This sweet black cat, aptly named Leapfrog, elegantly and athletically leaps over the same area of hard floor at a doorway every time she approaches it. She can’t walk on that area of the floor.
Her owners used this peculiarity of feline behaviour to make a funny video as they placed obstacles in that area so she had to jump higher and higher. But she is not jumping because of the obstacles placed there. She’s jumping because of operant conditioning which took place when she was a kitten. That’s my assessment. The Dodo say that the cat thinks the floor is evil. Amusing but not quite right.
During her early years she encountered a troubling section of floor in a doorway. There was something there, most likely a genuine obstacle. Or there was something on the floor generally where she lived which made her jump all the time as the owner says that when she adopted her she jumped a lot and not only in the same area. She said it was if she was raised by goats.
As she was fostered I’d have thought that the current owner would have some detail about her early months which might throw some light on this behavior. It is similar to full-time indoor cats refusing to walk through an open door to the outside and treating the air space as solid. They too are conditioned. They fear the outside and the reward for staying behind the invisible line is security and safety.
Operant conditioning is the classic way cats and dogs are trained or self-trained. A certain behavior is associated with a reward or punishment or something nice or something unpleasant which encourages the cat to repeat the behavioiur. My guess is that as a kitten she found a section of flooring unpleasant and jumped over it to avoid it. Her reward was avoiding the unpleasantness of walking on a section of floor. She trained herself to avoid flooring which looks like the flooring she encountered in her new home: hard wood flooring. This has to be the explanation although I am sticking my neck out here because the owner may make a comment refuting every aspect of this assessment.
An alternative explanation is that she observed her mother jumping at the same spot and copied her in which case her mother had a reason to jump at a certain place.