High fives are actually really easy tricks to learn! So I thought I would put together a quick tutorial on how to teach your cat to do a high five! Humans just need a little patience, and spend a few minutes every day with their cat.
The two things the cat needs is a) to be treat motivated, and b) be comfortable with having her hand gently held — no more than what you see in the photo above. Just sort of lightly scoop your cat’s paw into your palm like that. Say, “Gimme paw,” then give her a treat. The treat should be what they call “high value,” or better than the normal treat. Anything from freeze dried chicken to low-sodium deli turkey to tiny bits of roast chicken.
Once the cat lets you do that, give her a treat. Place it in the palm of your hand. If you try to give it with your fingers, they may get chomped if your cat is too enthusiastic! Make sure the treats are teensy-tiny because you are going to want to do this several times each session. The sessions should only last for a few minutes, or your cat will get bored. Or maybe you will!
After doing this step for a few days, your cat may start reaching for your hand on her own, expecting a treat. That’s cause for an extra treat and lots of praise!
Stay at this step for a few days. Don’t be tempted to rush your cat. Your cat is probably already enjoying spending extra time with you, and getting treats and praise. At this point, you can teach her to shake paws, by giving the command, “Shake!” or “Shake paw!” every time she reaches for your hand. Remember to reward your cat every time she does that.
See? You’ve already learned a bonus trick! Now let’s get to the high five part.
Start to turn your hand around into the high five position when your cat reaches over. When she touches your hand, say, “Gimme paw!” or “High five!” and give her a treat.
If your cat is very “handy” — in other words, likes to use her paws a lot — you can bypass the paw shake part this way. Put a treat between your fingers like you see above and hold it in the high five position. When your cat reaches out for the treat, say, “High five!” and give it to her.
Don’t expect your cat to give you high fives perfectly right away. I know I can be pretty sloppy with my high five giving, even now. But when she gets it right, give her extra praise and a little more of the treat.
How long this takes depends on your consistency, your persistence, and your relationship with your cat. Also, some cats learn things more easily than others. It’s not necessarily a matter of intelligence. My human has come across some very smart cats who just did not want to learn a particular trick. But you know how it is… time spent with a cat is never wasted. And if you can do high fives with your cat, that is definitely worthwhile!
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! Wanna high five me?