Teaching A Cat His Name

If you’ve adopted a cat from a shelter you may not like the name shelter workers gave the cat, or if you have a kitten that hasn’t been named yet, you’ll need to decide on a name.  Once you’ve picked a name, it’s time to teach your cat to respond to his name.  In Think Like A Cat, Pam Johnson-Bennett offers these tips on teaching a cat his name.

  1. Teaching A CatPick a short name that will be easy for your cat to recognize.  A name like Bob works much better than Bob Bob Bo-Bob Banana Nana Bo-Bob.
  2. Once you pick the name, don’t call your cat by nicknames.  Sticking to his actual name will make it easier and quicker for him to learn.
  3. When teaching a cat, don’t call his name in anger.  Cats respond to tone of voice, if you use an angry tone when saying his name, he may begin to equate his name with punishment and not come to you when called.
  4. Use your cat’s name often and teach him to associate positive things with it.  When petting him, say his name often in a soft, soothing tone of voice.  When making dinner, call him by name.  Hand feed him a few bits of food or a treat before filling his dish, saying his name as you offer the kibble/treat.  After doing this a few times, put food in his dish.  Be sure to stay positive and keep the sessions short.
  5. Practice calling his name throughout the day, using small pieces of treats as reward when he comes to you.  After doing this for a few days, progress to calling him from another room, giving treat when he comes to you.  Gradually begin backing away from treats every time he comes when called, but always offer praise so he will associate his name with good things.

Teaching a cat can be fun and rewarding, especially if you stay consistent.  Enjoy working with your feline student, you’ll be amazed how quickly he’ll learn!


Photo:  Sheyla2 at animal-photos.org


Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.

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