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Saturday, November 19, 2011

All the Shamefulness of Cockfighting without Quite So Many Disembowelments

Best.  Weekend.  Ever.

As I write, not one but two major cat organizations--the International Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers Association--are throwing their annual feline fetes.    Let me be clear: While I enjoy the spectacle of mass quantities of kitty cats, I have also always suspected these events to be shams.  Pure popularity contests! Which is why I was happy to see that some passionate cat fanatics (you know, you can't spell 'fanatic' without C-A-T--albeit rearranged) have taken it upon themselves to organize actual competitions to determine objectively who is the top dog among cats (you know, you can't misspell 'competition' without C-A-T).

According to the New York Times, the newest distraction for sport-hungry animal lovers (or animal-hungry sport lovers) is feline agility contests ("In Feline Agility Competitions, the Biggest Obstacle Can Be the Cat").  In these competitions, cats negotiate obstacle courses of hoops, ramps, and tunnels, coaxed along by their owners with feathers and other dangling enticements.  The challenge is not so much physical--any non-geriatric cat with basic motor functions can negotiate these obstacles--as psychological: You will likely go insane before convincing your cat to run the course.

Frankly, as much as I enjoy watching cats do pretty much anything, I can't see this "sport" taking off.  Aside from the technical issues mentioned above, there are limited sponsorship opportunities.  After all, the more people invest in cat-training, the more cats will choose to negotiate the obstacle course--if only to get these humans to leave them alone.  And given that a successful "run" takes less than ten seconds, the opportunities to sell stuff during a match are only slightly fewer than those offered by a typical sumo-wrestling match.  And we don't even get to see two fat guys collide.

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