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Behavior & Training TEACHING YOUR CAT


Performing tricks isn’t just for dogs. Using food as a reward, you can teach your cat how to come, sit, shake hands, and more. It’s one more way your cat can be great.

Although some cats will respond to positive reinforcement, most cats generally do better if they are working for food rewards. If you use soft moist cat food or dry food as a treat, you will lessen the chance of disturbing a properly balanced diet. If your cat has performed a certain task you have asked of her, make sure you not only reward her with a food treat but with verbal praise as well.

You will have more success if you work with one command at a time. As with any kind of training you have to be consistent and let your cat work at her own speed. When you see even the slightest glimmer that your cat understands the behavior you are trying to teach, reward her enthusiastically. Here are a few you may want to try.


Try teaching this one at mealtime. Use your cat’s name followed by the command “come.” If necessary, tap on her food bowl to get her attention. When she comes, praise her lavishly and then give her the food. Eventually, your cat will associate the food with the command and then you will be on your way to owning a trained cat.


With your cat sitting in front of you, touch her paw and say, “shake.” As soon as she reacts and lifts her paw, shake it and give her verbal approval along with a treat. Remember to be consistent and repeat the command the same way each time.


Place your cat into a sitting position. Hold a treat over your cat’s head and say “sit up.” Do not give her the reward if she stands or grabs at the treat, just repeat the command and wait for her to try. When she does accomplish the desired behavior, give her the treat right away and repeat the command several times.


Swiping at a morsel of food is a natural behavior for a cat. Hold a treat in your hand. Place it in front of the cat’s nose but just out of reach of her front paws. Then, move it back and forth with your hands in a waving motion while telling your cat to “wave.” As your cat reaches out for the food, it will appear as if she is waving. Once her motion simulates the waving behavior, praise her and give her a treat.

Explore our cat treats to find the one that brings out the best in your cat.