Pick the right sized toy mouse.,
Select the right time to train your cat.,
Choose an area to train your cat.,
Select a reward.,
Show the toy mouse to your cat.,
Toss the toy mouse.,
Encourage your cat to bring the toy mouse back to you.,
Toss the toy mouse again.,
Toss the toy further away.,
Keep your training sessions short.
In general, cats like to fetch things that they can easily grab with their paws or put in their mouths.If you do not already have a toy mouse at home, you can purchase one at your local pet store. Consider the size of your cat as you are deciding which toy mouse to purchase—a kitten would need a smaller toy mouse than an adult cat.
If possible, pick a toy mouse that does not have plastic eyes. During her playtime, your cat could remove the eyes and swallow them, which could lead to intestinal blockage that would require veterinary care.;
, Training your cat will be more effective when she is alert and energetic.Cats are most active at dusk and dawn.Training your cat in the morning may not be conducive to your work schedule, so an evening training time may be ideal.
Consider training her during one of her regular play times. She will already be anticipating an interaction with you, so she will likely be attentive to you when you start training her.
You can also train her before her regular mealtime.Her hunger may motivate her to follow your instructions.
, The area where you train your cat should be large enough to allow you to throw the toy mouse at least a few feet.The room should be free of distractions, as well as physical obstacles (e.g., children’s toys, large furniture).If you cannot remove the obstacles from the room, try pushing them to the side to create a larger open area.
You can move to a larger area as your cat becomes more skilled at playing fetch with you., A delicious treat will provide the right motivation for your cat to learn how to fetch a toy mouse. Examples of treats your cat may like include bits of tuna and meat-flavored baby food.You can also purchase cat treats at your local grocery store or pet store.
Whichever treat you choose, it should be your cat’s favorite treat, and reserved only for training purposes.
Remember that treats should make up only a small portion (10 to 15%) of your cat’s diet.To keep a good balance of treats and regular food when you are training her, consider limiting her treats to just her training sessions.
, Begin your training session by holding the toy mouse in front of your cat. Stand a few feet back from her so that she cannot easily reach out and grab the toy. If you are training her during her playtime, she will likely already be attentive to you and the toy.
If she is keeping herself busy with something else, or is in a different room, you will probably need to call her to you.
Reward her with a treat when she comes to you after being called.
, Toss the toy mouse two to three feet in front of you.It is important to start with small throwing distances when your cat is first learning the trick.You can increase the distance as your cat becomes more skilled with fetching the toy mouse.An alternative to throwing the toy is to attaching it to a string. You can sling the stringed toy towards your cat, then pull it back when your cat has a hold of the toy.Remove the toy from the string as your cat begins to understand the motion of catching the toy and bringing it back to you.It may be helpful to give your cat verbal cues—‘fetch’ when you toss the toy mouse and ‘good fetch’ when she brings it back to you—during your training sessions., Your cat may not bring the toy mouse back to you the first time you throw it—she may not understand that you are teaching her how to fetch.If this happens, try enticing her with a treat in your hand to get her to walk to back to you with the toy.Reward her with the treat and verbal praise when she brings it back to you.When your cat sees the treat, she may drop the toy before she walks back to you.In this case, do not give her a treat. Instead, walk to her, pick up the toy, and walk back to your original position., Wait to toss the toy mouse until your cat has come back to you.When you toss it again, reward her if she brings it back to you. Keep in mind that you may have to pick up the toy mouse yourself several times before your cat understands that she is supposed to bring it back to you.
Toss the toy in the same direction each time that you toss it.Your cat will become increasingly better at bringing the toy mouse back to you when she forms the association between bringing it back and getting a tasty reward., As your cat becomes more skilled at fetching, gradually increase the distance at which you throw the toy mouse.Consider increasing the distance by a few inches each day that you practice with her.
, Limit your training sessions to three to five minutes.It is also important to practice only a few times each day—too much practice may cause your cat to become bored and simply walk away from you.