Why is it more advantageous to teach a cat to sit while on a sturdy table rather than the floor?

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Although cats don’t learn in the same way dogs do, they are bright, inquisitive animals who study the body language of every living thing around them, including you. A cat doesn’t have an inherent need to please you, as a dog would in answering his instinct to be part of the “pack,” but cats do love their humans and are responsive to them.

Working on a table top rather than on the floor for sitting lessons is easier for you, because you will need to be holding the training treats over the cat’s head. For the cat, however, the special location adds to the interest level of the activity, and if he’s not normally allowed up on the table, there’s nothing more intriguing for a cat than something forbidden.

The actual series of motions to get a cat to sit aren’t complex. All that’s really needed is a treat, and the cat’s focus. If you attempt the lesson at the cat’s most active hours of the day, early in the morning and just at dusk, the focus won’t be a problem.

Simply hold the treat out, and get the cat to stare at the treat. If he tries to bat at your hand, gently admonish him, but don’t use his name. Scolding a cat with his name is very counterproductive, since that is the very thing that will make him refuse to respond when he’s called.

Once your cat sits the required amount of time, let him have the treat. Don’t extend these lessons for more than 10 minutes, since that’s generally about the length of a cat’s tolerance for such nonsense. Also, never use a treat to trick a cat up on the table for something like a claw clip or a dose of medicine. Cats will quickly refuse to do anything they don’t perceive as in their best interests and they have very good memories.

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