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I wondered. I asked online: “Got cats? I’d love to hear from you, whether you’re a professional, an experienced cat guardian, or a newbie with cats! Please join the discussion.”

They responded to truthfully and some said, “Yes!”

Not everybody was as sure.

I asked more particular concerns and here are someone’s responses:

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Does your cat come when called?

Kellie Sisson Snider (Pennsylvania) Yes. All 3 of them.

What’s your “cue”? Not a command; a hint says, “Do X now!” (X = the habits).

Come here, [Name]!”

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Explain the actions you (and the cat) went through for the cat to learn this habits.

Say the hint and after that feed them, in the beginning.

How long did it take for the cat to learn?

Very little time. They also learn from watching the other cats.

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Is the cat reliable on the behavior, or … ?

Unless Leon is sound asleep. He’s a deep sleeper.

Could you help the cat to be more reliable on the behavior?

I could but don’t really need to. And they’re pretty reliable now.

Other behaviors that your cat performs on hint? Describe!

High Five, cue is hand raised. High Five standing on back legs, just show cue higher.

Fernando Diaz My cat comes when I jingle my bracelet. She was a kitty off the streets and needed time to acclimate. She initially responded to toys, so transitioning to my bracelet seemed natural.

Jacqui Halvorson (Washington) If she feels like it!!

Jill Kern (Rhode Island) Yes, but not always. True of my dog too.

Ben Bennink (New York) My cat has a recall cue, but I don’t practice it that much so it’s sloppy. Most times I’ll just use his name and he’ll usually come. I could tighten that up with a little effort, but don’t care enough. He likewise knew ‘sit’ at one point but I stopped caring. What I use all the time is training him in cooperative care—he is very good at holding still at the vet, he allows me to trim his nails, he actively engages with being brushed/groomed—and shaping work like our recent training to run on his cat wheel. The methods I use are basically the same as those I use for dogs, but tweaked a bit based on what I know about feline ethology where appropriate.


Photo by Ben Bennink

Ronnie Holmes (Illinois) Occasionally, Her Imperial Majesty will deign to acknowledge my entreaties for attention.

Erin Darling Looney (Washington) Yes, mostly. I do a kissy sound and rub my fingers together near my ankle. They learned as kittens. To start with, I would hold a small treat in the hand I made the noise with. Once one cat learns it, they all figure it out. I currently have five cats but I’ve used this with all of the cats I’ve owned over the years. I’ve taught this to probably 20 cats.

Michelle Brady (Washington) My cat Poe is a nine-year-old domestic short-hair that I rescued when he was six months old. He is very attached to me and has a more dependable recall than either of my dogs. I can call “Poe kitten!” anywhere in the house and he comes running. He is a purely indoor cat but a few times he’s gotten outside and he will still come to me when I call. His reward is snuggle time. He had also learned to gently put his paws on me to be picked up and will do it on cue if I pat my chest.


Photo by Michelle Brady

Kelly Rae Mathews (Washington) Yes.

Katie Cronin (Ontario) I have two cats; both come when I simply call their name. One in particular, Sparta, comes much easier and more quickly because we’ve had him from when he was about two months old. I don’t even have to call his name. If I snap my fingers, he’ll know to come. If I snap my fingers over a table, the bed, wherever I want him to jump up, he’ll follow where I gesture with my fingers. I believe he learned it as a kitten when I would snap my fingers and call his name at the same time, particularly when we were summoning him to eat. Now he doesn’t need any verbal cues! Whenever I snap my fingers, he comes or jumps up to where I need him without fail, including the vet’s office onto the examination table.

Alisha Ardiana (California) The sound predicts treats. Then add distance.

Adrienne Critchlow (United Kingdom) Not helpful for your blog as I don’t have a cat— but the robins around our training ground come when I call them!!

What do you think rewards them for that habits?

The meaty dog deals with I feed them whenever they appear!

There you go! Lucky birds!

Positive support in action! They’ll show up within 30 seconds of me calling them now.

Does your cat come when called? It’s so practical and much safer, too!

Is it tough to teach to your cat? The agreement appears to be that teaching a cat to come when called is not tough.

Use a few of the tips from cat guardians and see what your cat has the ability to learn!

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