How To Train Your Cat Or Kitten To Sit

Cats can be trained.

Contrary to popular belief, feline creatures can be taught how to respond to commands, how to walk on a leash, and how to behave properly.

Many kitties are trained by their pet parents to respond to their names or to stop scratching the sofa without the owners even realizing it. In fact, teaching a cat its name is probably the easiest cat training step of all.

Some cats can be trained to perform various tricks, such as jumping through hoops, playing dead, sitting down, “giving up,” or walking in circles.

But can you teach them how to sit like you can with a dog?

Yep! And you don’t need a professional trainer.

Cat training requires a lot of patience, positive reinforcement, consistency, and treats. Unlike dogs, kitties won’t respond well to punishment or scolding. The best way to train a feline is to apply positive reinforcement at all times.

Your pet needs to make a positive connection with the task and with your requirements. By receiving treats or tiny portions of cat food it will start associating the training sessions and the tasks with a positive experience. Thus, it will start warming up towards the sessions by expecting verbal and physical praising and treats.

How To Train Your Cat To Sit (Step-By-Step

Step 1: Stock Up On Treats (And Patience)

You’re going to need lots of patience, and lots of treats to use as positive reinforcement.

This step is essential because you’ll need scented and yummy treats for your kitty. Furthermore, if you aren’t patient and you can’t devote yourself to daily training sessions, you won’t achieve the desired results.

Step 2: Teach Your Cat What “Sit” Means

Your furry pet doesn’t know what “sit” means. There are a couple of methods you can use to teach her.

You might need to give your kitty’s lower back and rear a gentle push to force it to sit down. Don’t be too forceful. Otherwise your pet won’t appreciate you being mean.

If your feline seems uncomfortable, give it a treat and try again. If it’s still not working, try a few hours later or tomorrow.

You can also use your cat’s normal reaction to food to help in training her to sit down on her own.

Give your feline a treat and then let her see and sniff another treat. Hold it gently to her nose and then start moving your fingers upwards. This will make your cat tilt her head backward to keep her focus on the treat. Keep moving the treat until your cat sits down, and then reward it.

Use the word “sit” each time you’re giving a treat and give your precious furball strokes and gentle petting. Don’t use verbal praising, as it will confuse the kitty.

Step 3: Opt For A Clicker (Optional)

Pet training can be easier when you’re using a clicker.

You can combine the command “sit” with a clicker device. Use the clicker only when your cat is actually sitting down. Otherwise she won’t know why you’re making the clicking noise.

Don’t scold or punish your kitty. She won’t like you for it and will start associating the training sessions with a negative experience. If your cat manages to fulfill the task, don’t get your hopes up during the first few days – chances are your cat is sitting by accident and not because you’ve told it so.

Using small portions of cat food instead of treats is acceptable as long as you aren’t overfeeding your kitty. This way you will keep her interest going strong and won’t make it obese.

Keep the training sessions going daily for no longer than 10 minutes.  Any longer than that and your cat will lose interest or even get irritated. Repeat the sessions each day for as long as it takes. Some cats may learn how to sit down during the first week, others may need more time.

Younger kittens learn tricks more easily than senior cats, but you can still teach your feline furball new tricks regardless of her age.

Keep up the consistency and always keep in mind that you need to practice the positive reinforcement techniques. You’ll know if the training has been successful when your cat starts responding to the command “sit” without the enticement of food and treats as rewards.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!