How to Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse

Two Parts:Preparing to Train Your CatTraining Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse

Have you ever thought about teaching your cat a new trick? Although cats are very independent by nature,[1] and may not seem very trainable, they can be trained if given the right motivation.[2] Along with a handful of treats, make sure you have plenty of time and patience to train your cat to fetch a toy mouse.

Part 1
Preparing to Train Your Cat

  1. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 1
    Pick the right sized toy mouse. In general, cats like to fetch things that they can easily grab with their paws or put in their mouths.[3] 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.[4]
  2. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 2
    Select the right time to train your cat. Training your cat will be more effective when she is alert and energetic.[5] Cats are most active at dusk and dawn.[6] 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.[7] Her hunger may motivate her to follow your instructions.
  3. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 3
    Choose an area to train your cat. The area where you train your cat should be large enough to allow you to throw the toy mouse at least a few feet.[8] The room should be free of distractions, as well as physical obstacles (e.g., children’s toys, large furniture).[9]
    • 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.[10]
  4. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 4
    Select a reward. 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.[11] 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.[12] To keep a good balance of treats and regular food when you are training her, consider limiting her treats to just her training sessions.

Part 2
Training Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse

  1. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 5
    Show the toy mouse to your cat. 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.
  2. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 6
    Toss the toy mouse. Toss the toy mouse two to three feet in front of you.[13] It is important to start with small throwing distances when your cat is first learning the trick.[14] You can increase the distance as your cat becomes more skilled with fetching the toy mouse.[15]
    • 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.[16]
    • Remove the toy from the string as your cat begins to understand the motion of catching the toy and bringing it back to you.[17]
    • 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.[18]
  3. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 7
    Encourage your cat to bring the toy mouse back to you. 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.[19] If this happens, try enticing her with a treat in your hand to get her to walk to back to you with the toy.[20]
    • Reward her with the treat and verbal praise when she brings it back to you.[21]
    • When your cat sees the treat, she may drop the toy before she walks back to you.[22] In this case, do not give her a treat. Instead, walk to her, pick up the toy, and walk back to your original position.[23]
  4. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 8
    Toss the toy mouse again. Wait to toss the toy mouse until your cat has come back to you.[24] 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.[25]
    • 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.[26]
  5. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 9
    Toss the toy further away. As your cat becomes more skilled at fetching, gradually increase the distance at which you throw the toy mouse.[27] Consider increasing the distance by a few inches each day that you practice with her.
  6. Image titled Train Your Cat to Fetch a Toy Mouse Step 10
    Keep your training sessions short. Limit your training sessions to three to five minutes.[28] 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.[29]


  • Be patient with your cat as she learns how to fetch a toy mouse.
  • Over time, your cat may learn to anticipate playing fetch with you.[30] She may even bring the toy mouse to you and place it in your lap.[31]
  • Although Siamese cats are particularly fond of playing fetch, any cat can learn this trick.[32]
  • Teaching your cat to fetch a toy mouse encourages her to use her natural hunting instinct.[33] It also allows her to exercise,[34] and increase her eye-paw coordination.[35]
  • Be mindful that your cat may not like playing fetch.[36] If this is the case, teach her another trick or interact with her in a way that she enjoys.


  • Plastic eyes on a toy mouse can cause intestinal blockage if your cat eats them.[37]

Sources and Citations

Show more... (34)

Article Info

Categories: Cat Training