How can I train my cat to sit up on command?

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Sitting up—or begging– is probably one of the easiest commands your cat will learn. Any kind of training helps to strengthen the human-animal bond and it can be a rewarding process for both of you.

First, be sure your cat is calm and happy because you want her to be in a good mindset. You may want to pet her or play with her a little beforehand.

Second, understand a cat’s motivation. Unlike the dog—who is motivated just by pleasing the owner—cats are pretty much known for ignoring their owners, until it suits them to do otherwise. That said, you’ll need to be sure you have a treat that is something she really values, like a small piece of chicken or tuna.

Now for the step-by-step:

• Gently put the cat on an object with a secure footing, such as a table, not a slippery floor. If the cat is on a table, make sure she’s at the edge nearest you.
• Have her in the “sit” position.
• Show your cat the reward, then give the command, “Up” (or any word you like as long as it conveys the desired behavior), while you hold the food directly above the cat (but not close enough that she can grab it).
• If she tries to paw at food, just put your other palm in some position so she can’t get at it.
• When she stands on her hind legs or haunches and reaches for the food, hit the clicker (or use a positive verbal signal like “good” or “yes”) and immediately treat. She may also try to stand up, but if she does, don’t give her the treat—or she’ll think that’s what she is supposed to do.

NOTE: Your cat will eventually complete the command without needing food or the table.

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