How to Train Your Cat to Play Fetch

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

You will need

  • Patience
  • Rewards

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.

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.

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.