Got a kitty that won’t sit? We get it. Training a cat isn’t as straightforward as teaching a dog.
The disdainful looks and the half-hearted attempts can be frustrating. Yet, it’s possible, even fun, to train your cat to sit.
In this guide, we’ll explain a bit about cat behavior, tackle the intricacies of training, and lead you through a step-by-step process that’ll have your cat sitting on command. Because, let’s be real, a cat that listens? That’s really something special.
Why Should Your Cat Learn to Sit?
A sitting cat isn’t just an adorable sight, it’s a sign of discipline.
Teaching your cat to sit is a beneficial exercise that lays the foundation for other training commands. It enhances communication between you and your furry friend, leading to a better relationship.
Plus, a trained cat is a safer cat, especially in situations where they need to be calm and still. Yes, cats are notoriously independent, but they also enjoy a fun learning session with their favorite human.
Get Started: Cat Behavior and Training Basics
Cats are creatures of habit, with a sprinkle of curiosity. Capitalizing on this can simplify the training process.
Start by observing your cat, understanding their routine, and their favorite treats. Cats respond well to positive reinforcement – that’s where those treats come in handy. Small, frequent rewards can encourage your cat to follow the command.
Consistency is also key. Train at the same time each day, ideally when your cat is alert yet relaxed. Remember, patience is a virtue when training a feline. It’s a process, not a race. Soon, you’ll have a cat that not only sits on command but also does so eagerly.
How to Teach a Cat to “Sit”
Step 1: Find a Quiet Environment
First off, select a calm and quiet location. Cats are sensitive to their surroundings. An environment free from noise and distractions will help your cat focus on the training session.
Step 2: Select the Right Treat
Next, choose a treat that your cat can’t resist. PureBites Freeze-Dried worked well for me. The treat needs to be small and easy to eat, as you want to maintain their attention and not make them full too quickly.
Treats work as positive reinforcement, encouraging the desired behavior.
Step 3: Get Their Attention
Now, you need to grab their attention. Show them the treat, holding it high enough to ensure they’re looking up at it. Don’t hold it too high, though, as you want to avoid encouraging them to jump for it.
Step 4: Use the “Sit” Command
As you have their attention, slowly move the treat over their head, towards their tail, while saying the command “sit”. This movement should naturally cause your cat to sit as they try to keep their eyes on the treat.
Note: At this stage, if you’re using a clicker for training, the moment your cat sits, you should click the clicker, then provide the treat immediately. The ‘click’ sound will become a clear signal to your cat that they’ve done something right.
Step 5: Reinforce with the Treat
As soon as your cat’s bottom hits the ground, give them the treat and praise them enthusiastically. This is crucial. You need to reward them immediately so they make the connection between sitting and receiving the treat.
Step 6: Consistent Practice
Repeat the process multiple times in short sessions, keeping the training experience positive and fun. Remember, patience is key here. It may take several sessions for your cat to consistently respond to the “sit” command.
Step 7: Reduce Dependency on Treats
Over time, try to reduce the use of treats and use other forms of rewards such as praise, petting, or playtime. This will help to ensure that your cat is not reliant solely on treats for following commands.
It may take some time and patience, but with a consistent approach and a positive attitude, you can teach your cat to sit on command. Now, let’s take a look at some treats you could use for cat training.
Recommended Treats for Training
Choosing the right treat for your cat can make all the difference in teaching them to sit. Here are a few options that cats often find irresistible:
- Temptations Classic Treats for Cats. These treats are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, providing a texture that many cats love. They come in a variety of flavors, so you’re likely to find one your cat enjoys.
- PureBites Freeze-Dried Cat Treats. If your cat prefers something a bit more natural, these freeze-dried treats might be the perfect choice. They’re made with only one ingredient: pure meat.
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Soft-Moist Cat Treats. These treats are grain-free and made with real meat, which is a hit with many cats.
Remember, treats should make up only a small part of your cat’s overall diet. Too many can lead to obesity and other health problems.
What If My Cat Won’t Sit?
If it becomes challenging, remember that every cat is unique and some might take longer to learn new tricks than others.
If your cat is having difficulty, don’t worry. Firstly, ensure you’re training them when they’re alert and interested. A sleepy or distracted cat will have a hard time focusing.
Secondly, you might want to experiment with different types of treats. Some cats may not be motivated by the one you’re using.
A unique recommendation is to switch up the environment. If your cat is used to sitting on a soft surface like a sofa or a bed, try training on a harder surface like a wooden floor or a table. The unfamiliar feeling could spark their curiosity and encourage them to follow your command.
Suggested reading: Cat Training – Train Your Cat To “Stay”
Cats’ Playtime: An Extension of ‘Sit’ Training
Once you’ve got the ‘sit’ command down, you can integrate it into fun activities for your cat.
Play is an important aspect of a cat’s life, contributing to their physical and mental health. So why not turn the ‘sit’ command into a game? It can be as simple as having your cat sit before you toss their favorite toy.
This not only reinforces the command but also encourages patience. One of my own cats, Smokey, loves to pounce on toy mice. I started asking him to sit before I’d toss one, and over time, he got the idea. Now, not only does he sit patiently waiting for playtime, but he also responds quicker to the ‘sit’ command in other situations.
Just remember to keep these sessions fun and low-pressure. The goal is to let your cat associate ‘sit’ with positive experiences, making it a valuable addition to your interaction repertoire.
Improve your cat behavior by teaching your cat:
How old should my cat be before I start training?
The best time to start training your cat is when they’re a kitten, ideally around 8 to 12 weeks old. However, it’s never too late to train an adult cat as they are capable of learning at any age.
What treats should I use when training my cat to sit?
For training your cat to sit, use small, delicious, and easy-to-consume treats that your cat loves. This could range from store-bought cat treats to small pieces of cooked chicken or fish.
What should I do if my cat is not interested in sitting on command?
If your cat isn’t interested in sitting on command, make sure the training sessions are fun and not too long. You could also try using a different type of treat or practicing at a different time of day when they’re more alert and focused.
How much time should I devote each day to training my cat to sit?
As for the amount of time to devote to training, it is recommended to have several short sessions throughout the day, each lasting about 5 to 10 minutes. Cats usually respond better to shorter, more frequent training periods rather than long ones.