8 tips for teaching your cat something new

Your cat might not appreciate it if you try to teach her things that you would teach a dog, like catching a frisbee. She will most probably give you a typical cat stare, ignore you and find a place to take a nap. That doesn’t mean you can’t teach her to play fetch. But she will most probably only respond if and when it suits her. Here are a few tips you can try to persuade her.

Quick tips

1. Start early

The sooner you start teaching your kitten, the better. But that doesn’t mean you can’t teach an older cat new things, like a new name. Cats are much smarter than we think. They just respond on their terms.

2. Keep it short

Keep the training session short. Start with a few seconds and let her determine the length of a session. You can gradually make the sessions longer as she progresses.

3. Choose tricks carefully

Make a list of what you would like to teach your cat and start with the easiest ones first. Cats are naturally curious creatures and, if the training session is interesting for her, she might interact with more enthusiasm.

4. One thing at a time

Teach your cat one cue at a time. Don’t confuse her by teaching too much in one go. Keep it simple.

5. Timing

Don’t try to teach your cat something when she is obviously tired and trying to take a nap. She will not be interested, and you will be wasting your time. Wait until she is fully awake.

6. Rewards

For the best outcome, use rewards that she enjoys, like her favourite treats. Give her a small treat every time that she succeeds.

7. Practise

You will have to practise, practise and practise until she gets it right. If she clearly struggles, then review what you’re trying to teach to see if it is not too difficult for her. Otherwise, remember that practice makes perfect.

8. Keep calm

Whatever you do, don’t lose your patience. Stay calm. And if all else fails, rather try again tomorrow.

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