A rescued 9-year-old Siamese cat from Palm Beach Gardens has made a leap to land in the Guinness World Record Book.
Bud D. Boy launched himself 11 feet 2 1/2 inches when he took the stage during Adopt A Cat’s big Spa’cat’ti dinner at the Moose Lodge on Nov. 11. The 11-pound cat’s jump from one chair to another defied the previous record of 6 feet, set by Alley, a cat in the traveling Acro-Cat circus, in October 2013.
Scott Sturtz, Bud D. Boy’s owner, saw Alley — the runt of a litter born in a Chicago alley — perform at the Kelsey Theater in Lake Park this year. Having already taught Bud D. Boy to use the toilet instead of a litter pan, Sturtz decided to take on Alley’s record for longest jump by a cat.
Man and cat trained for months in advance. The Moose Lodge gave Sturtz special permission to bring Bud D. Boy for practice in the weeks leading up to the big night, Sturtz said. While the slightest noise or a the presence of a baby in the mostly empty lodge hall distracted Bud D. Boy during practice, he basked in the praise of the crowd the night of the event as he jumped farther intervals, Sturtz said.
“I didn’t know how he would react in front of 200 people,” Sturtz said. “People were singing his name and cheering after every time he jumped.”
Cats and dogs both learn by praise and food, Sturtz said as he enticed Bud D. Boy across the stage with treats to show off Bud D. Boy’s new talent to a reporter and photographer. Sturtz lavished him with kisses on the head and the scratches under the chin that he likes.
During the performance, the audience laughed when he jumped about 4 feet. As Sturtz moved the chairs farther apart, they started clapping and got more into it — and so did Bud D. Boy, Sturtz said. He and his helpers smeared glossy, red lipstick on the cat’s paws to mark where he sprung from one chair and landed on another.
They trained two to six times a day. Bud D. Boy would make about 100 jumps.
Guinness required Bud D. Boy to get a physical before attempting the jump. Dr. Tate Posey, his veterinarian at Promenade Animal Hospital, said he’s in very good health.
“Cats really like to be active, and Bud D. Boy was trained using positive reinforcement, Posey said. “Before each jump, he was meowing and getting all ready, kind of like somebody at the starting block of a race.”
Cementing a new record is time-consuming and expensive. Sturtz must submit evidence for Guinness’s review before Bud D. Boy’s new record is official, but an architect was on hand as an authority on measurement, and photographers and videographers documented the feat from multiple angles. Sturtz also collected eight witness statements. To have someone come from Guinness, it costs $10,000, he explained.
At 9 years old, Bud D. Boy is a young adult. True Siamese cats tend to live 18 to 20 years, or two to five years longer than the average domestic cat, Posey said. Siamese cats may be more agile than other breeds because they tend to have longer legs and bodies than other breeds, he said.
Sturtz adopted the cat and his sister — they were named Sonny and Cher — from Adopt A Cat in Lake Park when they were just a few months old. But Cher, renamed Spice Girl, wouldn’t eat and died.
The Spa’cat’ti dinner raised $10,596 for Adopt A Cat to feed, care for, test, spay/neuter and immunize the abandoned cats that end up in their shelter, board member Mary Inglis said. Although the number of cats in the shelter is down, any cat is one too many.
“While they can live out their lives with us, their quality of life is better in a permanent home where they can play a part of a family, she said.
Bud D. Boy is an example of that.
“He knows that routine inside out,” Inglis said. “Cats like to jump. He had jumped before in practice and shown himself worthy. It was just a matter of legitimizing his talent.”