How to Teach Your Cat To Shake Hands, Bust a Move, and Pick a Treat in Less Than An Hour

Geek!This is Krystyn’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

What could possibly motivate a cat to shake your hand or bust a move? If not hindered by ADD, food is the key here. I’ll have your cat picking the treat from your hand if you can pay close attention to my directions and focus in on the force by which your cat lives by. Think like a cat. Be agile, patient and soft on your feet.

First, gather my suggestions along with a little bag of cat treats or dry cat food. Allow them (the suggestions) to marinate in your mind as you find your cat. Now, take a deep breath. Exhale slowly – letting out all the stress, annoyances and weirdness you’ve been carrying in your shoulders over the years. This is important. I’m not saying you can do it overnight, but for the next hour just let it go, helping the chi to flow. Chi = positive energy. As a side note, if your cat acts or reacts weird it’s actually a reflection of your own behavior.

First Trick: Shake Hands

I’m assuming your cat is in front of you, watching intently. Put the treat on the floor and cover it with your hand. Your cat is probably wondering what you’re doing, but after a couple of seconds, curiosity will get the best of her. She should tap your hand as if saying “move it, man!” If your cat doesn’t tap your hand, coax her a bit by letting them get a peek of the treat. Once she taps your hand, lift it up and praise her. “Good Kitty, smart Kitty…” Now, do it again. But this time say, “Shake hands.” Be patient and don’t move around, focus on her paw. Once she taps your hand, she’s got it down. The last move is not to put food down on ground. Let Kitty see the treat in your hand and say “Shake hands” once again. Kitty will probably need coaxing here. Tap paw gently, leaving your hand in front of Kitty. Repeat phase. “Shake hands.” If Kitty is smart, Kitty will lift paw. You gently shake in return. Yay! Repeat. Repeat. Kitty has learned her first trick!

Second Trick: Pick A Treat

Easy, because it’s right after “shake hands” – she just has to pick the proper hand first. Put treat in hand, close to a fist, and stretch both arms in front of you, giving Kitty a choice. Say: “Which hand, Kitty?” Kitty is staring at you. “Which hand, Kitty?” If Kitty doesn’t tap a hand, shake the hand the treats in until Kitty taps. Praise. Repeat task. Now when Kitty picks the wrong hand, you open empty fist and say “Nope!” and offer her a choice again. Until Kitty picks right hand, repeat the same phase. Kitty will eventually pick other hand and once Kitty understands the game, Kitty will play. Remember to praise when Kitty chooses correctly. This is a killer trick when showing off to friends. “That cat is smart!” “Wow!” are just some of the accolades now being tossed your way.

Third Trick: Bust A Move

You’re going to act like a b-boy does when being challenged in a dance–off. The cat phrase is: “Wassup?!” The b-boy reaction when a person is dancing in front of them is to punch their chest out, stick their chin up and throw their arms out – almost as though you’re in a fight but not fighting. Your cat should feel the same feelings of being challenged. Kitty should start eyeballing you and leaning back some. Keep up the posturing without being overly aggressive. Stay in cat mode, and reward Kitty with a treat as soon as she makes any reaction towards your “Wassup?” posturing. Cats react in different ways. Should your cat do any funky move, that’s her “busting you.” Like: “dude, you’re weird!” My cat, Jiggy, does a really funny move: she gets up on her hind legs as if she’s a meercat mocking me in my B-boy stance, revs up like she’s saying: “You want some?” and then gallops about quickly. She does this Bust-a-Move dance in front of the mirror as well.

And your cat might, too.