cat training - 5 basic commands

    How To Train Your Cat: 5 Basic Commands

    When it comes to cats, you may think training is useless or impossible - but that's just not true! Teaching your cat even a few basic commands can make a huge difference in your relationship and their behaviour.

    cat training

    Training provides awesome mental stimulation for cats and reinforces the bond you share. And when your cat reliably responds to commands, it keeps them safe and out of trouble! 

    It takes patience and can seem challenging at first. But put in the time with your cat now and you'll be rewarded with years of better behaviour ahead. Your furry friend will be healthier and happier - and so will your relationship! So let's get started...


    The first command to tackle is "Gentle." This teaches your cat to play without biting or scratching you. Trust us, this one will save your skin!

    When kitties are excited, they may get overzealous with teeth and claws. Saying "Gentle!" in a firm (but not scary) voice lets your cat know to lighten up. Immediately stop any play or attention when they get too rough.

    As soon as kitty retracts their claws and relaxes their bite, shower them with praise and pets. Be consistent, and over time your cat will learn that gentle play gets rewarded with more fun and affection from you!

    This command also reduces the risk of painful accidental scratches when you're handling your cat like clipping nails or brushing them. Saying "Gentle" reminds them to keep claws in when you're touching sensitive areas.

    cat training - Gentle command


    Having your cat reliably "Come" when called is super helpful for keeping them safe. Like if they dash out the door or get too close to a hot stove. "Here, kitty kitty!" just won't cut it in an emergency!

    Start training "Come" in a boring, distraction-free room. Have your cat's favourite treats ready. Say their name excitedly and reward with a treat and praise when they approach you. Use a consistent cue like "here!" as you treat, so they associate that word with coming to you.

    Gradually increase distance and practice calling them from other rooms. Only say "come" once - repeating it can teach them to ignore it. Be patient, cats learn through repetition. Keep training sessions brief and positive.

    Eventually work up to practicing outside on a leash and harness. Reward coming toward you with treats and play. Use "come" if they get interested in something risky. The goal is to get an instant response when you call it, no matter the situation.

    cat training - Come command


    A solid "Sit" is a fab command for everything from calm greetings to playtime and treatments. Park that tush, kitty!

    Start by getting kitty's attention with a tasty treat. Hold it just over their nose, then slowly raise it up and back between their ears as you say "sit." Reward with the treat and praise the instant their butt hits the floor!

    Repetition and consistency are key. Use a hand signal too, like a flat palm held high, so they associate that gesture with the sit command.

    Once they've mastered sit for treats, practice before mealtime or when you arrive home. Have them sit calmly to say hi instead of jumping. Ask for a sit before petting or doling out toys during play. And definitely use it for cooperative things like nail trims or meds.

    cat training - sit command


    "Stay" is a super useful command for situations like darting out doors or jumping on kitchen counters. Hold it right there, whiskers!

    Start with your cat sitting. Say "stay", take one step back, then immediately return and reward. Keep the first few sessions short and sweet.

    Gradually increase distance and duration over multiple training periods. Work up to walking several feet away or turning your back for 10 seconds before returning to treat and praise.
    Use stay when you crack the door before walks or need kitty off the table while you grab their food. And definitely during meal prep! The goal is to stop unwanted running or jumping with a calm but firm "stay."

    If your cat breaks the stay, lead them back to the spot and practice an easier version again. Patience pays off! Soon you'll have a cat who waits politely instead of bolting into hazards.

    cat training - stay command

    In the Box (or Cat Carrier):

    Does your cat freak out when it's time to visit the vet or travel? The "In the Box" command is here to save your scratches!

    Place your cat's carrier out with the door open. Toss tasty treats inside so your cat has to step in to eat them. Praise and add treats each time kitty gets closer or puts a paw inside.

    Work up to throwing treats all the way in so they fully enter, then immediately reward. Pair with a verbal cue like "in the box!" said happily when they go inside.

    Practice in short sessions, gradually increasing the time they remain inside with the door closed. Use favourite toys or beds to make it cozy. Keep it positive - never forcefully put your cat in.

    Soon you can cue "in the box" when it's time for the carrier without a battle! It trains your cat to willing enter instead of running away. Such a stress and time-saver.

    cat training - in the box command

    With just a few simple words like "Come," "Sit," and "Stay," you can teach your cat better behaviour and strengthen your relationship with your pet. Starting commands early and using positive reinforcement builds good habits for years of happy training success. With patience and short, engaging sessions, you can equip your clever kitty with skills for safety and fun.

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