If you think fetching is only for dogs, you might be surprised to learn that some cats also enjoy this game. A new study by researchers from the University of Catania in Italy has shed some light on why cats play fetch and how you can train your cat to do it.
The study, published in the journal Animal Cognition, involved 20 cats of different breeds and ages, who were tested for their ability and willingness to fetch a toy thrown by their owners. The researchers found that 13 cats (65%) showed some degree of fetching behavior, while seven cats (35%) did not.
The researchers also observed the cats’ personalities, motivations, and interactions with their owners. They found that cats who played fetch were more playful, curious, and sociable than those who did not. They also tended to have a stronger bond with their owners and sought more attention and praise from them.
The researchers concluded that fetching is a natural behavior for cats, as it satisfies their hunting instincts and their need for social stimulation. They also suggested that fetching can be a useful tool for enriching the lives of indoor cats and improving their welfare.
So how can you teach your cat to play fetch? The researchers offered some tips based on their findings:
- Choose a toy that your cat likes and is easy to carry. It can be a ball, a mouse, a feather, or anything else that catches your cat’s interest. You can also use a toy that makes a sound, such as a jingle or a crinkle, to attract your cat’s attention.
- Pick the right time to play. Don’t interrupt your cat when she is sleeping, eating, or grooming. Wait for her to be in a playful mood and show interest in the toy.
- Start by throwing the toy a short distance and encourage your cat to chase it. Praise her when she catches it and reward her with a treat or a pet. Repeat this several times until your cat gets the idea.
- Gradually increase the distance and the difficulty of the throw. You can also vary the direction and the height of the throw to make it more challenging and fun for your cat.
- If your cat doesn’t bring the toy back to you, don’t worry. Some cats may drop it halfway or play with it on their own. You can either wait for your cat to drop it and then throw it again, or go and get it yourself and start over. Be patient and consistent, and your cat will eventually learn to fetch.
Fetching is not only a fun game for you and your cat, but also a great way to keep your cat active, mentally stimulated, and happy. Try it today and see if your cat has what it takes to be a fetching feline. 🐱