How to train your cat to respond to it's name
Cats are very smart animals, but they aren't born that way. Most pets will respond to any name that is thrown at them, but if you train them right they will only respond to their name. You may be wondering why you would want your cat to respond to her name when “kitty kitty” may work just fine. Well, “kitty kitty” can work if your cat already knows to respond to it.
Think back to how your cat learned to respond to those words. Did you say them while setting out her food? More than likely, she responds because of what she associates the words with and your tone of voice. Teaching her to respond to her name can help in different situations. If you let her venture outdoors, then calling her home is much easier than searching for her. If an emergency situation arises (the big bad neighborhood dog is loose, for instance), then being able to call your cat home can be a great help.
Whether you choose to use “kitty kitty” or your cat’s name is completely up to you. If you want to impress guests, then a name-responsive cat is much more exciting than one that responds to “kitty!” No matter what you choose to call your cat, remember that the name must be repeated in the same tone of voice each time. Your cat will not understand what you are saying, but she will understand how you are saying it.
You can start the training when you are feeding your cat. If you leave food out for your cat all day, then consider setting a food schedule. It will not only help manage your cat’s weight, but it will also help you with future training. As you place your cat’s food in the bowl, say her name. Every time you feed her do the same and make sure you are saying her name in the same tone of voice. While she is eating, repeat her name a couple of times before you leave her for her dinner. If you can’t get her to come when you set out the food, then you may need to use some type of noise (i.e. tapping a spoon on a glass) to get her attention. No matter how you get her attention, make sure you say her name when she responds.
You can continue the training between meals. Grab a handful of tasty treats, and get to work! Call your cat to you. When she comes, give her a treat and repeat her name. You will probably need to start by flashing the treat or going to her and giving her the treat. She’ll need to learn that you calling her name means she gets a treat. Continue this several times throughout the day. Once she understands that you have treats, take the training to the next level. Call her name and set the treat beside you, forcing her to come to the treat. Say her name as she eats the snack. Repeat this throughout the day. If your cat does not respond to her name or the treat, then don’t worry. Simply put the treat away, and try again later. Don’t give her the treat just because you have already pulled it out; doing so will show her that she gets the snack no matter what.
Increase the distance between you and your cat. You can start calling her from across the room or from another area of your home. Continue to call her name when you want her to come and repeat her name when she eats the treat. Then, move the training outdoors. Once she learns the association, replace the treat with playtime or petting.
Teaching your cat to come can be beneficial in many cases. Training with treats and mealtime can help her learn quickly. She won’t understand exactly what you are saying, so make sure you use the same tone of voice each time. Continue the training throughout the day for several days, and she will soon learn to come when called.