The Winter Olympics may have come and gone, but fear not sports fans. The most majestic of all games are upon us: the Cat Olympics! Held at SPCA Tampa Bay this Saturday, June 19th, they showcase the finest feline athletes around as they do battle for the ultimate prize…a forever home.
Watch in amazement as our top notch adoptable cats take on the Tunnel of Tuna, jump into the Leap of Faith, totter across the Cat Walk Tightrope and blaze their way through the Cat’s Meow Obstacle Course. All of that just to get the attention of a new mom or dad! Plus, you’ll get a chance to show off your cat knowledge during our Cat Jeopardy challenge and win fabulous prizes. (I feel like Vanna White.) Read more about this Saturday’s festivities here and we hope you join us!
Now, my cats may not be able to pull off a Cat Walk tightrope, but some of them do have some serious skills and tricks up their sleeves. Louie the Lump, so named by my Mother-in-Law, will shake off his lumpiness once in awhile and decide he wants to high five me. This started not long after he grew out of kittenhood and could actually focus on one thing for more than 20 seconds.
I was putting on my make up in the bathroom and as usual, Louie was keeping me company by lazily hanging out in the sink. But what was unusual this time, he actually got up, ambled over to me, sat up on his hind legs and started pawing at me with one furry foot. He obviously just wanted some attention, (Louie the Persian wanting attention?? Color me shocked!) But it looked like he was high fiving me, so I said, “Louie, give me high five,’ and smacked his foot with my hand. If a cat can look delighted by something, Louie certainly did.
It has since become a ‘thing’ I can get him to do on command. I just have to put up my hand, snap my finger and say ‘High five, Louie!” Nine times out of ten, he’s right there, smacking my hand, and as a bonus, sometimes I even get a high ten! But here’s the rub. He will only do this cat trick in the bathroom. I’ve tried in vain to get him to do it in any other room in the house, but he flat out refuses unless you ‘trick’ him by holding a cat toy up in the air. So it’s not so much a parlor trick as a bathroom trick. And that kind of takes the coolness factor out of it, no?
My oldest cat Rhett is also my smartest cat and it’s no surprise to me that he’s pulled off a cat trick or two in his long lifetime. His need to show off showed up early on when he displayed the decidedly dog-like attributes of fetch and catch. I was a young, pretty poor college kid (weren’t we all?) and using a balled up piece of paper to amuse my new kitten. I tossed it and suddenly he reared up and snatched it right out of the air mid-toss. I had grown up with all kinds of cats and had never seen anything like it before. I spent the next 30 minutes throwing that ball, and Rhett never missed it once. It was like having a puppy in a kitten’s body.
The next time I went to play with Rhett, I discovered another of his talents. I threw the paper ball, waiting for him to snatch it out of the air, but he just watched it sail by him. I was disappointed, but only briefly. Rhett waited for it to land, then briskly trotted to where it had landed, picked it up in his mouth, ran over to me, and deposited right at my feet, looking up at me expectantly. I threw it again and Rhett repeated himself. My baby had added fetch to his repertoire and I couldn’t have been more proud! This fun, carefree period of cat tricks and pleasing mom lasted, oh, about six months and then Rhett determined he had to please NO ONE but himself and I’ve never seen him perform those tricks again. But at least I know he’s capable. Sigh.
As for the rest of the cats I’ve had in my life, it’s a bit of a stretch to say they can do tricks. Sweetie, my feral cat, has the ability to ‘disappear’ if he even senses someone other than me is about to enter our house. Our deaf cat Lucy Jane does this just awesome trick where she knows exactly when we fall asleep and then lets loose with her insanely loud yowling. And I had another Persian growing up named Alexander who could vomit on command, always on my mom’s favorite, very expensive Oriental rug, whenever he got mad. Talented bunch, wouldn’t you say?
If you’ve got a cat with fierce capabilities, we want to hear about them. Leave your cat ‘tails’ on our Adopt-a-human Facebook page and you’ll be entered into a grand prize drawing at the end of June! Remember, the more people who know about the Adopt-a-human campaign and take part, the more cat’s lives we can save. Thank you!