Can You Teach a Cat to Sit?

Most cats require little training-they prefer to train themselves. Will they do tricks? Some will and some won't. But if they won't, it's not because they're not smart enough-it's because they simply don't want to! And if you're determined to have a stunt cat, you've got to make your cat want to. Cats will not perform to please you. And they cannot be coaxed with fear or trickery. If you want to work with your cat, approach him when he is in the mood to come to you for play or affection, so says M. Adley.

Look for some action he does naturally that is either out of the ordinary or amusing and try to get him to repeat it in conjunction with your gentle command repeated again and again. When he performs, reward him with a bit of food and flattery. He likes treats with his tricks. Be careful not to tire the cat with practice sessions that are too long, or he may grow disgusted by the whole business!

Try to teach your cat these simple tricks:

Come To Call
It is no trick to teach your cat to respond to his name. Use it all the time when you address him, and he will look at you whenever he hears it. "Come here" is just as easy. Command your cat to do what he already wants to do-for example, to come after a toy he been playing with or for his dish of food. By associating the phrase "Come here, Jason!" with his action of coming to you, he will soon respond to the phrase even when the come-on enticement is not in sight.

Roll Over
Teaching a cat to obey this command makes use of the same principle-doing on command something he wants to do anyway. Your cat likes to have his stomach scratched, and when you do this, he rolls over on his back. Use the words "Jason, roll over" as you stroke him, then say it while only pretending to stroke him. Repeat it again and again until the word-command can replace the action. Praise him when he obeys and offer a tidbit.

Sit Up
A catch will reach for a toy or tidbit by stretching up on his hind legs. Eventually he will tire and sit back on his haunches. Then you say "Sit Up!" Continue associating the word when he performs the action until the two are linked in his mind.

You may teach other lessons like "shake hands" or "lie down" using the same technique. Learning tricks keeps your cat's mind alert and interested. But make his teaching periods short, regular, frequent-and remember-when he's in the mood!

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