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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you.

- Mary Bly -


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                 Paws to Teach Kitty-Cat to Come on Cue

Come and Get It! 

Cats need mental and physical exercise to be happy, healthy members of a human household. When you learn more about cat behavior and how to teach your cat a working vocabulary to enrich your relationship, you will also be able to raise the cat of your dreams and best friend for life!

The secret to having a cat come on cue is to make sure the cat associates coming to you with something wonderful EVERY time.

Can you really teach cats?

Absolutely! You just need to learn a few things first - like how cats communicate and learn and what are normal feline behaviors. Then you can stimulate your cat's mind AND help your cat to modify normal feline behaviors into acceptable household etiquette.

Teaching a Cat is so EASY! Surprised?

Use tasty morsels of food to "lure" your cat into action such as coming to you or sitting on cue before you release that tasty morsel as the reward. Using food as a lure and reward is a gentle, effective method of showing your cat exactly what behavior you want.

What goes wrong?

Does your cat run in the opposite direction when you call or just stand and start at you? Pet parents often call pets before doing something unpleasant for the pet. If you call your pet and then scold, take away freedom, do something aversive like giving medicine or cleaning ears, then the pet is less likely to come when called. Make sure you don't accidentally give your cat any reason to think twice about coming to you when called. 

You will see the best results when your cat sees you as a trustworthy, consistent teacher and provider of everything good.


Why teach cats to come when called?


An important goal for training good behaviors is to "catch your cat doing something right" and reward that behavior. Teaching cats to come to you, anticipating something wonderful builds a positive relationship between you. If your indoor cat slips outdoors, think how helpful a quick response to being called can be. It might even be life saving!  


What to do

Think to yourself, "What is my cat's favorite reward?  What else can I do to make coming when called mean Disneyland - the happiest place on earth - to my cat

  • Introduce the word, "come" when you know your cat will come or when your cat is already coming to you. This helps your cat - over time - pair the word with the cue.

  • Show your cat what this word means by using a food treat to lure your cat to come to you. Put a very tasty treat within reach and walk backwards slowly saying your cat's name followed by the cue, "come," in a loving, happy, animated voice. Praise any movement in your direction. Begin with just a foot or two to ensure success.

  • Anytime you are not sure your cat will come, do not use the word. Using any cue word when you know your pet will not respond only slows down learning. Set every situation up so that your cat will succeed.

Ping, pong game

When your cat has learned to come when you call, then try this game. Start with a hungry cat  and human partner. Sit on either ends of a hallway with the hallway doors closed and the cat in the hall with you. Take turns calling the cat from one person to the other.

If needed, give the cat a treat to get the game going.
If your cat knows how to sit, give one treat for coming and a second treat for a sit.

Reinforce learning:  Call your cat before every meal and before anything wonderful happens. Praise and give treats each time your cat comes to you. 


"Helping you raise a fabulous feline friend for life."

Improving Relationships between Pets and People!

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