In Liege Belgium in the 1860's cat racing was a part of an annual celebration. The cats would be tied up in bags and then all released at the same time. The first cat to make it back home was declared the winner. The owner of the winning cat received a ham or a silver spoon. On the occasion of the last race held, the race was won by a blind cat!
In 1930's cat racing returned, this time in England. The venue was a converted greyhound track. The competing cats were to chase a mechanical electrical mouse around a 220 yard track. Surprisingly, this venture failed quickly.
Information from Fantastic Cats: A Feast of Famed and Fabled Felines