Teach a Cat to Up and to Stay

In my initial post I wrote last fall about obedience training cats, I gave several reasons why cats need this. For example, training exercises your cat’s mind and keeps it stimulated. Training also strengthens the bond between you and your cat. The two commands I’ll cover in this post are extensions are ones I covered in How to Teach a Cat to Sit and to Come..

Have you ever gotten your cat to successfully comply one day, only to have your cat ignore you the next day? One of suggestions given by in Cat Training in Ten Minutes by Miriam Fields-Babineau is to vary the training routine. For example, after your cat learns to SIT in front of you, teach her to UP, which some of you might also refer to as BEG. 🙂

Teaching a Cat to UP

  • Get your cat’s attention by having her SIT.
  • After a couple of successful attempts, point upward and over her nose with the treat, and give the command: SIT.
  • When your cat looks up, praise her and award her with the treat.
  • The next time, look for the weight shift. Repeat the command, UP, while holding the treat over her head. When your cat sits up and lifts her front feet off the floor, praise her and award her with the treat.
  • Gradually, increase the distance she needs to lift her feet off the floor, until she leans against a solid object such as a chair.

CinderUpUP proved as an easy command for my cats as SIT. Both Lucy and Cinder learned it fairly easy as an extension of the SIT command. Lucy used to raise herself, sniff my hands, and wait for me to reward her. In contrast, Cinder is a little less polite. Oh, she’ll raise herself, but then she butts my hands for the treat. She’s an impatient and eager girl, when it comes to food! I have yet to try this command with Bootsie, but I know that sitting up the floor comes natural to her when she’s both curious and confident about an object.

Teaching a Cat to STAY

  • Get your cat to COME and to SIT.
  • Tell him to STAY.
  • Hold your hand in front of your cat’s face, palm facing him. Praise him the entire time he stays. This will encourage him to stay in anticipation of receiving a treat.
  • Reward after he stays in place for a few seconds.
  • Lessen the time if needed; training is easiest when you can reward success rather than punish failure. Actually, you don’t want to punish at all, because then you would be teaching your cat that training is a bad thing.
  • Once successful, repeat the process, and gradually increase the amount of time you ask your cat to STAY.

Something else to keep in mind about training sessions, which should be kept short and repeated often, is that whether your cat is young or old training takes a lot of time and patience. When I first began training Lucy to STAY, she would break her SIT position to wander about and sniff the area. I had to keep ordering her back into a SIT position.

CindersStayEven Cinder struggled with the STAY command. Initially, she would wiggle her butt, then turn in a circle, and sometimes even break rank. But I remained consistent in my command. I also ramped up my efforts by offering cheese. Over time, Cinder learned that to she earned treats only by heeding my command to STAY. Now Cinder has almost mastered the skill. Good girl!

As for Bootsie, I have only informally tried STAY with her. Whenever I get ready to leave the library and need her to not follow me, I’ll tell her STAY. Well-mannered as she is, Bootsie will just sit and watch me close the door. Will Bootsie so readily listen, once she begins to view our entire home as her domain? I have no idea, but at least the foundation is in place.

Each cat is different. Some are motivated by food, by toys, or even simply by praise. Some aren’t motivated by anything. If your cat doesn’t want what you’re offering, you won’t get far. Training requires that your cat gets something positive out of obedience.


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