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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.


  • 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • FACT: Cats can run up to speeds of 25 miles per hour.

You Will Need

  • Patience
  • Rewards

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