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Getting cat to come to you

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I had a little scare this morning. My apartment window was cracked last week when an idiot seagull flew into it. The maintenance man came this morning with no warning. While he went to his truck to get a replacement pane, I put Drusilla in her carrier because I knew he'd have to take the entire window out. Tara dove under the bed and would not come out. I called, begged, offered cat food and raw meat and people food, and I tried to squirt her with water to force her to come out, nothing worked. Eventually I was forced to let the men take the pane out with Tara being unaccounted for. Of course, as they take the old pane out and do the measurements, Tara flies out from under the bed and leaps right out the second story window. A two hour chase around the busy parking lot ensued before I was finally able to grab her by the tail and get her into the carrier. It most certainly was not fun for either of us. Especially her, considering the howl she let out when I grabbed her tail and yanked her to me so I could stuff her in the carrier.

It was a scary experience and it got me thinking. In the event of a fire or evacuation, what could I do with Tara? She is by far the most difficult cat I've ever had in regards to carriers and catching.

Is there any way to teach a cat to come to you? I fear in the event of a fire, I'd have to simply leave her because I couldn't spend 30 minutes chasing her from under all the furniture. Even going to the vet is a week long event and often ends in canceled and postponed appointments, no matter how much I try to remain calm and not give off any indication she is going to the vet. I know cats are not dogs and don't answer commands as readily, but if there would be a way to even try to teach her to come, that would be extremely helpful. Has anyone ever done this?
post #2 of 16
Whenever I want my kitties to come to me I open a can of Kitty Kaviar. Works every time.
post #3 of 16
You can train the cat to come to you (thought unlike dogs if they don't feel like coming they won't). I trained Lucky with her favorite treat (cheese). I would move just around a corner out of sight and call to her in a happy, cheerful voice. And when she came she got cheese. I would repeat this several times in a row (and every day). She caught on pretty quickly and still comes most of the time when i call.
post #4 of 16
Originally Posted by Renny
You can train the cat to come to you (thought unlike dogs if they don't feel like coming they won't). I trained Lucky with her favorite treat (cheese). I would move just around a corner out of sight and call to her in a happy, cheerful voice. And when she came she got cheese. I would repeat this several times in a row (and every day). She caught on pretty quickly and still comes most of the time when i call.
when Cable was just a kitten, i was feeding her a supplement separately, because Mouse was overweight & would eat everything i put out. happy side effect - i would call Cable to come eat her wet food, up high out of the way from the other cats, & i would guard it for her. as a result - she is the most likely to come when called! Pixel will come if she thinks i'm giving her something she wants. Java never comes, & i don't think Chip knows his name yet!
post #5 of 16
Get them used to the sound of their favorite crunchies rattling in the box. Then take it with you to find them. Don't chase them, it just makes things a lot worse and could be dangerous. She'll have to find her way back if she escapes, tho' of course you do need to stand near the door, shake the box (intermittently), don't yell, but call her in your 'playtime' or 'dinner' voice, and be extremely patient - half the time they're only under a car nearby, or behind a bush, but need to get up the nerve to come back. I'd also check her out with the vet or at least watch her very carefully now that she's survived a 2 storey drop and a serious tail yank.
post #6 of 16
I've been worried about what I would do in case of a fire too, since with that loud alarm going off and all the smoke I'm pretty sure Zissou would hide.

When I can't find her, I ring the bell on her favorite toy. It's one of those feather-boa-on-a-stick thing, and we keep it up because of the string unless we are actually playing with it. So, when she hears you pull it out and the little bell on it ring, she pops out of wherever it was she was hanging out. All I have to do now is just wiggle it a little.

But still, if she were scared enough, I doubt she would come. I imagine if it were a big emergency she would run out the door as soon as I opened it. I'm not sure. I've been thinking about training her to run to her carrier when the smoke alarm goes off?
post #7 of 16
we have a little fishing rod with feathers and a bell on it. Whenever they hear that bell they will come running from anywhere in the house. Now that i have written this down they probably will never come again *lol*
post #8 of 16
If you could do that and have it happen every time you rang the bell, you'd probably be able to get a contract on TV :0)! I don't think this is rocket science, and a noisy box of treats works well if she has a chance to get used to it before she runs away. Better yet, be extra, extra careful about her not being able to get outside... I know stuff happens unexpectedly, though, so it's good to have a back-up plan.
post #9 of 16
A seagull in your house? Wow, I would have been freaking out there,thats a big bird that can flap around your house doing some damage!! Most I ever had fly in my house was a finch, and that bird knocked over the curtains and some other things in the house!!!
post #10 of 16
Even the most responsive cat might not come to you in a frightening situation.

What I'd probably do is block off all sides exept one from wherever he/she is hiding, then try to throw a blanket over and pick them up with the blanket.

Also, when we had trouble catching a foster cat I had to bring her to her new home (she liked it here and simply didn't want to leave) the woman brought a top-loading carrier. Great little device. Much easier to get them into than a side-loading carrier.

Also, keep your carrier out all the time. Put in a really nice fuzzy blanket, put catnip in there, throw his or her favorite treats in there. Try to get them to consider it a good place to be, to even like to be in there and sleep in there, and use a different carrier to bring the to places like the vet, etc. That way they may not mind being put into it in case of an emergency.

Good luck!
post #11 of 16
I live in a really small town of 200 people in Utah and we have a firestation that does go to emergencys well when it happens they let out a super big horn for the whole town to hear (reminds me of little house on the prairie) well Skittles hears it and goes straight to the window as if to be nosey so I do not think I will have trouble in case of a fire, but do not say the word VET because she is gone. I think she know what am saying.
post #12 of 16
Luckily Marlee is a lot like a dog in many ways. 9 times out of 10 she will come if I call her a time or two, and usually she will come when I whistle. But as with all cats, if she doesn't feel like it, she just won't move. And like Zissou'sMom said, if she was scared and under the bed, I don't think calling and whistling would work. I'm not sure what I would do, except push off my mattress and pull her out.
post #13 of 16
Mine is weird, but she'll come running to me like a puppy when I call her name...never seen anything like it with a cat before...
She can be in the back yard, and as soon as she hears her name, she'll look up and come running right to me....
post #14 of 16
I agree with everyone who suggests training with treats. All I have to do is open a can of Nutro and all 6 cats flock around me. Only 2 of them will come when their name is called.

I just have to add, I wish I lived somewhere the seagulls live, LOL!
post #15 of 16
The problem is not getting them to come to me, I can do that by rattling a treat bag for Swanie or getting da bird out for both of them. The problem would be picking them up. The minute I try to do that, especially Cindy, she is under the bed. Swanie is squirmy and fast, can't get him either. I've worried about the same thing.
post #16 of 16
I think you need to find a sound or a toy thats really compelling that they always come to and reinforce that many times a day for weeks.

Abi always comes now when i call her, but initially it was the sound of the ounce treats in the paper can or her favorite dangle toy that got her attention. when all else fails those still work.

after you have tackled that --- teaching your cat to get into the carrier is the next step. mine is always out and tied open so she plays in it, i hide treats there and put soft toys and blankets in there for her to snuggle. And i routinely close the door and then open it again so she knows its not horrible to have the door closed.
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