Okay… It’s time for cat owners to take a tip from our canine counterparts. Despite what dog fanciers may think, cats can learn tricks just as easily (well, almost) as the average Fido.
You may think that no self-respecting cat would want to perform tricks for its owner — but you would be wrong.
Most cats are not only capable of learning simple commands, they enjoy the interaction with their “person” and look forward to being a “star” performer.
Training your cat is relatively easy. It just takes a little patience, a little treat, and a little kitty with a cooperative nature.
So… Let’s teach your cat to give shake a paw!
- Do training before a meal — so that your cat is a wee bit hungry. It will focus his attention on you and the task at hand.
- Place the cat in a secure and distraction-free location. This can be on a grooming table, a favorite chair, or even the floor if that’s where you are sitting too. Other cats should not be present.
- Have in your pocket several bits of your cat’s favorite treat. It may be pieces of meat, a tube of Nutrical, a spoon and jar of chicken baby food, a Pounce treat, or some cats just love their kibbles.
- Ask the cat “Sit”.
- If the cat does not respond (and why would he?), push gently down on his rump. Most cats will sit once they are placed in that position.
- Now give him the command. “Shake a paw!”.
- At the same time as you give the command, offer your hand, palm up and within reach of his front paw.
- If he does not respond, take his paw into your hand, hold it momentarily and immediately give him a treat.
- Repeat 4-5 times or until the cat starts to respond on his own.
- The average cat will quickly understand that it is worthwhile to give you its paw when you ask!
- Make every training session fun.
- Always end on a positive note.
- When first starting to teach this trick, do not ask the cat for its paw unless you have a treat handy.
- Once your cat has mastered the command, gradually stop giving him a treat every time he does it. Rewarding him with food should become random, while reinforcing the behavior with praise and a pat.
Before you know it, your cat will be shaking hands with you just to make you smile.