Have a treat in your pocket before you train
To train your cat to come on cue, you don’t want him to know you have a treat. So hide in a room when you put a few treats in your pocket. Then wash your hands. You may even want to put the treats in a plastic baggie before placing it in your pocket. We really don’t want him to come because of a treat.
Set your cat up for success
The best way to first train your cat to come is when he is already coming to you! When that happens, just say “name, come here” in a happy voice and give the cat the treat when he arrives. DON’T put your hand in your pocket until AFTER you say “come here”. We want the words to be the cue, not your pocket. And not the treat. If you wish to include a hand signal, you can extend an open palm and fold the fingers over it as you say “come here”.
Gradually ask for more during training
Gradually add the following steps. If the cat does not come, you are done for the day – but the next day, go back to an easier step.
- Say “name, come here” when the cat looks at you, but before the cat is coming towards you.
- Say “name, come here” when the cat is in view and calm, but not looking at you.
- Say “name, come here” when the cat is distracted but in view.
If you would like to learn more about practical cat training, read my blog on teaching your cat to enter the carrier on cue.
Patience Fisher owns Patience for Cats LLC, a cat behavior business based in Pittsburgh, PA. She is Associate Certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She holds a Bachelor’s in Biology, a Diploma of Feline Behavior Science Technology, and is a certified veterinary assistant. Check out her humorous YouTube video at her Patience for Cats channel. Visit her on Facebook at Patience for Cats.