do cats like to play fetch

New study shows that cats play fetch, too A new study showed that cats fetched objects instinctively, in the absence of overt training. Fetching is defined as when the animal retrieves an object that’s thrown.

Just 23% of the fetching cats lived in a home with a dog or another cat who enjoyed playing fetch, so it’s unlikely that the cats learned to fetch from, say, a dog in the house. A monthly average of five retrievals was achieved in most games, with 59% of fetching cats playing up to ten times. (It was evident that our cat Ariel was very skilled at fetching because she would frequently bring back her favorite sparkle ball or bouncy soccer ball up to ten times in a session.) ).

The authors concluded that, in essence, “The agency of fetching lies predominantly with the cat, who is largely in control of a fetching session with their owner and determines how exactly they wish to participate in the fetching session.” “There may be greater bonds between owners and their cats if they are open to their cats’ initiation attempts.” “.

The authors developed a 23-question online survey with an emphasis on the following topics: when cat owners initially observed fetching behavior in their pets (either a current or previous cat), what items the cats preferred in these games, who started and stopped the games—cats or humans—and how many times a cat would retrieve the object in a single fetch session. Along with demographic information for the owners, they also gathered information on the cat’s age, sex, breed, neuter status, and whether or not it lived in a home with other cats or dogs. Two open-ended questions were also included so that owners could provide more in-depth answers. Ariel has been playing fetch like a champ since kittenhood. Shes pretty leisurely about retrieval and return.

The authors claim that play behavior is exhibited by many different animal species, with mammals and birds displaying it the most frequently. When playing, cats often behave like European wildcats and lynxes, who are known for their swift approach and retreat, leaping, chasing, pouncing, and stalking. Compared to dogs, who typically begin playing with objects alone before moving on to social play, cats initially engage in more social forms of play with their littermates, such as wrestling, and they tend to engage in more solitary play as adults.

924 owners submitted responses for 1,154 cats that were included in the final analysis. According to those answers, 94 percent of the cats who played fetch did so without any formal training, and 61 percent of them began doing so when they were just kittens. For example, the owner reported that one cat began fetching after a rubber band came loose from a rolled-up newspaper and flew down the hallway. The rubber band was chased by the cat, who returned with pride and dropped it at its owner’s feet. When the owner shot it back down the hallway, the cat went back and got the rubber band. Another owner told how their cat simply picked up a toy that had been thrown and dropped it at their feet on its own initiative, waiting for it to be thrown again.

The majority (86%) of the cats in our sample were mixed breeds. Out of the purebreds, Siamese were the most common (22. 5%), supporting their reputation as fetchers.

These cats had, on average, been fetched for about four years at the time of our survey. However, there was a lot of variation: some had never played fetch before, while others had done so their entire lives.

Fetching behaviour in domestic cats has been reported to be more common than coming when called, meowing on command, or playing games. There may also be breed differences in fetching (at least among purebreds). For example, Siamese cats and their crossbreed variations are known for being proficient fetchers.

Overall, the owners reported lots of differences in fetching behaviour. While some cats approach their owner with the object first, others react when their owner tosses something at them first. Some cats only bring the object back halfway. Some are picky about the toys they want to play with, and others will only bring things from specific rooms or times of the house (like the stairs).

It’s important for owners to put time aside to play with their cat each day. Short periods of play a few times a day are enough – and it doesn’t have to be a game of fetch. If cats enjoy playing fetch on their own terms, that probably applies to all kinds of play. Generally, they prefer toys that have features of prey – for example, toys that can break or pull apart, or that move erratically (like toys on a rod).


Why does my cat want to play fetch?

The study, published in Scientific Reports, surveyed 924 owners of 1,154 cats that play fetch to better understand the behaviour. For most cats (94%), fetching appeared to be an instinctive behaviour, rather than being taught by the owner or learned from another animal.

How common is it for a cat to play fetch?

The overwhelming majority (94.4%) of these owners report that fetching emerged in the absence of explicit training. Fetching was primarily first noticed when the cats were less than one year old (n = 701) or 1–7 years old (n = 415). Cats initiated and terminated fetching bouts more often than did their owners.

What breed of cats like to play fetch?

Cats’ fetching preferences Among the 160 purebred cats in the survey, Siamese cats emerged as the top fetching breed, followed by Bengals and Ragdolls.

Is a cat playing fetch rare?

Cats that fetch are a minority but not an extreme minority, Mikel Delgado, a cat-behavior consultant at Feline Minds, told me. Although the data are sparse, in one limited study from 1986 that surveyed pet owners, nearly 16 percent of cats reportedly fetched.