Many owners want to know how to make a cat come to you. You stand there calling your kitty, but she’s not paying attention to you. She just sits on the couch, looking out the window. Every time you call her name, there’s that quick flick of the tail but no glance in your direction.
Cats are independent animals, and any owner can tell you it feels more like they think they own you than the other way around.
It’s pretty hard to train any cat, and there’s no way to get them to do the kind of tricks dogs are capable of at shows.
It’s not that they’re not smart – cats are highly intelligent animals. They just don’t care about your plans for them; they do things their way and on their terms, well, most of the time anyway.
However, owners can get their kitties to accomplish minor training tasks. Training them to come to you when you call their name is easier than you think and a great “skill” to teach your feline friend.
If you want to achieve the inconceivable with your kitty, try this quick training guide to get them to come to you when you call their name.
Phase 1 – Prepare For Training
Before you start, it’s important to prepare yourself properly for the training session. If you want to get your cat to come to you, you’re going to need to offer them an incentive.
Cats are more resistant to training unless you give them something they value. Food is the number-one reward held in high esteem by cats and the “purr-fect” bribe for your kitty’s training session.
If your cat already has a favorite treat, use that as a reward for your training. If they don’t get treats, then you might have to experiment with a few different products before you find one that drives your cat wild.
Create A Cat-Call
While some owners swear their cat can tell what they’re thinking at times – the reality is your cat can’t read your mind, and it doesn’t speak English.
Therefore, while some cat owners like to use their cat’s name as the call, you can choose any word or sound you like, even if it’s nonsensical.
Using a high-pitched clicking sound like “ki-ki” or a whistle can also work with attracting your kitty’s attention for the call.
Choose a call that’s not an everyday phrase. As mentioned, many cat owners choose their feline name, but it’s not the best option. Phrases and words like “treat time” or “come” are ideal for training purposes.
Establish A Connection Between The Reward And The Sound
After creating the call, you need to create a connection between the reward and the call that your cat will understand. Make sure you only use that sound, word, or phrase associated with the call and the treat.
With enough repetition, your cat begins to relate to the feedback loop structure, assimilating it into their behavior. After a few months of encouragement, you can drop the treat, and the neurological connection remains between the call and the action they take in response.
Phase 2 – Build The Habit
In the second stage of training your cat, we’ll focus on building the habit and enforcing the positive feedback loop between the call, the cat’s action, and the reward.
Call And Offer A Reward
After you have the reward and the call in place, it’s time to start training. Begin with calling your cat. If she responds and looks at you, offer her the treat.
Make sure you’re standing a few feet away from the cat the first time you try. If they don’t respond on the first call, repeat it a few times.
Give your cat the treat as soon as they walk over, and they pet them, providing positive verbal enforcement, like “good kitty.”
Increase The Calling Distance
It’s important to only practice the call once during the first few training sessions to get your cat familiar with the exercise. Doing it more than once in the initial sessions might confuse your cat, ruining the effect.
Catching them fresh every day is the best way to approach the exercise for the first week. After your cat is familiar with the call-come-treat system, you can add more attempts into the training session or spread more out throughout the day.
In the second week, you can also start increasing the distance between you and the cat. Try calling her from other rooms in the house or from outside. The more variations you add to the training, the stronger the association and response in your cat’s mind.
Train Your Cat Before Mealtimes for Best Results
For best results with your training sessions, try them around 30-minutes before they would normally get their evening meal.
Your cats hungry, but they’ll realize it’s too early to associate the treat with dinner. Trying the training session at other parts of the day is also possible, depending on your cat’s personality.
Some cats might just ignore you if they’re not feeling hungry, or they just want to drive you crazy with frustration for 15-minutes.
Practice Makes “Purr-fect”
Carry out the training in short sessions and at least once a day. Cats have short attention spans, and they’ll lose interest in the exercise after around five to ten minutes.
The Final Step – Eliminate the Treat Slowly
When you call your cat, and they come over, offer them the treat right away. However, after they take it, make sure you pet them and provide verbal reinforcement. Scratching her behind the ears and saying “good kitty” is a great way to carry out this reinforcement strategy.
After a month or so, start weaning your cat off the treats. It will confuse them at first, but if you lean into the petting and verbal reinforcement some more, they won’t care as much. Give them a treat every other day for a week, and then eliminate it in the second week.
There you go, you just trained your kitty to respond to your call in less than a month! Please drop a comment and let us know if this strategy worked for you.