Training Your Cat: Sit Up


Sitting up, like the dog trick “beg,” is one of the simplest behaviors you can teach your cat. Cats often assume this position naturally. Your goal is to have cat sit up on his haunches when you give the command “up” while you hold the food reward above him-and eventually on the command alone.

What You’ll Need

  • Your cat before mealtime

  • A quiet area where the cat is comfortable

  • A table for the cat

  • A specific command (in this case, the word “up”), preceded by your cat’s name (“Scooter, up”)

  • Your positive signal (a clicker, or an upbeat word such as “yes”)

  • The reward (his favorite food or special treats)

Training Steps

  1. Gently put the cat on the table at the edge nearest to you, and pet him so he is comfortable.

  2. Show your cat the reward, then give the command “Scooter, up” while you hold the food directly above the cat (but not close enough that he can grab it).

  3. When he stands on his hind legs or haunches and reaches for the food, hit the clicker (or use your positive signal) and say “up, good up.” Immediately give him his food reward.

  4. Eventually your cat should respond to the command “up” without you having to hold the food above him.

  5. Once your cat has learned this behavior, you no longer need to place the cat on a table to sit up.

If your cat stands on his back legs instead sitting on his haunches, slowly move the food back over his head. To keep from tipping over, he will sit down on his haunches. It helps if he starts out in a sitting position. Remember to hit your clicker (or use your positive signal) when he is in the position you want.

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