Catster Magazine

How to Teach Your Cat to High-Five

Spin, circle, speak, high five, bow, dance — we’ve all seen dogs perform a variety of tricks, but they aren’t the only ones who can learn and have fun with trick training!

Nicole Ellis  |  Jun 2nd 2021


Sponsored content brought to you by Sleepypod.

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.