How to Train a Cat to Come When Called

Can cats be trained like dogs to come when they are called? Although cats are not always as obedient, they can be trained to learn their name and to respond to it. Learn how to train your cat to come when you call its name.

Most people take it for granted that you cannot train a cat to come when it is called but this is not true. I personally have 6 cats, and 3 of them specifically respond to their name consistently, the other three consist of a newer cat who has not learned his name, one who comes no matter which cat is called, and the other of which I think has a hard time coming when called mostly because his name (Camu) is not distinct enough for him to take note of.

Cats can most certainly be trained to respond to their name, but as you just read it is important that the cat have a distinct sounding name. Two syllable names tend to work best and especially if they have a strong sound to them and end in a Y or IE. For example Kitty is a better name than Sam, but if your cat’s name is Sam you might want to try using “Sammy” when you call him. In fact if you say it “Saaaa-me” your cat will take more notice of his name”.

To start training your cat to come to his or her name you need to start indoors, ideally when they are young, but even older cats can learn their name, one of my cats was old when we got him and responds to his name well.

Start training the cat when you are in the same room as the cat. Have a treat that you know your cat likes, preferably a soft treat (you can cut them up to make them smaller so you do not contribute to weight problems for your cat). Call your cat to you, making the name sound distinct and give your cat the treat right away, say its name again as it eats the treat.

Do this many times over a few times each day. Some people also shake the container that the treats are in, and this does help the cat learn to respond to that sound, but you should also say the cat’s name at the same time so it learns to come when called because there may be a time you want to call your cat but do not have the treat package to shake.

If you feed canned cat food to your cat always call your cat by name just before getting the food ready. If the cat does not come right away, continue calling it every few seconds while preparing the canned food. Cats are pretty smart when it comes to hearing you prepare canned food so will usually come because of that sound but will eventually realize that their name is called first and will soon come for that. This is assuming the cat is indoors at the time.

After a few weeks your cat should come when called with some degree of consistency.

Note that if your cat is sleeping when you call it, it might not care to respond. Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours a day, and may not want to be bothered.

Rilke comes no matter which cat’s name I call and will follow me around as long as there are no sheep near by to scare him.

Cats are more independent than dogs, if your cat is outside enjoying itself it might decide it does not want to come when called, but if you have trained it to think that coming when called will get it a reward (yummy treat) it is more likely to respond.

I live on 10 acres, there are times when I go for walks around my property with a few cats tagging along. It is quite neat as they meow to me so I know where they are (in the tall grass) and I can call each of them to catch up as needed. However I do want to stress that when I take my cats out walking with me they are very safe. They are not near a road and are always on my own property.

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  1. So cute and amazing. Shared on my facebook.

  2. I would never have thought you could train a cat to do anything until I saw a show several years ago at Sea World in Texas. They has shelter cats that they trained to do trick and even cross a tightrope. They used clickers, treats and a lot of patience.

  3. These are good tips Brenda.

    People who want to help a cat that has suddenly stopped using their litter box may find this helpful:
    http://therealowner.com/cats/why-is-my-cat-pooping-on-the-floor/

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