Originally Posted by cat52
It's easy to "teach" a cat to fetch if they have a favorite interactive toy - like yours with the stick-n-string thingy - just get playing with it and throw it - if Junior is really into it, he'll go get it and may even teach himself to drag it back...otherwise, if he picks it up, then get it and play some more, then throw, then he picks it up, and this time wait for him to bring it a little ways back, then getit and play some more, etc., successive approximation yada yada...
sorry, I do tend to go on too long!
Fetch is a good one, even if it's not much to alleviate boredom for a bored owner (since in many cases it's a matter of hoping they actually bring it back!). I did the same thing; Juniper got used to carrying around a mouse, so I would take it from him and throw it. He quickly realized that if he brought me a toy, I'd throw it for him to chase, and often when he's bored and my wife or I are home, he'll bring one of his mice to us. It's very cute, and entertaining if he feels like playing when guests are around
I now have a "fetch spot" on the couch, where if I'm sitting there he'll usually bring up a mouse and drop it right by my hand. I soon discovered that when he's really in a playful mood, I'm no longer "human guy" but "cat springboard," and he will bring the mouse back to the couch, jump up, across my chest, and push off to land on my other side. He drops the mouse, I throw it, and he bounds off across the coffee table (more obstacles!).
What's really funny is that I always try to throw it into the other room, where he sees it fall but not where it lands. My wife usually just tosses it a short distance, and sometimes she'll do a bad throw that just bounces a few feet away, and Juniper immediately loses interest. Probably thinking "that's not a throw, I'm not gonna chase it if you don't put some feeling into it!"
That does remind me of a new toy we got for him, though, that we've been enjoying quite a bit. We have one of those IKEA rats, and it's about 1/3 the size of our kitten. It's poofy enough, though, that we can "attack" him with it and he'll attack the rat, and not us, so we can play with him as if we were a "play rat" without him associating our hands with play targets. Would probably work with any small-size stuffed animal, as well, as long as the stitching was good so the fluff didn't come out.