How to Teach Your Cat to Do Tricks

If you are a patient person and want to teach your cats a few tricks, it is done in a similar way dog training is done. In principle, you want to reward your cat when it does what you want it to do.

Since cats don’t understand human language, the key to training is to coax the cat to do what you want it to do. When you are starting out the cat must perform the behavior on its own, then when it does what you want, reward the cat immediately and then repeat the process. Food rewards tend to be the most valuable rewards for cats. If you feed your cat twice a day instead of leaving food out all day long, try training your cat just before it eats. Its motivation to perform the trick will be much stronger because it is hungry. Once your cat has mastered the trick you can try alternating between food rewards and other rewards such as petting.

A good and easy first trick to train is when cats give you their paw to shake hands. This trick is best started when both you and your cat are sitting since from that position your cat can easily focus on you. When your cat is in the sitting position, approach your cat and touch its paw with your fingers while saying something like “paw” or “shake” or any other type of simple word. Cats will often lift their paws when they are touched. When your cat lifts its paw take it and give it a little shake. Then immediately give the cat a treat that you know it loves while praising it verbally.

Do this every time in the same way. Only reward the cat for the desired behavior or it will be confused. If your cat is having a hard time (meaning you are not having any success after a few minutes) simply stop and try again a few hours later or the next day. The last thing you want to do is have your cat associate the training with unpleasantness. It needs to be something the cat wants to do. Once your cat has mastered the trick you can try performing it in front of guests. Then again, the cat may choose to nap instead of performing. Cats will be cats after all.

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