Motivate your cat to learn her name. Cats are not as motivated by verbal praise as dogs. Therefore, saying something like ‘Good kitty’ to your cat will probably not motivate her enough to learn her name.The best way to motivate your cat to learn her name is to give her scrumptious treats.
- Tuna is one of the most scrumptious treats you can give your cat.
- Other treat options include sardines and tasty kitten treats. Catnip is another option, but not all cats like catnip.
Choose a good time to teach your cat her name. Your cat will learn her name more quickly when she is most motivated to learn, which is when she is hungry. She’ll want to learn because she knows that her reward will be a tasty bit of food.
- If you are going to teach her when it is her mealtime, try feeding her less than her normal portion to keep her wanting more.
Call your cat’s name. With a set of treats nearby, call your cat’s name. Use a coaxing and tender voice. Do not be surprised if she does not respond the first time you call her name. She may need a few repetitions to adjust to hearing it.
- It may help to set the treat on the ground in front of you after you call her name. This will teach her to turn to you when you call her name.
- Reward her immediately with a treat when she responds to her name being called. Cats have short attention spans, so an immediate reward is necessary to help her understand what you are rewarding her for.
- Rewarding your cat with a treat every time she responds to her name could turn her into an obese kitty. Phase out the treats gradually as she responds more reliably to her name. Start the decrease at 75% of the time. From there, go to 50%, then 30%, then only occasionally.
Associate her name with positive activities. When you teach your cat her name, you want her to have only positive associations with it. For example, call her name when it is time for her to eat or right before a scheduled playtime.
- Avoid calling her name with unpleasant activities, such as getting into the pet carrier or giving her medication.
- Do not use her name when you are reprimanding her.
Call your cat’s name only at significant times. Your cat will want to hear her name only when it is for something important or significant to her, such as playtime or mealtime. If you say her name for something not as important, like saying ‘good night’ or ‘good morning,’ your cat may feel less motivated to actually respond to it.
- Saying your cat’s name repeatedly can also lessen its significance to her
Select a short name. The name you give your cat plays a role in whether she will respond to it or not. A one- or two-syllable name, such as Agnes or Ace, are ideal because they are short. The name should also sound pleasant — your cat won’t want a name that sounds harsh every time you say it.
- Additional examples of good names include Garfield, Patches, and Taz.
- If your cat already has a name, she may not be responding to it because she does not like the sound of it. Consider finding a new name for her.
Do not use a name that sounds like other words. Your cat’s name should be easily distinguishable from other words you would say along with her name. For example, the name ‘Minnie’ would sound a lot like ‘dinner’ to your cat. Giving her a name that sounds similar to other words could be very confusing to your cat.
- If your cat has a hard time distinguishing her name from other words, it will probably take longer for her to learn it.
Avoid giving your cat a nickname. Although it is common to give people nicknames, giving your cat a nickname would probably end up confusing her. For example, if you name your cat Agnes, do not call her by another version of that name, such as ‘Aggie.’
- Make sure the other members of your household do not give her nicknames.
Consider changing your adopted cat’s name. If you have recently adopted your cat, you may want to change her name. Changing her name can be like giving her a fresh start in life, especially if she was abused or otherwise mistreated by her previous owner. Also, if she was given a name in the animal shelter, she probably does not have much association with it and would respond well to a name change.
- Come up with a new name before you adopt her. When you bring her home, say her name after positive experiences, such as eating or giving her a toy. Say her name in a friendly and happy voice.
- You can also pair the new name with the old name (e.g., ‘Sally Sue’). Say both names at first, then progress to just saying the new name.
- If your cat seems particularly attached to her old name, you could use a new name that rhymes with the old one (e.g, old name is Bes, new name is Tess).
- It is usually easier to change an adopted cat’s name if she is young. An adult cat may have grown accustomed to her old name.