How Long Does It Take For a Cat To Learn Its New Name

When most people think about cats, learning and training are not usually the first thing people tend to envision. The truth is that cats really don’t understand human words. They can only understand the sound of their owner’s voice.

Sometimes, a cat’s name just doesn’t sound right. Whether it’s an unfitting name for his personality, or it’s just not a name you like, it’s common for cat owners to change the name of their feline friend. Typically, it takes around two or three weeks for a cat to learn its name, or rather, the tone of voice from their owner.

To find out how to get your cat to learn and respond to his new name, read on.

How Do You Get A Cat To Learn Its Name?

When you’re training your cat to learn a new name, it’s important to take the proper steps and stay consistent.

By using the right methods, your cat can be trained to do more than you think!

Use Positive Reinforcement:

Positive reinforcement is the best method of training any animal.

Many trainers believe that it’s the only way. Ultimately, positive reinforcement means rewarding your cat every time he gives you what you want.

Rewarding your cat could include treats, a good scratch, or even some playtime.

The Mealtime Method

Another, more science-based method to get your cat to learn his new name is through using the positive association with their mealtimes.

This method is a subconscious way for your cat to learn his new name.

Try sitting by your cat while he’s eating and repeating his name over and over.

Because his mind is blank, he is more receptive to what you are repeating.

When you do this multiple times a day, your cat has a better chance of learning his name quicker.

Be Persistent:

You can’t just give up after a few times with no results, as your cat will not learn anything that way.

The key is to keep at it until the new name sticks.

Don’t be shy to persuade your cat to keep their attention.

Remember that cats need space sometimes, so when your cat has had enough, let him be.

You do not want to push him too far.

If you overdo it, he may associate the new name with being annoyed or threatened in some way.

Keep It Interesting:

Remember that cats don’t always have the longest attention span.

Make training fun for your kitty by playing with him.

After a few minutes, take a break and try to get a response with the new name. Reward him with more playtime or a treat and continue.

If the new name is associated with good things like treats, cuddles, and playtime, your cat will learn more quickly because he is more interested.

After playtime, end the training session with a good cuddle.

The Steps:

  1. Start by getting your cat’s attention without using their old name. Try shaking his food or a bag of treats and wait until he has come to you
  2. If you’re using the mealtime method, keep repeating your cat’s new name to him while he’s eating. If not, simply keep saying his new name until you have his attention.
  3. Don’t forget to reward your cat when he notices his new name. Repeat this practice over the next 2-3 weeks, and your cat is sure to learn his new name.

Is It Okay To Rename A Cat?

It’s absolutely okay to rename a cat!

After all, it is your cat, and you can name him whatever you want!

You really can’t know for sure if your cat truly understands what you’re saying to him, including his name.

However, it is a fact that they do understand the tone of voice, which they translate in their own way. 

If you have adopted the cat or he just doesn’t suit the name “Binky” anymore,  it’s more than possible to rename your cat.

In fact, it’s quite easy!

All it takes is the dedication of time and the patience to retraining them.

Can You Change A Cat’s Name After 2 Years?

Indeed, training an animal is always simpler when they are younger, but this does not mean that an adult cat can’t be renamed.

Using the subconscious mealtime method is best for adult cats, as they tend to be a little more set in their ways. 

As mentioned, you can rename your cat with the proper motivation and commitment to doing it.

With the right amount of time and patience and, of course, the proper methods, your cat will learn his new name.

Remember to use positive reinforcement to motivate your cat. 


Cats are intelligent animals, and with the proper methods and the right amount of determination, are quite easily trainable.

When you take the proper steps and stay focused on training, your cat could learn anything. 

Keep your cat’s attention for a while by keeping the training session interesting, which can include playing with him or offering treats.

This way, he will be more persuaded to do what you ask, instead of what he wants.

Don’t forget – patience and persistence are key with kitties, but there is always a limit.

End on a good note, instead of overdoing it to the point of your cat being annoyed.

As long as you use positive reinforcement and you are consistent, your cat will be able to learn his new name in just a couple of weeks.

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