How to Teach Your Cat Tricks

How to Teach Your Cat Tricks

Before we get started with this guide to training your cat, it is important to understand the difference between training dogs and cats.

Although both are mammals who learn through both punishment and reward, dogs and cats tend to have different orientations towards being directed by humans.

This may have a lot to do with the fact that domesticated dogs have co-evolved in complex partnership with humans for over 30,000 years, while domesticated cats have only been around for about 4,000 years. In addition, dogs tend to be more socially oriented with other dogs and people, retaining the pack oriented lifestyle of their wolf ancestors.

Thus, the drive to be given social rewards such as praise and acceptance for dogs may indeed be higher than it is in most cats, making training a bit easier for canines. Cats, as most of us already know, are not as anxious about what we think of them as dogs are.

Despite that general trend, cats that receive rewards based training often learn to love learning. Just like with dogs, their individual personalities can make a big difference when it comes to being “trick” oriented.

If you want to learn how to train cats, this guide will give you the basic principles you need to have fun while you teach your cat some new tricks.

What Kinds of Tricks Can You Train a Cat?

Cats are intelligent animals capable of a wide range of both natural and learned behaviors that can be successfully put on a cue (a.k.a. command). However, before you get started with fancy tricks, we recommend you teach the following basic commands which will give you an advantage for future training sessions.

  • Train your cat to come when called so that your cat comes to your at the beginning of your training sessions.
  • Train your cat to pay attention to you by teaching your cat to look at you during a training session.
  • Train your cat to follow a target (a ball on a long stick) so that you will be able to move her from one place to another during training as well as train complex tricks that involve covering some distance.

Once you have those basic behaviors reliably trained, you can start to expand to more exciting tricks, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Sit
  • Lay down
  • Go to a mat
  • High five
  • Roll over
  • Fetch
  • Spin
  • Stand up
  • Use the toilet (instead of a litter box)

To give you a little bit of inspiration, here are 10 great cat tricks to teach your feline:



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