In this post we are going to look at how to teach a cat to fetch, a step-by-step guide. Most people think you can only teach tricks to a dog, but you can also teach your cat some cool tricks. When learning a cat a new trick, you will have to keep in mind that every cat is unique with completely different personalities and behaviors.
Some cats may take a while to grasp the concept of playing fetch whilst others will take to it straight away with very little training. Just have a bit of patience, be consistent and you will see results. Playing fetch is an excellent activity to keep your cat both mentally and physically stimulated. It also builds a great bond between the two of you.
So let’s continue and show you step-by-step how to teach a cat to fetch.
What You Need To Prepare Before You Get Started
Before you teach your cat how to fetch, there are a number of things you will need to prepare before you start the training. Let’s take a look at what you will need.
#1 The Fetch Toy
This will vary depending on your cat as they all have their own favorite toys. It’s always a good idea to have a large selection of different toys to keep them stimulated anyway. Here’s a few ideas of the type of cat toys you can use.
- Toys on a string
- Different colored balls
- Soft toys
- Catnip toys
- Rattling cat toys
- Toy mice
Whichever toy you pick just make sure it is something your cat can carry easily in their mouth. Get a selection of toys, play with them for a while and determine which one they like best.
#2 The Training Area
When learning how to teach a cat to fetch, choosing the right training area is very important. To get the best results you will need a nice quiet place where your cat is not going to get distracted. Also make sure to have a large enough space with no obstructions that’s going to get in the way of the training.
#3 Correct Timing
If your cat is sleepy or just ate a full meal, they are probably not going to respond very well. The best time to how to teach a cat to fetch is when your cat is fully awake and active. A good time to do the training is just before meal times.
Having a selection of your cats favorite treats to use as a reward will be a great motivation when teaching them how to fetch. Stock up on these before you begin the training.
A clicker is a great device you can use for many different things with your cat. The way it works is by making a distinct clicking sound. When your cat successfully completes an action that you want them to, use the device to make a click and then reward them with a favorite treat. Your cat will learn to associate the sound of the clicker with a reward.
How To Teach A Cat To Fetch Step-By-Step
If you followed the steps in the previous section, you should now have everything prepared and ready for the training. In this section we will now teach you step-by-step how to teach a cat to fetch.
#1 Keep you cat focused on the fetch object
The first step in the training is to get your cat to focus on the toy you have chosen. To do this you should…
- hold the object around 6 inches away from your cats face.
- Use your clicker to make a clicking noise as soon as your cat sniffs it or touches it with their nose.
- Follow this up by giving them a treat.
- Repeat this process until your cat is looking for the object as soon as they are done eating.
#2 Placing their mouth on the object
The goal for this next step is trying to get your cat to place their mouth on the object. When you get to the stage where your cat touches the object every time you show it to them, hold off with pressing the clicker next time they touch it. You’ll find that your cat will look at you with a bit of confusion as to why they didn’t get a click.
When this happens they will then usually try something else such as approaching the ball with a slightly open mouth.
- As soon as they do this action, click the clicker then follow up with a treat.
- If this is your first training session and you managed to get this far, it’s a good idea to stop at this point.
#3 Getting your cat to retrieve the object from the ground
In this next step, the goal is to get them to pick up the object.
- Place the object on the ground in front of them
- Wait for the moment you see your cat to place their open on the object, click then give them a treat.
- Also click if your cat offers biting and pickup. At first they will do this quickly, but with time they will hold the object for longer and longer.
- As soon as you can get them to hold the object for around 10 seconds, it’s time to move on to the next step.
#4 Getting your kitty to pick up the toy and bring it to you
Your cat should now be able to hold the object for at least 10 seconds. It’s now time to progress further and get them to bring the object to you.
- Place the object a bit further away than usual. A good place will be behind your cat.
- If your cat turns around and picks up the object, click and then follow with a treat.
- Keep repeating this process, gradually putting the object a bit further away until they are repeating the action.
Further Tips On How To Teach A Cat To Fetch
#1 Reinforce the Behavior
During this post how to teach a cat to fetch, we have frequently mentioned about giving your cat a treat after they have performed a certain action. This is very important as it gives positive reinforcement which increases the odds that the behavior will continue. Never punish your cat for not doing something. The training should always be positive.
#2 Increase the toy’s value
Whatever toy you choose, always make sure to use it exclusively just for training your cat how to fetch. If you use it for general play or leave it lying around the house, the object will lose it’s value and this will effect the results of the training. When you finish a training session, always make sure to store it away where your cat cannot access it.
#2 Keep a consistent routine
As with everything else in life, learning a skill requires consistency on a daily basis. Teaching a cat how to fetch is no different. If you want to see results then stick with a consistent routine.
#3 How often should you do fetch training
It’s not a good idea to do long grueling sessions. Remember that this is supposed to be a fun experience for your cat. Shorter 3 to 5 minute sessions each day is far more effective method. Be patient and never force your cat to do something they don’t want to do.
Hope you enjoyed this post on how to teach a cat to fetch. Go through the training and let us know your results in the comments section below.