Pet Tips

Cat tricks – You can teach cats to do tricks – Pet tip 112

Many people don’t believe that it is possible, but you can train a cat and you can teach a cat to do tricks. Although teaching a cat tricks is rarely as easy as teaching a dog tricks, with a little patience it can be done. One of the reasons that cats are harder to train than dogs has to do with their respective natures. In the wild cats are basically solitary creatures that come together only for mating. The female also hangs around to do the child rearing until her kittens can fend for themselves. Dogs are pack animals, meaning they travel and live in groups. When we bring these pets into our homes, the dynamics change somewhat for cats. Cats tend to become somewhat more social with us. For dogs the dynamic doesn’t change nearly as much since we humans become their pack in their minds. Since all packs have a leader and pack members want to please their leader, dogs are naturally willing to please their human leaders. As all cat owners know, for cats this human leadership role doesn’t have that much power. Cats tend to listen to us on their own terms.

If you are a patient person however, and want to try to teach your cats a few tricks or train your cat, it is done much in the same 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 you have to coax the cat to do what you want it to do. This is the key to the training, When you are just starting out the CAT has to perform the behaviour on its own so it’s up to you to get the cat to perform the desired behaviour. 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. Once your cat has mastered the trick you can try alternating between food rewards and other rewards such as petting or cat massage.

A good easy trick that tends to impress the guests 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 “shakey” or any other type of simple word. Cats will often lift their paws when they are touched. When your cat actually lifts its paw take its paw and give it a wee little shake. Then IMMEDIATELY give the cat a treat that you know it loves while praising it verbally. Do this every time in exactly the same way. Only reward the cat for the desired behaviour 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, and maybe charge an admission fee. Then again, the cat may choose to nap instead of performing. Cats will be cats after all.

2 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar Amy Wood says:

    It’s true!!!! You can train a cat. My cat learned “sit” and “shake”. I did this using treats.

  2. Avatar jennifer says:

    yes it is so true!! but it take time and patience though but i done two of my cats a female and a male but the male don’t do it as good as the female cat. i haven’t tried the “sit” trick but will try,i did my shake trick by no treats i just give her cat foods like before i feed her.

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