Who said that only dogs played fetch with their owners?
Who said that fetch was a dogs-only type of game?
I certainly thought that was the case when I adopted my cat Mango.
That is until I started thinking outside the box as an owner.
I honestly grew bored of watching Mango play with his yarn balls and scratching post.
(By the way, I just picked up this new scratching post with a hammock on Amazon, and Mango loves it!)
Anyways, I knew I had to change something during playtime.
So one day, I decided to take Mango outside in the backyard and train him how to play fetch.
So I grabbed a small stick on the ground, threw it, and told Mango to fetch and go get it.
He literally just stared at me like I had just lost my mind.
It was then I realized that training him how to play fetch wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.
It was a struggle training him how to play fetch. No joke.
I eventually got the hang of it with Mango, but not without a whole lot of trial and error throughout the process.
And if you’re reading this article right now then I’m guessing you want to learn how to train your cat to play fetch as well.
So without further ado, let’s get into how to train your cat to play fetch.
7 Simple Steps to Training Your Cat to Play Fetch
Think like a cat.
Don’t think like a human. Think like a cat.
If I wanted to get Mango to play fetch with me, I had to start thinking like him. Cats are motivated by pleasure and I knew Mango’s weakness was canned cat food and using that as a reward pretty much got him to do anything I wanted.
Figure out what your cat finds pleasurable and use it to your advantage (catnip anyone?).
Use good timing.
Train your cat when it’s in a good mood. Don’t try to do it when it’s eating food, napping, or grooming itself.
If your cat is preoccupied doing something else, then you’re going to have a very hard time getting it to cooperate with you.
Use one of your cat’s favorite toys and throw it a short distance.
Say “fetch” continuously and repeatedly. Doing this will help get your cat used to the idea of fetching.
It will likely take more than a few tries to get your cat to successfully fetch its toy, but when you do, reward it with food or whatever it finds pleasurable.
This will help your cat associate fetching with positive feelings.
Cats don’t understand punishment, so don’t waste your time scolding or wagging your finger or asking your cat why it didn’t retrieve its toy when you asked it to fetch the toy.
It’s a waste of time and will not help get your cat to learn how to fetch any faster.
Just reward your cat when it finally fetches its toy and move forward.
Dogs are naturally born to play fetch and have a desire to please their owners. Cats are very different.
They don’t have that same desire to please their owners in the same way that dogs do. That’s not to say they never want to please their owners, but it does mean that you have to exercise some patience and wait for your cat to come around.
Give it a rest.
You should only do this when your cat shows a complete disinterest in learning how to play fetch or an inability to succeed at playing fetch. I personally had to do this many times with Mango.
Then you can try again at a later time period, which is what I did until I got Mango to succeed at playing fetch.
Just come back to the trick when you feel like you and your cat are ready.
Consider trying another trick.
Your cat may not be quite ready to learn how to play fetch, but that doesn’t mean it can’t learn something else. You could teach it to kiss you or offer its paw at your command.
Doing this could put your cat in the mood to try to learn how to play fetch again later on.
Key Things To Remember When Training Your Cat to Play Fetch
- Be patient. Remember, cats aren’t naturally inclined to please their owners and be at their beck and call every single time. You will have to wait until your cat comes around and warms up to you.
- Do not yell or get angry at your cat. Cats don’t respond well to loud noise especially if it comes in the form of a loud, angry voice to you. You will not gain anything productive from your cat by doing this. You will only
- You can never go wrong with rewards. Use food or favorite toys or whatever it is that your cat likes. Use it to your advantage. Remember, cats respond well to pleasure.
- It is not impossible to train your cat to play fetch. Have faith! It can be done! Think of how good it will feel when you finally accomplish this.
Video: How to Train Your Cat to Play Fetch
If you’re still completely lost on how to train your cat to play fetch, don’t worry! I have you covered. Just check out the video below and you should be good to go!
Final Thoughts On Training Your Cat To Play Fetch
Cats can learn how to play fetch.
I had to make multiple attempts to get Mango warmed up to the idea of playing fetch. It’s a learning process.
Cats will not respond in a favorable manner if you are impatient, get angry and yell at them, don’t use rewards, and just about anything else that would be considered counterproductive.
It may get frustrating at times, but the rewarding feeling that you get when you finally accomplish this will make you feel like nothing is impossible to accomplish between you and your cat.
Keep pushing forward and don’t give up.