Shelter Cats Are Learning To High Five for the Best Reason Ever

In an effort to increase feline adoption rates and raise funding for shelters across the country, Cat Pawsitive program introduces rescue kitties to training.


Despite what their royalty-like attitude suggests, cats can be successfully trained. Granted, it will probably be a bit harder than it is with dogs, but as long as you pick the right treat to motivate them, you’re golden.


But the reason why people train cats is not just to see felines do tricks, but rather to mentally stimulate them and spend some quality time with their pets. That’s the main reason why Cat Pawsitive, a life-saving program developed by Jackson Galaxy and a team of cat behavior experts, is teaching shelter staff and volunteers how to implement positive reinforcement training for cats into their usual process.

Reward-based training has been a godsend for shy and insecure homeless cats. The new environment and the stress of being admitted to a shelter can make even social cats anxious, let alone those kitties who were always on the shy side of the specter. With positive reinforcement training, they’re not only getting mentally engaged and relaxed: these kitties are learning some nifty tricks that could potentially charm the pants off their adopters. For example, how to high paw them. (Seriously, is there a person who could remain indifferent to a kitty high-fiving them? I refuse to believe it.)

Additionally, the confidence cats gain during their training, as well as the connections they build with the staff, help them become better socially adjusted for their new furever home. A win-win combo!


Cat Pawsitive is teaming up with GreaterGood.org, the Petco Foundation, and Halo® pet food to support the hard work of shelters and their tireless staff. They’re organizing a contest where the five most creative photos of a high-fiving kitty will win some goodies for the shelter or rescue organization of their choice- the grand prize is $5000 cash grant and 10,000 bowls of HALO food for pets in need. The contest will take place on Facebook and Instagram, and end on National High-Five Day on April 19th (when else?). For more details on how to participate, visit the contest’s website.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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