How to Teach Your Cat to Come When Called

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It’s important to train your cat to come when it is called for a variety of reasons. You may need to go out suddenly and you don’t wish to leave your cat outside where he may be in danger of other prowling cats or dogs chasing him. If you’ve trained your cat to come when called, the task of getting him inside will be simple. 

So how can we train a cat to come when called? One of the easiest ways is to use his love of food. You don’t have to train him to know his name. Cats may be called a name, but this is often for the convenience of the owners, rather than the cat. Kitty doesn’t care what he’s called and often will answer to any name, so long as it is said in the same tone of voice. 

But back to using food for training. When it is time to feed your kitty, make a loud and specific noise, like rattling a spoon or knife on the side of the cat food can. He will associate that noise with being fed and come very quickly. But don’t leave it at that. You don’t want to have to rattle a spoon every time you want your cat to come. While rattling the spoon, call the kitty’s name over and over. Say it loudly enough to be heard above the rattling spoon. Very often a high-pitched ‘kitty-kitty-kitty’ will do the trick. He will get used to the rattling spoon meaning food, and the sound of your voice will be associated with the rattling spoon, so that very soon he will come bounding up when you simply call without rattling the spoon.

It is good to reinforce this good behavior by offering a treat, so when he comes at your call and you don’t intend to feed him, give him a little reward instead. It can be a food reward, a cuddle while telling him what a good kitty he is, or you could offer him a toy and play with him for a while. Kittens love to chase a wisp of paper tied to a string, so it needn’t be an expensive toy. Cats respond to kindness and play as well as to food.

If your kitty doesn’t come promptly to be fed, decrease the amount of food you give him. When he is really hungry, he will come much more promptly. This is the time to rattle that spoon and call loudly.

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