I've a 16-year-old cat who loved to play fetch when he was a kitten, and a kitten who presently loves to play fetch with his spring toys--how unusual it for a cat to play fetch? I'd never heard of it before these two--thought it was limited to dogs--and whenever I've told people about it, they've never heard of it too, and even sometimes appear to doubt the verisimilitude of my story. Either I got really lucky or it's more common than most people realize.

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    One of my cats brings me a purple toy mouse (Whiskas branded, she is very picky about her toys) all the time and expects me to throw it away. She then runs after it, grabs it, cuddles it and brings it back to me, then I pet her and again throw it away. The "fun" thing about it is that I can hear her come with the toy by the sound of her growling :o) Her brother incidentally does the same. Indeed I never met anybody else with a cat playing fetch, but I don't know the answer to the question how rare it is. Maybe it is the owners who don't see the sign that the cat wants to play fetch?
    – jippie
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 7:35
  • I have a 6 month ragdolll who has just decided that she loves to play catch in the middle of the night with me. She keeps on bringing a toy (furry tail on a stck) to my bed. Because she scratched on my bed I threwvit off. She picked it up and brought it back... Repeated a gazillion times until (i think) it got stuck at an angle she could not remove it.
    – davidgo
    Commented Feb 15, 2023 at 17:34

6 Answers 6


Uncommon, but not rare. Chase-and-pounce is, of course, a widespread cat game; "retrieving" is the more complicated behavior.

Some cats figure out on their own that humans can be trained to throw a toy repeatedly if it's brought to them. One of mine does this. (Though it only works around a corner, since if she can see me she seems to get distracted and forget why she's carrying the toy.)

Cats can be actively trained to retrieve, but as with all cat training it takes a bit more patience and bribery to convince the cat that it wants to learn what you're trying to explain than it would a dog. That varies by breed and by cat, though; meezers, for example, tend to care more about human approval than most cats, which makes them better students.

  • My tortoiseshell does all the time, with zero explicit training on my part. She brings me a pompom or little mouse toy, drops it, then meows expectantly. She’ll even go as far as prodding my arm when said arm fails to throw it for her, and dropping the mouse even closer to me. It’s even getting to be a nuisance. This all started just spontaneously, when she brought one to me awhile back, and looked up at me.
    – ijoseph
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 8:41
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    "if she can see me she seems to get distracted and forget why she's carrying the toy" My cat does get easily distracted too but I noticed it often drops the toy when I make eye contact. Staring at the ground when the cat is retrieving something seems to work best to make my cat drop the toy in front of me.
    – kapex
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 10:53

I have had two cats in my life that "fetch" the first I learned by accident. I wadded up a piece of paper and threw it away and she brought it back to me. Her reward was a belly rub. She loved them. My current female cat starting playing fetch with me a few months ago. She brought the toy to me. I thanked her, threw it and brought it back (several times lol) she had kittens a few weeks ago and they are about weaned and now she's is initiating the fetch game again. We are the lucky ones to have such special kitties

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    indeed you are the lucky ones! my cat just looks at me and then looks at the thrown object, as if saying "what? you expect me to pick it up? go pick it up yourself!"
    – PandaPants
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 18:42

I have 2 cats, Patches and Pepper. Patches has been retrieving these new toys I bought a grew weeks ago. She even brings them to me when I'm not playing . Funniest thing ever. Never knew cats to do that. Now Pepper is doing it as well. So it's true that tuxedo cats are super smart and other cats around them will get smarter as well.


My tortoise shell kitten plays fetch with plastic caps and my tuxedo does it with himself...chases a piece of plastic down the stairs after dropping it on the side wood runner, and tries to beat it to the bottom :)


Yes my kitten who’s now nearly 8-months old enjoys playing fetch & I believe with the same toy that you described a (Bed Spring) shaped plastic toy that he all of a sudden out of no where started bringing to me & giving to me waiting in excited anticipation for me to throw it so that he could chase after it & bring it right back over & ovet again.


My cat, female, white with light brown highlights on face, back and tail, age one and a quarter loves to play fetch. We did not train her, she just demands with happy meows for us to get her toy she drops in front of us to throw it for her, over and over again. It is actually a top from a champagne bottle, the threaded metal that she can easily grab and retrieve. Happy fetching!

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