Black and white cat with one paw in the air

How to teach your cat to high five

Yes – believe it or not, you can teach your cat to high five. We know, it sounds like a myth, but we’ve laid out the easiest way to get them high-fiving their way through life below.

Top tip: Your cat is more likely to learn when there are no other distractions. So, training them is best done indoors, in an area they feel comfortable in, with plenty of space.

Steps to a high five

Firstly, choose some treats you know your cat won’t be able to resist and have them ready to reward your cat every time they make progress.

Step one – the approach: 

It works best to approach your cat when they are in the sitting position, but this can also be done when they are standing.

Step two – paw raise: 

  • Hold your cat’s favourite treat in a closed fist
  • Your cat’s natural curiosity will usually cause them to start sniffing or pawing at your hand
  • As soon as their paw leaves the ground to move towards your hand, mark their action with a clicker or the word ‘yes’, followed by the treat in your hand

Not all cats will instantly raise their paw to your hand. They may start with little movements off the ground. Reward your cat for even the slightest paw raise - this encourages them to do it more and they’ll eventually raise their paw higher.

Step three – say ‘high five’:

When your cat has touched your hand with their paw a few times, begin marking the action by saying ‘high five’ and rewarding them.

Step four – switch hand position:

Once they seem to have this mastered, switch your hand position to meet your palm with their paw. Then repeat until they meet your hand every time with the ‘high five’ instruction.

Don’t be afraid to go back a step if your cat loses interest or isn’t raising their paw straight away - patience is key.

— Page last updated 19/03/2020

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