A rescue kitten appears to be barking up the wrong tree with his new favorite game.
Pippin is no ordinary cat. In fact, according to his owner, Jessica Huang from Ohio, he’s not a cat at all, but rather “a dog in a cat body.”
Proof of this came courtesy of a video Huang posted to TikTok under the handle itscuriouscharlie showing Pippin learning how to play fetch.
Huang adopted Pippin as a kitten in 2023 from the same shelter in Cleveland where she got his older feline sibling, Charlie, a year earlier.
They have since discovered that Pippin loves three things: laser pointers, annoying his older sister and playing games of fetch.
“We noticed this strange habit where Pippin would pick up objects with his mouth, exactly like a dog,” Huang told Newsweek. “It wasn’t long until we realized he could fetch!”
Pippin the cat playing fetch. The rescue’s time in the shelter played a crucial role in her developing her love of fetch.
Debate has long raged over whether cats are capable of being trained in the same way dogs are but there is ample evidence to suggest they can be.
One pet owner, for example, was able to train their cat to take a shower with her every day. There is even a school of thought that suggests cats can learn how to play games like fetch without being trained at all.
Possibly the best advice for anyone keen to train their cat to do anything comes from Julie Tottman. She’s been training animals for the movies for more than two decades, with credits including Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.
Tottman previously told Newsweek that “consistency, fun and patience are key.” She said: “Each day, do a quick training session with the animal and make it fun. Don’t nag them—a lot of people will ask their pet to sit repeatedly, for example. You ask them. And make sure to play.”
She said the key thing was to start with the basics. “For example, asking them just to sit down and stay in one spot, or to lie down and stay in one spot, or to stand and stay in one spot. That’s so you can get the focus of the dog or cat,” Tottman said.
“Once you start with the easy stuff, they start understanding the concept of learning and training, and then everything else moves on quicker.”
Huang had something of a head start when it came to teaching Pippin the finer points of fetch though. “It seemed pretty natural for Pippin to fetch,” she said. “Pippin came from the shelter with a little toy mouse and whenever we would throw it, he would run to it and pick it up with his mouth.”
However, the process was not without its hiccups, with Huang recalling having to do “lots of running back and forth” with Pippin in order to teach him that he needed to bring the mouse back.
“It was the bringing it back to us part that took the longest to teach,” she said. “To me, it felt like he loved when someone would throw the mouse toy, and then one day he finally realized he would get what he wanted if he just brought the mouse back.”
The results speak for themselves though, with Pippin proving a valuable addition to Charlie’s TikTok account, which has already racked up over 10 million views. Huang hopes that videos like this one of Pippin show that cats are so much more than adorable balls of fluff.
“We film our cats’ amusing behaviors to show that cats don’t just sleep, they have personalities, albeit somewhat strange, just like humans,” she said.
Pippin has certainly proven that.
Uncommon Knowledge Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.
Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.