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How To Train a Cat

Updated on September 12, 2012

Any Cat Can Learn a Trick!

Think only dogs can come when called and perform tricks? Think again! Cats are smart and eager to please. They can learn tricks and enjoy pleasing their people. Here's how to get started training your cat.

The Basics

You can teach a cat in much the same way as you would teach a dog. The main difference is that a cat is less motivated by food and loses interest more quickly. Brief sessions work well. Be consistent! If you are working on a trick and your cat wants a snack, use it as an opportunity to practice. Here is a quick and easy trick. It's the first trick I taught to the angry-looking cat featured in the picture.

Sit Pretty!

1) Get a morsel of a high value treat. I used a piece of turkey. Let your cat know you have it. He will let you know if he wants it. If he is interested, teach a trick. If not, try some other time.

2) Say the cat's name to get his attention.

3) Say, "Sit Pretty!" and hold the treat above his head, out of reach. He'll try to snag the treat. When he sits up, repeat "Sit Pretty" and give him the treat.

4) Reinforce this by trying it a few times.

5) Say "Sit Pretty" without holding the treat over his head. If he does the trick, give him the treat. Yay!

6) If he does not do the trick, put the treat over his head, complete the trick and end the training session.

7) Repeat whenever you and your cat are both in the mood. Depending on the cat, you may be able to say the command and get the trick the first session. Or, it may take a few days. It's fine, especially if the cat is new to the idea of training!

8) Once he has mastered the trick, you won't need the treat, but it's a good idea to reinforce the training by supplying a treat every now and then.

9) Congratulations! You learned a trick!

Cat Training Books

Need more help? There are books about training cats!

The Most Important Thing

The key to success is to make training fun! If your cat has fun, he will look forward to training and displaying his tricks.

Pick a Trick

What Trick Do You Want Your Cat To Learn?

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Have you ever tried to train your cat? Do you have any tips or tricks to share or questions to ask?

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