Category: Buddy

It’s Actually Really Easy To Teach Your Cat To High Five

My cousin thought I was joking when I told him my cat would come when called, sit when told and give me some love with a high five.

“Get outta here,” he said as we watched an NBA playoff game.

“Okay then,” I said. “Hey Bud!”

Buddy popped up from wherever he’d been lounging with a “Mrrrrrrrrppp!” He regarded me quizzically with his parakeet green eyes, knowing there was probably a treat in it for him as he padded toward me.

“Sit,” I said, gesturing for him to park his behind about two feet away from me. He sat.

“High five!” I said as Buddy leaned forward and slapped his paw against my palm.

I tossed him a treat for a job well done. If it were up to Bud, we’d high-five another 10 times.

There are a lot of misconceptions about cats, and one of them is the idea that felines aren’t amenable to training. It’s why people use the phrase “trying to herd cats” to describe an impossible task.

People don’t expect to see a cat complying, and they definitely don’t expect to see our feline friends pulling off tricks, which makes it more fun to defy expectations.

It’s easy to train your cat to pull off simple tricks — so easy that I almost couldn’t believe it when Bud was reliably high fiving me within a week.

Cat High Five
It makes for a good party trick and a way to bond with your feline friend.

Teaching a cat to sit is a prerequisite for high fives. It’s a straightforward and easy process.

After that, it’s really just a matter of building trust with your cat so she’ll allow you first to touch her paw, then to gently take it in your hand and raise it. The first few sessions, all you need to do is touch or hold your cat’s paw. On the second day, start to raise it slightly.

Cats don’t do well with long training sessions anyway, so the time commitment is minimal. One or two sessions a day, 10 to 15 minutes each.

Every time you touch kitty’s paw, bring it a little bit higher than the last time, rewarding your cat with encouragement and a treat. After a few sessions, your cat will anticipate this new ritual you’ve got going and will raise her paw as soon as you start.

The last step is holding kitty’s paw against your outstretched palm for just a second or two, then rewarding her with a treat.

That’s it. You’re done.

Run through the trick a few times a day after your cat’s got it down, to reinforce good high fiving form and whichever affirmations you choose. (I chose to say “Good boy!” each time Bud pulled it off rather than use a clicker.) Either method works, since the important things are consistency and positive reinforcement immediately after your cat does well. You want to make sure you click or say “Good boy!” right away so your cat knows the praise is triggered by a successful high five. (Or an intermediary paw raise if you’re still working on the trick.)

For a more detailed breakdown of how to do it, check out this video from CatManToo, a professional dog trainer who adjusted his methods for cats. This is the method I used to train Bud. Again, you don’t actually need a clicker, just a consistent method of feedback to signal that your cat is doing well:

Who Has A Box? I Has A Box!

I have a new box. Didn’t know if you knew that. Yeah, it’s awesome! It’s square, and made of cardboard, and you can sits in it.

After Big Buddy removed the irrelevant item inside — something that came in its own smaller box, which shall be investigated at a later time — I inspected the box from the inside and outside to make sure it was suitable.

Sure enough it turned out to be a good box, so I sat in it! Isn’t that awesome?

Who doesn’t love boxes? They’re so…boxy. You can sits in them. When you’re inside a box, you can see humans, but humans can’t see you. Also, boxes are cozy.

I have a new box!

Buddy In A Box!
“Hi, you ordered a new Buddy?”

National Pet Day: An Occasion For Extra Snacks And Catnip

Dear PITB readers,

Today, April 11, is National Pet Day! On behalf of all your kitties, I am here with a gentle reminder that providing more snacks and catnip than usual is the only appropriate way to celebrate this great holiday, and they should be administered along with massages and generous amounts of praise.

National Pet Day should not be confused with Global Cat Day (Oct. 16), National Cat Day (Oct. 29), Hug Your Cat Day (June 4), or International Buddy Day (April 21). Additional yums, catnip and silvervine should be served on each of those days as well.

In addition, on International Buddy Day, there is a feast held in my honor, and my admirers pay tribute with special gifts of turkey pate, turkey treats, turkey bacon or whole turkeys. Toys are also acceptable.

Penalties for failing to observe any of these holidays may include, but are not limited to, extensive yowling, getting the cold shoulder, withholding snuggles, and being deprived of the delightfulness of my company.

Thank you for your understanding and anticipated cooperation.

Your liege lord,
Buddy
First of His Name, Champion of Yums, Prime Connoisseur of Turkey, Feline of Extraordinary Handsomeness, Humble King

The Extraordinary Poetry of Buddy the Cat

Haiku:

The food of the gods
Turkey, it’s so delicious
More turkey, servant!

Time for seventh nap
Beauty rest is required
Sleep on you, human!

Mystical flower
Transforms boring to blissful
Give me catnip now!

Buddymandias:

I met a traveler from an antique cat cafe
Who said: “Two vast and polished turds
Stand in the litter…near them, in the disarray
Half sunk a shattered clump lies, resembling Los Gatos
With wrinkled lip and cold sneer of jealousy
Tell that its sculptor well read those passions and pathos
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless turds of heresy
The paw that mocked them, and the heart that fed
And taped to the box, these words appear:
‘Our name is Los Gatos, Gang of Gangs we led
Look upon my catnip empire, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains round the decay
Of that colossal poop, boundless and bare
The lone and level litter stretches far away.”

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary I woke with something in my head
I couldn’t escape the memory of the poultry in my head
Like a game show contestant with a parting gift, I could not believe my eyes
When I heard through the voice of a trusted Big Buddy
Who used to humor me and feed me fries, yeah humor me and feed me fries
Quothe the raven: “Nevermore!”
“Shut up, raven!” I said. “Or I’ll make you into a late night snack
You may not be turkey, but every kind of bird I shall attack
So shut those loose lips, or I’ll use your bones as toothpicks
And then enjoy Temptations as a digestif.”

Buddy is available for readings at all distinguished parlors of poetry and bookstores. His chapbook, “Turkey In My Bowl,” is available in June from Handsome Boy Press.

The Other Buddy’s Looking Strong!

Buddy, the cat who was brutally assaulted when two teenagers sicced their pitbulls on him in Philadelphia last week, is making progress every day.

The little guy began opening his eyes again a few days ago, the Pennsylvania SPCA said, and now they’ve shared a short video of Buddy the Black Cat sitting up, licking his lips and tucking into some yums:

Little Buddy the Cat has been pulling for his fellow Buddy. In the meantime, a lot of people have been asking the SPCA how they can help. Here’s a way to do that and get something in return: A spiffy t-shirt that says “Save Every Buddy” with an original design:

Get well, Buddy!
The League of Extraordinary Buddies.