Mastering the Art of Feline Recall: Teaching Your Cat to Come When Called
It is possible to train cats in some simple yet important behaviors, such as training them to come to you. There are many situations where you need your cat to come to you, like during mealtime or when letting the cat go outside.
Training your cat to come to you is an incredibly easy task, but it requires a bit of patience and repetition. There are some basic steps involved, and the process largely involves gradually increasing the difficulty for the cat until it becomes accustomed to the behavior.
Step 1: Determine a Reward for the Cat
Before starting the training, you need to prepare a reward for the cat. Cats always respond well to rewards. Cat toys might serve as suitable rewards for following the command, but undoubtedly, the best reward for a cat is food.
However, you should consider that the food you use to entice the cat to come to you should be different from its regular daily food.
You can use more than one type of reward to keep things engaging for the cat. It's better to associate these rewards exclusively with calling the cat, creating a connection.
Step 2: Choose a Calling Method
Choose a specific method to call the cat to come to you. You might use the cat's name to request it to come, but it might actually be better not to use the name. This is because you'll use the cat's name on other occasions. Instead, you can use phrases like "Come here" or "Come to me" to associate these words solely with the action of coming to you. A whistle can also be used for training the cat.
Step 3: Begin Training the Cat
Train the cat by associating the command with receiving the reward. Approach the cat, say the command, and present the reward. Initially, the cat might not respond to the command, but gradually, it will realize that a reward awaits when it follows the command. Once this link is established, start training the cat to actually perform the behavior.
You can start by standing at the far end of the room and saying "Come." It's helpful to show the reward to the cat initially as extra encouragement. You can also hold the reward in front of the cat, especially in the beginning. Wait until the cat comes to you, and as soon as it does, reward it immediately to reinforce the link. Begin with a close distance, and slowly increase it over time.
Repeat this process multiple times during the first training session to quickly connect the command with the reward. Repeat this process again later in the day, and it's best not to exceed 10 minutes per training session.
Step 4: Increase Distance and Change Location
Once the cat reliably comes to you from a close distance, gradually increase the distance between you and the cat. Try this in different locations within the same room and then from adjacent rooms.
Repeat this from various spots each time and in different places around the house, providing distractions and rewarding the cat when it comes to you. This way, the cat will learn to come to you regardless of the situation.
Exercise patience and repeat the process multiple times until the cat comprehends. Never punish the cat for not coming, as this can have negative effects on its behavior. You can gradually reduce the rewards after consistency is achieved.
Tips And Strategies to Successfully Lure Your Cat to Your Side
Begin training indoors initially to ensure the cat comes to you rather than wandering outside.
If the cat stops responding to your call, it might be due to not liking the reward. Try switching rewards to see if that helps.
Keep training sessions short, no more than five to ten minutes at most, to prevent the cat from getting bored and unresponsive.
If you need to do something the cat doesn't enjoy, like taking it to the vet or trimming its nails, try finding the cat yourself instead of calling it. Make sure it associates coming to you with positive experiences.
Always offer some form of reward when the cat comes to you. Don't rely solely on calling without rewarding, as the cat might stop responding to your calls.
Finally, never punish the cat for not coming, as this could have counterproductive results. Repeat the training multiple times until the cat learns and gets accustomed to it. Always end a training session with a successful response from your beloved cat.
Reasons Your Cat Might Not Come to You
If your cat doesn't respond to your calls and commands, there could be two reasons:
Stubborn or Defiant Behavior: In this case, you need to be patient with the cat during training. Use enticing rewards that the cat might enjoy. If the cat is young, training might be easier than with an adult cat, which might take longer to respond to commands.
Hearing Problems: If you suspect your cat has hearing issues, try using different sounds to test its response. Consult a veterinarian if you're concerned about your cat's hearing. Instead of relying on verbal cues, focus on visual cues. Ensure that the cues are visible to the cat from a close distance.
Keep in mind that cat training demands patience, unwavering consistency, and the power of positive rewards. With dedicated time and energy, your feline friend can become adept at responding to your call.