How to train a cat

Those who know my cats might find this funny and that I have no idea how to get cats to do anything but how bout you shut up.

Okay, so a lot of people think you can’t get cats to do tricks or listen the way a dog does which is not really true. Dogs do tend to be more eager to please and more receptive to listening to their masters but I feel like a lot of people just don’t really understand cats and don’t get their behaviors. Contrary to popular belief, cats are actually very affectionate and loving and see their masters as the leader of their herd. They listen because you’re the dominant cat, lol.

I taught Milo to put my paws on my leg RIP

I taught Milo to put my paws on my leg RIP

Step 1 is to find out what your cat’s crack is meaning what treat do they really go nuts for. Some cats don’t like catnip, some don’t like dry treats, whatever. If your cat doesn’t like the treat you’re using then they have no reason to learn tricks. I use dry treats that prevent gingivitis. Also, don’t give them too many treats. I would say don’t give a cat more than 4 treats a day. You also have to realize that some cats aren’t motivated by food and will never do tricks for you because they don’t want to.

Step 2 is to make sure there aren’t any distractions around. You want as much attention as their tiny little brains can give you. This would be not having other people around, turn the tv/music off, remove toys.

Step 3 is to focus on one trick at a time. Start with ‘sit’ because it’s the most basic and natural for a cat. If you try to teach several tricks at once it just confuses the cat and they don’t know what action you want from them. Cats don’t speak human so they have to learn word recognition and hand movements. Say the command as one word and pick a hand signal to go with it. Saying, “Come here baby and sit for mommy,” means absolute shit to cats no matter how much we think they know.  It should be: Sit, Stay, Up, Down, Touch, Turn, Come.

Step 4 is getting the action. How do you make a cat sit? Physically push their ass down and then give them a treat. Seriously, that’s all. Say, “Sit,” push their butt down, treat, “Good boy.” At first, the cat will probably not stay sitting and that’s okay. They’re getting used to it and you want to reward the behavior as soon as it happens. After a few days (depending on the cat), you won’t have to touch them at all and they will just sit.

Step 5 is to be consistent. You have to say the same word with the same hand motion and always reward the behavior. I make cats sit before they get their meal so they always know that I’m in charge and that they must listen.

This is a little video of my cat doing some tricks, only the ones he does best. He never wants to perform when I want to show people his tricks, of course, but he did pretty well. He was more interested in my phone watching him than me.

Other key tips: Never say ‘no’. If a cat doesn’t do the trick or does it really slowly…NEVER SAY NO. Just repeat the command and physically move them if you have to. If the cat doesn’t do the trick, don’t give them the treat. People get frustrated that their cat isn’t doing something and say, “Alright here ya go for trying.” What? What are you doing? If cats know that they don’t have to do anything and will still get a treat then they will not do anything. Keep the training sessions short. You want it to be fun for your cat and not a chore. Plus, cats have short attention spans and will walk away.

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