An Old Game - Catty

Vol. 6 No. 1 - 1989

An Old Game


by Eric McElroy

The rules of the game

  1. Using the stick, the player shouts "Catty" and shoots the catty as far as possible from the base. The base is a small hole over which the catty had been placed. The stick placed under the catty helps shoot it forwards.

  2. The fielders try to catch the catty as it flies through the air. If the fielders catch the catty the player is out and the fielder who makes the catch then becomes the player.

  3. If a clean catch is not made, the stick is laid across the "catty hole" and the fielder who retrieves the catty throws it from the spot where it landed to try and hit the stick. If the catty hits the stick the player is out and the fielder becomes the player.

  4. If the catty does not hit the stick the player then strikes the catty on one of its pointed ends with the stick. This causes the catty to shoot up in the air - when it is up in the air the player tries to strike it with the stick and drive it forward.

  5. This is repeated three times - if skilfully done the catty should be sent forward 20-30 yards. Fielders again try to catch the catty.

  6. The stick is then laid across the catty hole and the player estimates how many strides are needed to get from the catty hole to the stick.

  7. One of the fielders tries to cover the distance in this number of strides. If he succeeds the player is out. If he fails the estimate is added to the players score. The player tries to make his estimate large enough to gain a good score, but not so large that he will be out.


Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

1. CAT STICK AD 1626. A stick used in tip-cat and trap ball.

2. CAT - A term used in games esp. a piece of wood tapering at each end, used in tip-cat; also the game itself - First reference AD 1598.

(1) A short piece of wood tapering at both ends used in the game described in 2.
(2) A game in which the tip-cat is struck or tipped at one end with a stick so as to spring up, and then knocked to a distance by the same player - AD 1676.