Most of the time, it feels like cats are the ones who train us. Yet no matter how skilled your cat is at manipulating you into pampering them, your cat can be trained. These five essential cat tricks provide mental enrichment and make your cat more enjoyable to live with.
Tips for Training a Cat
Cats, like dogs, respond best to positive reinforcement. You can use rewards and praise to motivate your cat to learn and perform tricks. Cats are less biddable than dogs, but they’re easy to work with when they’re hungry and you have high value rewards. Keep training sessions short and frequent.
Your training treats should have a strong odor that captures your cat’s attention. Temptations cat treats aren’t very healthy, but they’re irresistible to most cats and fine in moderation. Zuke’s cat treats are a bit healthier.
To make homemade treats, you can cook or dehydrate chicken, fish, eggs or another protein. You can also offer your cat small amounts of cheese. Some cats find vegetables and fruits rewarding, though you’ll typically need something more enticing for training.
You can use a clicker to mark the moment your cat gets a trick right. The sound of a click is more distinct than “good kitty!” and makes it easier for you to communicate the exact moment your cat has succeeded. If you don’t have a clicker, you can click your tongue or say, “yes!” instead.
You can train your cat to come when called, which comes in handy if they ever manage to get outside or need to be called away from some mischief.
Whistle or call your cat’s name from a very short distance. Your cat will already smell the treat in your hand when you’re close, so it should be easy for them to come on your cue. Gradually increase the distance, and avoid calling your cat when they’re relaxing or distracted.
Follow a Target
You can teach your cat to follow a target to easily get them inside their kennel, off the couch, and eventually, for more advanced tricks like jumping through a hoop. You can use a target stick with a ball at one end, but a wooden spoon will work.
Hold the target close to your cat, then praise and reward them the moment they touch it with their nose. If you’re having trouble getting your cat to touch the target, you can smear some tuna juice or other tasty treat on it.
Walk on a Leash
You can train your cat to tolerate wearing a harness and enjoy a walk with you around your neighborhood or at a park. It’s not difficult to introduce your cat to wearing a leash and harness, and you can use the target stick to encourage your cat to walk forward.
If you have a playful kitty, fetch is a fun way for them to get active. Some cats naturally retrieve toys as you throw them. Others will need a little help.
Toss a toy just a few feet away, then praise and reward your cat just for going after it. After a few successful trials, only reward your cat when they pick up the toy. Then, only reward them when they bring the toy close to you.
Stress Free Handling
Teaching your cat to tolerate handling isn’t a fun trick, but it can make important procedures much easier. You might want to work with a partner so you can praise and reward your cat as they’re having their nails trimmed, teeth cleaned, or other necessary maintenance.
Clever Cats Love Ready Pet Go
The professional pet sitters from Ready Pet Go are bonded and insured, and will quickly become your cat’s trusted friend. Call (240) 397-9446 or send us a message to schedule a Meet & Greet so we can be there when you need us.