Dogs aren’t the only pets who can learn tricks! Cats are just as trainable as their canine counterparts—all it takes is a little time and patience.
The type of training that would work best for your cat depends on your cat’s temperament. If you know what motivates your feline friend, you can train them to do any number of tricks!
Cat Training Tips
Know The Training Dos and Don’ts.
Unlike dogs, cats are less likely to be motivated to work in a partnership with you, and don’t respond to praise as effectively. But they can be trained using consistency, and positive reinforcement such as reward-based training. In no instance is dominance or negative reinforcement a healthy or effective method of training, and can often lead to behavior issues with your cat.
Understand Your Cat.
Your cat’s temperament says a lot about what type of training will be successful. For some cats, a good snuggle or verbal praise may be enough motivation. For other cats, reward-based treat training may be most effective. Try to make the reward something different from their regular food so your cat will be motivated by something extra special. Clicker training can also be effective when used in conjunction with treats, and slowly transitioned to be the primary motivator.
Pick the Trick.
Before beginning any training, decide what it is you want your cat to learn. Is it to high-five, sit, or jump through a hoop? It’s best to begin with a simple trick and take it one step at a time. For instance, if you want them to sit, move a treat in an arc just over their head so they follow it with their nose and eventually sit. As soon as your cat performs the correct behavior, reward them!
Practice with Patience.
Your cat will not learn a new trick overnight. Patience, consistency and repetition are key to training your cat to learn a new trick. Petplace recommends teaching only one trick at a time and keeping training sessions to 10 or 15 minutes to avoid boredom or fatigue. More complicated tricks, such as jumping through a hoop, will take longer, and require you to train your cat step-by-step to recognize a reward is tied to going through the hoop. Practice—and patience—make perfect!
Try Other Tricks.
Once your cat has mastered one trick, you can move on to others! Take what you’ve learned and the second, third, or fourth tricks should be easier to teach than the ones before. You can also teach your cat practical tricks like coming when called or walking on a leash.
Training your cat to learn new tricks can be a great bonding experience for both of you, and can be a lot of fun! Has your cat successfully learned a fun, new trick? Share in the comments below!