How to teach your cat about playing fetch

Training your cat to play fetch can be a fun and easy way for you and your feline to bond.


There’s an old saying that you’re probably familiar with

you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  There’s never anything mentioned about teaching old cats new tricks though.

Cats are very intelligent animals who have their own unique personalities, just like dogs.  A lot of people never even try to teach their cats or kittens tricks because they’ve never been led to believe it’s possible, but it is.

No matter how old your cat, you can teach it how to fetch in a few simple lessons.  It’s best to start as young as possible, but this isn’t necessary.  Older cats can learn easily, too.

The key to teaching your cat to fetch is to be patient with your pet.  A cat does not seek your approval as much as a dog does; so don’t expect to see results quite as quickly.

The first step to training your cat is to discover what his or her favorite toy is.  Some cats like plastic balls, while others like paper or tinfoil balls.  Experiment with as many different types of round objects that are safe for your cat.  Make sure that the ball isn’t small enough to slip down your cat’s throat.

Throw the balls onto a slippery floor, the kitchen usually works best.  See what your cat pays the most attention to.  Once you have found his favorite toy, you’re set for its first lesson.

Dip and rub the toy in catnip, which you can purchase at your local pet store or you can grow your own at home.  Now let your cat smell the toy.  Toss the toy a few feet in front of you, not too far.  Your cat will most likely run after the toy and rub her body all over the smelly ball.

Go to your cat as she rolls around with the toy and praise her, just as you would a dog.  Take the toy carefully from her and say “Thank you.”  Pet her on the head, scratch her behind the ears, or whatever is your cat’s favorite petting pastime.

Focus your cat’s attention on the ball again and throw it a little further this time.  Go to her and retrieve the ball and return to your original place again.  Throw it again and repeat the procedure.

You can usually keep your cat interested for about ten minutes, then give him or her a final petting and put the toy away where they can’t reach it or smell it.  Every day you should follow the same routine around the same time of day if possible.  Your cat will begin to anticipate your playtime.

Within two weeks you should see your cat picking up the toy and carrying it towards you.  Most likely the ball will be dropped before your cat reaches you, but praise your cat anyway.  Get the ball and throw it again.  Every day your cat will bring the ball closer and closer until it realizes how the game of fetch is played.

One word of warning though, your cat may become quite addicted to this game and if you leave her fetch ball lying around, your cat may begin to bring the ball to you to play with her -- even in the middle of the night.

Cats enjoy the time you spend with them and this extra fun game, which involves you as much as your cat, will create a bond that lasts forever.