Training Your Cat to Come When Called

How Food Can Aid in Training

If your cat already comes running to the sound of the can opener or the shaking of the treat bag, you can let that aid in training. Call your cat immediately before making the sound she already comes to. Your call must come before the sound — not at the same time or after — because in that way your call will quickly come to predict the other sound and food. Practice having your cat run to you in the kitchen, or wherever she usually eats, at first. Then go to other rooms and have her come to you there, feeding her as soon as she reaches you. Be sure to stroke and praise her as well. Once she's coming, don't take her training for granted. Whenever she comes, reward her. If you train her when she's already hungry, you'll make even faster progress. If your cat spends time outside, you can also call her to the house and reward her.

The Best Time to Train Your Kitten

The best time to teach your cat to come when called is when she's a young kitten, but no matter how old she is, she can still learn. Always make coming to you rewarding. Even if you've hunted and called for the past hour, only to see your cat finally meander out yawning from under the bed, grit your teeth and reward her. If you want your cat to come so you can cut her nails or give her medicine, go find her rather than call her. True, sometimes you have to call her for things that aren't on the top of her fun things to do list, but try to keep those to a minimum. One day your cat's life may depend on her coming to you without hesitation — don't give her reason to wonder if it's worth coming or not.

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