How To Teach A Cat To Fetch [Easy Training Steps]

Yes, cats can be taught to fetch, just like dogs! The key is to use their favorite type of toy.

Some cats prefer ball toys, while others may prefer mouse toys. Use whatever type of toy your cat loves and would be interested in for this training.

Below I’ll cover what supplies you’ll need as well as the steps for teaching your cat to fetch. While this may seem far-fetched, once you get the hand of training, your cat should easily be able to pick up this fun trick.

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cat clicker training book cover with blue background

Train Your Cat Tricks in 15 Minutes a Day!

How To Train Your Cat To Fetch

Teaching your cat how to fetch is a fun trick to show off to guests. Its also great physical and mental activity for your furry feline at home.

To do this training, we’ll be using positive reinforcement training aka clicker training. This type of training will build your relationship with your cat and is a great basis for training other tricks later on.

If you’re new to clicker training, read about what positive reinforcement is, easy clicker training basics, and the tools I recommend before starting.


Training Steps:

  1. Grab your cat’s favorite ty and roll it a few feet away from them. As soon as your cat picks up the toy in their mouth, click and reward them with a treat.
  2. Do this four or five times until your cat understands you want them to pick up the toy.
  3. Whenever your cat picks up the toy in their mouth, call them over to you. Click and treat.
  4. Each time your cat picks up the toy, call your cat back to you until they’re reliably bringing the toy to you on command.
  5. The next time you toss the toy, say the word “fetch.” Your cat should go get the toy and bring it back. Reward your cat with a jackpot (a high value/favorite or high volume treat) the first time they fetch the toy on cue.
  6. Once you start incorporating the word “fetch,” you’ll want to stop calling them over to you so it doesn’t confuse the cues.

Pro tip: If your cat won’t pick up the toy in their mouth at the beginning, rub a treat on the toy to get the scent of food on it.

train your cat to fetch book excerpt

This training came from my book, How To Clicker Train Your Cat. If you want more fun and easy tricks to train, you can check out the book here.

Is it rare for a cat to play fetch?

It is not rare to have a cat play fetch but some cats may take to it more readily. If you’ve played fetch with your cat since they were a kitten, it’ll be a lot easier for you to get it trained fully.

Even adult cats can learn to play fetch though. The key is to find their favorite toy that’s easy enough for them to carry around in their mouth.

Why does my cat meow and bring me a toy?

If your cat is meowing and bringing you a toy, they may be trying to teach you how to hunt or could be showing off their own hunting skills to you. They may also want you to play with them.

If your cat is young, they’re likely trying to show you, their “parent”, what great hunters they are. The toy they’re carrying around is their trophy or “kill.”

If you have an older cat, they could be trying to teach you how to hunt by showing you the end result. Another option is that your cat is trying to get your attention so you’ll play with them.

Regardless, this behavior is completely normal. You’ll need to look at the context clues to determine which of these scenarios fits your cat.

Why does my cat yowl and bring me toys?

Yowling is a different vocalization than meowing. It is often a longer, louder, and more desperate sounding noise.

When your cat yowls, it can mean:

  • They’re experiencing pain
  • Are hungry
  • Wanting attention

If yowling is out of the ordinary for your cat, it may be a good idea to bring them to the vets to make sure there isn’t something more going on.

Stephanie Mantilla curiosity trained header logo holding black cat
Stephanie Mantilla

Positive Reinforcement Trainer & Enrichment Specialist

Stephanie has over 12 years of experience training and enriching exotic animals as a Zookeeper. During this time, she received a certificate in Behavioral Husbandry from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and is an expert in animal behavior.
In her free time, she uses positive reinforcement to train her numerous pets at home and is always thinking up creative ways to prevent her pets from getting bored. On Curiosity Trained, Stephanie now helps people make their pets’ lives better by giving them easy to follow tips and science-backed information.

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