How to Teach Your Cat to High-Five


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Yes, you too can teach your cat tricks. Trick training is a great way to bond together, while also providing enrichment through mental stimulation. To get started in trick training with your cat, keep your sessions short. Five to 10 minutes is plenty of time, just set aside time each day to practice. Cats love routine, so by setting a daily ritual you can help get them excited for training time. In no time you’ll be surprised how much your cat knows.

One of my favorite beginner cat tricks is teaching them to “high five.” This impressive-looking trick simply requires your cat lifting her paw, on cue of course, in a swatting motion, which is a very natural and easy movement for her to perform. Training should be a fun and relaxed experience for both of you.

Ready to get started?

  1. Start by getting out your cat’s favorite treats that she doesn’t get very often. Freeze-dried chicken or roast chicken works great, too! Crinkle or shake the bag to get your cat excited for training time.
  2. Hold a treat in front of your cat near shoulder level. When she reaches out, tell her she was “good” and follow up with a reward.
  3. Practice this for a few days, a few minutes at a time. If she struggles with this, raise the treat above her head a little. No two pets are the same, so try different levels to see what entices your cat to lift her paw.
  4. Once your cat understands this transition to holding the treat in your hand with a reward only when her paw touches your hand, even in the slightest, she will soon understand she needs to touch for the treat.
  5. Offer your open hand and, again, when your cat touches it, say “good” and reward. If your cat doesn’t respond, take your hand away and present it again. If she’s still confused, then go back a step for a refresher.

And just like that, your cat will have mastered high five-ing! I hope these tips spark a love for training your cat and increasing your bond together.

Pro Tips

Consistent training is key. Your cat might not dive quickly into high five the next day. Sometimes we all need a little refresher.

Keep sessions very short; five minutes is a perfect training session. This is hard to do when you are both having fun. However, keeping sessions brief prevents burnout and leaves your kitty wanting more.

Train in the same area daily until your cat understands the behavior.

Pull out the ottoman! Some cats focus better when perched on an elevated platform.

7 thoughts on “How to Teach Your Cat to High-Five”

  1. I have a orange long hair tabby, her name is Toby. She jumps on a countertop, that’s easier for me, older lady here. We use treats. I hold it just over her head and I say up. She stands on her hind legs, holds my fingers and I plop it in her mouth. When she is ready we repeat it for a total of three times. I tell her what a good kitty she is. She would like more, but since we’re using treats I wait for another time

  2. Oh my gosh…cats, I swear, are smarter than dogs. Smart in different ways as well. I try not to use food as the driving force but understand it. It’s all about having their full attention focused on you and not some piece of food. Afterwards, YES! Because of, NO

  3. Carole Williams

    My Tabby, Oliver, plays “fetch the paper”. I roll up a small piece of paper and on cue, he goes and hides by a toy box. On my count of 1-2-3, I toss it three feet, usually just over his head. He will catch it in his paws, then put into his mouth and return it right back to me to play again. He will do this about five times—then lays down. What a joy for both of us!! Yes, you can train a cat!!????Looking forward to “high five” game next.

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