This morning I’m taking the garbage down the dark, dirty, back stairwell from my fourth-floor apt to deposit it below, where everyone in my building dumps their trash when suddenly, on the third floor landing, two average-sized rats lunge right at me, I’m totally startled, grab the railing and yank my feet off the ground, before I realize they’re gray kittens that were terrified of me and scurrying for safety. Unfortunately, there was a large open window right behind me and one of them flew right through. I immediately stuck my head out the window and watched as he tumbled over and over, three stories down to the pavement, before landing on his feet and scurrying away, apparently unharmed. I was impressed. Considering the size difference, that’s probably equivalent to a human jumping out of a 10 or 15 story window without harm. Not bad.
So it inspired me to start this thread. My family has had mostly cats, not dogs, but contrary to popular opinion, cats can easily be trained to perform tricks if one starts early, gives clear commands, and rewards them with food. At least it worked for us, as we trained our cat to sit, shake hands, and speak before she would get her dinner, and to jump up and hit the doorknob when she wanted to go out.
Having grown up with a jumping cat in the house, I therefore wasn’t surprised when I traveled to Myanmar a few years ago and saw these cats at a temple on a lake that have been trained by monks to jump through hoops.