Fetch is one of the most popular training requests on a search engine that owners want to learn. Do cats play fetch is a very common question in the mind of any owner. Unfortunately, it’s not the easiest skill to teach. It’s one of the more complicated training projects that’s because fetch is not one skill.
Fetch is what we call a behavior chain. Think about each of the different skills like links in the chain for example:- picking up the toy, dropping it in your hand, or moving forward.
Each of these skills needs to be taught independently for the chain to be strong. And If one of these links is weak the whole skill or the whole behavior falls apart.
I use clicker training to teach my cat each of the skills in the training plan. The clicker tells him when he gets it right and earns a reward.
Do Cats Play Fetch Like Dogs?
It is considered that playing fetch is a dog game but people forget that the cats are natural hunters and they have natural hunting instincts like pouncing as well as chasing.
It’s a complete myth that fetching is a dog game.
I know it well, and you also know it very well that cats are lazy and mysterious in nature but it’s also a truth that cats are considered like forest tigers and if you want to compete with them in fetching pray then they lose you in seconds.
If you train your cat then yes, cats play fetch.
Is It Rare For Cats Play Fetch?
Yes, it’s an interesting thing for a cat to play fetch.
You might toss something and the cat recovers it and sets it in your lap. I believe it’s a misstep in rationale to accept the feline is playing “fetch”.
Cats are mysterious in nature and want to remain independent and they do things what they want to do, so it’s common and a rare thing for a cat to play fetch.
What Percentage Of Cats Play Fetch?
You know it well that pouncing and chasing is a common thing for a cat but getting or bringing something back from somewhere is difficult. It is seen that around 20% of the cats can play get since this occurrence is exceptional, yet not inconceivable.
Cats might be effectively instructed to bring, yet it needs somewhat more perseverance and enforcement than it accomplishes for a dog to convince the cat that it needs to hear what you’re attempting to make sense of.
Does Your Cat Have Any Fetch Skills?
- Does your cat already pick up toys?
- Does your cat pick up toys but not bring them back to you?
- Does your cat have no interest in toys?
Let me know in the comments below at what stage you’re at in your fetch training.
If I talk about my cat Jones he will play with some string toys and chase them a little bit but if I toss an object he won’t go after it, so we had to start right from the beginning.
What Breed Of Cats Play Fetch Like Dogs?
If you want to adopt a cat who behaves like a dog and plays fetch because you love dogs too much and want to adopt a cat there are too many options for you.
There are some cat breeds whose behavior somewhat is similar as much as dogs including:
- Turkish Angora
- Maine Coon
How I Trained My Cat To Play Fetch?
Picking Up A Toy
Picking up a toy is not as hard as you would think though. That’s actually one of the easier steps. I use two methods to encourage Jones to pick up a toy.
The Paper Method
- In the first step I take a piece of paper and roll it up and place a treat inside it. As soon as Jones tries to take the treat with his mouth I click and reward.
- I repeated this a bunch of times. My goal is to feed him the treat from my hand because I want him to learn that he doesn’t need to see the treat in the paper in order to get a reward.
- After repeating this multiple times there’s no treat in the paper and the goal is to continue to get the same behavior.
- In the fourth step instead of presenting it to him I’m trying to get him to pick it up from my hand.
- Now, I got that initial picking up and dropping in my hand behavior.
- The goal is to repeat this behavior and gradually lower your hand until eventually, you can place the paper ball on the floor.
The Treat Ball Method
The other method I use to encourage Jones to pick up toys is using a little treat ball. These little treat balls are great because you can put a treat inside and encourage your cat to take it with their mouth.
So using this method I was able to get Jones to grab the treat ball and then I quickly faded out of the treat from the treat ball and continue to feed him a treat for my hand.
Whenever he took the ball similarly to the other method I encouraged Jones to take the ball from my hand and then I started to lower it to the ground.
NOTE: Put the ball/ paper away when not in training because these objects are associated with food. Never leave your cat unattended with them. Always put them away.
Once Jones was confident about picking up the paper ball and the orange ball and transferred the behavior to some other toys.
Taking Steps Forward
One of the hardest parts of the training plan was encouraging Jones to move forward. He naturally sits when we do a lot of our skills.
I use this little blue target to encourage him to move forward. I placed a treat on the target and clicked when he moved forward and repeated that step until I no longer needed to place the treat on the lid.
He would see the lid move forward then I click the clicker and then give him a treat.
Place Toy On The Target
Then I re-introduced the ball and I was encouraging him to pick it up and drop it back on the lid. He got a click and reward whenever he did that.
I always made sure to reward him on the lid to encourage him to place the ball there.
The next step was to place the ball just in front on the ground and then click and reward him for picking it up and putting it on the lid.
Increase The Number Of Steps
The next step was just to back him up a bit and start to get more steps towards the lid.
This is one of my favorite because in this I can see him thinking though he notices the target and then he picks up the ball and goes for it.
Introduce Short Tosses
After increasing the number of steps the next step is to introduce short tosses. You’re probably wondering about some questions like:
Is this fun? Does this ever become fun? Do I always need to use treats when teaching this skill to Jones?
Remember he is in training mode not in play mode, so for us to continue he will always need treats but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Jones loves his training games. He often purrs throughout the training and he loves being challenged.
So for us, this is a fun game.
Why Is My Cat Obsessed With Fetch?
Fetching is a reward game for a cat. It gives happiness to your cat. If Your Cat is also obsessed with fetch there is a reason behind this behavior. Sometimes cats are obsessed with fetch because they want a reward from you against hunting.
As a suggestion, leave the toy at a place where it is accessible for your cat as a reward against hunting.