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We discovered quite some time ago that one of our cats, Fiver, loves playing fetch. He will run after a ball and bring it back until he’s exhausted. Not long after that, we learned to hide all the toy balls around nighttime, because if Fiver finds one and starts playing with it by himself, he gets into a pretty intense conversation with it. Loudly. Without concern for humans who might be trying to sleep.

A cat playing fetch? Really? Behold:

It might look as if he’s being remarkably obedient, but the truth is, he trained us, not the other way around. He figured out that if he dropped the ball near us, we would automatically throw it for him to chase. How convenient!

When he starts getting tired he often will try dropping the ball farther and farther away on his way back, in the hopes that will prompt us to do some of the work in coming to him instead of the other way around. A classic behavioral shaping technique. Occasionally it even works.

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Originally published at another world, not quite ours - Megan Crewe's blog. You can comment here or there.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
jessica_shea
Jul. 12th, 2012 02:49 am (UTC)
Aw, your cats are so cute! I love that Fiver plays fetch! I have an all-black cat too (Monkey). He does come when we call him, but the only thing he runs toward is food.
megancrewe
Jul. 12th, 2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
LOL, yes, all of ours are very well trained at running toward the sound of a can being opened. :D
pegkerr
Jul. 12th, 2012 02:51 am (UTC)
That's amazing!
megancrewe
Jul. 12th, 2012 04:59 pm (UTC)
It's apparently not even *that* rare--several other cat-playing-fetch videos came up when I uploaded mine! :)
afraclose
Aug. 2nd, 2012 04:09 am (UTC)
One of our cats used to play fetch and tag. We always joked that he was more dog than cat. These days, he's now perfecting the fine art of information osmosis by finding the best pieces of paper to sit on. Quite learned these days.
megancrewe
Aug. 3rd, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)
Hee hee, yes, I think cats have a built-in homing device that lets them locate the most important items in the room, so they can sit on them. :) My printed-out-for-revisions manuscripts are particularly popular around here.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014


The Clouded Sky
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A Sky Unbroken
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Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


The Way We Fall
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Disney-Hyperion, 2012


The Lives We Lost
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Disney-Hyperion, 2013


The Worlds We Make
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Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
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Give Up the Ghost
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