Think fetching is just for dogs? Think again! Find out why cats play fetch and how you can teach your cat to do it.
Just search the web for “cat plays fetch,” and you’ll be treated to tons of funny cat videos featuring rousing games of feline fetch with everything from a tennis ball to a crumpled scrap of paper. So why doesn’t your cat play fetch? Can any cat learn how?
Why Cats Play Fetch
Playing fetch may be considered a dog’s domain, but a cat’s natural hunting instincts of stalking and pouncing make it the perfect game for felines, as well. Cats are not generally known for following commands, but it’s not a huge stretch to imagine why cats would enjoy chasing a moving object when you consider how the game mimics a hunt.
Some cat breeds may be more interested in fetching toys than others. The Maine Coon, for example, is known for being active and enjoying a game of fetch. Any cat that is playful and energetic, however, may be enticed to play if the mood is right.
Teaching Your Cat
Playing with your cat is not only a great way to provide some much-needed stimulation, but it’s also a fantastic way to bond.
Teaching your kitty to fetch an object isn’t as difficult as you might think; the key is in the object itself. When selecting an item to play with it’s important to pick something enticing. Pick a favorite small toy or object that your cat loves to play with. It’s also helpful if it’s an item that your cat doesn’t normally have access to. Hide away a special toy that you only bring out for a game of fetch and it will make it more desirable.
Pick the right time to play. You can’t expect your cat to jump up for a game of fetch when she’s mid-nap. Instead, watch for signs that she is in a playful mood. It can also be helpful to tease her with the object, rather than just throwing it straight off the bat. If the toy makes a sound like a jingle or crinkle, use that to grab her attention. If she won’t chase the object, try a few different ones until you find one she likes.
The toughest part of teaching your cat to play fetch may be persuading her to bring the toy back to you. If your cat doesn’t immediately grasp the concept, wait for her to drop it, then take it back to the same spot you threw it from initially and throw it again. Keep repeating this until your kitty understands that the toy needs to be moved to the start position to be thrown again. Be sure to praise and encourage her if she begins to carry it back herself.
Does your cat play fetch?