You do not need horizontal bars or a beam to be a gymnast. You do not need rings, a pommel horse or a sprung floor. All you need is a horizontal surface and an imagination.
Imagine that today's pets are arching through the air, flipping and twisting in defiance of gravity. Imagine that the cushion, couch or carpet that they're lying on is not, you know, actually there. Because when you do, then surely your cat or dog is the world's finest gymnast.
Take our cover-dog, the athletic Sir Frank Wadham. Have you ever seen such form? And surely the balancing paw on the skirting should incur no more than a quarter-point penalty.
Selma's routine is simple but elegant.
This is Darwin's static kick.
Nash is curvaceous.
Polly is calm and confident.
Flicka gives a geometry lesson - the perfect right angle.
Molly executes a tuck.
Indy is a yoga cat.
A suppleness tester calling for a tight bend and a full stretch - mastered by Junior.
...and here's Jypsy's variation.
...and here's Boris's, which involves extra attitude.
Now for some couch-fliers, beginning with Brian (left) and Milo.
Sammy is a study in concentration, or something similar.
Banjo is all grace and decorum.
Perfect conformation from Charlie - note the tucked and tufted tail.
This is the lithe figure of Bella, also known as Adorabelle Dearheart. She has a knack of getting tangled in people's feet, shoes and clothes.
Now for some artistes of the bed. This is Adam, presenting that most irresistible of wonders, a kitten's tummy.
Mole-Mole seems destined to travel, considering her ability to head towards all four compass points at the same time. I'm told that Mole-Mole (birth name Molly) likes to be spun round on swivelling bar stools.
The very relaxed Mila...
Rosa the Basenji goes through some horizontal dressage moves.
Take away the floor, and puppy Jess is a heroic vaulter.
The gentle curve of Miss Skye.
The curly Gangnam stylings of George.
Kit is the cat of steel.
Cancer survivor Kylie puts all three paws to the fore.
Meg dreams of flight.
Floor gymnast Ozzy finds that a cabinet helps with form.
If human beings were as supple as Violet and could stretch like this twice a day, then I reckon the world's human stress levels would immediately drop by a third. But time spent grooming might grow...
Sitting down sideways: Wally is well poised.
Next, the balletic Fergie.
And finally, the well-named but very charming Scruffy, in full horizontal flight.
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