Thursday, July 31, 2014

Purrkour and Kindness

[post 387]

I've written a lot about parkour and its relationship to physical comedy, especially here, but also in all these other posts, so I can't resist sharing the feline version, "Purrkour,"a brilliant piece of filmmaking by Robert Dollwet. (Thanks to Riley Kellogg for the link!)

 

If you have cats (we have four) and have ever tried to train them, you know whence comes the expression "it's like herding cats." Or to put it another way:


But it is possible, as this behind-the-scenes video demonstrates:



Which leads me to the whole controversy today about cruelty to animals in the circus, with prevailing sentiment being unilaterally against the work of animal trainers. Belgium, for example, has totally banned the use of wild animals in circuses! Now I'm all for the humane treatment of animals, but this blanket condemnation is simply unfair to most animal trainers.

And that leads me to one of my favorite stories about training animals. It's by Antony Hippisley Coxe from his excellent book A Seat at the Circus (1951). He was an historian, not a circus performer, but decided to try his hand at training — you guessed it — domestic cats. Real interesting stuff with a very funny ending, so much so that I bothered to scan it for you and put it into this pdf. Worth the 10-page read!




1 comment:

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