by Nomi Berger
Does your cat come to you when you call her name? Does she run to the door when you arrive home and call out to her or does she simply yawn and go back to sleep?
For cat owners curious enough to see if they can train their cats to come to them when called, cat trainers offer the following tips:
Since cats respond excitedly to treats, use healthy, morsel-sized treats (“morsel” is the operative word, vital to preventing any unwanted weight gain) so that she considers training a “paws-itive” thing.
Since cats react eagerly to higher-pitched voices, use a higher than usual tone of voice when you call out her name.
Since cats are more attracted to a happy tone, make your tone upbeat and light to keep her from thinking that she’s being punished.
Since cats respond more easily to shorter names, if yours has a long one, try shortening it, turning it into more of a nickname. For example, if your kitty’s name is Vanessa, you might want to use “Nessa” when calling her. This, then, will become her training name.
Since some cats react better to sounds than to names, clap your hands or use either a bell or a whistle to begin her training. Whatever method you choose, use it ONLY for this particular exercise.
Since repetition is key, be patient and take it slowly, paw step by paw step. Start out a few feet away from your cat. Call her name/clap your hands/use the bell or whistle, and place a morsel-sized treat (or a favorite toy) on the floor several feet in front of you. The smell of the treat or the sight of the toy should attract her to it. If she responds by approaching you, lavish her with praise, and once she’s eaten the treat or played with the toy, pet her, and in your best, happy and high-pitched voice, say “good job!”
If your cat doesn’t respond, repeat the exercise. Try it several more times before stopping to give both you and kitty a rest. Then begin the process again, and keep repeating it until, hopefully, you achieve the result you want. Increase the distance between you slightly and continue practicing the same exercise at this same distance for another few days.
Keep increasing the distance between you until she’s coming to you from any part of your home. And if she’s graduated gracefully and graciously to this phase, reward her with only praise – no treat, no toy – but with an especially relaxing rubdown or extra armfuls of affection.
In short, if your cat is now running to you whenever you call her name, you’ve succeeded!