As you know if you’ve spent any time here or on any of my social media accounts, high five is my go-to trick. It’s the first one I learned, and the one I do most often. It never fails to delight people when I high five them! I use it a lot on my therapy cat visits.
Here are some fun facts about high fives
- There are a lot of stories about how the high five originated. But the most accepted version is that the first real high five was between baseball players Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977.
- A research study indicated that sports teams that gave the most high fives (along with fist bumps and other encouraging gestures) have increased performance quality.
- This simple sign of encouragement benefits both giver and receiver. It releases dopamine, a natural happiness booster. It doesn’t matter if you are high fiving a friend, lover, cat or yourself. The action itself offers a moment of exuberance.
- There is a best-selling self-help book that is centered around high fives. The High Five Habit by Mel Robbins encourages its readers to give themselves high fives in the mirror to start their day on a more positive and joyful note. The simple and seemingly silly act of high fiving herself in a mirror inspired Robbins to create a whole program for a happier, more productive life.
- Cats that give high fives are more adoptable. Jackson Galaxy started the Cat Pawsitive initiative in which shelter cats are trained to give high fives. Not only is it fun and novel, it fosters cat-human interaction that make cats friendlier and more outgoing.
High Five How-Tos for Kitties
Teaching a cat to give high fives is pretty easy. You can use a clicker or not. I learned without a clicker.
- Hold out your hand and let your cat touch it with their nose. Reward them with a treat. (Click first if you are using a clicker.)
- Once that’s established, hold your hand out, but higher and farther away so that the cat has to reach out with their paw to touch it. when they do, give them a reward.
- Once they start touching your hand regularly, give them the verbal command, “high five,” along with the action. More rewards.
- If you are having trouble getting your cat to use their paw, try the cup trick. Put one of their favorite treats in a cup that’s too deep for them to reach with their face. To get it they will have to reach for it with their paw. This encourages them to be more paws-on.
- Be consistent! Cats learn best with regular sessions.
No matter what you do today, make sure to give someone a high five. Even if it’s just to yourself in a mirror. Let’s all celebrate together!
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