Verbal Command: Jump!
Hand Signal: Sweep arm to point away from cat
Tools: Hula Hoop
Jumping through a hoop is the gateway trick to jumping just about anything! First, place the hula-hoop perpendicular to and touching the ground. Draw your treat hand through the hoop to lure him to the other side. Hold the treat just beyond the hoop if he doesn’t immediately follow the lure. Reward kitty for crossing through the hoop.
Add some height
When kitty can walk through the hoop without hesitation, you’re ready to start raising the bar. Move the hoop an inch or so off the ground, and tell him to “Jump!” while using the hand signal. Your cat may just walk over the hoop at this point, but it will be teaching him body awareness and proper foot placement. Gradually increase the height until kitty jumps through the hoop! For young or geriatric cats, do not ask them to jump more than a few inches. You don’t want to damage their joints!
Look ma, no hands!
When the cat readily jumps through the hoop, try removing the hand signal and just use the verbal command. Once kitty associates “Jump!” to the act of jumping, you can easily apply it to jumping over many other obstacles! Stay tuned for more jump tricks!