An example of informal cat training to do high fives and fist bumps

The high five and fist bump are a modern day version of friendly contact reinforcing the bond between two people. You see it a lot in sport between team mates; for example in doubles tennis. You rarely see it between cat owner and his cat 😉 . The video tells us that it can happen. The first thing I thought was; how did this routine come about? It probably started off with the cat sticking her paw out as her owner walked by. Cats do this. Then the owner would have refined that by placing his hand against the cat’s paw when he passed by. He probably did that for ages. Then he added the fist bump by simply doing it a lot of times. Actually the cat to human fist bump is a human fist against a cat’s open paw! Not a fist bump. Let’s get precise here. So it is an extension of the high fives.

Cats are actually quite trainable with patience. I trained my cat to stop play-biting my hand. I put his favorite treat into my hand (half a king-sized cooked prawn). In anticipation of eating it he bumped his head against my hand and then I gave him the treat and used a clicker to reinforce the link between reward (getting the treat) and his behavior (head bumping and not biting). In no time he stopped his bad habit. He stopped seeing my hand as a play object.

A lot of cat owners complain that there cat bites their feet in play. Cat behaviorists may say that the solution is to give your cat another object to play with; a substitute which is superior to your ankles. That may work in time. I think you can also train your cat to see your feet not as a play object but as something else: a deliverer of nice food. A cat won’t attack that. This may sound bizarre but I’d try it: place his favorite treat on your slipper while wearing it. When he takes it off with his paw or teeth, use the clicker and praise him. Do this a lot of times (say 20 times). I think he’ll stop attacking ankles. Crazy? Or good? (comments from stupid trolls will be deleted before publication).

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