If there’s one thing we can establish as an absolute fact it’s that we’re all perfectly happy to adopt the role of spectator to cats worldwide, and their everyday activities. Who can truthfully say they’ve ever gotten bored of watching their resident kitty fart itself awake and spring to a defensive stance, as if claws are any match for stench? Nobody.
But we didn’t land on the moon by being happy with the basics. No, we got to the moon by chuckling at our farting cats and then thinking, ‘what if I could train him to walk on his hind legs?’
The space stuff came later. With that in mind, if you’re up for another great feat of human achievement, you’ll want to check out this list of 11 easy cat tricks to teach your cat right now!
But wait, before you start…and get discouraged, you should know that some cats are just more trainable than others.
Which Cat Breeds Are Most Trainable?
There are certain cat breeds that are generally more receptive to training than others. It’s not a matter of intelligence, per se, although many of these trainable kitties also happen to be some of the smartest cat breeds in the world. More often, kitty trainability depends on a combination of personality traits like athleticism, curiosity and sociability.
After all, curious and active cats are going to have the energy levels to keep up with the training. And more-than-average sociable kitties simply love to spend time with their humans, making them easier to train as well.
So which are the easiest to train cat breeds out there? Here’s a short list of ’em – as you’ll see, some rank among the smartest kitties, some are super social and some are simply the most dog like cat breeds of all time, making it easier for them to soak in the various tricks and training we typically associate with dogs.
Okay, without further ado, the most trainable kitties…
- Siamese cats are one of the most trainable breeds of cat. They love being around and interacting with humans. Siamese cats are extremely intelligent, and are always ready to learn and do something new.
- Many people consider the Abyssinian cats to be the “Border Collie” of the cat world. This is because the Border Collie is the most intelligent breed of dog, and the Abyssinian is one of the brainiest cat breed. Also one of the oldest breeds of cat on the planet, Abyssinians are smart and have a very social personality. This kitty loves interaction and to play with her human. The Abyssinian is also extremely agile and athletic.
- The American Bobtail is a very intelligent, sociable, and healthy breed of cat with loads of energy. She needs a regular regimen of vigorous playtime to burn it off, which means plenty of time to learn a few tricks.
- Savannah cats are the ultimate dog like cat breed. They love interactive toys and games so won’t be averse to learning a trick or two and is a very athletic breed, making them ideal cats to take to active tricks like learning to walk on a leash.
But just ’cause your cat isn’t one of these breeds, doesn’t mean they can’t be trained. Especially when you’re starting with these relatively easy cat tricks, like…
Train Your Cat to Sit
Let’s start somewhere logical and familiar. You might be guilty of thinking that only dogs can be trained to sit, but that’s just because we’ve grown used to only seeing a cat’s backside when it’s walking away from us, in a huff.
It is perfectly possible to train your cat to sit, though; especially in preparation for meals and treats.
To Come When She’s Called
Not so much a trick as a useful tactic for keeping tabs on the little urban explorer. Teaching your cat to respond to its name is much the same as any other trick or behavioral training tactic. With treats, or clickers, you can slowly begin to teach your pet that when you vocalize their name, they can expect something positive as a result.
Over time, this positive association will become so second nature that they’ll likely come to you when called!
To Shake Hands
This trick can be a fun one to tackle after you’ve mastered the almighty sit and name call – that way you’ve already established some obedience and patience. The essence is much the same as you might train a dog to ‘give paw’ or shake your hand; and the best bit is the cat doesn’t realize that handshakes are quasi-legally binding. You’ve got him right where you want him.
The idea of a cat willingly playing fetch might seem like the most outlandish concept imaginable, and it sort of is. The key method of working around your kitty’s natural predilection to sit on its backside and look at you like you’re an idiot is to choose the right object to throw.
Throw a stick, you’ll get nothing. Throw a squeaky rodent toy or catnip infused plaything from your local store? Much more likely to get some returns.
To Walk on a Leash
It’s cute when you see other people walking their cats, but an outright nightmare when you try to achieve the same success. It can be done, though. The best guidance is to first familiarize your cat with the leash/harness itself.
Perhaps ‘play’ with it a little, whilst your cat is around, or leave it in some of his/her favorite spots around the house. Maybe even douse it in some favorite scents. This establishes it as a safe, inviting piece of kit.
Then, try the harness by itself to let your cat get comfortable with the fit and feel of it – the reason it’s best to opt for a harness type rig is that it attaches around the back/midriff rather than the neck; much less constricting.
After the harness has become part and parcel of your cat’s every day process, you can attach the leash and begin incrementally going for walks outdoors together!
To Play Dead
A classic – the play dead trick; the concept and training are much the same as any other trick you might teach your kitty. Treats, clickers, practice, a gentle hand press to get your cat to lie down and soothing vocal commands (‘Play dead’, ‘Your money or your life’, ‘I’ve failed you, Master Bruce’ whatever appeals to you).
With enough practice, they’ll respond to the command alone and voila, one ‘dead’ cat. Which is a bit weird, now that I think about it. Why do you want a dead cat?
To Stand up Straight
Today’s youthful cats tend to have bad posture. Probably due to all that time spent on the internet (Yes, that is a good joke. No, I won’t listen to your criticism). So it’s important to encourage your cat to stand up straight.
It’s an easy and unbearably adorable little trick to teach – simply dangle a tempting treat or snack above the little guy’s head and he’ll suddenly realize his full height potential.
To High Five
Sick of being left high and dry by your cat when you go in for that high-five after an absolutely ground-breaking zinger? No, me neither… But I’ve heard it happens. Some people can get really upset by it. I hear.
Just in case you know somebody who does want to high-five their cat: it can be taught. The method of training is more or less the same as the handshake trick… short lessons are recommended, though (ten minutes at a time), otherwise your cat’s going to get sick of all this handholding.
A good trick for all the street grifters looking for a partner, this one. Given that cats are, in their own minds, still alpha predators, they retain their incredible hunting instincts: sharp eyesight and quick reaction times, predominantly.
This means that once they’ve spotted something they want, they rarely let it out of their sight, making them perfect candidates for the old shell game. Hide a treat under one shell (or cup) and then mix it up with two others.
Guaranteed your cat will not be fooled.
With regular training, you can teach your cat to focus on particular targets and chase them around. Although, if you have something like a laser pointer… very little training is going to be necessary.
This knack for following prey around can offer all kinds of fun little athletic opportunities, such as constructing a set of hurdles or jumps for your cat to vault, or even setting up some hoops for him/her to leap through as part of a course.
Or, alternatively, you can just sit on your sofa and watch your furry pet try and climb the walls in pursuit of the laser dot. Much more relaxing.
Use the Toilet
This is the ultimate. You might not believe it, but it this actually a reality for many pet owners. They’ve managed to teach their cat to use a toilet, rather than a litter tray. Opposable thumbs will be next, I’m calling it now.
The broad strokes of this incredible trick are essentially to place the cat’s litter box near the toilet in the first place. Over time, bring it closer to the toilet itself until it rests on top of the bowl (you can buy special litter trays that sit over the seat and filter into the actual toilet).
Eventually, the box will become obsolete and you’ll have yet more bathroom traffic to deal with in the morning. The upside is you have one more scapegoat to pin the dodgy smell on.
And there we have it; a new frontier for cats and humans alike – 11 of the easiest (to some degree) and most rewarding tricks that you can teach your adored cat. Or simply read about, wishfully, before cleaning up the latest litter box mess lying in your kitchen.