By Adam Lee-Smith
Published: 09/16/2021, edited: 09/21/2021
Any pet parent with a feline friend will know that teaching a cat tricks is no walk in the park. Unlike our canine compadres, cats are headstrong, aloof, and don't like being told what to do.
Cats also have different motivations and responses than dogs. For example, cats tend to respond best to short, 2-minute training sessions, which is when their short-term memory works best.
Cats also tend to react well to clicker training and positive reinforcement. Whether you have a cat or a dog, one foolproof training technique is offering them a tasty morsel after a job well done.
While cats are harder to train than dogs, that doesn't mean cats can't learn a trick or two. In fact, cats can learn just about as many tricks as dogs, but most pet parents don't have the time or patience to train their stubborn Simba. Luckily, there are a handful of tricks you can teach your tiny tiger that aren't too difficult to master.
One of the easiest and most valuable tricks to teach your cat is to come when called. While doggy pet parents may not think this is much of a trick, anybody with a feline will know getting your cat to come when called is no easy feat.
Training your cat to come when called can be beneficial, especially if you have an outdoor cat who's prone to disappearing. However, successfully training your cat to come when called can depend on your cat's independence and personality.
You can train your cat to come when called in a few different ways. For example, using treats and a clicker is a "pawpular" method, while the name reinforcement method also works well.
One of the first things your doggo learns in puppy class is to sit, and it's also one of the easiest tricks to teach your tabby! Your friends will no doubt be amazed that you managed to teach your little lion a trick that requires a bit of obedience.
You can train a cat to sit in the same way you'd teach a dog. Get your cat's favorite treat and hold it in front of them. When you raise it above their head, they'll look up, which should cause them to sit down automatically. Then, give your cat the treat and plenty of praise.
Teaching your cat tricks like this requires a consistent and kind approach. If you show any frustration or anger at your cat's slow uptake, it'll only set you back.
After your cat has mastered "sit", you can move on to a slightly more complicated trick. Training your cat to shake hands isn't as tough as it sounds, and you're sure to impress your fellow pet parents once Smudge masters this skill.
One of the best training methods for this trick is to get your cat to sit. Then, while they're focused on you, tell them the command "give paw" and then hold their paw lightly for a few seconds. Then, reward your cat with a treat before repeating until your cat gets the gist.
As this training method requires you to grab your cat's paw, you'll want to ensure they're in the "purrfect" mood for a training session; otherwise, your tiny tiger might react badly.
Another super simple and incredibly helpful trick you can teach your cat is to go inside their carrier or crate. Catching a cat and putting them in a carrier when you're rushing to a vet appointment can be very stressful. Luckily, you can train a cat to use a crate with a bit of perseverance.
The best way to train your cat to like their crate is to start building a positive association from kittenhood. Leave the crate out for your cat to explore. Placing some cozy blankets inside will encourage them to nap in the crate. You can also play with your cat inside the crate/carrier. Then, when it's time for a field trip, your cat should be more receptive to their carrier.
If you want to let your kitten roam around your neighborhood but you're worried about your fur-baby getting lost or hurt, you should train them to walk on a leash. Leash walking cats is becoming increasingly common, and it's an excellent way for your pint-sized panther to explore the great outdoors.
For the best results, starting training from a young age and make sure you buy a cat harness instead of a small dog harness. Rewarding good behavior with treats and slowly increasing the duration of each walk is the best way to leash train your kitty.
Cats can play rough, and if they get freaked out or feel threatened, they are more than happy to show off their claws. Training your cat to be gentle is pretty simple and will help you avoid the odd painful bite or scratch.
You'll always want to create a positive association when training a cat, so you'll need to find the right balance when training your cat to be gentle. This requires you to be firm but not to yell or be aggressive. If your cat reacts badly, ignore them. Distracting your cat with a toy or a loud noise is key.
Most cats learn how to use their litter box without any training, but did you know you can train your cat to use a toilet? Most pet parents will agree the worst thing about having a cat is cleaning their litter. Teaching your cat to use the bathroom gets rid of this unpleasant chore.
There are a couple of different ways you can train your cat to use a toilet. You'll find many different tools and inventions out there, like toilet liners, that you can place into your toilet to make it easier for your cat to use.
After a while, you can remove the toilet liners, and your cat should still use the toilet. Alternatively, you can try slowly transitioning your cat to the toilet by moving and raising their litter tray over time.
Another relatively straightforward trick to teach your little leopard is to stay in position. In order to teach your cat this trick, your cat will need to master the "sit" command. Teaching your cat "stay" will come in handy if you need your feline to stay still during a veterinary exam.
Cats aren't quick to pick up on the idea of staying put, so placing a cat mat or a blanket where you want them to stay is hugely helpful. Grab your clicker, and whenever your feline steps or sits on the mat, click and give them a treat. Then, introduce the "stay" command. Over time, you can remove the mat and see if your cat will stay put regardless.
Another trick that's easy to teach your cat once they know "sit" is to lie down. Transitioning from one pose to another is much easier than teaching your cat to lie down from scratch.
As with teaching a cat to sit, "lie down" requires positive reinforcement and gesturing to get your cat into the correct position. With a treat in hand, gesture downwards below your cat's head.
Use the command "lie down", and if they move downwards or crouch, give them the treat. Then, slowly over time, you can encourage them to lie down properly.
A simple trick that prevents your house from being covered in discarded treats is "find it”. If you throw a treat for your cat, there's a big chance they'll lose track of it and then lose interest. "Find it" ensures your cat eats all their treats, and you can also make a fun game out of this command once mastered.
"Find it" ranks as one of the easiest tricks to teach your cat. All you need to do is toss or hide a treat near your cat and tell them to "find it". Give them plenty of praise when they locate the treat. Then, you can place treats inside boxes and tell them to "find it," making an easy puzzle game that'll keep Felix entertained for hours.
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