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Pawsome Tricks to Teach Your Cat
CatsBehavior

Pawsome Tricks to Teach Your Cat

Critter Culture Staff

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You don't have to be a cat whisperer to teach your feline friend some fun new tricks. Cats might have a reputation for being independent and aloof, but they're intelligent creatures that can be trained, just like dogs. With the right approach, they can master a range of impressive tricks.

In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised at the variety of things they can learn and how easy it is to teach them with the right method!

1

Train your cat to come when called

Domestic life with cat Chalabala / Getty Images

For friendly felines, teaching them to "come" is an easy trick. When you see your cat heading toward you, start saying the word "come" and when they reach you, reward your cat with treats or pets. They will come to associate the word with what you mean, although being cats they may choose to ignore you!

To better ensure your cat listens, use treats and positive reinforcement consistently to ensure that they have a pleasant time when they come to you.

2

Teach your cat to sit

Befrieding a cat by giving him a finger to smell. spooh / Getty Images

To teach your cat to sit, start with a handful of their favorite treats. Hold the treat close to their nose, then slowly move your hand up and slightly backward over their head. Your cat's natural response will be to lower their bottom to the ground. As soon as they sit, say "Sit" and offer the treat as a reward.

Repeat this several times, gradually reducing the hand movement until your cat sits on command without the treat lure.

3

Get a high five from your cat

The cute Bengal cat gives a high-five paw to the owner with love. Selective focus Svetlana Sultanaeva / Getty Images

Begin by getting your cat in a sitting position. Hold a treat in your closed hand, then offer your hand just above their head. Your cat might instinctively reach up with their paw to bat at your hand. When they do, say "High Five" and open your hand to give them the treat.

Praise and repeat this process, associating the phrase "High Five" with the action until they respond to the command without hesitation.

4

Get fancy with a spin

Walking Cat georgeolsson / Getty Images

Hold a treat close to your cat's nose and slowly move it in a circular motion. Your cat's curiosity will encourage them to follow the treat, resulting in a spin. As they complete the circle, say "Spin" and give them the treat as a reward. Repeat this process multiple times, using the command "Spin" each time they turn.

Gradually, they'll associate the word with the action and spin on command.

5

Keep them in place with "stay"

Serious cat looking at camera Linda Raymond / Getty Images

Have your cat sit or lie down in front of you. Show them an open palm while saying "stay." Take a step back, and if your cat remains in place, offer a treat and praise. Gradually increase the distance and time they need to stay put before receiving the reward.

If they start to move, gently return them to the original position without scolding them. Practice regularly, rewarding your cat for their patience and self-control.

6

Communicate with a meow on command

British Short Hair cat meowing on top of wicker stool Carlos G. Lopez / Getty Images

Find a quiet place with minimal distractions. Wait for your cat to naturally meow and immediately reward them with a treat and verbal praise, saying "speak" as they meow. Repeat this process, and your clever cat will associate the command "Speak" with making a sound, prompting them to do it on cue.

7

Exercise your kitty with a hoop

Playing Yellow Toys © copyright 2011 Sharleen Chao / Getty Images

Jumping through a hoop is a fun trick, and it will give your cat some exercise! Start with the hoop on the ground and entice your cat to walk through it by holding a treat on the other side. Gradually raise the hoop as they become comfortable, continuing to reward them with treats for each successful jump.

Over time, your cat will associate the hoop with rewards and happily leap through it on command, whether it's on the ground or held in the air.

8

Greet your cat with a handshake

shaking hands with cat sanyanwuji / Getty Images

With your cat in a calm state, gently take their paw in your hand and say "shake" while offering a treat. Repeat this process several times until your cat willingly extends their paw when you say the command. Praise and treat them each time they shake hands to reinforce the behavior.

9

Add some drama with "play dead"

cat playing dead evergreentree / Getty Images

While your cat is in the down position, show them a treat and gently guide them onto their side while saying "play dead" or using a hand signal and saying "bang." Reward and praise them when they stay in that position. Practice this sequence, gradually reducing the need to guide them until they play dead on cue with a treat as a reward.

10

Do target training

Girl playing and giving her pets treats for a good behaviar MelkiNimages / Getty Images

Present a stick or your hand as a target, and when your cat touches it with their nose or paw, reward them with a treat and praise. Repeat this process, saying "touch" as they interact with the target. As they become familiar with the command, move the target to different locations to encourage agility and responsiveness.

This will give your cat some mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.

11

Teach your cat to ring a bell

cat ring bell Nils Jacobi / Getty Images

Attach a small bell where your cat can reach it. You'll have to decide what the bell should mean. If your cat goes outdoors, try using it every time you're about to let them outside. Encourage them to touch the bell with their paw or nose. Say "bell" and reward them by letting them outside.

If you have an indoor cat, you can teach them to use the bell to request treats—but don't be surprised if it's constantly ringing! Once again, encourage them to touch the bell so it rings, and reward them with a treat.

Over time, they'll learn to associate the bell with getting what they want and will ring it when they desire treats or outdoor adventures.

12

Have them roll over on cue

Beautiful shot of a white cat looking lying rolled over Wirestock / Getty Images

Begin by having your cat lie down. Hold a treat close to their nose and move it in a circular motion, guiding them to roll onto their back. As they complete the roll, say "roll over" and reward them with the treat. Repeat the process, using the command each time, until your cat confidently rolls over on cue.

13

Teach your cat to stand tall

Meerkat Cat Image by Chris Winsor / Getty Images

Hold a treat above your cat's head, slightly out of reach, so they rise on their hind legs to reach for it. As they stand up, say "Beg" and give them the treat. With practice, your cat will associate the command with the action and perform adorably for treats.

14

Employ your cat as your doorman

cat looking out door ablokhin / Getty Images

Some cats can be taught to interact with lever-style door handles. To teach this trick, tie a soft fabric strip or a shoelace to the door handle, making it easily accessible for your cat. Show them how to pull the handle with their paw by gently guiding it with a treat. Say "open" as they pull the door to you and "close" when they push it back.

Be patient and consistent, and your clever cat might surprise you with their newfound door-handling skills!

15

Test their agility with balancing acts

Portrait of black cat balancing on wooden railing Westend61 / Getty Images

Encourage your cat to showcase their poise and agility by training them to balance on narrow surfaces like a beam or the back of a chair. Start with a wider surface and guide them with treats, gradually progressing to narrower ones as they gain confidence. Use verbal cues like "balance" and reward them with treats when they successfully maintain their position, fostering their balancing abilities over time.

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