Tricks for Treats: Keeping Your Cat Stimulated

Tricks for Treats: Keeping Your Cat Stimulated

Cats need mental stimulation. They’re curious animals with a deeply ingrained drive to hunt. Providing your furry loved one with mental exercise is crucial for preventing boredom, which can lead to stress, depression, and destructive behaviors. Cats also deserve a little snacky snack for being so very cute and making our lives better. So let’s kill two birds with one stone pet two cats with one hand by using treats to teach our cats tricks (yes, cats can learn tricks)! 

Training will build trust and communication between you and your feline companion. It enriches their environment, provides mental stimulation, and boosts their confidence while keeping them active and engaged. Plus, it’s fun—for both you and your cat. 

Three guidelines to set you up for success: 

  1. Choose the right time: Make sure your cat is calm and alert, not overly excited or too sleepy. A hungry cat is often a motivated cat.
  2. Use high-value treats: Find a treat your cat relishes. Freeze-dried raw (our personal favorite), small pieces of cooked chicken, or special cat treats work wonders. Select something special to be used exclusively as a reward for tricks. 
  3. Repeat, repeat, repeat: Consistency is key. These might take a few tries, but keep practicing and they’ll get it. Just don’t practice for more than five minutes at a time or your cat will get bored.

Let’s do this! 


MEOWBIE TRICKS

Sit
Step 1: Hold a treat just above your cat’s nose.
Step 2: Slowly move the treat back over their head. As their nose follows the treat, their bottom will naturally lower into a sitting position.
Step 3: Once they sit, say “Sit” and give them the treat.


High-Five
Step 1: With your cat sitting, hold a treat in your hand and wait for them to paw at it.
Step 2: When they lift their paw, gently boop it with your hand and say “high-five.”
Step 3: Give them the treat immediately after they touch your hand.


PURRFESSIONAL TRICKS

Fetch
Step 1: Use a toy your cat loves.
Step 2: Throw the toy a short distance. When they grab it, call them back to you.
Step 3: When they return with the toy, give them a treat and a lot of praise.


Jump Through a Hoop
Step 1: Start with the hoop on the ground. Lure your cat through it with a treat.
Step 2: Once they’re comfortable, gradually raise the hoop.
Step 3: Each time they jump through, say “Jump” and reward them.


Perhaps your cat is more of an intellectual than a performer or you want to provide variety. Consider an interactive toy. Your feline will enjoy rising to the challenge of figuring out how to get that darn treat out of that contraption. Here are three of our team’s favorites: 

Be sure to report back and let us know how it’s going. Email and tag us in videos of your successes and your failures learnings. Happy training, and stay CatCrazy!

Recommended Viewing: 

  CatCrazy: Can You Train Your Cat?   Jackson Galaxy: Treat Training Your Cat!