Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Things You Can Train Your Cat to Do (Really)

Don't Stand on Ceremony: Teaching Cats to Sit
OK, I’m sitting. Where’s my treat? ©Julija/iStock/Thinkstock
OK, I’m sitting. Where’s my treat? ©Julija/iStock/Thinkstock

Consider teaching your cat how to sit as his first trick. Not only is it a basic skill your pet -- cat or dog -- should know, it's also a building block to other trainable skills, including other tricks on this list.

Before you can train your cat to sit -- or train your cat to do anything, really -- you need to get his attention and hold his attention. And any cat owner knows the best way to do that is with food.

For "sit" training, hold your cat's favorite treat (or a small piece of his favorite food) over his head. The best spot? Experts recommend holding it a few inches above his ears or holding the treat above his head and moving it toward his tail -- that way he'll have no choice but to sit, at least slightly, in order to get a better look at what you have (and what he wants from you). Reward him immediately for his efforts and he's on his way toward learning that new skill [source: WebMD].

Mastered sitting? Raise the treat instead, and you'll begin to train him to stand on his hind legs -- another trick that begins with the simple "sit" command.