchorages in Desolation Sound: Melanie Cove. The two hour trip was about as smooth as my fur, and as the video shows, I spent a few moments on deck enjoying it before I headed inside for a quick and comfortable cat nap.
Meowee, the forest fires here in BC are very serious and as we got closer to our destination the sky was full of smoke, almost hiding the majestic mountains that surround us. It wasn’t affecting our breathing but it wasn’t quite as bright as it was. I heard the humans mention that in some parts of the coast, visibility on the water was less than a mile, and back at home it’s even worse.
The humans have been talking a lot about a dinghy concert that’s happening tomorrow and many boats have filled the anchorage which now resembles a parking lot. Luckily our favourite spot was empty and we easily rafted our 5 vessels there. Once again, out came the inflatable air bags and once again the humans took to the water for fun, and to keep cool. I really don’t understand it.
I have to go. I see a few dragonflies buzzing around and they are terribly distracting. Paw paw for now.
Fence Jump: 8 T’s, 3 x 2 ft PVC, and 10 x 4inch PVC pieces
My agility course is finally taking shape. I now have two tunnels, weave poles, and a fence jump. The new jump and weave pole obstacles were supurr easy to assemble. Mom bought three, ten foot lengths of one-inch diameter PVC tubing which were about $5.00 each from the hardware store. You could ask the store to cut them up for you if you don’t have an electric saw. Then fourteen one-inch PVC T’s at about $1.50 each were required to join the pieces of tubing together. Fourty dollars including tax and 10 minutes later, that was it! Done!
For now we have to work around the rolled up carpet in the middle of the room. It’s for our second 26 foot power boat we have named WOFTAM. I haven’t ridden in that boat yet because it’s my human dad’s work boat for his business, and now it’s getting a little much needed TLC.
Fence Jump: Adjustable Height, 1, 2 or 3 rails
This was my first course run through. You can see in the video that I’m going to need a lot more practice. Mom is going remove one more of the jump rails and make it lower. I don’t usually have feathers on my target stick, but there was a hockey game on in the TV room where my dad was, and it was very loud and distracting. So mom stuck the feathers on to get my attention and it worked….maybe a little too much. This week we’ll focus on the weave poles to show you next Monday. Have a great week and paw paw for now!
Weave Poles: 6 T’s, 4 x 2 ft PVC, 3 x 1.5 ft, 4 x 4 in PVC, and 2 x 3 in PVC pieces.
Weave Poles: Leg Assembly Close-up
Meow my furiends,
Today on Motion Monday I would like to show you several short videos on other kitties showing off their agility skills ranging from beginner to more advanced. You might think an agility course needs a large outdoor area, but as in the first video, it can be setup indoors, on a table! Do you think you need to start out as a kitten to learn? The second video shows a formerly feral cat who started at seven years old! From cute cat tricks to a cat that can skateboard, we cats are very athletic. You don’t have to learn agility to compete either. You can learn for just fur fun and fur your human’s enjoyment.
My humans had a very busy week so we didn’t get the exercise room setup for me like we planned, so this post is “Plan B”. This week we’ll be assembling the PVC tubes and fittings my humans purchased to show your humans next week how easy (theoretically) it will be to put together the weave poles and a jump. Mom made a teeter totter out of a wedge shaped log and the leaf out of the dining room table…how creative.
A “crash course” in cat agility video filmed at cat show in Turku Finland…
Today furiends I’d like to show you how I am progressing with the tunnel obstacle.
While my human was post-editing my video, I did a little web-surfing on the history of cat agiltiy. I was surprised to learn that the birth of dog agility was rather unintentional. Back in 1978 at London’s famous Crufts Dog Show, a horse-enthusiast was tasked with entertaining the crowd between events. He came up with an event that employed dogs doing equestrian-like feats. It was a hit, and then in 1986 it came to America under the title of the U.S. Dog Agility Association. It was so much fun that it has become the fastest-growing dog sport in history.
ICAT started 17 years later in 2003 by four cat show women who knew how beautiful cats could be when in motion. With their horse, dolphin, dog and cat show backgrounds they also knew how to train their furiends. The first ICAT event was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in October 2003 at a TICA cat show hosted by Enchanted Cat Club. ICAT and cat agility was a huge success! Exhibitors and spectators got caught up in watching the lively, athletic race of the cats and their handlers through the agility course.
Ten years after that, on November 26, 2013, Bite TV and Force Four Entertainment announced the start of a fun new web and TV series called Battle Cats (6×30 scripted comedy). Battle Cats is a competition-based series that tests the true skills of us felines. A cat agility arena was built right here in the greater Vancouver (B.C. Canada) area and was designed as the ultimate adventure course.
This week mom is working on building a few missing obstacles, and setting up a training course in her exercise room for me. That should be interesting. =^,,^=
Today my furiends is the first of our new weekly feature called “Motion Picture Monday” (I think we’ll shorten that to just “Movie Monday”.) The movies will document how I learn through clicker and target training to navigate various obstacles that are commonly found in an agility course. What is clicker and target training you ask? It’s a means of communicating with our humans in the form of a game, that not only shapes desired behaviour, but improves the quality of life for both of us, especially if you’re an indoors only cat. This is the method humans use to train dolphins. It’s is a science-based system called operant conditioning using positive reinforcement and a marker signal. It doesn’t have to be just for agility or cute cat tricks, (although I purrsonally think how much more adoptable a shelter cat would be if he/she knew a couple) it can also correct behavioural problems too by building new ones to replace unwanted ones.
Mom is still learning how to be a trainer and is figuring it out as she goes, but as long as she plays with me, I’m OK with that. First she had to figure out the difference in her own mind between clicker and target training, what the purpose of each was, and when to use them. She’s come to the conclusion that the clicker is the signal used to mark or shape the behaviour, and the target stick is used to lure me around…to follow it. Both are rewarded with treats at some point. The key is practice, practice, and more practice…. and don’t forget the treats! Eventually the target stick won’t be needed when I have learned the hand and verbal cues, but we’re not at that point yet. Verbal cues would be spoken words such as “sit”, “up”, “down”, “roll over”, “jump”, etcetera, and we’d follow their hands instead of the target stick.