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Courtesy of Anika Moritz / Instagram
You’ve heard the saying go about teaching a dog new tricks, but what about cats?
Cat lover Anika Moritz trained her beautiful tortoiseshell Alexis to do more than two dozen tasks – all within a minute. Their incredible performance earned them a place on the Guinness World Records (although this wasn’t possible without a little dedication and teamwork).
Anika Moritz and Alexis didn’t have to pull strings to secure their place in the story – other than to open a box, as can be seen in the incredible video below. Moritz used the positive reinforcement to help 8-year-old Alexis to become a record breaker with 26 tricks in 60 seconds. These were more tricks than their previous record from 2017 of 14 tricks in a minute. Moritz told Daily Paws that Alexis is her good luck charm: “Alexis was born a tortoiseshell cat on Friday 13th, and these cats are known to bring good luck.”
Moritz started training Alexis when the cat was one year old. With positive reinforcement, Moritz informs Guinness World Records that their training included a click to “mark” the desired behavior, followed by a reward and / or a compliment after every single trick that was completed.
Moritz adds that she says, “Training should always be fun and worth it.” Animal health experts like Mickey Snead, DVM, a veterinarian with the Arlington Animal Clinic in Arlington, Massachusetts, agree. “The relationship between an owner and a pet is based on trust,” says Snead. When it comes to your feline friend, Snead says training can take work, but the results are worth it. She also adds, “Teaching your cat tricks can help owners become more aware if something is wrong with their cat in the future.”
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If you enjoy connecting with your cat, there are a few new tricks that Alexis and Moritz mastered by trying to teach your cat.
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First, set aside 5-10 minutes a day to exercise and enjoy a handful of goodies to keep your feline friend motivated. There are a couple of key commands you can both start on your right paw with. And hold on while you both still learn to read each other’s cues: Experts say that through frequent rewards, assertiveness, and patience, you and your cat are well on your way to delivering friendly competition to Alexis and Moritz!
While it is certainly possible to train your cat to do incredible things like dogs can, it’s okay if the two of you are both more comfortable on the catio. Remember, even if you don’t set a new record, you will likely get closer to your kitten in the process. Whether or not your furry friend ever scores a high five, teaching your cat new tricks can be a great pet-human bonding activity.
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As Moritz says: “Cats are intelligent little beings that deserve to be treated well.” Learning something new together can be a great way to keep your cat busy and active – especially if you are spending more time indoors during the pandemic. Moritz says they still love to do trick training together, but that Alexis was especially cuddly during the lockdown. Sounds like these two figured out another great routine … just hang out and make each other happy!