For My Next Trick

With consistency, caring and patience, you can teach your cat new tricks.

By Arden Moore

Page 5 of 6

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6. Shake
Cats naturally use their front paws to feel or bat objects, and you easily can turn this behavior into a trick. First, touch your kittens front paw with a treat and say shake. When your kitten lifts a paw, gently take it in your hand and shake it while giving praise and a treat.

7. Jump Up
This trick comes in handy if you have a shy kitten that hides out of reach under your bed. Shut the door to your bedroom, along with closet doors and dresser drawers. Make eye contact with your kitten and tap the top of your bed with an open palm, firmly but gently saying jump up. You may need to coax your kitten out with a broom handle, but do not poke or prod; use a gentle, sweeping motion beside your kitten. When your kitten jumps on the bed, give a treat and praise enthusiastically. Leave your kitten on the bed and leave the room, leaving the door open.

8. Roll Over
This trick will impress and amuse your dog-owning friends. Kneel in front of your seated kitten. Slowly pass a treat over your kittens left shoulder. So your kitten must turn to look at it. Say roll over as you move the treat up an over. Your kitten will probably try to paw the treat, turning belly-up and rolling over. Reward with praise and the treat.

9. Fetch
Cats love to chase, stalk and capture prey. Shape those instinctive drives into teaching your cat how to fetch. Select a large, open space or long hallway free of obstacles or distractions. Wad up a piece of paper as your cat watches and hears that tempting crinkling sound. Show your cat the paper wad and toss it as you say, Fetch. Put a lot of positive praise in your voice as your cat scurries after the paper wad, bats it around and pounces on it. Use your hand to motion your cat to come back to you as you say, Come here.

You may need to demonstrate at first by retrieving the paper wad a few times until your cat understands how to play this game. Then offer a treat each time your cat returns the paper wad.

10. Walk on a Leash
Confident, curious cats that beg to explore outdoors can do so safely when tethered to you with a leash. To teach your cat to walk on a leash, first recognize that cats won't walk long distances or heel obediently by your side like dogs do. Cats like to take a few steps, stop and sniff or perk their ears into the wind or cackle at out-of-reach birds.

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Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

1/18/2013 2:54:39 AM

thanks, good article

janet    bethlehem, PA

10/4/2011 4:22:29 AM

good information, thank you

Sara    Atlanta, GA

6/7/2007 4:25:55 AM

I can't wait to start teaching Lucy!

Desma    Woodland, WA

3/14/2007 1:54:46 PM

It is true that cats respond to the "food" thing. All six of my cats come when I call them by name. One we just adopted in September, alreadys does a trick called, "speak to the hand". I hold my hand in front of her and she knows to speak. Once is awhile all I have to do is say it without showing her the hand and she will speak. She loves it because I made it into a game with her called, "bite the hand the feeds you".

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