Some cats respond well to their name, while others are content to ignore it or pretend they don’t hear it at all. Even if your cat doesn’t seem to care about their name, there are some ways you can train them to respond when you call them so that it becomes second nature for both of you. Here are 6 tips for getting your cat to respond to their name with ease and without confusion (or ignoring).
1) KEEP IT SHORT
Use their name often when you talk to them, especially during positive interactions like petting or feeding. Make sure you have their attention before you say their name, so they associate it with something good.
Use a happy tone of voice when you say their name. Start with short names that are easy for them to learn and remember. Repeat the name several times in a row so they have time to process it. Make sure you praise them when they respond correctly so they know they’re doing what you want.
2) USE TREATS
You can use treats to train your cat to come when called. Start by calling their name and offering them a treat when they come to you. Once they get used to this, try calling their name from another room. If they come to you, give them a treat. With enough practice, your cat will learn that their name means they get a tasty reward.
3) TRY DIFFERENT TONES
You might think that meowing in a high-pitched voice is the only way to get your cat’s attention, but try using a lower tone or even speaking in a normal voice. You might be surprised at how well your cat responds.
In addition to trying different tones, you can also try saying your cat’s name in different situations. For example, say their name when you’re petting them, when you’re giving them a treat, or when you’re playing with them.
Don’t forget to praise your cat when they respond to their name. This will let them know that they’re doing what you want them to do and will make them more likely to continue responding in the future.
4) DON’T CALL THEM TOO MUCH
Just like with people, if you overuse someone’s name, they’ll start to tune you out. The same goes for cats – so don’t call them by their name too often, or they’ll just start ignoring you. Instead, use their name sparingly, and only when you really need to get their attention. For example, you might say Max! Kitty! Come here! when Max is about to eat the family pet. You could also try a word that your cat associates with good things (like treats!) or a sound that only your cat can hear.
There’s a balance between using your cat’s name so much that it loses its meaning and not using it enough so that they forget what it is. The more attention you lavish on your pet the more quickly he or she will learn the desired behavior. However, overdoing it may result in decreased attention span for other activities. Keep track of when your pet responds to their name: For cats who are really stubborn about responding to their names, take note of when they respond.
5) SING IT IN THE MIRROR
Yes, you read that right. One way to get your cat to respond to their name is by singing it in the mirror. This may sound silly, but it actually works. When you sing your cat’s name in a high-pitched voice, they will often perk up and look at you. This is because they recognize the sound of their name and are curious as to why you’re making such a noise.
6) REPEAT IT OUT LOUD EVERY DAY
When you first get your cat, start by repeating its name out loud several times a day. Say it while you’re petting them, during playtime, and whenever you give them a treat. After a while, they’ll start to associate their name with positive things and will be more likely to respond when you say it. If you have multiple cats in the house, make sure to call each one of them by their name so that they all learn how important it is.