The Premiere of ICAT
took place in October 2003
in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Here is the report!
DAY ONE---OCTOBER 25, 2003
Yee-haw! We all had a great time with the agility ring at the show today! It works!
And you will never believe who the star of the show was --- a blue point Himalayan kitten!
Yes, you read it right, better than the second best who was a Tonkinese who flew through the obstacles so happily that he jumped over the frame of the tire jump instead of through the hole. Better than the Bengal who was flawless his first time in the ring.
This Himi's hair was flying in the wind, and he even jumped through the tire hoop without touching!
We took pictures, and we'll post them as soon as possible, probably Monday.
The crowd of spectators was glued to the sides of the agility ring, cheering, laughing, and really getting into it as the cats performed.
We learned so much about how to work with the cats, about setting up the equipment, what was the cats' favorite (tunnels), and what was the spectators' favorite (tire jump, and the ramp, and laughing about the tunnels when they didn't go through the tunnel, like when one cat went running along the top of one).
We can't believe how well received it was by the exhibitors. At one point, we had twenty people in line holding their cats, waiting for their turn in the agility ring to have a go round.
It was so great! And went so smoothly. The exhibitors want the agility to continue. We are so happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
~~~~~Vickie, Shirley, Kathy, Adriana
DAY TWO---OCTOBER 26, 2003
Sunday was another successful and fun day of cat agility!
The improvement was noticeable in cats who tried Saturday and then practiced again on Sunday.
An energetic Munchkin did the obstacles well, including the hoop jump. And a Siberian named Gloria went several times through the course very well. A big tortoiseshell household pet went through the tunnels she wanted to, several times, and looked very happy about selecting her own path. A lovely Sphynx, Jordan ("Pinky"), was the first Sphynx to try the course, and her muscles were easy to see when she ran.
A young exhibitor named Brian took his Sphynx, Gunner, around a couple of times, and an 8 year old boy named Seth borrowed two Bengals and nearly got a clean run on his first try with the first one. It was interesting to see how he "matched" that first one so well in stride and communication, like they had been working together a long time.
Ziggy, the Maine Coon, gets honors for reversing roles and having his owner run the course several times to show him how it was done! We detected a bemused expression under his whiskers while he watched her.
Here are the cats who had clean runs on their very first time in the ring:
The bluepoint Himalayan, Paparazzi, who is also the first cat who ever tried it, and goes down in ICAT history – the first Clean Run ever!
The next was the Tonkinese, Aurora.
And then the Aby, Mini Maestro.
The first Bengal to try the course was Chloe and she ran it clean, and the second Bengal who tried it was Dancer, and she also had a clean run her first time on the course.
Dolly the Bengal came into the agility ring 8 or 9 times, and kept trying to get into the ring while she was waiting in line! She is one of the cats who "gets it," and will run the course with anyone.
If there were a spectator's choice award for the most breathtaking cat who ran the course on Sunday, it would go to Dancer, a Bengal who leaps through the hoop in a long graceful arc, then touches the ground and is off and running again, in one fluid motion.
Another memorable performance was from another Bengal, Lady, who started out doing the obstacles pretty well, got up some speed, then switched into kitten mode, running around through the tunnels and over the ramps however she wanted, and sprinting at full speed along the fencing, dancing on her toes, tail up, then dashing off again, around and around. She made us all feel happy just watching her run and be free and full of beans!
One of the frequent comments we heard was how beautiful the cats are in motion, and how nice it was to see them in natural positions and enjoying themselves so much. They probably slept well on the way home, too.
We had so many exhibitors say they had a great time and that they want to do cat agility again soon! And most importantly, the cats loved it, even the ones who were a bit nervous or just following the lure slowly or playing or exploring. Mostly we saw a weekend full of cats in the agility ring with their tails up in the happy-cat position.
Six more demonstration and practice shows are scheduled before the May 1, 2004, when the ICAT Championship show season begins. Bring your cat and try it out! ICAT will be at many shows next season. If your TICA club wants it, please send us an email or sign up on the ICAT website, www.catagility.org.
Tucson, AZ, December 6-7
Arcadia, CA, December 13-14
San Diego, CA, March 6-7
Houston, TX, March 13-14
Tucson, AZ, April 24-25
Roseburg, OR, April 17-18
The course at these shows, like Albuquerque, will be the Basic level, and kittens can try it, too, because it is a low-impact, low-cardio course.
We will be introducing some of the Challenger and Advanced level obstacles at these shows for the accomplished adult cats to get familiar with. There were several at the Albuquerque show who are ready.
Wrapping up this first ICAT weekend, we want to say THANK YOU to some people for helping bring the cat agility dream to life at this world premier show in Albuquerque:
Cassie Hale for donating the commemorative blue ribbons for each ICAT participant!
Nancy Prince for being our ICAT web developer and writer!
Kathy Krysta for drawing our leaping cat logo!
Shirley Piper and Kathy Krysta for building and testing the entire agility course!
Friendly Fence for Cats for donating the fencing!
Bengal Bulletin for publishing the first article about ICAT!
Enchanted Cat Club for being the first club in the world to host an ICAT event!
Jim Brown for photographing the event and for spending most of Saturday as ringmaster, letting the cats relax, have fun, and suddenly find themselves doing agility obstacles and loving it!
Vickie, Shirley, Kathy and Adriana
ADDED BY THE WEBMASTER, SEAN CORFIELD:
The highest thanks of all must go to the two women who have put SO MUCH work, energy, and enthusiasm into bringing cat agility from a dream to a reality: