Training isn’t just for the dogs! When you teach your cat a “trick,” you are teaching her/him good manners and self-control, as well as providing ever-important mental stimulation. There is no end to what a cat can learn, but for now we’ll start with the basics. And don’t worry—teaching a cat to sit on command is easier than you’d think!
Step 1: Pick a Location
You want your cat to be focused on you, so make sure you’re in a room where there are no distractions. If you have more than one cat, separate them and work with one cat at a time. It’s often helpful to place the cat on a table where he/she is at a more accessible level.
Step 2: Pick a Treat
Make sure you’re using a food reward that your cat enjoys. Pick the one thing she can’t resist, such as commercial treats or small pieces of cooked, unseasoned meat. If your cat is extremely food motivated, you may be able to simply use pieces of dry food. Be sure to adjust your cat’s mealtime proportions if you are feeding lots of treats during training.
Step 3: The Training
Once you have your location and your food reward set, get your cat’s attention by showing him (but not giving him!) the treat. Then raise the treat just above and behind his nose, so that he must sit in order to reach it. If you’re having trouble, make sure your cat’s focus is on the treat, and then slowly arch your hand over his head until it’s about 90 degrees to the ground. As soon as he is in a full sit position, say “sit” and present him with the treat.
Tips & Tricks
- If your cat succeeds, repeat this about 4–6 times until your cat has the hang of it. Stop before your cat gets bored, in order to keep the training fun and something she wants to keep doing!
- If your cat isn’t getting it, don’t worry! Some cats take longer to train than others. Be patient and keep your training sessions to no more than 10 minutes, and your cat should eventually pick it up.
- If you have multiple cats, train each one separately. Then, when each cat is proficient, try both together. Ask them to “sit,” and once both are fully seated, reward both with a treat.
Now it’s time to impress your friends and guests! Have your feline show off her skills, and encourage others to try the “sit” command with your cat.
You can also have your cat sit for his breakfast and/or dinner, sit before being given a toy, or whenever you need his focus!
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