How to Train a Cat to Sit

When thinking of training a pet, most people think of dogs. They are known for their obedience and have been seen working on farms, in airports, and even in some medical facilities for decades. But what many do not realize is that cats can be trained as well using similar dog training tips, though not to the same extent as a canine. Cats can learn a variety of commands like sit, roll over, and shake. However, cats like to do things on their terms and at their pace, so training them can be quite the task. An owner must be motivated, dedicated, and patient in order for their cat to learn how to sit. If you want to learn how to train a cat to sit, follow this guide below.

Training a Cat to Sit

There are two methods to teach your cat to sit on command. The good news is neither is that complicated as all cats already know how to sit, you just have to connect the behavior with a verbal cue. The choice for which method to use is simply based on your preference and what will work best for you and your cat.

Method 1: Marking Behavior

This might be the simplest method as it involves very few steps. First, observe your cat and keep an eye out for when he sits. When he does, mark the behavior with the word “sit,” praise him, and reward him with something he loves. Continue to mark his existing behavior and gradually increase when you ask him to sit. As you begin using the command, you might also choose to incorporate a hand signal to increase the speed at which he learns.

Method 2: Forcing Behavior

Not as intense as it sounds, this method simply lures your cat to perform the desired behavior, in this case, to sit in a few easy steps:

  1. Choose a quiet place where your cat is comfortable and feels safe and gently place him on a table near the edge closest to you. If he seems nervous, try petting him to help put him at ease.
  2. Next, get his attention and show him that you have a treat in your hand.
  3. Say, “[your cat’s name], sit” and move a small treat from slightly above his eye level to directly over his head.
  4. As he tips his head back to follow the treat with his eyes, he will naturally be forced to sit down in order to maintain his balance. As soon as he sits, say, “Sit”.
  5. Continue repeating this process until your cat is able to sit on command without you luring the treat over his head and obeys with only your cue.

Tips for Training Your Cat

Just as with dogs, and humans, every cat is unique and will respond to training differently – some may be curious and eager while others are disinterested and aloof. It is up to you as their owner, to figure out what motivates your cat such as a toy, game, or treat. If not, training will be extremely difficult.  

You will also want to focus your efforts on one trick at a time. Attempting to teach many commands at once will only confuse and frustrate your cat, making training more difficult. By focusing on a singular behavior, you give your cat time to master the command prior to introducing something new.

Finally, try to keep your training sessions short, around 5 to 10 minutes each. This will help prevent you and your cat from becoming frustrated. A frustrated cat does not learn well and a frustrated owner does not train well. Be patient and devote time to your cat’s training and he will be sitting on cue soon!



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