Development of the Art

History of Catflinging
The Classic Flingist
Early European Roots
The Middle Ages
The Highland Fling
Development of the Art
The Cat in Warfare
Cats in Duelling
Cats Used in Hunting
Cats in Household Defense
Catflinging in the Olympics
The Joy of Flinging
Other Types of Flinging
Improv. That Didn't Work
Famous Flingists

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Development of the Art

The Naming of Cats

In keeping with other sports and pursuits involving animals, the names chosen for flinging cats have been traditionally quite distinct in function and reference from those applied to domestic pets. Horses kept as pets, for example, are likely to have names like Duke, Misty, Lady, or Lightning whereas race horses are more likely to have names like Oil-well, Last Chance, or Down-and- dirty. Though cat names in flingery differ just as clearly from those of household pets, the direction taken is clearly not the same that established in horse racing. In fact it is often clear from the name alone into which of the four categories (pet horse / race horse / pet cat / flinging cat) an animal belongs. Common household cat names tend to reflect a fairly standard range of attributes with reasonable degree of cuteness: pokey, tiddles, snoopy, snowball, pepper. Names drawn from the annals of flingery, however: Goiter, Scungewort, Drivel, Spasm, Wormwood, Welt, Bluster, and of course the great Mildew, clearly distinguish the beasts as animals of importance and purpose. (### forklift bushing, flange)

Improving Feline Aerodynamic Properties

The cat was not originally designed for flight though various attempts to remedy this situation have met with considerable success. In their natural state, cats, particularly the long haired ones, exhibit a good deal of wind resistance. At different times in history, flingists have reduced the natural wind resistance in several ingenious ways.

A wide range of substances have been used to cause the fur to lie flat, thus streamlining the cat and improving range. Oils have clearly the longest tradition, the first documented use being the cat oils found in in the tomb of Tutankhamen. From the thinnest palm oils of the middle east to buffalo grease, all have enjoyed popularity at one time or another. On the positive side, oils are temporary -- the cat can be cleaned after use and suffers only minor wear. The disadvantages in serious tournament use are, however, quite major. It is very hard to keep a sling on a greased cat and the high incidence of misflings eliminated the use of grease in tournament flinging. More permanent media have been used to paint cats since about the 12th century: Beeswax, rosin, and recently, latex being used successfully. Unfortunately, cats thus treated lose some of their resilience and do not wear as long as do cats in their natural state, and tournament judges routinely deduct points for threadbare cats.

A viable permanent alternative to cat painting is simply to shave the cat. Aerodynamic properties thus achieved surpass even those of the best rubber base latex and, if proper measures are taken, to protect the cat from the elements, the cat is even more durable. Though a shaven cat has none of the problems of the painted cat, they do not last long without insulation in cold climates. Shaven cats have been commonly used in Europe and Great used Britain since as early as the 12th century.

The treated cat is seldom used in modern flingery due to the current level of understanding of cat dynamics. In 1928 Zeke Plumtucker of Hogwaller Arkansas reported that his 14 year old cat Mildew was able to control totally its attitude in flight and even bend its trajectory by an arc of as much as 17 degrees. Zeke estimated that in the previous 13 years of almost daily flinging, Mildew had logged about 30 hours of flying time. He then theorized that perhaps most cats, given enough practice, could develop similar abilities. This proved to be the case and during the next two decades a number of cats appeared with the same uncanny capabilities. In order to allow a cat to develop its skills, most flingists discontinued the practice of treating cats to improve aerodynamics and concentrated on developing the cats' innate avionic potential. For a brief time during the 40s it became in vogue to outfit flinging cats with various flying gear, wings, fins, goggles, rudders etc. in hopes that these could further assist in flight. Results were mixed and these practices have been almost entirely abandoned, the sole exception being the tail fin which has proven quite effective.