A lot of non-cat owners definitely don’t give them the credit they deserve..
You can teach a cat tricks at ANY age. Although, like with children, it’s a lot easier to do when they’re still kittens.
Why? Because kittens are still very playful, energetic, clever, and not set in their ways yet. Not to say that older cats
are lazy, but most would rather lounge around and do what they want to do, versus what you’re trying to teach them.
By all means, if you have an older cat that’s willing to learn, teach them! Learning new things and tricks,
can help stimulate the cats mind and keep them feeling much younger for much longer.
Step 1 – What Can Your Cat Do
Not many people know this but cats can be taught tons of different tricks! Including: sit, stay, jump, shake paw, come when called, play dead, jumping through hoops, fetch, or even going to the bathroom on the toilet! If you have the time, patience, and a clever kitty, you can basically teach them anything! What you teach your cat can also depend on your cat and the habits she/he has already picked up on. If your cat paws at you, put your hand out and say “gimme five” teaching them to high five. If your cat likes to jump, buy a hoop or some hurdles. Does your cat talk to you? If so teach her to talk on command. Of course it’s going to take a little time but with enough encouragement, treats, and gestures, the cat will start associates those things with each trick. So choose a trick, and get ready to make a plan of action!
Step 2 – Make Sure To Inspire
Remember now, everyone needs some good ol’ fashioned encouragement when learning something new, even your cat. So before you actually start training your cat, make sure that you have a good idea of what you’re going to use to motivate them. Things such as a verbal praise and a nice snuggle usually work but other cats find themselves more motivated by Treats which if you decide to do, I’d recommend using very small ones to limit your cat from eating too much. Another option is a cool type of training called Clicker Training which I personally think is one of the best ways to teach a cat anything at any age.
Step 3 – Starting Small
Don’t expect your cat or kitten to immediately understand or even care about what you’re trying to teach them at first. The easiest way to start is by choosing a few hand gestures and words to use as cues for your tricks. I use a few different hand gestures such as making a fist for sit, and saying sit until they learn the hand gesture, I use a flat palm face down to say lay down, and a twirl of the finger to make them spin in a circle. Whatever works easiest for you and your animal whether its hand gestures and words, or one or the other. Once you decide which trick to start with and the cue, it’s time to start slow. Reward them a lot in the beginning for any effort that they put in. That’s how you get them interested at first. As they catch on more, you can start to give them less treats and more cuddle praise. Don’t cut out the treats completely, but make sure that your cat is’t completely dependent on the treats in order to do the trick or lesson that you’ve taught them.
Step 4 – Be Patient
Give your cat time to learn one trick fully before you move onto teaching him/her another, and remember, different tricks are going to take different amounts of time to learn. One trick might take 2 days to learn while others may take a week or even a month. It all depends on the time your spending teaching your cat, and how quickly your cat picks up on the particular trick. Never give up hope and never get angry at your feline friend if they’re not understanding or wanting to do what you say. Just give them a little break and go back to your lessons a little later on. Showing your cat frustration will only make them associate that feeling with the trick. If you get flustered, remember to stop and take a break for the both of you.