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  • Molly Weinfurter

Cat Tricks to Teach Your Feline Companion

Almost everyone teaches their dog tricks, but why aren’t cat tricks as common? Even though cats are known for being more independent and stubborn than dogs, they can still learn tricks just like a dog can. So, what are some good tricks to teach your cat?


Can You Teach Cats Tricks?

Yes, cats can learn tricks. In fact, many cats should learn at least a few basic commands or tricks. Even if your cat is notorious for not listening, they can learn new skills with enough patience and consistency. There are even cat trainers that can help you get your cat to listen to you.


cat waiting to learn tricks

Benefits of Cat Tricks

Tricks can provide lots of benefits for your furry friend, such as:

  • Providing mental stimulation

  • Forming a stronger bond between you and your cat

  • Improving physical activity

  • Encouraging your cat to listen to you

  • Reducing boredom and stress


For cats and dogs, tricks might just seem like something extra to learn for fun, but pets are often happier and healthier when they’re taught new skills. Training sessions can keep cats busy and help them feel closer to you.


Even though cat training isn’t frequently talked about, it’s becoming more common. According to a study, some shelters are using clicker training to help adoptable cats feel less stressed as they wait for their forever homes.


Tips for Training Your Cat

Before you jump into tricks you can teach a cat, here are a few things to consider:

  • Use training treats (low-calorie, flavorful treats) that your cat loves. Only use high-value treats like catnip once the training session is over. Otherwise, your cat may lose focus.

  • Always give your cat the treat as soon as they complete the task to prevent confusion. Clicker training can be beneficial for marking good behaviors.

  • Keep training sessions short. For best results, repeat the trick four to six times a few times per day.

  • Be patient and use lots of repetition. Most cats aren’t used to learning vocabulary like dogs are, so it may take a while before your cat gets the hang of new tricks.

  • Consider using hand signals that match the verbal cue to make what you’re asking clearer for your kitty.

  • Wait until your cat is awake and active to work on training to ensure they’re focused.


As long as you find a treat that your cat loves and remain patient through the training process, teaching your cat tricks will likely be a success.


confident cat

Best Tricks to Teach Your Cat

There’s no limit to the tricks cats can learn, but it’s good to start with something basic. Below are a few simple cat tricks for pet parents who have never trained a feline before.


Touch

“Touch” is a simple command that trainers recommend for both cats and dogs. It involves your cat touching their nose to your hand. It may not be an amazing trick, but it’s a great way to get your cat’s attention to redirect bad behavior and get them focused for more advanced tricks.


Here are the steps for teaching a cat to touch:

  1. Hold a treat in one hand while holding out the index finger of your other hand a few inches from your cat’s face.

  2. When your cat leans forward to sniff your finger, say “touch” just before their nose touches you.

  3. Immediately reward your cat with the treat once they touch your finger.

  4. Repeat those steps several times so your cat can associate the word “touch” with touching their nose to your finger.


Sit

“Sit” is one of the first commands dogs learn, so it’s also a great trick to teach your cat. Just like for dogs, this trick involves asking your cat to sit on command.


Here are the steps to teach a cat to sit:

  1. Hold a small treat close to your cat’s face.

  2. Slowly raise the treat above your cat’s head and slightly back so your cat has to look up.

  3. As you move your hand further back, say “sit.”

  4. Once your hand is holding the treat far back enough, your cat will have to sit to look at it.

  5. Reward your cat with the treat as soon as their butt touches the ground.

  6. Keep practicing so your cat can associate “sit” with the action.


High Five

If you can teach your cat to sit, a high five is a common trick to teach next. With this trick, your cat will touch their paw to the palm of your hand as if they’re giving you a high five.


Here are the steps for teaching a cat to give a high five:

  1. First, get your cat to sit and face you.

  2. Hold a treat in your hand and wait for your cat to paw at your hand curiously.

  3. Say “high five” as your cat’s paw nears your hand, then reward them with the treat once their paw touches your hand.

  4. Try those steps a few times, and then try it without holding the treat in your hand.


Spin

“Spin” is another trick that’s easy for most cats to learn. However, you should only practice it for short periods so your cat doesn’t get dizzy.


Here are the steps for teaching a cat to spin:

  1. Show your cat that you’re holding a treat in your hand to get their attention.

  2. Slowly move the treat in a circle around your cat’s body. Your cat should naturally follow it.

  3. After practicing that a few times, you can start saying “spin” before you lead your cat with the treats.

  4. With enough practice, your cat should understand what “spin” means even without the treat.


Come

“Come” is more of a beneficial command instead of a trick, but it’s a great cue to teach. Some cats may hide or run away when you need them to be near you, so this trick can make it easier to round up your pet.


Here are the steps for teaching a cat to come:

  1. Start by standing a few feet away from your cat and calling their name. Reward them if they come to you.

  2. If your cat doesn’t respond to their name, you can try crinkling a treat bag to entice them to come.

  3. After practicing a few times, start saying “come” and then reward them when they come on command.

  4. Practice this trick regularly since it can be beneficial in emergency situations, such as if your cat runs outside.


cat trick showing paws

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I Train My Cat to Stop Scratching Furniture?

Yes, you can teach a cat to stop scratching furniture. To make sure your cat doesn’t scratch household items, provide scratching posts for them. If they try to scratch other objects, redirect them to the scratching post and reward them when they scratch that instead.


How Do You Train a Cat to Use the Litter Box?

Most cats learn to use the litter box on their own. If your cat is struggling to figure it out, put them near the litter box immediately after they eat or wake up from a nap to encourage them to use it. If they still won’t use it, try changing the litter type or litter box size.


Can You Train a Cat to Walk on a Leash?

Some cats can learn to be comfortable on a leash. Start by putting the leash and harness on them for short periods inside to help them get used to it. Then, try walking them with the leash while guiding them with a treat.


Can You Teach a Cat to Stop Being Aggressive?

If your cat acts aggressively, redirect their attention or remove them from the situation. Getting angry with them will only stress them out and likely make their behaviors worse. If your cat’s aggression is getting out of hand, it’s a good idea to consult a professional trainer.


How Do You Trick a Cat into Taking Liquid Medicine?

The easiest way to get your cat to take liquid medicine is to mix it with wet food, preferably a flavor you know your cat loves. Feed the mixture directly to your cat to ensure they eat it instead of letting it sit out.


cat wearing leash

Cat Tricks Benefit You and Your Feline

Cats can learn tricks, but every cat learns at a different pace. Some felines will master tricks after only a few short sessions while other cats could take months to understand the basics. Cats doing tricks might seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but cat training can improve your cat’s well-being and help them feel closer to you.


If you’re struggling with tricks to teach cats, consider working with a cat trainer. They can give you tips that are personalized to your cat’s temperament and needs.

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