Cats may be taught to pull a bell-rope, to fire a pistol and a multitude of similar tricks… A bit of cloth may be attached to the string communicating with the bell, to afford the cat something convenient to seize hold of. It will be easy to induce her to seize it by holding it near her, or by aggravating her a little with it. When she does so, and causes the bell to ring, reward her… Firing off a pistol may follow this, taught in the same way, a piece of cloth being attached to the trigger, and the pistol being secured in a stationary position. Merely snapping the trigger will do at first, then caps may be used, and finally powder.
Haney’s Art of Training Animals
If only the great age of ill-advised animal tricks had coincided with the YouTube era.