How to Teach a Cat to Fetch

cat fetch

Believe it or not, cats can be taught to fetch.

Some cats are very similar to dogs and don’t even need to be taught to do this.

If you want to enhance the fun you have when playing with your cat, this is something to consider.

1. Find the Right Toy

The very first thing that you will need to do when teaching your cat to play fetch is to choose a toy that it is going to enjoy playing with. This will greatly increase your chances of getting your cat to do what you want.

Whether it is a crinkly piece of colorful paper or a catnip toy of some kind, this is a very important first step to follow. You also need to make sure that your cat will be able to carry it around without any issues.

It is crucial that you only allow your cat to play with this particular toy during training sessions. Otherwise you will likely have a more difficult time accomplishing this with your cat.

2. Pick the Right Time

You also need to make a point of choosing the right time to play fetch with your cat. This is not something that you should try doing while your cat is trying to sleep or in a bad mood. You should wait until they are already acting playful. This will make teaching your cat to fetch a whole lot easier.

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It is a good idea to start this training shortly before your cat usually eats. This is most likely when they are going to be most alert and responsive. You don’t want to do it too close to meal time though, as they will quickly grow impatient.

cat play

3. Using Treats

Unlike dogs, cats do not typically respond very well to being praised by their owner. This is simply not an effective approach to take when training your kitty. You will need to use some tasty treats to get your cat to play fetch. 

This is why you should wait to do this until fairly close to meal time. Make sure that your cat actually enjoys the treats you are offering it as an incentive.

4. Start Off Slow

You will want to start off slow when training your cat to play fetch, throwing the toy a short distance at first. This will make it more likely for them to actually go get whatever you are tossing.

If your cat picks up the toy, call out their name and offer a treat so they can clearly see it. They will most likely come and get the treat, especially if it is pretty close to when they typically eat. You don’t want to give your cat too many treats though, as it could lead to excess weight gain.

5. Use Positive Reinforcement

While cats don’t respond to verbal praise as well as dogs, you should still offer it. This positive reinforcement can go a long way towards training your cat. You should never try to punish your pet for not doing what you want when trying to train them.

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If your cat does not bring the toy back when you call them, you’ll want to physically go over and offer the treat. When they drop the toy at your feet and take the treat for your hand, it is important to give them plenty of praise. Pet your cat and tell it what a good girl or boy it is in a gentle voice.

cat playing

6. Alternative Training Method

A training clicker can also be very useful when you are trying to train your cat to do something. These devices are cheap and tend to work well on both cats and dogs. There are lots of online videos that can take you through how to properly use a clicker. It is important that you understand this before getting started.

Tips for Training Your Cat to Fetch

There are a few tips to remember when training your cat to fetch, including:

  • Be patient: One of the best things you can do when training your cat to do anything is to be patient. A lot of these animals are quite stubborn and take longer to do what you want than dogs. Losing your temper is only going to make this a lot more challenging to say the least.
  • Choose the right space: It is also a good idea to choose a wide open space that is very quiet when training your cat to fetch. The fewer distractions that are around, the easier it will be to do this.
  • Be consistent: You will need to make a point of being consistent with everything you do while training your cat. Inconsistencies in your training can make accomplishing your goals very hard.
  • Use catnip: If your cat isn’t responding well to a normal toy, pack it with some catnip. This should instantly increase their interest in it tenfold.
  • Make it interesting: You might want to consider having another person participate in a game of fetch with your cat once it has everything down. This can make it even more fun for them.
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  • Take the time to find a toy that your cat will actually enjoy playing with.
  • You should only use this particular toy when you are training your pet.
  • Choose the right time to train your kitty. This is usually around the time they usually eat, as they will be more motivated.
  • Make sure that you use delicious treats to entice your cat to come to you once it has picked the toy up in its mouth.
  • If your cat picks up the toy but doesn’t come back to you, go over to them and offer the treat.
  • Always use positive reinforcement when you are training your cat. This will increase your chances of success by quite a bit.
  • Make sure that you are consistent in everything you do while training them.
  • Remember to be patient, as it could take a while for your cat to get the hang of playing fetch.
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