Can cats be trained to learn obedience commands?

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Cats can be trained. The big difference, though, is that, unlike dogs, who can be motivated simply by pleasing the pack leader, cats need something in it for them, such as a treat or reward.

The cat should be slightly hungry so she’ll be especially motivated when you offer her a treat, and the best thing is probably to use a cat clicker.

At the very least, you’ll want her to learn the basic commands—“sit,” “stay,” and “come.”

Sit

First, let her make the association between the clicking sound, food and the command.

Hold the food reward over her head; say her name and give the command, “Sit.” Move the food back over your cat’s head. As her head follows the food, she will naturally sit down.

As soon as her butt hits the ground, click and say, “sit.” Give her the food reward immediately. If your cat does not sit as you move the food over her head, lightly press down on her hindquarters. As you do, continue to hold the food over her head and say, “sit” and, as soon as her butt hits the ground, click and treat.

Soon your cat will begin to associate the food reward with the command and you will no longer have to use the clicker to make her sit. Simply saying, “sit” will be enough.

Come

Once your cat comes to her food, click and say, “come.” Follow up immediately with a treat.

Continue this process but from other locations around your house. Eventually your cat should come to you reliably when you say, “come!” without the click, but there should always be something worth coming for to reward her.

Stay

Place the food down on the floor about ten feet away from her. As she approaches, put your hand out to stop her, say, “stay.” When she stops, click and treat. Repeat as often as necessary, but only treat when she stops.

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