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Cat Tricks

December 1, 2014

Have you ever heard of teaching a cat to do tricks? It’s fairly common for dog owners to teach their furry pals classic or silly tricks like ‘Shake hands’ or ‘Play Dead’ but you don’t see too many cats doing tricks. Why not? Kitty is more than smart enough to learn a few tricks. After all, just a few decades ago, before pop-top lids became the norm, cats everywhere learned to run to the kitchen at the sound of the can opener. In this article, your veterinarian West Greenwich suggests some simple tricks you can show your furball.

Ring A Bell

Hang a small bell so that your furball can reach it with that cute little paw. You can guide her paw the first few times, or just dangle the bell and wait for her to smack it hard enough for it to ring. Immediately give Fluffy her favorite treat. It shouldn’t take long for her to get the idea. Other variations on this will have cats ringing bells to open doors, or for a new toy.

Gimme Five

You can teach your cat to slap your hand, though it may take a bit of time. This is a good one for kitties that like to paw or bat at things. Wait until your furball bats at something and slaps your hand. Immediately give Fluffy a treat.

Jump Through A Hoop

Start out by teaching your cat to associate the hoop with good things by rewarding her with a treat whenever she goes near it. Then, put the treat on the other side of the hoop, so that Kitty has to walk through it to get her tidbit. Once you have that mastered, keep it going by continuously putting treats down on the other side of the hoop.

Fluffy can actually learn many of the basic tricks usually associated with dogs, such as Sit, Roll Over, and Play Dead. Try to choose tricks that suit your cat’s personality. If your furball sometimes sits up on her hind legs, you stand a pretty good chance of teaching her to do so on command.

When training your kitty, make sure to only use treats she really loves, like tuna, meat-flavored baby food, or bits of cooked meat. It’s best to do frequent but short sessions, so Fluffy doesn’t get bored.

Our Advice on Cat Tricks in 2024

Why is it uncommon to see cats performing tricks like dogs?

Cats performing tricks like dogs is less common due to fundamental differences in their behavior and social structures. Dogs, historically pack animals, are wired to follow a leader and are more inclined to please their owners, making them receptive to training for tricks. Conversely, cats are solitary hunters and don’t have the same drive to follow commands or seek approval. They’re more independent and motivated by direct rewards rather than the desire to please. This doesn’t mean cats can’t learn tricks; it’s just that their motivation and training methods differ significantly from dogs.

How can you teach your cat to ring a bell, and what are some variations of this trick?

To teach your cat to ring a bell, hang a small bell within their reach. Guide their paw to the bell or entice them to bat at it naturally. When the bell rings, immediately reward your cat with a favorite treat. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key. You can introduce variations like ringing the bell to signal mealtime, opening a door, or receiving a new toy as they learn. This trick takes advantage of a cat’s natural curiosity and ability to associate actions with rewards, making it fun and mentally stimulating for them.

How can you train your cat to jump through a hoop?

Training a cat to jump through a hoop involves patience and positive reinforcement. Start by placing the hoop on the ground and encouraging your cat to walk through it, using a favorite treat as a lure. Each time they pass through the hoop, reward them with a treat. Gradually raise the hoop off the ground, using the treat to guide them. Keeping the training sessions short and enjoyable is important to maintain your cat’s interest. Consistent practice and rewarding their success will gradually lead to your cat confidently jumping through the hoop.

What types of treats are most effective in cat training?

The most effective treats in cat training are those that your cat finds irresistible. High-value treats like tuna, cooked chicken, or meat-flavored baby food can be particularly motivating. These treats should be small enough to be devoured, ensuring the training session maintains its flow. It’s also essential that these treats are separate from their regular diet to maintain their special status. The key is to find a treat that your cat loves and is willing to work for, making the training process both rewarding and enjoyable for them. Remember, moderation is crucial to avoid overfeeding.

How should training sessions be structured for the best results with cats?

For optimal results in cat training, sessions should be short, engaging, and positive. Cats typically have short attention spans, so sessions lasting 5 to 10 minutes are ideal. Focus on one trick or behavior to avoid overwhelming your cat. Use positive reinforcement, rewarding desired behaviors with treats or praise. Training should occur when your cat is alert and interested, often before meals when they are more food-motivated. Consistency is critical, so try to conduct sessions daily. Lastly, always end on a positive note to keep the experience enjoyable and rewarding for your cat.

Results may vary.

Please contact us, your vet clinic West Greenwich, with any questions on cat care.

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