Teach Your Cat to 'Stay' on Command — Really!

Advanced Training

Once you and your cat have practiced numerous times and you are confident that your cat will do the stay correctly on the next attempt, a verbal or visual cue can be added. A typical stay cue could be a hand held vertically with the palm facing out and the word “stay.” To pair the cue with the stay, say the word or do the hand signal just before you move or add a distraction.

As your cat begins to master the stay, increase the distractions around her. Distractions can include noises and movement, such as the television or radio, a squeaky toy, and people or other pets walking through the room.

Vary the difficulty of the stay to ensure that your cat has some successes along the way. This helps to keep your cat engaged with the training. And as always, remember that every cat learns at her own pace. Some felines may master advanced stays with ease, while other cats may take longer and require training to proceed at a slower pace.

Once your cat has mastered the stay, think about specific scenarios where you’re most likely to use it and train for those situations. If you will be asking your cat to remain still while she is brushed or her nails are trimmed, work with her in separate sessions to remain relaxed with this type of handling before you add the stay. If other environmental changes will be occurring while your cat is in her stay, like people coming and going or doors opening and closing, add those variables to the training one at a time. If your cat becomes overwhelmed or her rate of success decreases, go back to an easier step with fewer distractions. With time and practice, most cats can master the stay in a variety of circumstances.

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