Tips&TricksUnveiling feline mysteries: The secret world of cats' fetching instincts

Unveiling feline mysteries: The secret world of cats' fetching instincts

Cats can fetch.
Cats can fetch.
Images source: © Freepik | sharshonnikolass
5:34 PM EST, December 16, 2023

A study undertaken by the "Scientific Reports" magazine, involving a series of interviews with cat owners, raised several significant observations. Notably, one question sparked deeper contemplation -- the notion that cats don't require any training. For instance, while dogs are typically introduced to the concept of fetching as puppies, cat owners reported that their pets can instinctively fetch without needing to be taught. However, they don't always respond as anticipated because they're simply not interested.

Cats don't require special training as most behaviors are instinctive

The consensus is that teaching a cat is quite a challenge. Cats decide whether they feel like fetching, performing tricks, or spending time with their owners. It's not a problem of socialization, but more of a stubborn disposition that doesn't yield to the owner's pressure. Respondents reported that their cats fetch up to 10 times a month. Over half of them fetch an item for their owners and stick around to continue the play. Interestingly, some owners claim that 60 percent of cats can fetch as kittens before they're a year old.

Cats enjoy fetching, but only when it suits them. They often initiate the game and, when they lose interest, they abandon the toy. If compelled, they'll most likely refuse to play. To a large extent, they're in charge and trying to impose rules is largely futile, given the slim chance they'll adopt them.

What do cats enjoy playing with?

Cats are drawn to anything that rolls, rustles, or glistens. A simple ball of paper can keep a kitten amused as they roll it around the house for several minutes. When initiating a game of fetch, it's best to choose small, soft objects that can fit into the cat's mouth. Larger objects can cause discomfort for the cat and, as we know, cats dislike hardship and may reject the toy.

Many owners divulged having a unique routine with their cats. For instance, some would place a toy on their pillow in the evening as a cue for playing fetch. In this way, clear signals are sent to the cat, allowing them to assess the situation. But that doesn't guarantee the cat will always be in the mood to play. As noted before, it largely depends on their disposition.

Playing with a small cat can be surprising.
Playing with a small cat can be surprising.© Freepik | ginkoveyka
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