How to Train Your Cat to Play Fetch

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Who says you can’t play fetch with a cat? You just have to make it worth Fluffy’s time.

Step 1: Think like a cat
Think like a cat. Felines are motivated by pleasure, and will do anything to get it. So figure out the perfect incentive for your cat, whether it’s a can of tuna or a ball of yarn.

Step 2: Time the training
Time your training for when your cat is in a good mood. You’re not going to get a lot of cooperation if you interrupt Fluffy’s mealtime, nap, or grooming session.

Step 3: Toss a favorite toy
Start by gently tossing one of your cat’s favorite toys a short distance as you repeatedly say ‘fetch.’ Have a treat ready so you can reward Fluffy if she retrieves the toy.

Don’t yell; cats don’t respond well to loud noises.

Step 4: Ignore
Ignore failures. Cats don’t ‘get’ punishment, so don’t waste your time wagging your finger disapprovingly or banishing Fluffy to the bathroom for a time-out. Instead, lavish praise (and treats) on her when she does good work.

Step 5: Be patient
Be patient. As you might have guessed, cats don’t have the innate desire to please that dogs have. Only when you’ve established a successful track record of rewarding Fluffy will she deign to be trained.

Don’t use ‘no’ during training, as this should be reserved for important things like not shredding the furniture.

Step 6: Give it a rest
If, after several attempts, Fluffy shows a total disinterest in learning to fetch, or an inability to succeed at it, give it a rest for a while.

Step 7: Consider another trick
Consider trying another trick, like ‘kissing’ you or proffering a paw at your command.

Did You Know?
Cats can run up to speeds of 25 miles per hour.


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