How to Teach a Cat its Name?

Cats are harder to teach their names than dogs. For dogs, we just have to call his name a few times while looking into his eyes and when he looks at us hearing the name we praise him. It is as simple as that.

How to Teach a Cat its Name

But, if you think it will be as basic as that of cats then you are fooling yourself. Cats need more work. Now here are a few ways you can make your cat learn his or her name quickly.

  1. IN FOR A TREAT – Only praise does not help in this case. Cats are more likely to obey when given a treat rather than when praised. This method is more effective when your pet cat is hungry. Your cat will obey eagerly just to get some food.

When it is mealtime, your cat will come to the place where you usually give him or her food. Do not give him or her the food right away. Call his or her name and see if your cat reacts or not. If it reacts and looks at you then give the treat right away.

Cats give attention to a certain thing for a short period of time, so give him the treat very quickly after she or he fulfills the tasks. This method works more accurately when you give something very delicious for your cat’s treat.

  1. CALL HER NAME WHEN IN IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES – Always call her when you have something important to do with her like when it is time for her meal or when she or he wants to play.

While doing these activities cats become very alert and they enjoy doing these. So, when you call them lovingly they will understand it better.

  1.  CALL HER NAME REPEATEDLY – Your cat does not understand human language. It will not get it in just one time. So, you have to call her name repeatedly before he gets that it is his name.
  1. SELECTING A SUITABLE NAME FOR YOUR CAT – Be careful when you choose your cat’s name. Always call your cat the name that you have chosen, do not give it a nickname. Like if your cat’s name is jack then do not call him jackie, call him jack only. 

Do not give your cat a name similar to other things. It will create confusion in her mind. If you have gotten a new cat from shelter or any cattery always change her old name to a new one. Your cat may have bad memories associated with the previous name.

  1. SOUND PREFERENCE –  Cats recognize their names by the tone, the way of saying the word. So, they mainly focus on the sound. Before giving it the name you want you might consider giving him a name that he likes to hear. 

You can make a list of names that you like then say them one by one. The one that suits his or her ears will likely create a reaction to his face, a positive one. That you can easily figure out by your pet’s reaction.

Then you can select that name for your fur-ball. It has once stole his attention, it is likely to do that again. Just like that eventually your cat will understand that it is his or her name.

Do Cats Understand Their Names?

Do Cats Understand Their Names

Research has been done and it is found out that yes cats do recognize their names when they are called. They just pretend to ignore sometimes just like how we ignore our relative’s phone calls.

Interesting fact is cats can also recognize their owner’s voices. Even stray cats understand when you are calling them. They might not make any movement at first but there is a way you can tell that you have got their attention. When you call a cat, notice the movement of its ears. If the ear moves towards you then it is listening to you even if the cat is pretending not to.

There was an article which was written in 2013 that declared that cats can understand human language and respond via movements of the head and the ears. They understand their owner’s voice by detecting it among three other men’s voices. They are more tuned to broad pitch. 

We talk to babies by using a shrill voice(high pitch voice), we talk to our cats and dogs and other pet animals too. So, this is why cats associate high pitched talking with them. However, if you do not talk like that with your cat from the beginning then your cat may not link this kind of behaviour with you.

It takes a long time for cats to get acquainted with their owner’s voice. Especially for kittens it takes much more time than adult ones.

How to teach a cat its name if it hates treats?

There are rarely any cats who do not like treats. I mean, who does not like food? It is unbelievable. But if your cat does not like treats then it is a unique one.

Well, now comes the hard part of the job. Why hard? Because we train pets mostly by giving them the temptation of food. So, when your cat does not have any interest in food then it is hard to have another choice.

Of course you can make your cat starve and then he or she will want food but that is definitely not an ideal way. Do not even think about it, it will only make the bond between you two worse. 

Do not worry though because I am going to give you some tips on how to make your cat learn its name even without food.

You have to find things that your cat is interested in. Like some cats like hugs and cuddling. Some like attention. Some want praise all the time. You have to use that as a temptation and then when you get your cat’s undivided attention, call out to him by his name.

Try blinking while saying it. If you stare at a cat directly into its eyes then he or she might think of you as a threat. This may lead him to attack you. So, blink to make a passive gesture towards your cat.

There are some videos that show us blinking works when you want to be friends with a frightened cat or any cat in that matter. 

How to teach a cat its name if it hates treats

Another way, suppose you and your cat are playing. You spread your hands and call him by his name and nod. Along with it whenever your cat takes a step towards you you praise him a little and encourage him to come closer. 

This method takes a lot of time. Your cat may not even respond right at the beginning but if you are consistent your cat will understand that you are calling him by a certain name and understand that it is his name.

How to teach a stray cat its name?

Stray cats may seem a lot of work but in reality they are the easiest one to pet. It is because they are always hungry, they do not get a lot of food everyday nor do they get any care. 

In this situation they surely have trust issues but if you give them food and show care for them, they will become very loyal to you.

I once made friends with a stray cat just by giving it food everyday for 1 week. I gave him food at a certain hour of the day. It was a kitten. After a week it let me hold him. I know it is not right to disturb them when they are in the middle of a meal but I picked him up in my lap and pet him because he was quick to leave once it was done eating. After that I think he trusted me more, he stayed even after his meal. He would groom himself in front of me and leave when I left. 

Stray cats just need love, it will take time for the cat to place their trust in you. Patience is the key, be patient and kind. Do not scold him for small matters. Give him treats that are his favourite.

How Long Does It Take For A Kitten To Learn Her Name?

It depends on various aspects of circumstances. For example, suppose you have a kitten of 1 week or 2 weeks, then it is surely not possible for you to train him or her in just a little period of time. 

But if you have an adult cat it is much easier however it still depends on the cat’s intelligence level. If your cat is not very quick to pick up things on his own, then you might need to make extra effort. Sometimes, people hire a trainer because they can not do that by themselves.

If you have an old cat then it will be a bit hard because they will have a previous owner so it is mostly likely that they will have a previous name which they are accustomed to. They are hard to pet because they have lived hard. Some even have bad experiences over the years, that can make them unstable sometimes.

So when you choose an older cat for a pet be prepared to do a lot of work. But it does not always have to be like that. Maybe your cat is just a perfectly normal cat just aged. Then it will not be such a fuss anyway.

Coming back to kittens, it might take from 8 weeks to 12 months for a kitten to properly recognize their name and respond to it. You have to have patience though, do not expect anything in prior. That is what makes us worried. 

How long does it take for a cat to learn its new name?

For an average cat it is likely to take 2 – 3 weeks. But for mentally challenged cats it can take upto 1 year. A cat who has gone through a rough life will be less likely to respond to any name you call him. 

Some cats are shy and like to hide. If you have one of these then they might pretend that they did not hear you calling their name. But in reality they are just nervous and in this case you can pet him to encourage that he is in a safe place.

Some cats just deliberately ignore their owner. They like to be left alone. So, when they hear you they notice but do not respond. You can sometimes see their ears turning towards you but their face is in the other direction, that means they are listening to you but feigning to ignore.

How long does it take for a cat to learn its new name

In these cases it is better if you leave them undisturbed, observe from afar and let them come to you when they are ready.


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