How to teach a cat to play Fetch *Videos included*

You can teach a cat to play fetch, and it's a super fun game. In a lot of ways it's the same game you'd play with a dog, but not quite. For one, cats tend to drop the toy/ball/object quite quickly and easily. There's no fighting with them and telling the cat to "drop it."

But cats can also be quite lazy at the game. Here's a quick video of my cat playing fetch:
My cat will play in earnest for about 10-15 throws. When we first start playing, she's fast and really into it. Then she'll either start getting lazy or take the toy all together and go lie down somewhere.

In the video, she had already been playing for awhile. Plus she never really "performs" for the camera. She's a brat like that.

Either way, it's a great game to teach your cat. How do you do it? For starters, you need to find a toy that your cat likes and can carry. Say hello to the squishy:
My cat loves these squishy pencil toppers. My son collects them and she steals them whenever possible. She loves how they bounce and can/will carry them in her mouth. Since she freely carries these and I don't mind throwing them around the house (a squishy won't really damage anything), it was perfect for fetching. You could also try with a favorite soft mouse toy.

I'd love to tell you that you just throw the toy and the cat immediately understands the game, but that's not exactly how it works. You'll need to throw the toy for her over and over again until she realizes that YOU are the source of all her squishy chasing fun.

Eventually, your cat will pick up the toy and drop it near you. When that happens, pick it up and throw it. You won't want to walk over to your cat and get it from her or she will expect you to do that all the time.

My cat occasionally walks "half-way" to me and drops the squishy. When that happens, I call for her to come to me. If she comes to me, we continue the game. If not, I walk away. She usually comes to find me.

Which brings me to another important part. You will want to teach your cat to come on command. What kind of craziness is this, you say? Trust me, it can be done. My cat will come on command, play fetch, and play hide & seek. But only with me.

I've trained her to realize that I am the source of tons of exercise fun and she expects it from me. I don't train her with treats. Just with fun. She wants to chase, hunt, and fight. And she associates my words to "come" with that chasing fun. I'll explain how I specifically trained her to come on command in another post.

Until then, try playing some fun games with your cat. They love to play. And they need the exercise. It will be fun for both of you.


5thsister said...

That is impressive! Who knew?

Veronies said...

The office cat used to have a "baby" that HE would carry around in this mouth (it was a beany baby kitten) and if you through it, no matter how inconvenient the spot, he relentlessly tredged on until he got it back. Then he would haul it back and hump and fight it down, as a sort of punishment, if you will. "How dare you let those people throw you around like that!"

Veronies said...

I meant threw. It's 5 am. Gimme a break.

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!


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