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How to Teach a Cat its Name?

  • 11 min read

Getting a kitten used to their name can sometimes be quite helpful. When you’re looking for your cat or want her to come to you, it’s nice to know that your cat will come to you when you call her. Luckily, it’s reasonably easy to teach a cat its name & she responds to their name.

Cats understand many words.

Cats are able to understand 20 to 50 words of human speech. They memorize the sound, the stress, and the sound of the respective word. You can, therefore, get the cats used to “commands” such as “come,” “no,” or “sit.” the cat then knows on the signal that it should come to you, act (not), or sit down.

An understandable name for the cat

So that it is easy for the cat to listen when you say their name, you should consider a few things when making your choice. The name should not be too long, sound memorable, and avoid sibilants. Hissing sounds are sounds like s, z, and sh that are uncomfortable for the cat to pronounce. It’s in their genes because snakes used to be one of the cats’ most feared opponents – so the hissing sounds remind them of the snake’s hissing.

In addition, cats only hear vowels. Accordingly, when choosing a name, you should make sure that it mainly contains vowels. If possible, there are many different ones; at best, Miezi’s name ends with one.

Popular names for cats are, for example, Lilly, Amy, Nala, or Mimi for females and Felix, Tiger, Simba, or Leo for tomcats. All names that sound good to the cat and that they can quickly memorize.

But how exactly do you go about name training? Here we go!

Exercise 1: Training in a relaxed atmosphere

To train your cat to name, you should choose a situation in which she feels comfortable. Tense situations or moments of stress would counterproductively affect name training. So, if you are in a resolved situation, you should say your cat’s name and address it to her. If your cat responds, even by looking at you, reward it. Show her your affection in the form of a pet and spoil her with a small treat. Repeat the exercise again in an hour. If your cat responds to her name again, reward her again.

The next day, you repeat the training. This time, you want your cat to come to you. Say her name, and this time add a “Come on!” When your cat moves toward you, reward her. She has now listened to her name and knows what you want from her. Repeat the exercise in an hour to check whether your four-legged friend has already internalized his name.

Source : PetMD

Exercise 2: Creating beautiful moments

Your cat must associate its name with beautiful moments and affection. To increase the impact of her name, say her name when your cat is with you, and you pet her. Maybe Kitty likes to lie on the sofa with you in the evening. Please take advantage of the situation, pet your cat, and say its name. You can also call her by name whenever you come home and greet your cat or when there is food. In this way, your cat will learn to associate all the beautiful situations with its name.

If you do both exercises over a more extended period, your cat can’t help but respond to her name.

The exercise with additional ‘clickers’

Use a clicking sound to show the cat that it has done something right. You say “Sit!” to the cat and make a clicking sound when seated. Only then does the cat get its treat.

If you and your cat enjoy clicking, whenever you say your cat’s name and she comes to you, you could ‘click’ first and then give her the treat.

Source: Spruce

Use Positive Reinforcement to Teach Your Cat Their Name

Teaching a cat to recognize its name involves patience, positive reinforcement, and consistent training. Here are nine steps to help your cat learn its name:

  1. Choose a Distinctive Name:
  • Select a name for your cat that is distinct and easy to pronounce. Shorter names with a clear sound are often more effective.
  1. Create a Positive Association:
  • Associate the cat’s name with positive experiences. Use treats, toys, or affection when saying their name to create a positive link.
  1. Consistent Use of the Name:
  • Use your cat’s name consistently during interactions. Repetition is critical to helping them associate the sound with their identity.
  1. Use the Name During Feeding:
  • Say your cat’s name just before feeding time. It helps create a positive association between their name and a rewarding experience.
  1. Pair Name with Attention:
  • When you say your cat’s name, give them attention. Petting, playing, or even making eye contact can reinforce the connection between their name and positive interactions.
  1. Repeat in Different Environments:
  • Practice using your cat’s name in various environments to help them generalize the association. Use their name when they are in different rooms or outdoors (if they are comfortable with that).
  1. Incorporate Toys:
  • Use your cat’s favorite toys during name training. Call their name before initiating play with toys they enjoy, reinforcing the positive association.
  1. Reward Responding:
  • When your cat responds to its name by looking or approaching, immediately reward them. Use treats, praise, or play to reinforce the behavior.
  1. Be Patient and Positive:
  • Cats learn at their own pace, so be patient. Avoid any negative reinforcement or punishment if your cat doesn’t respond immediately. Keep training sessions short and enjoyable.

Consistency is vital; positive reinforcement will encourage your cat to associate their name with positive experiences. Every cat is different, so it’s essential to adapt your training methods based on your cat’s preferences and behaviors. Keep training sessions enjoyable; over time, your cat should learn to recognize and respond to its name.

an angry cat
Source: iStock

What if Your Cat Does Not Respond to Your Commands?

If your cat is not responding to your commands, it’s essential to understand that cats have their own unique way of communicating, and they may not be as responsive to verbal commands as dogs. However, there are still strategies you can employ to improve communication and encourage your cat to understand and follow specific cues:

  1. Use Positive Reinforcement:
  • Positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement with cats. When your cat does something you like or acknowledge to a command, reward them with treats, praise, or affection.
  1. Be Consistent:
  • Consistency is crucial in cat training. Use the same cues or commands consistently, and ensure that everyone in your household uses the same language and signals with the cat. Repeat this process several times a day.
  1. Use Clear and Simple Commands:
  • Keep your commands short, clear, and simple. Cats acknowledge better to brief commands better than lengthy phrases. For example, use “sit” instead of a longer sentence.
  1. Associate Commands with Positive Experiences:
  • Pair commands with positive experiences. For instance, if you want your cat to enter their carrier, associate it with treats or playtime near the carrier.
  1. Understand Cat Body Language:
  1. Patience and Timing:
  • Be patient and choose a suitable time for training sessions. Cats may not acknowledge well if they are not in the mood. Keep training sessions short, positive, and enjoyable.
  1. Avoid Negative Reinforcement:
  • Avoid scolding or punishing your cat for not acknowledging it. Negative reinforcement can lead to fear and anxiety, making it less likely for your cat to acknowledge your cues.
  1. Use Clicker Training:
  • Clicker training can be practical for some cats. Associate the sound of a clicker with positive reinforcement to signal your cat that they’ve done something right.
  1. Seek Professional Help:
  • Consider consulting a professional cat trainer or behaviorist if you’re having difficulties. They can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your cat’s specific needs and behaviors.

Remember that cats are independent creatures, and their responses to commands may vary. It’s crucial to respect their personalities and preferences. If your cat is not acknowledging specific commands, focus on building a positive and trusting relationship and understand that some cats may choose not to follow commands in the traditional sense.

What You Shouldn’t Do While Teaching Cat Its Name?

By the way, a clear “don’t” in name training is to say the cat’s name if the cat has been naughty. For example, you should never call her name if she is scratching the shelf. So she connects the name with the situation, not the actual signal. Clapping your hands or saying “no” is much more appropriate here.

Also, it would help if you never overwhelmed the cat when training. So, only do one or two repetitions a day.

If you follow the few points of the exercises, your cat will acknowledge its name within a few days. I wish you a lot of fun with name training!


Q: How can I teach my cat its name?

A: You can start by choosing a good time to teach your cat and then using a food treat to motivate your cat to respond to its name.

Q: What are the steps to teach my cat its name?

A: You can follow the nine steps provided by wikiHow to ensure your cat learns its name reliably. These steps include choosing a good time, using a food treat, and offering verbal praise.

Q: How do I choose a good name for my cat?

A: You can choose a name for your cat by considering a short two-syllable name and one that matches your cat’s personality. Choosing a name that you’ll be happy with for the long term is essential.

Q: How do I motivate my cat to respond to its name?

A: You can motivate your cat by using positive activities linked to its name, such as giving cat treats or offering verbal praise when your cat reliably responds to its name.

Q: What if my cat already has a name?

A: If your cat already has a name but doesn’t respond to it, you can still use the same process to teach it the new name you’ve chosen.

Q: How can I ensure my cat learns its name reliably?

A: To ensure your cat learns its name reliably, you can consistently use the chosen name with positive activities and avoid using it for any negative reasons or training purposes.

Q: What if my cat doesn’t respond to its name?

A: If your cat doesn’t respond to its name, try using a shortened version of the name or a version with a different accent or inflection to see if it responds better to that variation.

Q: Can I train my cat to respond to its name for veterinary purposes?

A: You can train your cat to respond to its name for veterinary purposes, making it easier for the veterinarian to call and interact with it during appointments.

Q: Where can I find additional help teaching my cat its name?

A: You might also like the expert Q&A on teaching your cat its name. This article is viewed by many cat owners looking for advice on this topic.

Q: What other resources are available to help me train my cat to respond to its name?

A: If you’d like additional resources to help you train your cat to respond to its name, you might also like the cat training articles that provide insights and tips on this topic.

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.