Teaching your cat to jump through a hoop is easy, and a great party trick that all your guests will enjoy. It is, after all, not common to see a cat who can perform tricks on demand. This little feat will make your kitty oh so special in the eyes of others, and they’ll beg you to make him do it whenever they come over to visit.
The first thing you must do is give your cat no choice but to jump through the hoop if he wants to get away. Cats hate confinement. Just think of how he howls whenever you put him in his cat carrier. So, take your kitty and bring him right up against your legs in front of you, so he can not go backward. Then, put your arms down with hands clasping in front in the shape of a hoop and bring them in as close to your cat’s front as possible. Slightly bend your elbows inward so he can’t escape off to the side. Lift your circled hands slightly off the ground, but not so much that he can go under them.
Keep repeating the word “jump!” over and over, and it won’t be long before kitty realizes he has nowhere else to go but through the “hoop.” He will jump through your circled arms on his own just to get away. When he does, be sure to pet him, shower him with praise, and give him a treat.
Practice this several times a day for a few weeks, and eventually, you can substitute your arms for a real hoop of some sort, like a hula hoop, and he will jump through it on command, even without being so closely restrained beforehand. It’s just that easy to train your cat to perform this trick.
The best way to teach a cat tricks is by making use of his natural behavior. In the zoo you will often see a lion or tiger that will jump for his food. In the wild, these animals do such things naturally. They are a part of the cat’s normal behavior, so this makes it much easier to train them. So what other natural behaviors do cats have?
They love to climb and jump, so any trick that includes this will be one that kitty should take to with no trouble. For instance, you could teach him to jump from one stool to another to get his food. Of course, if he then wants to jump from the stool onto the counter where you don’t want him, you might have a problem.
Cats love to chase and pounce on anything that rustles, so that if you have a trick where you want kitty to chase something, make sure it also rustles. Little kittens are more playful than mature cats, so this is a good time to teach them tricks. Kittens will often chase a shadow on the floor. If this is the shadow of your hand, you can make it go up the wall and kitty will jump after it.
An older cat will often chase a tennis ball the children are hitting to each other across the yard, especially if it bounces. To the cat, it looks like a mouse bounding along. This behavior can often be incorporated into what seems to be some kind of trick, but in reality, it is a natural behavior modified or added to and the result becomes a trick.
Cats are very quick to see moving things, so you can get your cat to look as if it is shaking its head, just by using a movement at each side of the room. This can be started up a bit closer, then gradually moved further away. A noise may be used first, to get the cat to look that way.
When teaching your cat tricks, don’t confuse him by trying to do several at once. Use one movement or trick at a time and stop as soon as kitty loses interest. Choose the time of day that kitty seems to be most playful to encourage these playful behaviors and kitty will soon come to look forward to them. In no time you’ll have him doing tricks and he’ll think it’s the best fun he’s ever had. Don’t forget to reward him every time he does something you want him to and always be patient. Never punish kitty if he doesn’t do what you want. If you follow these guidelines, you and your cat can be the best of friends for always, and that’s what you want if you really love your cat.
Cats can cause a great deal of damage with their sharp claws, not only to furniture, also to the humans in their household. If you have this trouble, you might want to consider having your cat’s claws clipped. This is especially important if you have small children in your home.
Cat clippers are available at most pet shops. Don’t use the same clippers on your cat that you may use for yourself. These are not right for an animal and will pinch his claws painfully. It’s a good idea to get your kitty used to having his claws handled right from when he is tiny. Wait until he is feeling sleepy – on your lap is a good place to have him. Handle his paws and claws frequently by gently holding them squeezing them, picking them up and generally playing gently with them. In this way, he will see that you mean him no harm when touching his feet. Remember that cats’ feet are very sensitive and tender.
You will be able to make kitty unsheathe his claws if you gently squeeze his paws. Run your fingers gently over the claws several times, but if he tries to scratch you, simply stop and wait until he becomes sleepy again. It may take several days for kitty to begin to accept having his claws and paws touched. It is wise to do it often, even when his claws don’t need clipping, because then he will be so used to it he won’t mind.
Once you think he is happy to have you play with his claws and he doesn’t try to scratch you, you can introduce the clippers. Again, wait until he is in a sleepy mood before you start to clip. It may be a good thing for you to just hold him, while another person does the clipping, that way you’ll be able to prevent any sudden movements on kitty’s part that could result in injury to him or you.
When you are playing with kitty’s claws, take a good look and you’ll see the pinkish cloudy part near where the nail comes out of its sheath. That is the equivalent to the quick of a humans nail. Be sure to never clip into this part or you will cause a great deal of pain to kitty and his claws will bleed. If kitty truly doesn’t like to get his nails clipped and yet they must be done, he can be wrapped up in a towel to help hold him and protect you from scratches.
Some people have their cat’s front claws removed. It can be a painful process, but if you have a cat that you just are not able to train not scratch your antique furniture this can be an option. This process should only be done by a veterinarian and if you follow his, or her, instructions the initial discomfort is short lived.
Cats love to be stroked, so it is easy to teach your cat to accept brushing. Brushing will help to remove loose hair and prevent kitty getting a fur ball stuck in his throat. It also helps to remove irritating prickles he may have picked up on his walks outside. You will be able to keep tabs on his general health if you brush him regularly, too. Choose a time when kitty is feeling a bit sleepy and wants to curl up on your warm lap. Have the brush handy so you don’t have to disturb him to get it. If he hasn’t seen the brush before, hold it near his face so he can sniff it all over if he wants. In this way he will understand that it won’t hurt him and so he won’t be frightened of it. In fact, it’s a good idea to rub your own hands along the handle of the brush so he can detect your scent on it. If he’s used to you, he will be reassured that this strange tool is to be trusted.
Once he has inspected and accepted the brush, begin to brush your cat with slow and gently movements. Always brush with the lay of the hair, not against it. If kitty tries to grab the brush with his paws to play with it, put it away immediately. You don’t want him to start playing every time he sees the brush, you want him to learn to keep still and let you brush him.
As soon as kitty has quieted down, start to brush him again. Start at about ear level and work backwards with a long, fluid movement. Never try to brush his face, or you might damage his delicate eyes and whiskers. Brushing the tangles out of badly matted hair can cause pain, so be careful to do it gently. If kitty expects pain every time he sees the brush, he won’t be amenable to the process.
Several different brushes can be useful when grooming your pet. A large brush with stiff bristles is good for the body, while a smaller, softer brush can be easier to manage the belly and tail. If your cat has long tail hairs, you may need a brush with bristles that are a little stiffer then the smaller brush has. A comb can also be a handy part of your cat grooming toolbox.
Some people would have us believe that it is impossible to teach a cat anything, but if he can be taught to come for his dinner then he can be taught other things as well. It may require patience and constancy, but the end result will be worth it. Not many cats have been taught to sit on command, yet it is not impossible to teach your cat this trick.
Make sure your cat is wide-awake and a little hungry before you start to teach him this one. Get him used to accepting edible treats from your hand, so that he knows when he smells it, that you have something in your hand for him. Choose a time that the cat is standing. Approach him with the treat and let him smell that it is in your closed fist.
Once he has sniffed your hand, move it over the top of his head. Not high above him or he might jump to reach it. Just slide your hand over the top of his head, about one inch above it. You will see that to keep his nose near the treat, he will sit. If he does not sit, gently push on his back – just in front of the tail – until he does.
Of course, you must also give voice commands. Say “Sit” in a firm voice at the same time that you move your hand. As soon as kitty sits, give him the treat and praise him. You need to do this several times throughout the day to remind him what it is all about. It’s no use doing it once this week and then forgetting all about it until next week. Cats are not likely to remember anything like that for a whole week.
Once your cat sits quickly for his treat, you can try doing it with no treat. Still use your hand motion, but with nothing in the hand. When he sits, open the hand and show him there is nothing there, but still praise and stroke him for obeying. The next time you do it and he obeys, have a treat for him, but gradually wean him off the treats. You will need to make him sit at least twice a day for some time before he gets the hang of it. Once he is used to sitting without a treat, try giving the command without the hand motion. If he does not obey, go back to using the hand motion with the treat for a while longer. In this way you will train your cat to sit, and it will amaze your friends.