How To Teach Your Cat To Play Fetch

Cute Little Kitten With A Wool Ball In MouthCats aren’t known for their obedience or rule-following skills; this much is true. Cats may not be good at coming when called, doing tricks, or many other favorable canine qualities, but did you know that you can teach a cat to play fetch? Many cats have achieved this hilarious capability, and yours can, too. This comical trick will have your kitty running to fetch and return balls and toys, and your guests won’t be able to help but get jealous. Playing fetch with your cat also introduces a new form of exercise and bonding to your relationship.

First, you’ll need a few supplies:

1. Catnip: You can use dried or fresh catnip. If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip, as approximately 30% of all cats do not, you can still give fetching a shot.
2. Treats: Choose your cat’s favorite nibbles so that they are motivated to be rewarded with a treat.
3. A ball or favorite toy, preferably not pre-spiked with catnip: You want the toy to be alluring and have something special to offer.

The goal is to make it clear that your cat is being rewarded for going and getting the object and then bringing it back to you. Choose a spot that you’ll train from. Take the toy or ball that you’ve chosen to train with, and rub it in catnip. The reason for this is to add more attraction to the object, as well as getting your cat all nipped out.

Take the toy, and toss it only a few feet away from you and say “fetch!” This command will hopefully start to resonate with your kitty with practice and patience. If your cat does chase the toy and bring it back to you, greet her with words of encouragement and treats. When your cat begins to catch on, you can start throwing the toy a little bit further each time.

If you’re having trouble getting your cat’s attention, you’ll need to introduce a few different tactics. If your cat seems to have the first step down, and chases after the toy, you’re in good shape. If she/he just runs to the toy and rolls around with it on the floor, gently distract them with a treat. Take the toy and return back to your training spot.

If you have a particularly stubborn kitty, you may have to resort to some animalistic tactics. Cats learn by example sometimes, so you may have to get down on your hands and knees and start putting toys in your mouth. This might seem ridiculous, but could be the key to fetching and returning. You can do this in a smaller room. Throw the toy, then proceed to fetch it and bring it back to your training spot. This should begin to resonate with kitty, seeing as you’re his/her favorite big, hairless feline.

This trick is easier to teach to kittens since they have high energy and sponge-like brains. Certain cats can catch on quicker than others, and the lazier your cat is, the harder this trick will be to teach. If you’re in a practice session and your cat seems distracted, lay off and let them practice on their own time. Dogs can practice without becoming frustrated, but cats just aren’t the same. Cats will hold grudges, and forcing them to practice could set you back a few steps. Some cats are naturally obsessive and will begin fetching and returning on their own. With a bit of patience and perseverance, you can have a fetching feline in no time!