Tips on Teaching Your Cat to Do Tricks
Your kitten or adopted cat may surprise you with clever antics like fetching or slam-dunking toys. Is it possible to teach cats to do other tricks? Here are some tips on cat trick training!
Why Teach Your Cat to Do Tricks?
Aside from your enjoyment of cat antics, teaching cats to do tricks or follow commands helps keep your pet active, engaged, and responsive. These are all good things for kitty’s mental and emotional health. Pets who are bored can become destructive and even aggressive. The more you can keep your kitty entertained; the happier and healthier your pet will be.
In fact, training your cat can:
- Keep your cat alert and interested in its indoor environment
- Help your cat bond with you through expectations that you will play too!
- Provide external stimulation that cats, who are natural predators, require to keep their minds sharp and avoid depression
Make Each Training a Positive Experience
Teaching a cat to do tricks is often as easy as offering the right amount of treats during a training session.
Offer rewards when your cat succeeds and pull back rewards when kitty doesn’t perform. Don’t use hard words while training, because they will not work. In fact, punishment and disapproval may teach your cat to distrust you.
Tips on How to Teach Your Cat to Do Tricks
There are lots of ways to offer your cat rewards and praise for a trick well done. Eventually, you will withdraw treats so your pet doesn’t gain unwanted weight.
- Put something smelly-good and tasty on your hands. Dabbing a little something luscious on your hand will encourage kitty to trust your touch
- Combine treats with a clicker. Once your cat is treat-trained in combination with a clicker noise, you can withdraw the treats. Your cat will associate the click with the trick command
- Use treats to reinforce verbal commands. Once your cat has learned to respond to your voice command, withdraw treats
- Keep training sessions short. Try the trick a few times each session, a few times a day. You don’t want to frustrate your cat
- Offer praise when your cat achieves the outcome you want
Your goal is to keep your cat amused and engaged. Heap praise and high-fives on every success!
What Tricks Can Cats Learn?
Some cat tricks come naturally to our feline friends. A high-five is easy because cats like to bat things. You raise your hand, and your cat will swat it. Make sure you’ve worked with your pet to trust your touch. Otherwise, kitty might see a raised hand as a threat.
- Fetch—There’s not much cuter than a fetch cat. For indoor cats, this can be a great trick to keep them exercised.
- Come—Cats are at your side in a flash when they hear the can opener! They can just as easily learn to come when you call them by name. Treats and praise will have them running to you.
- Stand, sit, lay down—These commands are easy to teach and keep your cat’s mind busy and give you greater control over kitty’s movements.
Keeping Your Pet Happy and Healthy
At Blue Valley Animal Hospital, we’re here to partner with you to keep your pets happy and healthy throughout their lives. If you have questions about training your cat or need other pet care educational resources, please call for an appointment at 913-681-2818. And don’t forget, annual wellness checkups are the first step to pet health!