Watching cats do even the simplest trick is a treat because, while dogs do tricks to please their people, cats perform only if they really feel like it…and often, they don't. However, the popular belief that cats cannot be trained is wrong. Cats can learn to do some amazing stunts, with the right guidance. The Moscow Cat Theater, a traveling feline circus, has cats navigating tightropes and balance beams or rolling across the stage atop giant balls. Chicago's Acro-Cats include similar feline performers, plus an all-cat rock band with cat-sized guitars and piano. Your cat may secretly daydream of a gold medal in the catnap Olympics, but in reality, he can also perfect a few actions that might impress even Lassie.
To get your cat interested in doing a trick, tap into his own preferences: Some cats are vertically oriented, opting for leaps and climbs, while others like to stay closer to the ground. It also helps to know a little about training cats. Cats learn differently from dogs. Dogs are more motivated by food, while cats are more motivated by play. (That's not to say a little treat won't work.) They also require more repetition of each trick, so you'll need extra patience. However, if your cat cooperates, the results are highly satisfying. Here are five tricks to teach your cat.