Train Your Cat to Stay in 7 Steps

By Arden Moore, a dog and cat behavior expert and author of 26 best-selling pet books. She hosts the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio and is a writer for Pets Best, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.Face the feline facts. You will never outsprint your cat. The average housecat can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour. You can also not match his gymnastic ability to zigzag or dart under your bed, especially when you bring out the carrier to take him to what he views as the dreaded car ride to the dreaded veterinary clinic.So, what’s your solution? Save yourself some time and frustration by teaching your cat to stay on cue. I’ve managed to train all of my cats, past and present, to apply the brakes a high percentage of time when asked. My latest cat, Casey, is an orange tabby, who is highly curious and highly food motivated. I’ve used both of those traits to my advantage to teach him to come when called, and stay on cue.Now it’s time to test your teaching talents on your cat. Follow these seven steps to train your cat to stay put – even if it is for a few seconds:1. Select the ideal training place.For best results, train your cat in an enclosed room like a small bedroom, large bathroom or screened porch. You want a place where your cat cannot escape or hide. Definitely shut the closet doors before you begin.2. Bring in your cat’s attention-getters: his favorite treat.Time the training when your cat is hungry or just awoke from a nap and is alert and focused. Bring a handful of small treats to use in the training. Keep the size small enough so your cat can nibble on each piece no longer than a few seconds. You want him to keep looking to you for guidance on what he needs to do in order to successfully reap more treats.3. Inhale. Exhale. Proceed calmly.Cats definitely can read our moods and will respond accordingly if we are too anxious, stressed or impatient. Pick a time when you can devote five to 10 minutes focusing on teaching your smart cat a cool new trick.4. Introduce the key word.Inside this small room, quickly say your cat’s name, followed by the word, “stay,” if he starts to move away from you.5. Halt, kitty.When facing your cat, extend one arm straight out and with the palm open like a cop directing traffic to stop. Slowly and steadily move your palm down toward the floor. Stay in place and do not chase after your cat. Maintain your position and remain calm. Only after he sits and stops moving, should you approach, kneel down and reward him with a treat and praise. Say your cat’s name, followed by, “good stay” so he starts to associate that phrase with winning treats and praise.6. Pick up and cuddle your cat.Then put him on the floor. Watch his movements and immediately reward him each time he stays in place. Remember again to mark that desired action with, “good stay.”7. Repeat.Repeat for five to 10 minutes or until your cat indicates the lesson is over by starting to groom or paw at the closed door. End on a positive note, even if his “stay” lasts only a few seconds.Once your cat obeys the stay in an enclosed room, practice this trick in a large spacious room like the living room or kitchen. By teaching your cat to stay, your cat-chasing days may finally – and thankfully – be over.

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