Can you train a cat? Many people assume that answer is no; cats are independent animals and respond less to human praise than dogs. However, with a little bit of patience and some tasty treats, cats can be trained just as well as dogs! Here are three of our favourite tricks to teach our feline friends, and some handy tips on how you can make them obey your commands.
A great trick to start with is the classic ‘paw’. Gently lift your cat’s paw whilst saying ‘paw’, then reward with a treat. Do this several times then begin to say the command without touching your cat, only rewarding when they lift their paw to your hand. This is a good introductory trick as its simplicity teaches your cat that responding to your voice receives reward. Once you’ve mastered this trick you can move on to more complicated ones with your cat.
Just like dogs, cats will respond to paw for the promise of a tasty treat and some positive reinforcement. If you find your cat isn’t responding to your commands, you may want to change the treat. Cats are harder to persuade than dogs, so using normal food might not cut it, try using small pieces of chicken or ham to tempt them.
Jump Through a Hoop
After ‘paw’, the next fun trick to teach your cat is to jump through a hoop. If you don’t have a hoop, looping your arms together makes for a great, make-shift option! To begin, tempt your cat through the hoop with a treat. Then hold the treat on the other side of the hoop and wait for them to go through before rewarding them. After plenty of practice, your cat should jump through the hoop on command and in search of the treat on the other side.
Be sure to use a key command, such as the word ‘jump’, or a noise, such as a click, when teaching your cat to jump through the hoop. If you don’t, your cat will only associate the trick with food and not a command, so when you eventually remove the treat they won’t respond, meaning all your hard work will be in vain!
Hide and Seek
Our third trick, and perhaps the most entertaining, is hide and seek. Much like the age-old magician’s trick of making the ball disappear, take three cups and place them in front of your cat. Hide a tasty treat underneath one, be sure to show your cat clearly the treat and the action. Then shuffle the cups. It should come naturally to many cats to find the treat, as their sharp eyes are designed for spotting and stalking predators. This trick is great fun for you and your pet, and is especially good for indoor cats who are unable to practice their natural predator instinct (you can find more entertainment solutions for indoor cats here).
To make sure your cat is ready for all this learning and excitement, it is important to make sure they are getting a balanced diet. Our adult and kitten food is full of essentials nutrients which will help your cats brain and body be the healthiest it can be!