Black and white cat with one paw in the air

How to teach your cat to high five

Teaching your cat a trick is a great way to build your bond and enrich their daily routine.

While teaching your cat a trick may sound like a tough task, it can be a great way to strengthen your bond and combat boredom. If you've got an inquisitive feline friend, we've got the steps to teach them a simple high five, but remember – if they'd just prefer a good snooze, let them be!

Before you start

When teaching your cat a new trick, it’s also important to stick to their schedule. Training sessions should be short – no more than five minutes at a time – to prevent your cat from getting bored or frustrated. Always keep an eye on their body language and give them plenty of space to wander off and do their own thing when they choose.


Your cat is more likely to learn when there are no other distractions. Training them is best done in an indoor area they feel comfortable in, with plenty of space. You can put away toys to avoid distraction.

What you'll need

The fun in learning for cats is getting a reward. To make training as enjoyable as possible, you’ll need to use your cat’s favourite reward – this could be a small tasty treat or a piece of their dry food. You can also use a clicker if you've already introduced your cat to the world of training. A clicker can help your cat link the desired action to their reward.

How to teach your cat to high five

Step one

It's best to start with your cat in a sitting position. Show them the bag of treats, or shake it to catch their attention.

Step two

Hold a treat in a closed fist in front of your cat. Their natural curiosity will usually prompt them to start sniffing or pawing at your hand. As soon as their paw leaves the ground to touch your hand, mark their action with the word “yes” or a click, followed by the treat. Repeat this process a few times.

Not all cats will raise their paw to your hand straight away. They may start with little movements just off the ground. Reward your cat for the slightest paw raises. This lets them know they’re on the right track and to repeat the action.

Step three

When your cat has touched your hand with their paw a few times, you can begin adding your chosen phrase. As you offer your hand, this time say “high five”, then reward them once they touch your hand. Repeat this process a few times – your cat may need a couple of sessions before they are confidently touching your hand when you say the phrase.

Step four

Once your cat has mastered touching your hand when asked, you can change the position of your hand. Hold up your open palm, giving them ‘five’. Ask them for a “high five” and reward them when they touch your hand. Repeat this process until they are confidently and consistently high fiving your hand.


Patience is key with cats. Go back a step if your cat is unsure on what to do. If they are losing interest, give them a lengthy break before trying again. Short, regular training sessions are best.

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• 30 August 2023

Next review

• 28 August 2026

Approved by
Hannah Miell

Animal Behaviourist