Training Your Cat to Come When Called

Cat eating treat

Teaching your cat to come when called is not only handy but could save his life. If he escapes outside, you can call him back home. You can also call him when inside the house to make sure he's accounted for before leaving the house, or to gather him up for a trip to the veterinarian.

If he's an indoor and outdoor cat, you can call him inside before you leave the house. You can call him to walk with you when your hands are full and the door is open. And you can just call him to you when you want to visit with him. Even if he's an outdoor cat, you can call him home if a storm or other danger is looming.

Teach Your Cat to Come on Command

Your cat probably already comes when called — only he comes to the call of the electric can opener or the ping of dry cat food hitting his bowl. It's just one step to go from that to coming to the call of your voice or to a whistle — whistles aren't just for dogs!

Just as the sound of a can opener signals good food is on its way, your come command should also signal that good food comes to those who come. You should teach him that when called, it's not just good food, but wonderful food. Experiment to see what your cat really likes — tuna, cat treats, sardines — and reserve it only for those times you've called.

Although you could just play a recording of the can opener, that would be inconvenient, so instead, decide how you will call your cat. Use something you don't otherwise say during the day. "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty" is a favorite, or you could use a whistle. Don't, however, simply use the cat's name. His name is just to get his attention; it should be followed by a cue to actually come. Everyone in the house should use the same way of calling.

A deaf cat can be trained to come to vibrations, such as thumping your foot on the floor, or to visual cues, such as a light flicking on and off.

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