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How to Train a Cat (Methods & Tricks)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

cat sniffing finger_Shutterstock_Soloveva Kseniia

While most people don’t think about training cats, most can be trained. Cats usually require a bit more persistence to train, but it is possible. Some cat breeds are easier to train than others.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to train your feline-specific tricks.

The 6 General Tips to Train a Cat

Before you begin training your feline-specific tricks, there are a few things you need to do to prepare. This will set you and your cat up for success, so it is essential not to skip these steps.

1. Find Treats Your Feline Likes

Similar to dogs, many cats are trainable through the use of treats. You should find treats your feline likes that are decently small. They should be bite-sized and low in calories since you’ll likely be using quite a few. You will likely go through quite a few treats in a training session, so choose something cost-effective as well.

You may also want to vary treats often to keep your cat interested. Some mix treats into a larger bag, ensuring that everyone is different.

2. Determine the Best Time for Training

Cats aren’t open to training all the time. Usually, they are most attentive at certain times throughout the day. You’ll need to determine when your feline is most receptive. Usually, this involves shaking the treat bag and seeing when your cat seems the most interested.

3. Decide Whether or Not to Use a Clicker

OYEFLY Durable Lightweight Pet Training Clicker

Clickers can be a helpful training toy. They replace a treat, which can be particularly useful for cats that struggle with their weight. Clickers can be found at most pet stores. You can use the same clickers for both cats and dogs.

4. Train Often for Short Periods

You should keep training periods very short. They will need to occur often as well. Cats will learn through repetition, which often means repeating the same training for a week or two at a time. Your cat’s attention span will likely be short, so feel free to end the session when their attention starts to wander.

5. Teach One Trick at a Time

You should repeat tricks as a review. However, your cat should only be learning one new trick at a time. Wait until they have one trick mastered to move onto the next one.

6. Use Positive Reinforcement

Don’t punish your cat for not learning a trick properly. This will only discourage them from taking part in training time and may make your feline fearful of you. You want training time to be fun.

Related Read: How to Get Your Cat to Play

Teaching Specific Tricks

Here is the suggested order for teaching tricks. Of course, you can vary the order as you see fit. However, there are some tricks your cat needs to know before they can learn other tricks.

1. Sit

cat sitting
Image Credit: Daga_Roszkowska, Pixabay

The sit command is the most basic, so it is where we recommend most cat parents start. Teaching this command is very easy with a technique called luring. When your cat is sitting on all fours, slowly bring the treat towards their ears. The cat should lower their butt down as they prepare to get the treat. As soon as they do, give them a treat and tell them “sit.”

2. Paw

Teaching your cat paw is relatively easy, especially since cats tend to paw at things anyway. You should encourage your cat to lift its paw by giving it a treat every time it does so. Then, you should put the treat in your hand in a closed fist. Your cat should paw at it and try to remove it. When it does so, give your cat a treat and say “paw.”

3. Recall

Next, you can train your cat to come when called. The easiest time to do this is at mealtime. If your feline already comes in response to the treat bag, you can do it then as well. Use the command “come” whenever your cat would naturally come to you. Then, give them a treat when they get to you. Eventually, they will start responding to come at other times as well.

4. Stand Up

This isn’t the most practical trick around, but it can be a fun one. You need to lure your cat into this one as you did with the sit command. When your feline is waiting for a treat, hold it above their head. They should shift to their hind legs. Then, give them the “stand” command.

5. Meow

This command will be easier for more vocal cats. You’ll need to catch your feline in the middle of a meow, say “meow,” and then give them a treat. If your cat meows for their treats, this will be much easier.

cat meow
Image Credit: athree23, Pixabay

If your cat doesn’t meow a lot, it will be harder to catch them in the act. You may need to carry treats around for you to catch them whenever they meow.

Featured Image Credit: Soloveva Kseniia, Shutterstock

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