Samantha Martin, the founder of the Amazing Acro-Cats, offers a few suggestions that cat lovers can use to train their pets at home.
1. Don’t leave a big bowl of cat food out for your cat to nibble all day. Train before meal time or make mealtime part of the training session. A full cat will not be motivated to do much of anything.
2. Find a special, tasty treat (fresh chicken diced in tiny cubes, bits of tuna, and meat-flavored baby food) and follow the basic steps of positive reinforcement training (reward-based training or clicker training).
3. Try clicker training, which makes training easier and faster. If you don’t have a clicker, use a pen that makes a clicking sound. The instant your cat exhibits the correct behavior, click and offer a treat. Cats learn through repetition, so you will need to practice a few times in a row. Keep your training sessions short — a few minutes will suffice.
4. Create a designated feeding station for your cat and reward the cat whenever he sits at that station. This will prevent your cat from lingering on your kitchen counter or table.
5. Socialize your cat by taking him to various places (the pet store or a friend’s house). The cat will be less likely to experience stress later, if you need to move him or take him to a vet.
6. Observe your cat, discover his abilities and come up with tricks based on what you see him do around the house. Be creative and keep it fun.