People often say about cats that they’re too independent, that you can’t teach them anything because they don’t care or that they’re not as affectionate or patient as dogs can be, but that’s simply not true. All cats are different, like all dogs, or all humans for that matter. It’s just a question of finding a way to connect with them! A nice way, for instance, to connect with a cat who doesn’t like being petted, is to teach them tricks.
Why should you teach your cat tricks and for what purpose?
There are multiple reasons we’d encourage you to teach tricks to your cat, one of them being to help your cat understand boundaries. Rewarding them when they’re doing something and ignoring them when they don’t, will teach them what is okay to do in the house or not.
Second reason, like mentioned before, it’s a nice way to create an easy bond with your cat, especially if they’re rescued ones and are wary of human contact.
Last one, it’s just fun!
What you’ll need
Don’t worry! You won’t need to invest in fancy training equipment yet, as those tricks can be taught with three things only: your cat’s favourite treats (check out our article about Homemade Treats), knowing how to snap your fingers, and lastly the most important one: patience. Don’t forget that it takes time to teach your pet something new, and each trick will take different amount of time to be taught; one could take an hour, another one a week or a month. Patience is key!
If you enjoy those tricks and would like to make it easier later, we’d recommend investing in a training clicker which will help you in the process.
First one: Sit
This one is the easiest to teach and the basis of a lot of other tricks. Find a corner of the house wear your cat feels comfortable and sit to be at your cat’s eye level.
- Visibly hold the treat in your hands for your cat to see it.
- Bring the treat close to their nose (1-2cm).
- Now lift the treat up from their nose. If done slowly, the cat will follow the treat with their gaze and look upwards.
- Once the treat is up your cat’s head, slowly move the treat to your cat’s tail. If they’re still following the treat with their gaze, they should naturally go in a seated position. It might take a bit of time for your cat to adjust so keep the treat on position.
- As soon as your cat sits, snap your fingers, and give them the treat. Repeat the finger snapping every time your cat sits, it will help them understand they did it right. Always give your cat the treat after snapping your fingers.
- If your cat is confident with this process, repeat steps 1-6 a couple of times so they learn that sitting on the floor will get them a treat.
Second one: High Five
For this one, you’ll need to use a small container in which your cat can’t put its paw in, like a small espresso cup.
- Get your cat to sit as taught above, and place the treat in the cup.
- Wait until your cat tries to grab the treat and touch the cup. When they touch the cup, snap your fingers, and give them a treat.
- Repeat Step 2 as much as necessary, and when you think your cat is confident enough, remove the treat to see if they keep repeating the gesture, always snapping fingers and rewarding with a treat of they touch the cup.
- Once your cat has memorised the pattern, start holding the cup in your hand, first low, and higher every time they succeed.
- Now that your cat is comfortable with the height, remove the cup and show them your hand. Reward them every time they touch it, and don’t forget to snap your fingers!