How do I teach my cat to come when called?

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You can train your cat to come, but it probably takes about several weeks, because there are five steps and it takes about a week for the cat to master each one.

Cats are intelligent and can be fast learners, but it’s a lot easier to teach a dog a command or trick than a cat, because felines do have minds of their own. Dogs are pack animals and live to make the leader (their owner) happy. Cats are not pack animals so they’ll only learn if it brings them pleasure. That’s not to say they don’t love their owners; in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth—they just love themselves more.

Teaching your cat to come, however, is crucial to her safety and wellbeing, not to mention your sanity!

Here’s a step-by-step on teaching her this command:

• Cuddle with your cat on your lap. Stroke her back (or wherever she likes to be touched) and say her name over and over in a calming voice. Do this each time you sit down with her, or at least 3 times a day. This teaches her to associate her name with pleasure.
• Stroke your cat while on your lap again but, this time, wait until she makes eye contact with you to say her name. This teaches her to associate eye contact with her name.
• Sit down again with your cat on your lap. Stroke her, as before, but now gently say her name. If she turns her head to look at you, give her a treat. Continue doing this every 4 minutes or so during your cuddle session.

• Place yourself in the same room as your cat. She won’t be on your lap, but will only be a few feet away. Say her name and say “good girl!” if she looks at you. If she comes to you, give her a cat treat.

•Go into a different room and call her name, loud enough so that she can hear you, but not too forcefully or she’ll think you’re yelling. If she comes, praise her, pet her, and give her a treat.

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