Cats often have the reputation of being stubborn and untrainable. Dog owners flaunt the ability to train their best friend to do all sorts of tricks while many cat owners struggle to get their cat to come to them.
Don’t despair, cat lovers – cats can be man’s best friend, too. Although stubborn, cats can be trained to respond to their name or a sound if you have the patience to teach them. It’s time-consuming but simple, so let’s take a look at what you need to do.
- Reasons You Should Train Your Cat to Come
- How to Train Your Cat to Respond to Calls
- How to Train a Deaf Cat to Respond to Calls
- Why Your Cat Won’t Come When You Call
- Final Thoughts
Reasons You Should Train Your Cat to Come
Why bother training a cat to respond to your call? First of all, it’s always nice to be able to locate your pet by calling them. Adventurous cats who are allowed outside may like to roam the neighborhood. Indoor cats may have slinked into an open drawer or under a couch, and they can be difficult to find when they’re hiding. If you can call them, it’ll save you a lot of trouble.
Training your cat to respond to a call can also serve as a mental exercise for them. Cats are intelligent creatures, so training having a mentally stimulating trick is good for them and will help them stay alert.
How to Train Your Cat to Respond to Calls
To train your cat to respond to you, you’ll need a little bit of patience. But that’s the only tool you need to bring out for this process. Training a cat to respond to your call relies on things you already do for your cat.
Find the Motivation
The first thing you need to do is pay attention to what sounds or cues make your cat come to you. Is it when you pour food into the bowl or shake the treat bag? Maybe it’s when you sit on the couch, head to the bedroom, or pull out their favorite toy.
Whatever it is, this is what you’ll use to start training your cat. It’s important to use habits that are already established because they’ll make the training process seamless and will save you some time and frustration. And Patches won’t even realize you’re making her learn a new trick.
Decide the Call
Once you’ve established what motivates your cat, you need to decide which call you want them to respond to. The call should be simple and something that’s easy to remember. If you leave town and recruit a friend to house-sit, they’ll need to be able to call the cat.
It may be wise to train your cat to come to basic calls, so if your cat gets lost, there will be a chance of someone making the right call that your cat will come to.
The call can be your cat’s name, “here, kitty, kitty,” kissing sounds, or clicking your tongue. Studies show that cats prefer high-pitched sounds or sounds that resemble birds, so take this into consideration when choosing which call to use.
Associate the Call With the Motivation
Training your cat to respond to a call is truly simple – you just need to associate the call with the motivation. Follow these steps to train your cat:
Call With the Motivation
Every time your cat runs to you after using the motivator, call your cat. You need to stay consistent and do it each time so your cat will learn.
Reward the Response
Once your cat comes to you, reward them. Rewards can be a treat, a long head scratch, or playing with a toy. Even if they’re responding to a daily ritual, like dinner time, that they would’ve come to without the call, you should still reward the behavior.
Limit how often calling your cat leads to “bad” things. If you call your cat and it leads to going to the vet or taking a bath, they’ll eventually stop responding. If you have to lead your cat to something they’ll find unpleasant, it’s better to find them yourself and pick them up.
Call Without Motivation
After you’ve called your cat with the motivation for at least a week, occasionally call your cat without using the motivation. Begin this process when you’re near your cat. If they successfully come to you, reward the behavior.
Once your cat shows signs of getting used to being called, level up the challenge by calling from further away. Then, call from another room. If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, you can eventually try calling your cat inside or outside.
Remember that while you’re slowly increasing the difficulty, you should still periodically use the motivator and reward every response you get.
Training your cat will be a long process, especially if your cat is stubborn or acts as though they’re royalty and doesn’t like to be commanded like a commoner. Kitty won’t learn in a day, so you need to stay patient, practice every day, and keep a bag of treats on hand.
How to Train a Deaf Cat to Respond to Calls
You may think you’ll never train your deaf cat to respond to calls, but that’s not true. You can train a deaf cat similarly to a cat that can hear. The only difference is that your calls have to be visual or physical.
Find the Motivation Using Sight or Touch
Motivation will have to be a visual cue for your cat. They won’t come to the sound of a treat bag, but they will come when they see it or if they can feel the kibble bag hit the floor. Deaf cats feel vibrations more than a cat who can hear, so you can utilize this to signal your cat to come to you.
Decide the Visual Cue
Some people who have a deaf cat will teach their cat American Sign Language or a made-up sign language. Any kind of visual sign can serve as a cue to call your cat. You can also use a flashlight or laser pointer to get your cat’s attention.
If you’d rather use vibrations, patting the floor or stomping your foot might work, too.
Associate the Visual Cue With the Motivation
Just as you’d verbally call a cat who can hear when you open the treat bag, you need to use the visual cue when your cat comes running to you. If they come to you when they see you open a food package or pull out a certain toy, make the visual cue. You’ll need to make sure they’re able to see you or feel the vibrations you make so they can learn.
Follow the same steps listed above for the cats who aren’t deaf:
Use the Visual Cue With Motivation
Every time you use the cat’s motivator, you need to use the visual cue with it.
Be sure to reward your cat every single time they respond to you, even if it’s for a recurring daily activity.
Practice Visual Cues Without Motivation
Slowly teach your cat to respond to visual cues by occasionally using them without motivation. If you’re sitting on the couch and notice your cat looking at you, use the cue to see if they’ll respond. Eventually, raise the difficulty by cueing them across the room.
Don’t Give Up
Cats are smart, but you may need to take longer to train deaf cats. It may also be more complicated since you can only cue them when they’re looking at you unless you choose a vibration cue.
Why Your Cat Won’t Come When You Call
It’s frustrating when you’ve spent a lot of time training your cat to come to you and you still aren’t being rewarded with your cat’s response. There are a few reasons why your cat isn’t responding.
Not Enough Practice
Remember, patience is key. If your cat isn’t responding to your call without motivation, it may have not clicked in their head yet that “Tiger!” or ch-ch-ch! means that you want them to come to you. Keep using motivation and reward their behavior and they’ll figure it out eventually.
They Didn’t Hear or See You
It’s possible that your cat can’t hear you. If you’re calling an outdoor cat to come inside, you might be too far away. Or maybe your indoor cat buried itself deep in your closet and is in a deep sleep. If your cat isn’t coming, you may need to go look for them.
They Don’t Care
Sorry, cat lovers – cats aren’t hated on without reason. Studies show that some cats recognize their name, but can’t be bothered to respond. Rude, right? Cats don’t really understand the concept of their name, but they at least understand that it’s a sound that means they’re being called. Is it enough of a reason to get up, though? Maybe not.
Training your cat will be a time-consuming process. Depending on your cat and how much time you spend training, it could take only a couple of weeks or even a few months. Stick with it, because being able to communicate effectively with your cat is enough of a reward for you.
Remember that training your cat just means you get to spend more time with them, so it’s definitely worth the effort.