It is no secret that cats can be strong-willed creatures. They seldom do something that they don’t want to. If you are a cat owner, you also know that they are affectionate and loving. Some experts have even stated that cats don’t view humans as superior creatures the way dogs do.
Dogs want to please humans, but cats couldn’t care less. It is said that dogs are more attuned to human needs because they have been domesticated for over 30,000 years, while cats have only lived with humans for 9000 years.
Nevertheless, we can train cats to recognize and respond to their names. Patience is key to effective teaching a cat its name. The time it will take for a cat to learn its name will depend largely on the age of the cat. Kittens and younger cats tend to learn faster, while older cats will take a few more weeks.
In this article, we will give you some tips on how to teach your feline friend its name and explain the variables that could be associated with slow learning or unresponsive cats. While felines can generally be aloof, you should not be discouraged. They almost always give cues that they understand.
How Can I Teach My Cat its Name?
A cat understands 30 human words on average. Their name should be one of these words. Cats recognize their owners’ voices along with their scents and even intonations.
Here are some steps that can guide you when training your cat to know and respond to his or her name.
Choose an Appropriate Name
When choosing your cat’s name, make sure you use hard vowels, which are a, e, and i. ‘u’ and ‘o’ are referred to as soft vowels and, when used, can easily get lost in the sounds. Hard consonants are also advised.
When hard vowels are used, it makes it easier for the cat to recognize its name, even when it is spoken with other complex words. Avoid giving your cat a name that is similar to another member of the household to avoid confusion.
It is also important to keep the name short. The name shouldn’t contain more than two syllables and shouldn’t be more than one word, or the cat will lose interest in its name.
Giving the Cat Rewards
Cats do not respond to verbal praise the way other pets like dogs do. They will respond to tangible awards such as a treat. Scratching or petting the cat can also be a way to reward them.
When the cat hears its name and responds to it by coming to you, and you offer them a reward, they will associate their name with positivity and ultimately be more and more responsive.
You can also do more research on what can motivate your cat. Look for things that cats enjoy and activities that they love and use them for training your cat.
Do Not Yell Their Name
Do not use their name to reprimand them for bad behavior. Avoid shouting its name in anger. The cat may end up ignoring it or responding negatively to its name. Always associate your cat’s name with positivity.
Cats do not respond to scolding and punishment and may just be confused when you use their name in that context. Instead, they may become aggressive and jumpy when their name is mentioned.
Do not change the cat’s name or give it a nickname. Always call it by its name to avoid confusing it. If it is confusing, it will not respond to its name. It is important to start training them as soon as possible and to continue until they learn.
Be patient even when it doesn’t respond immediately or with enthusiasm. It may take some time before they learn their name. Actively train the cat during this time. You can start feeding them less so that the treats you offer are more enticing.
Involving the whole family in training can also help a lot. It will help to speed up the training process and also with the consistency of the training. It also helps the cat respond to its name when it is mentioned by different people.
Advance Its Training
As the cat becomes more aware of its name, you can try and move further away from it when you call its name. Later on, you could even move to the next room and call its name if it continues to show a positive response to its name.
If you live in a story building, you can also call it from a different floor. Add words like here or come to its name so that it can respond to commands associated with its name. When the cat has learned its name, gradually decrease the treats you use to reward it for avoiding obesity.
How Long Will It Take for My Cat To Learn its Name?
In the same way, every human is unique, and animals are too. This means that cats are different individuals and respond to information and situations differently. Do not pressure your cat to learn faster because you cannot force it to do anything.
The time it will take for a cat to completely recognize its age will vary depending on the age of the cat and how it has been trained. It is also dependent on whether it is your only cat or if it has to share its space and owner with another or other cats.
A cat can take up to six months to learn its name. Cats will only learn information and words that they deem useful. For kittens that are still close to their mother at the early stages of their life, human language and knowledge will largely be ignored. The kitten will take all its cues from its mother.
For older cats, we need to learn what stimulates them and activates their imagination. Then we can pick a suitable name and effective training techniques that will help it learn its name faster.
If the cat does not respond to its name at all for over a month, it is important to have a check-up done at the vet’s office to make sure it is not deaf. It does not have a positive response to its name or refuses to respond to it after six months, and then you should change its name. The cat may not like the name.
Do not overuse your cat’s name in an attempt to speed up the learning process. The cat should understand that names are important and are used when something is happening.
Does My Cat Already Know Its Name?
People often do not know that their cats already know their names or don’t recognize that they are being called, when in truth, cats can differentiate names from other commands. A cat will recognize its name through the familiarity of the owner’s voice or of the intonation used while saying its name.
Cats also may associate their name with pleasure. This sentiment is picked up when training the cat to respond to its name.
One way you know that your cat recognizes its name is when it comes to you more than half the times you call it. Since felines generally cannot be forced to do something they don’t want to, over 50% positive response is adequate in assessing your cat’s knowledge of its name.
We can also test whether our cats know their manes by mentioning it randomly in an unrelated sentence. If the cat perks up at the mention of its name, this is a tell-tale sign that it understands its name. This method works best for cats that don’t need a lot of attention. Using the same tone of voice used when calling them is important. The cat may also look at you or move closer to you at the sound of its name.
How to Teach Two Kittens Their Names
If the kittens are from one litter and are always together, they may respond to a sound or a noise that their owner makes but may not be able to recognize their names. In such cases, you may want to separate them for a few hours each day, during which you train them to recognize their names.
When they are separated, you could play with them while calling them by their name and asking them to bring something like a toy to you while repeatedly mentioning their names. You could also call them to jump while patting a surface while calling their name. Make sure you are consistent and don’t call them by another name or nickname.
This process may take more time than training just one cat. Do not repeat their names often when they are together because they may be confused and end up responding to neither of the names. After a while, with a lot of patience and consistency, both kittens or all the kittens will learn their names and even differentiate them from the others’ names.