Here, Kitty Kitty! How to Teach Your Cat to Come When Called

Cat Come When Called
Want your cat to reliably respond to the "come" cue? Mikkel Becker recommends pairing the command with a reward your cat enjoys, like a meal or play session.

The idea of having your cat come when you call her may seem ridiculous — after all, cats are independent beings who do whatever they please. But while your repeated coos of “Here, kitty kitty!” may produce only an unreliable response from your feline, it’s likely that other cues, such as the sound of a can of cat food popping open, consistently cause her to come running.

Training your cat to come when called is simply a matter of making “Here, kitty kitty!” just as appealing to her as the sound of the can opener. The key is to build the training around positive associations. A consistent cue (“Kitty, come!”) paired with a pleasurable reward makes the cue worth responding to. There are a number of ways to teach a feline to come when called, but the simplest is to pair the cue with something that already brings your cat running to you.

What Motivates Your Cat?

Start by determining which stimuli your cat already responds to — a few common options are the rustling of a treat or food bag, the whir of the can opener, the clink of a food bowl touching the floor or the sound of the refrigerator opening. You’re looking for events that consistently cause your kitty to come running to you.

Once you know what predictably captures your cat’s attention, start to associate that event with a verbal cue, like “come.” A verbal cue is ideal, because it can eventually be used when the cat is out of view. With enough practice, your cat will learn to respond to the cue on her own and will likely trot — or at least execute a Garfield-paced stretch and stroll — toward the sound of your voice when she hears you asking her to “come.”


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