Why is it important to say your cat’s name before starting a training session?
You want your cat to come when you call her, not just when she hears a can or jar open. It is very important that your cat pay attention to you and that she responds to you.
That starts with making sure she knows her name, so you should be sure to say her name before every training session.
Sometimes, though, a cat will not respond to you speaking her name no matter how hard you try. In that case, make sure she isn’t deaf: A good way to check is to speak very loudly to her at very close range, say, two inches away from her. If her ears won’t move, she could very well be deaf—and you should take a trip to the vet.
If she’s not deaf and still won’t respond, it could just mean that she’s a little slow to catch on. In that case, you need patience—never yell or get angry, because it will only make her frustrated. If her name is short and begins with a hard consonant sound, such as B, T, D, that’s all the better.
• Create a strong bond with her. Talk to her often and pet and stroke her, while all the while saying her name.
• Sit in front of her and say her name a few times. Make sure you have a treat, preferably something she doesn’t get very often. Each time you say the name, treat. This will help her make the association that good things usually happen when you call her name! It will also reinforce that positive behavior when she does respond.
• Keep repeating it as you walk farther away from the cat. Keep treating her to reinforce the positive behavior. She’ll probably start to recognize both her name and your voice within about five minutes; cats learn very quickly when motivated!
NOTE: Make sure the treats are small, no larger than the size of a pea. They should also be nutritious. Some healthy treats include tiny pieces of tuna or chicken, a homemade liver cookie (see our recipe on a separate article) or even a tuna pop.