wikiHow to Get Your Cat to Stand Up

Three Methods:Figuring Out a Reward SystemReinforcing the BehaviorAvoiding Pitfalls

Cats are often thought of as untrainable. However, with patience and consistency, most cats will learn to do tricks on command. If you want your cat to stand up as a trick, there are several ways you can go about training him. First, figure out a reward system. See what kind of treats and toys your cat responds to best. From there, coax your cat to stand up on his hind legs and reward this behavior as it occurs. Make sure to watch for signs of stress. If your cat seems aggravated, stop the training session for that day.

Method 1
Figuring Out a Reward System

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    Try clicker training. Many cats respond to clicker training. This is a form of training where you use a clicker, a small store-bought device that makes a clicking sound when a button is pressed, which you can purchase at a local pet store. You teach your cat to associate the clicker with praise and rewards. When training your cat to perform a certain behavior, you would use the clicker as a way of telling your cat he's performing well.[1]
    • To help establish a positive connection with the clicking sound, start with treats. Choose a type of treat or food your cat likes. Then, break up that treat into small portions. Spend a few minutes each day clicking your clicker and immediately following the sound up with a treat.
    • With time, your cat will learn the clicker is used as a reward. When he hears the click, he will know good things are coming. You can use the sound of the clicker to reinforce positive behavior during training.
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    Use treats as a reward. You can also used treats on their own as a reward. Many cats are willing to work for food as a prize. Before you begin training, however, take some time to figure out what kind of treats your cat likes. Cats have different tastes and your cat is unlikely to work for food he dislikes.[2]
    • You can experiment with a variety of store bought treats. If your cat favors a certain flavor of cat food, like tuna or salmon, he may respond well to a treat of that flavor.
    • You can also offer some human food to your cat as a reward, like small bits of deli turkey. However, avoid using dairy as a reward. Contrary to popular belief, dairy is not good for cats. It can cause indigestion and other stomach problems.[3]
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    See if your cat responds to praise. Cats have different temperaments. While many cats tend to be more independent, some cats are more people-friendly and may work to win praise. See how your cat responds to petting and verbal praise. If your cat seems to enjoy being petted and talked to, that may be enough of a reward during the training process.

Method 2
Reinforcing the Behavior

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    Get your cat's attention. If you want to begin training your cat to stand, you'll first need to get your cat to pay attention to you. Use a treat to get your cat to focus. Then, you can begin training your cat to stand.[4]
    • Hold a treat in front of your cat's nose. This will allow him to smell the treat, grabbing his attention.
    • When your cat begins to sniff the treat, pull it up. Your cat will end up looking at you, giving you his attention.
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    Encourage standing. Find ways to encourage your cat to stand. Then, say a command, like "Stand up," and reward the behavior.
    • You can keep pulling the treat up higher. If you need to, place the treat near the cat's nose again to get him more interested. He may follow the treat as you pull it away a second time. As soon as he stands up, say a command like, "Stand!" and give him the treat as a reward.
    • You can also use toys. Dangly toys, string toys, or toy mice can be held above your cat's head. As soon as he stands up to reach the toy, say the command and offer the reward.
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    Reward the behavior when it occurs naturally. You want your cat to understand that you want him to stand up on cue. Pay attention to your cat during day-to-day activities. Cats may occasionally stand up on their hind legs if they're curious about something or trying to get your attention. Try to reward this behavior as it naturally occurs to help establish a connection between the desired behavior, a command, and a reward.
    • If you see your cat standing up, say a command. You can say something like, "Stand up!" or "Beg." Then, reward the behavior using your chosen method.
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    Be stricter about rewards over time. At first, you can reward your cat for simply engaging in behaviors that are close to the desired behavior. For example, if your cat raises a paw, reward him. As time goes on, withhold treats until your cat completes the command. Do not give your cat a treat, praise, or press the clicker until he's standing with both paws in the air. This will help establish how you want your cat to behave and teach him to stand up on cue.[5]

Method 3
Avoiding Pitfalls

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    Do not punish a cat. Cats do not respond well to punishment. When punished, most cats get aggravated and simply disengage. Punishing a cat during training will end up alienating your cat. If a cat is scolded consistently over time, this can cause stress which can lead to litter box issues, compulsive grooming, and health problems. If your cat is not behaving, simply do not offer a reward. Avoid yelling at your cat, placing him in a cage, or any other form of punishment.[6]
    • Never hit or physically harm a cat as punishment. This causes your cat a lot of stress and lead to a bad relationship between you and your cat.
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    Watch for negative body language. You want to make sure you end training sessions on a high note. If training becomes stressful, your cat may refuse to behave. Watch for body language that indicates stress, fear, or aggression. If your cat seems upset, cut the training session short and try again the next day.[7]
    • If a cat's ears are held back slightly, he may be feeling scared or aggressive. Watch his eyes as well. Slightly dilated pupils tend to indicate fear while fully dilated pupils can indicate aggression.
    • A cat's tail can also be an indicator of mood. If the fur on the tail is standing up, your cat is likely angry or frightened. If your cat holds his tail low or tucks it between his legs, he's likely scared. A tail that's thrashing back and forth indicates anger and potential aggression.
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    Avoid teaching this trick to cats with joint problems. If your cat has existing joint problems, or is very overweight, avoid teaching him to stand. Standing up can put stress on your cat's joints, which may aggravate existing medical conditions.


  • Be patient. Cats have a very different temperament than dogs and can take a lot longer to train.

Article Info

Categories: Cat Training