Cats have a reputation for being independent, aloof, and flat-out disapproving, so it might surprise you to learn that you can teach your favorite feline a few simple tricks!
Cat Training Benefits
Plus, cat training stimulates your cat both mentally and physically, which can contribute to your cat’s overall health and wellbeing.
Preparation is key! Once you have your cat’s attention, you don’t want to have to step out if you’ve forgotten the treats, toys, or other supplies.
What you need:
- A peaceful, comfortable spot that your cat associates with positivity.
- A favorite treat used only for training sessions. Things to try: a specific brand of treats, tuna, a dab of canned food on a spoon, or catnip. If your cat isn’t food motivated, try a special toy or even a couple of loving pats.
- A clicker (or you can make this sound yourself).
- Your undivided attention. Choose a time when you aren’t likely to get interrupted, and silence your cell phone if possible.
- Keep it brief—15 minutes max, and if kitty starts to lose interest, end the training session early.
- A positive attitude! Reward your cat’s positive behavior and simply ignore the actions you don’t want to reinforce. NEVER punish your cat.
3 Simple Tricks
With a little patience and practice, your cat can learn a few simple commands. Cats are sticklers for schedules (ever run late with their dinner?), so think of these training sessions as a way of creating a new routine!
Come When Called
This is a practical cat trick, especially if you have a cat that can sneak out an open door or wiggle her way out of a harness.
- Choose a specific word (or phrase) to use consistently, such as “here” or “come” accompanied by the cat’s name.
- Start out sitting (or standing) next to your cat and say your chosen word. Click and reward your cat just for looking at you.
- Take a step further away and repeat your chosen word.
- Click and reward when your cat approaches.
- Gradually increase the distance.
This trick can be combined with Come When Called.
- When your cat approaches, say “sit.”
- Hold the treat over her head so she has to look slightly upward.
- She will most likely sit naturally.
- Click and reward her with a treat!
Once your cat is sitting and has enjoyed a reward, you can ask for a high five!
- Sit relatively eye-level with your cat.
- Hold your cat’s favorite treat out in front of her.
- When she pats at your hand, click and reward her with the treat!
- Once she learns that touching your hand results in a treat, you can say “high five” with your palm open, and give her the treat with your other hand.
Healthy pets are happy pets, so be sure to stay up-to-date with your cat’s wellness visits at Town & Country Animal Hospital.