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How the Experts Use Tricks and Treats For Cat Training

Contrary to popular thought, you can teach your cat tricks. Some are even eager to learn and will look forward to training time. Others may not be interested in learning and will not respond to trick training.

Do not try to turn your cat into something he is not. You will not be able to force him to learn anything or do anything if he does not want to.

Some owners teach their cats fancy tricks such as rolling over, fetching, jumping through hoops, sitting up, or shaking hands. Other cat owners teach their cats practical tricks that are useful in everyday life such as coming when called or walking on a leash.

Training requires time, patience, and consistence reinforcement on your part. Cats will learn if you teach them, and some go on to have showbiz careers. There are entire books and websites devoted to trick training, but the basics are here.

Should I give treats for training? The treats used as a reward should be something special that your cat loves but he does not get when he is not training. Treats can be small morsels (pea sized portions) of canned cat food, a cat treat, or a bit of tuna or cheese.

To keep things interesting, change the flavor or type of treat every few days so that your cat gets an unexpected surprise. Make sure that you are providing something healthy, and never overfeed treats.

What to do when meeting with a new cat? When you or your children come into contact with someone's new pet cat, make introductions slowly (after getting permission from the owner, of course).

Here is how:

- Bend down to the cat's level and address him by name in a soothing voice.

- Make brief eye contact and extend your hand for the cat to sniff. If he comes to you, let him sniff you. This is his way of meeting a new person, and he is also checking you out.

- If the cat rubs against you, you are accepted and you can pet him. The best areas to pet are the back, sides, head, and the base of the tail. Some cats do not like their ears, stomachs, tails, or feet touched, so you should avoid these areas.

If the cat likes you and wants to visit, he will come closer and accept your attention. If he leaves, he is not interested in you and does not want to be petted. Never grab a cat to pet him, and do not try to force a cat to stay if he does not want to, he will not appreciate it.

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