How to Train Your Cat to Sit

Medium
2-3 Weeks
General

Introduction

We all know that cats are much more independent than dogs and that cats have their own agenda in life. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t teach cats to do some of the things that dogs do. 

As a matter of fact, taking on the task of training your cat to sit can be fun and rewarding for both you and your furry feline. Once you teach your cat to sit, the sky is really the limit. Imagine showing your friends that your cat is extra clever. This basic command is a useful one, so give it a try!

Defining Tasks

Just as it is for dogs, the “sit” command lays the foundation for further training of your cat as time goes by. Consistency and kindness are always keys to success when training. Rewarding your finicky feline with a favorite treat will help things along, as will plenty of playtime after a training session. Why teach your cat to sit? Well, cats are curious and often get in the way of a task you are performing just because they need to know what you are up to. Train your cat to sit and they’ll wait until you give the a-okay to check things out.

Getting Started

Before you train, gather a few supplies. Make sure you have given your cat some pre-training playtime, and don’t train them right after a meal—they may prefer to nap instead! Treats, a clicker, a favorite toy, and patience are all you need to get started.

The Treat Stick Method

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Step
1
Tasty training
Does your cat have a much-enjoyed soft treat? Save that tasty morsel for training sessions and watch how your cat attempts to learn as a way to get the reward.
Step
2
Make it special
Take the treat and spread it on a stick, such as a smooth tongue depressor (make sure there are no splinters in the item you use). Since this treat is saved for training sessions, extra special, very once-in-a-while treats can be used. Think meat-flavored baby food or cream cheese.
Step
3
Like a lure
This method is often used to train dogs as well. Raise the treat-covered stick like a lure. Show your cat the lure, raise it up, and watch their eyes follow the lure.
Step
4
Automatic sit
Once your cat’s head is fully raised, their hind end should automatically sit. If it does not, gently guide it down. Say “sit” and let your cat lick the lure.
Step
5
Verbal cue
It’s fun to add a hand signal along with the verbal cue to “sit”. Eventually, you can impress your friends with a cat that sits when the hand signal is given!
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The Sit With High Five Method

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Step
1
The combo
When your cat attempts to give you a high five, it will be most comfortable for them to sit at the same time. Combine both training tasks to make for an impressive sit. In this case, though, you’ll want to differentiate the command with a verbal “sit for high five”.
Step
2
The sniff
Hold your palm in front of your hand. Being curious, your cat will most likely sit before they sniff your hand. You may have to work at this and verbalize what you are hoping to achieve.
Step
3
Verbal cues
Touch a high-value treat to your palm and wait for them to sniff. As you see your cat making a move to sit and sniff, give the verbal cue “sit for high five”, tapping your hand again.
Step
4
Lift and assist
Keep your palm facing the cat and encourage them to touch your hand. You can help your cat lift their paw if necessary. When your cat’s paw touches your palm, reward with the treat. Practice will make perfect!
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The Clicker Method

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Step
1
Be ready
This method involves being ready to train when your cat is likely to sit on their own. When they do, you mark the action with the clicker.
Step
2
Mark the sit
The idea is to give a treat and marking the sit with the clicker. Look for your cat’s favorite places to sit. They could be a secure window ledge or on the floor in front of a screened door.
Step
3
Practice the cue
When your cat is about to sit, give the verbal cue “sit”. This will take some practice and observation on your part to be aware of the signals your cat gives that they are about to sit. Keep practicing and giving your cat the cue as they move to sit.
Step
4
Sit from standing
Once you think that your cat is learning, give the command to “sit” when your cat is standing. When your clever kitty responds, reward them right away. Remember your cat is an independent creature and will do best with consistent practice. And, of course, reward training sessions with playtime afterward!
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Written by Darlene Stott

Published: 01/26/2021, edited: 01/26/2021

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