Kiddie Cat: 1986 Arctic Cat Kitty Cat

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This is yet another strange case of a 6′-5″ tall guy liking tiny vehicles. Why is that? I usually gravitate toward small vehicles and I was ready to throw down $1,200 on this 1986 Arctic Cat Kitty Cat for the collection but the seller reconsidered their $1,200 buy-it-now option. They have it listed here on eBay in Cleveland, Ohio and the current bid price is $1,175 with two days to go!

Shipping charges are always a buzzkill so adding at least half again of what the final bid price would be to have this tiny “sled” shipped back here to its motherland would have been nutso. Arctic Cat was founded in Thief River Falls, Minnesota in 1960, so bringing this one back to MN would have been fun. I prefer the older Kitty Cats but this one appears to be really nice condition other than the left side footboard and a couple of other minor issues.

Here’s that left side issue, some surface rust from the paint wearing off of that area. It would be a fairly easy fix, and then it would be back into Scotty G’s Museum of Tiny Oddities, Northern Division. The Kitty Cat was made beginning in 1971 with fifty models leaving the factory that year and then in 1972 full-scale production began. I do prefer the earlier Kitty Cats and would still be in the bidding mix here if this one was a decade older than it is. Adding vehicles that aren’t on my master wish list but just outside of that list is something that I’m trying to get away from.

Still, this is one nice snowmobile, although there appears to be a portion of the front cowl/hood that’s broken and has been repaired. The seller says that the windshield also has a small crack in it. This is a relatively posh snowmobile for kids compared to the early Kitty Cats. We had one new snowmobile growing up, a 1971.5 (not sure why it was a half-year model) Ski-Doo Olympic like this one. My dad also bought two nice used Arctic Cats and a twin trailer but sold them a few months later. Hmm… maybe that’s where I get it from.

Edgar Hetteen, the founder of Polaris which was also based in northern Minnesota, left to form Arctic Cat in 1960. The company is still around today and it’s owned by Textron, Inc which is based in our own Jeff Lavery’s stomping grounds of Rhode Island. NADA puts an average value of a 1986 Kitty Cat as being $650 which seems pretty light to me and clearly, the bidders also think so. Even at only 100 pounds, with my back I’m not lifting anything like this into a car trunk but that’s what they had in mind with these little things.

The super clean engine should be a 60 cc single with just under 3-hp. The seller says that it runs great and it sure looks great. We have only seen one Arctic Cat Kitty Cat here on Barn Finds which is surprising. They bring back memories for those of us who grew up in northern US states, Canada, or anywhere that gets snow. Have any of you owned one? If not, what snowmobiles have you owned?

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    “Northern Division”? There’s others? Sign me up for”Western Division”,,,
    Gather ’round, children, an old man is talking,, there was a time, not so long ago, THIS, was every kids dream,,,north of the 43rd parallel, that is. A REAL snowmobile, not hanging on the back of mom’s Yamaha Ovation(or whatever) that the kid eventually inherited, because mom never liked snowmobiling anyway. Snowmobiling has changed so much from these humble beginnings, almost to the point, I don’t recognize the machines. This was from a time, where an outing with these machines, was good family fun, and like motorcycling, most kids that had these, had a lifetime of snowmobiling. Kids that did not, missed out on a lot, and no wonder they value their cell phone more than anything. There was no shame on the trail riding one of these, you were one of the “cool” kids, that clearly had “cool” parents.
    You know, with the snow rockets of today, I’d almost be afraid to have my kid ride one of these, like taking a Model T out on the freeway. Great find from the “master”, no surprise.

    Like 9
  2. George Mattar

    Great write up Scotty. So refreshing to see vintage snowmobiles on Barn Finds. I bought a new Arctic Cat Puma in 1972 at age 16. Have had Cats ever since. Sold my show winning 72 EXT 440 triple MOD racer six years ago to a collector. Still have my 1977 Pantera 5000 FA, which is a two cylinder Suzuki engine after Kawasaki dumped Arctic. Textron also owns Polaris after selling it years ago and buying it a second time. Oh, the snowmobiles of the 70s. What a time it was. Old Cats bring Huge money.

    Like 2
    • Judson

      Hi George. Nice to see some sled talk here . MW guys get it . Bot one for the kids . Hit of the neighborhood in NJ . Also had 72 ext 440 and 73 ext 440 that I raced . Would love to have one back again of course . Where’s that elusive KingKat at these days let’s find one and get it up here to see what they go for . The holy grail

      Like 2
    • Brian

      George Matter, Textron sold Polaris in 1980 after years of running then into the ground. Textron now owns Arctic Cat, which they are also running into the ground.
      Kawasaki never dumped Arctic Cat, they found themselves in breach of contract when they were building their own snowmobiles. That combined with many engine issues to say the least, Cat sent them packing. Suzuki was making their own snowmobiles and was happy to cease production to hook up with Cat. For marketing purposes Suzuki engines were called Arctic Cat Spirit engines for the first few years. Separating ways from Suzuki a few years back was not the wisest choice Made by Cat.

      Like 1
  3. Vance

    Oh the memories, My neighbors had one of these, a Puma, and a Panther. Artic Cat was kind of a sexy snowmachine, the got very aerodynamic and sleek, and were significantly well built and reliable. Of course the ones that I owned were not, Moto-ski and Ski-Whiz were not fashion statements by any means. They were so top heavy and didn’t handle worth a damn, but my Father wouldn’t let me drive on the rural roads ( major drag ), so performance wasn’t an issue. Everyone had a snowmachine in the mid-seventies, it was really good clean fun. We didn’t know how lucky we had it, freezing our ass off, smelling like 2 cycle oil, the fun of driving something besides a lawnmower, and Mom making you homemade cocoa, no instant crap. They were the best times a 14 year old kid could have, no computers, 3 TV stations (4 for me I lived near Canada )), a landline that we shared with 5 families, McDonald’s was a treat and not a staple. Dinner was family time, TV trays were for weekends and watching a game. We grew gardens, canned food, picked crops in season, and went to bed on a sliding scale according to your age on clothesline dried sheets and slept like the dead. This generation is being cheated by not experiencing the simple life of aspiring to be normal. I am getting off my soapbox now, it’s 5am.

    Like 25
    • Cattoo CattooMember

      I’ve got memories of the same. Poor kids these days.

      Like 6
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Obviously, we’re in the same gear here, however, kids today that never had stuff like this, don’t miss it. It’s not like they had it, and had it taken away, it was never on the table to begin with, for what ever reason. It’s easy for us to point out the differences, we’ve seen both sides. I don’t know if kids today miss this kind of thing or not. There is nothing that leads up to this, like we had. Not to say, for a kid to putt-putt around a yard on this, it could still trigger those desires, just not nearly as popular today. Some virtual setup could give them the same visuals on their warm couch,, with none of the hassles, hassles we took as fun, a nuisance today.
      I can appreciate your anxieties about today, you did steer clear of the post toward the end, however, just be glad we lived the time period we lived. I know I am. We have memories people just can’t have today, and there’s an element of satisfaction in that.

      Like 10
    • 1970 SomethingMember

      Grew up at the same time. Lived the same life. About 70 miles from the Arctic Cat factory. First sled was a 1965 Boatel Ski Bird. Mora Minnesota. 2nd was a 1966 Arctic Cat proto type when they went to aluminum tunnel and belly pan. Only built a few. 300 Hirth.
      Every generation has it’s own story. My folks rode to school in a horse and buggy or walked uphill both ways.(Hah) Skied behind a car on wood skis.Milked cows by hand. Used an outhouse in the summer and a pail in the winter. Heated with wood, coal, and fuel oil maybe.
      But I would rather be back there post war to the 70’s than where we are at and going right now. Just my opinion. We all live about the same lifespan as we did then.

      Like 2
  4. Gtoforever

    Wow! That’s cool!! Never knew they made them
    I had 77 440 El tigre and for the little lady a 340 cheetah
    IMHO the “Cats” where best In the 70’s and beyond
    Wish my kids weren’t all grown

    Like 1
  5. HoA Howard AMember

    Funny thing, like Gto^ mentioned, it seemed the “little lady” always got the smaller of 2 family sleds. Sorry ladies, but snowmobiling was a MAN’S sport, and men ruled the trails with as fast a sled you could get. Generally speaking, and I’m still looking for that exception, women don’t like cold, much less a -40 wind chill @60 mph. A slow, docile 300ish cc sled was usually what the “little lady” rode, and even then, only as a “family” outing, very few actually serious about riding snowmobiles. Like I say, the kid outgrew the Kitty Kat, and got mom’s bigger sled that she never used,, and trashed the hell out of them.

    Like 0
    • ArcticMember

      Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in NM Minnesota we rode all the time. Girls never rode rode. Just guys. Don’t know why. If you saw a girl she was riding behind a guy and that was not often because the guys were usually running wide open. Plus jumping snow banks and ditches and climbing hills.

      Like 2
  6. judson

    Speaking of ladies . Audrey decker was the matriarch of the racing Decker family . (Recently deceased-RIP) . Anyway my mother entered a cross country race against her as no one else signed up . Audrey running a stock 70 292 tnt came in after 10min circuit . Then 15 min later just as they are starting the next race here comes my mother on her tnt crusing nicely along . Came in 2nd to Audrey. Trophy and all . We laughed about it for years . Woman power back in the day

    Like 2
  7. Gtoforever

    Perfectly said Howard.
    I only would add that my little lady was a “transplant “, that is too say she was a “city type girl” who moved out to the farmlands in her early teens.
    The local girls I grew up all had sleds and most where as fast or faster than the boys, their fathers made sure of that. Lol
    The difference was back then, as you pointed out, what we saw as fun, others see as hassle.
    One of my first income sources was to ride my sled to school and charge for rides home and riding lessons that turned into trail ride fees
    Also, the “farm girls” had no problem whatsoever with the cold. Even after many years, my wife “tolerates” the cold for me

    Like 1
    • HoA Howard AMember

      There ARE exceptions, and at 66, I’m still looking,,,that’s true, the biggest exception were farm girls. The was no gender gap on the farm, hands were hands, in all weather. My last gf grew up on a farm in central Wis. It was no surprise to her late folks, she became a truck driver. The demise of the “family farm” has taken it’s toll on womens interest in mechanical things, ironically, just at a time when these machines couldn’t be more user friendly. That, and 5 figure price tags eliminate most from enjoying what we did for maybe $500 bucks. Shame.

      Like 1
  8. Stan

    We liked the Bombardier better and called this brand Artic Crap” haha

    Any sled is a welcome addition to Barnfinds great fun machines

    Like 0
    • Brian

      Stan, we’re in the other side of this and Bombardier is a “Ski Don’t”! However anything is better than a “Poolaris”!

      Like 1
  9. Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

    Auction update: this Kitty Cat sold for $1,275!

    Like 0

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