Can cats really learn tricks and commands? Of course they can! Contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t the only pets who can be trained; felines can also be conditioned to respond to various commands. Cats are very smart animals.
When it comes to training your cat, it’s important to use positive reinforcement, encouragement, and lots of treats. Negative punishments and disciplining your cat is not going to get you the desired result.
If you want your cat to do something, you simply need to reward them when they do what you want them to do, then begin to connect the behavior to your command. Repetition is key!
Here’s how you can start training your cat for the basic commands, like “sit” and “come.”
Tips Before You Get Started
Cats can learn much more than to just come to their name. The internet and YouTube are a wealth of information and instructional videos that will help you become a cat whisperer.
But to get you started, here are a few training tips that will make things go more smoothly:
- Having the right motivation is very important. Make sure you’re using treats your cat loves. When your cat does what you want them to do, reward them immediately.
- You may want to consider clicker training. A clicker is a device that you can click to let your cat know when they’ve completed the desired behavior.
- Don’t try to train your cat right after a meal because they might not be hungry. Be sure to train your kitty when they are going to be the most motivated by food.
- Make sure your cat is getting enough exercise because all these treats have calories in them and you don’t want your kitty to gain weight. Find a healthy treat for your cat and make sure your cat is getting a lot of play and exercise time along with their new training schedule.
- Never try to train your cat when they are feeling stressed. Make sure that training sessions are always calm and relaxed. If you’re feeling tense, better to hold off and train another time when you’re feeling stress free and ready to have fun interacting with your cat.
How To Teach Your Cat The ‘Sit’ Command
If you’ve ever taught a dog to sit, this will sound familiar. Remember, you’ll need some cat treats and a training clicker.
- Hold a treat just above your cat’s head and tell your kitty to, “Sit.” As your cat’s nose goes up to sniff it, their rear should automatically go down, right into a sit position.
- The instant your kitty’s rear hits the floor, click a training clicker or say “Good!” Then give kitty the treat.
- You should also praise and reward your cat any time you see them sit on their own. As your cat starts to sit, give a name to the action — “Sit” — then praise your cat for it and give a treat, if you have one nearby. If not, affection is a great treat too.
Once your cat has learned to sit, use the command to redirect cat behaviors you don’t like. For instance, if your cat likes to jump on your kitchen counter while you’re cooking, reward your cat for sitting at your feet instead.
How To Teach Your Cat The ‘Come’ Command
You can teach your cat to come by helping them form an association with being called and getting a meal, treat or affection. The sound you use to summon your cat is up to you; a training clicker, whistle, or bell will work, as will simply calling their name.
- Every time you feed your cat, call your cat by name as you set down the food.
- Once you’ve done that for a few days, start calling your cat at other times during the day. If they come, praise them and give them a treat.
- When your cat starts to come to you on command, raise the difficulty. Walk across the room, and call their name again. When they come, give them another treat.
- The key is to be consistent and do this every day until your cat comes every time you call. Stock up on treats and have fun!
Make sure you move around your home repeating this training so your cat knows to perform the behavior on command in any environment. Do it daily until your cat has learned to come when called in every situation.
Have you trained your cat to do anything on command? Got any tips for teaching felines tricks? Let us know in the comments below!