Teach Your Cat to Shake A Paw

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Okay . . . It's time for cat owners to take a tip from our canine counterparts. Despite what dog fanciers may think, cats can learn tricks just as easily (well, almost) as the average Fido.

You may think that no self-respecting cat would want to perform tricks for its owner - but you would be wrong.

Most cats are not only capable of learning simple commands, they enjoy the interaction with their "person" and look forward to being a "star" performer.

Training your cat is relatively easy. It just takes a little patience, a little treat, and a little kitty with a cooperative nature.

So . . . Let's teach your cat to give shake a paw!

  1. Do training before a meal - so that your cat is a wee bit hungry. It will focus his attention on you and the task at hand.
  2. Place the cat in a secure and distraction-free location. This can be on a grooming table, a favorite chair, or even the floor if that's where you are sitting too. Other cats should not be present.
  3. Have in your pocket several bits of your cat's favorite treat. It may be pieces of meat, a tube of Nutrical, a spoon and jar of chicken baby food, a Pounce treat, or some cats just love their kibbles.
  4. Ask the cat "Sit".
  5. If the cat does not respond (and why would he?), push gently down on his rump. Most cats will sit once they are placed in that position.
  6. Now give him the command. "Shake a paw!".
  7. At the same time as you give the command, offer your hand, palm up and within reach of his front paw.
  8. If he does not respond, take his paw into your hand, hold it momentarily and immediately give him a treat.
  9. Repeat 4-5 times or until the cat starts to respond on his own.
  10. The average cat will quickly understand that it is worthwhile to give you its paw when you ask!
  11. Make every training session fun.
  12. Always end on a positive note.
  13. When first starting to teach this trick, do not ask the cat for its paw unless you have a treat handy.
  14. Once your cat has mastered the command, gradually stop giving him a treat every time he does it. Rewarding him with food should become random, while reinforcing the behavior with praise and a pat.

Before you know it, your cat will be shaking hands with you just to make you smile :-).

Good Luck!

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