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6 Awesome tricks your cat can learn and how to teach them

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

You can train your cat to do tricks, and here's how

Your super-smart cat can do more than stare at you and use the litter box properly.

I know, it's hard to believe. Cats have a mysterious reputation, which doesn't always lend itself to easily learning tricks and skills. Emilye Schmale, who is both the Corporate Communications Director of PetSmart and a cat toy developer, explains that the belief that cats are untrainable isn't entirely deserved. "Cats are very smart animals, and they can pick up on cues when given proper direction from their owners," she said. "Cats respond well to positive reinforcement — just like dogs!" And children.

Still not so sure about all this cat trick business? Check out these amazing feline skills for inspiration.

The spin

Image: Lilly and the Hairless

This cat's smooth spin proves that brains are better than beauty, any day.

The leap

Image: Nikki Forney

Cats love hiding in bags. Cats love leaping. This trick is a no-brainer for hours of fun.

The climb and kiss

Image: Prince Dax

Take or leave the kiss, but a cat responding to the "up" command is pretty cool.

The shake

Image: Lilly and the Hairless

Whoever said that shaking paws is just a trick for dogs?

The rollover

Image: Gary Fletcher

While this cat's roll is a little lackluster, she's totally still following commands.

The multi-tasking cat

Image: Pearson K/YouTube

And last but not least, this cat can do it all. She belongs in the Cirque du Soleil!

If you're both impressed and inspired — but your cat is still lazily sleeping on your lap — Schmale suggests that you use the following tips to train your cat.

1. Stick with instincts. Don't waste your time on tricks that aren't instinctual for your cat. In other words, you'll have a terrible time training her to use the toilet. Instead, train her to leap, climb and catch, just like cats are meant to do.

2. Enforce a "no" with a "yes." Every time you tell your cat "no," you should have an immediate "yes" response on hand, kind of like you would with a toddler. For instance, if your cat keeps jumping on the kitchen table, you can divert her with sticky tape, and then place her on a ledge that is safe for her to jump on.

3. Use positive reinforcement. Just like you would with a dog, use positive reinforcement to encourage the behaviors you want. Schmale suggests you give your cat a toy filled with catnip or another favorite treat when she does what you've asked.

4. Give affection. Your cat will respond better to training if she has a strong foundation of affection within your relationship. Make affection a part of your day, and the training will be easier.

This post was brought to you by Cat's Pride®.

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