10 Tricks You Can Teach Your Cat

It’s common knowledge that dogs can learn tricks, but did you know cats are also quite adept at picking up new skills? Cats have a natural inclination to earn their meals, making them excellent candidates for learning tricks in exchange for treats. This can be a delightful activity for both you and your feline friend. The essentials for getting started include a cat that’s ready to eat, their most loved snacks, and a clicker for training. If you’re unsure where to begin, consider exploring the list below for some inspiration!
#1 – Sit

Teaching your cat to sit is one of the easier tricks and it’s recommended you try this first. All you need to do is say “sit” as you lure your cat into position with a piece of food, then click and feed. A few reps and you’ll be able to lure without food and then fade out the lure.
#2 – Jump

Teaching your cat to jump will depend on their natural tendencies. If you have a cat that really likes to jump, teaching them to jump through a hoop might be easy for you. First you’ll lure your cat through the hoop while it’s on the ground and click and treat for your cat walking through the hoop. Then you’ll raise it higher and higher until your cat jumps right through!
#3 – Shake

When your cat is sitting still, gently lift one of their paws while saying “shake,” and mark and reward. Continue these repetitions until you can start fading out your physical cue (lifting of the paw) and your cat meets you there. It’s easiest if you lift the same paw each time to make the exercise more consistent for your cat and therefore easier to learn.

#4 – Come When Called

Teaching your cat to come should be simple if your cat knows and responds to their name. Make sure you use a command that you’ll be consistent with and that you’ll be able to reward each time your cat comes to you until your training is relatively finished. Simply call your cats name and say your command and mark and reward when they get to you. You might have to lure your cat over the first few times.

#5 – Sit Pretty

Sit Pretty is one of the more difficult tricks because it’s not a natural position for your cat. That said, it’s easy to teach once your cat has a basic understanding of how training works. With your cat in a sitting position, simply lure their head straight up so they life their front feet off the ground, click and treat!
#6 – Fetch
Photo credit: Tony Harrison via Flickr.
To teach your cat to fetch, first find out what your cat’s favorite toy is and make sure to use that. Fetch can be taught a number of ways, but the easiest way is to throw the toy and gently take it from them, only to throw it again. Eventually, most cats find it quite fun to chase after the toy and will bring it back to you on their own.
#7 – Spin

The fun part about teaching your cat to spin in a circle is that you can also teach directions, such as right and left. For this trick, simply lure your cat in a circle (we suggest teaching one direction at a time) while saying your command, click and reward.
#8 – Lie Down

Teaching your cat to lie down is easiest when done from a sitting position. With your cat in a sit, simply lure their head down to the ground with food while you give the command. It might take a minute for your cat to bring their entire body down and it make take a few tries with you starting over. But wait your cat out and when they finally bring their body to the ground mark and reward.

#9 – Wave

To teach a wave, simply hold a treat in front of your cat and move it around a little bit in front of their nose, saying “wave.” or “say hi.” When your cat lifts their foot to grab the treat, mark and reward.

#10 – Roll Over

Teaching roll over is best done after your cat has mastered lying down. From there, you’ll likely teach it in steps. Start with your cat in the down position and lure a piece of food over their left shoulder in a counterclockwise motion. When your cat turns their head, they’ll try to lift their feet to get the treat and will roll over onto their side. Click and reward this. Do this a few times until your cat is comfortable with the process. Then, instead of clicking and rewarding lying on the side, keep luring until your cat rolls all the way over to get the piece of food and mark and reward that behavior.

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