How to Teach Your Cat to Play Fetch in 6 Easy Steps
Teaching a Cat Tricks Is Easier Than You Think
Believe it or not, you can easily teach your cat to play fetch. It's not a game reserved just for dogs. I've heard people tell me that cats do not play fetch, but I am here to tell you that they love it almost as much as dogs do. They are actually very intelligent animals, and as you may know, they have their very own distinctive personalities. They can be just as demanding as any high maintenance dog. In fact, in my experience, they are even more so.
I never thought much about teaching my cat tricks until I actually started doing it, and they seriously started responding. I started out crumpling paper into small balls. The cats really seemed to like the sound of the crumpling. They came zipping out of nowhere every time I crumpled a wad of paper, and when I tossed the balls, they darted after them in a frenzy. So, I was onto something I thought. And the game of fetch began.
To my surprise, I found that teaching your cat to fetch is a lot easier than you might think. You will find that the more you do it, the better your cat responds because animals love repetition. When my cats were just kittens, I started throwing out those crumpled up paper balls, and, every once in a while, those little cloth mice for them to fetch. Strangely enough, and to my surprise, with just enough coaching, they would bring them back to me every single time.
Repetition is the key to successfully getting your cat to play fetch— Boo McCourt
6 Steps to Teaching a Cat How to Fetch
And this is how it all began...
1) First things first, you want to determine what your cats favorite toy is. It should be something light and soft, so that your cat can fetch it and bring it back to you easily. As I mentioned previously, I use a small felt mouse, and crumpled up paper balls, but you can use a small plastic ball, or some other small cat toy. Whatever your cat prefers will be easiest.
The two older cats I had, as well as the younger set, preferred the crumpled up paper balls. They loved it when I crumpled up the paper into little balls. They knew it was time to play. The paper balls are super light, so they can carry them back without any difficulty.
2) It is super fun for the cats if I rub catnip into the paper balls. What cat doesn't love a little dose of catnip? Let your cat get a good whiff of the paper ball. My cats get extremely demented, rolling around, and pouncing all over the place after they got a good sniff of the catnip. I fling the toy a few feet away from me, not too far, just enough to tease the cat. Hopefully this will get your cats excited enough to notice the toy dipped in catnip.
3) Go over to your cat as it plays around with the toy, sneak in some praise and lots of attention. Take the toy and call your cat to you by it's name. Tell your cat “ Good kitty.” Or whatever pet name you use for your cat. Keep petting and praising your cat, letting it know what an excellent job it did by fetching the toy.
I also give my cats a treaty every time it brings the toy back to me. I found this to be extremely effective with my cats. They get so excited when they realize they are going to get a treaty just for fetching after a paper ball.
4) Get your cats attention on the cat toy again and throw it a little bit farther this time. Go to your cat and fetch the ball and return to your original place. Throw it again and repeat the exact same behavior several times. Letting your cat know it is doing a good job. Praise, praise, praise. Pets love praise for a job well done. Not to mention a treaty to boot.
5) Every day you should follow the same routine around the same time of day if this is possible. Your cat will begin to expect this routine with regularity. Before you know it, your cat will be picking the toy up on it’s own, letting you know it wants to play fetch.
6) Within a few weeks or less, your cat should be picking up the toy and carrying it back to you without prompting. Take the toy and throw it again. Everyday your cat will bring the toy closer and closer until it realizes it is playing a game of fetch. My cats love this game of fetch. And with practice yours might too.
It was fun and easy to teach them. The catnip and treaties are very helpful in getting them to bring the paper ball back to me. Crumpling of the paper really seems to work the best for my cats. Each time I crumpled the paper they became excited and wanted to play. Follow these few easy steps and you too will have your cat playing fetch in no time.
Fetch That BallClick thumbnail to view full-size
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.