Galileo, Pavlov & my Grandfather's Whistle
“Galileo, Pavlov and a Grandfather’s Whistle”
How behavioural conditioning can get your cat to come to your call.
A safety feature for the in summer and a great source of cat ownership joy!
It’s odd that while dog owners don’t think twice about whistling their pets, cat owners simply don’t think about it at all. Tradition has it, that if cat lovers want to communicate with their absent loved one, they should endlessly trumpet out their name.
A whistle is much, much more effective.
How do I know? My grandfather told me. “Any cat worth its fur” he said, “needs to come to a whistle”. This vocal family tradition has past down generations of our family cats. Not one single cat failed to prick up its ears and respond to my grandfather’s trills.
Of course you have to help your feline friend. Start with simple Pavlovian principles: whistle when your cat gets its food. Whistle: when your cat comes, then he gets his food. The association of whistle and food, bonds the behaviour. It does so even when food is no longer presented. Pavlov’s salivating-to-the-bell dog and in the late sixties, Skinnerian Behavioural Psychology explain the nuts and bolts of how this works so well.
Whistling is a boon for safety minded cat owners wanting their feline friends home for whatever reason. Or simply the convenience of having them near you. Finding the/your whistling tune is essential. And you have to spend (some) time on training your loved fluffy friend with your whistle and food. The joy of a cat appearing out of his adventures racing to join you is a momentous feeling.
There is one small hitch: a cat’s nature. Should the call of adventure be stronger, our Leo friends can and will postpone their coming. They are biologically not as dedicated responders as their canine counterparts. After all, their genetics are keyed to please us with the booty of the rodent hunt (more on that another time).
But isn’t that what we love in our cats: their strong-minded element of independence?