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The KatKin Nibbles High Five Challenge

The KatKin Nibbles High Five Challenge
by Dr Caity Venniker

Read time: 4 min

We are so excited about the launch of our new KatKin Nibbles! The wait has been worth it, and just like our Fresh meals, Nibbles are made using the freshest, best ingredients. They're freeze-dried to gently preserve and lock in all the taste and nutritional goodness, and come in salmon and chicken flavours (tell us your favourite flavour in the comments!).

In celebration, we've have decided to throw down the gauntlet to all members of the KatKin club, which we hope will be as much fun for both human and feline competitors as it will be for us. Think of it as an opportunity to teach your cat a new trick, while rewarding yourself with a feline hi-five in the long run!

How It Works

  1. The challenge is to train your cat to high five (I know, it seems a little crazy, but it’s actually much easier than it sounds!)

  2. Post a video of your cat in action to Instagram with the hashtag #KatKinNibblesHigh5

  3. Our panel of judges will assess all entries and make their final decisions and you may win a few tubes of Nibbles for you and your cat!

  4. Your cat knows how to high five now!

When I started thinking about this challenge, I was quite sceptical about how trainable cats are. I decided to use Gorbi, my cat, as a guinea pig, and was honestly amazed by how quickly he took to it. As a keen tea drinker I decided to just train him a few times a day while the kettle boiled, and within only five days he got the idea (to all the border collies and golden retrievers reading this, ha!). Admittedly, Gorbi is quite playful by nature and extremely motivated by cat food from his past on the streets, so both of those factors probably gave him an advantage. There will undoubtedly be a lot of variation between cats in how open they are to this challenge, but I suspect that all cats are more trainable than commonly perceived - provided they are in the mood, they’re always going to have opinions about how they spend their time!

To train your cat, you can use any method that works for you, but I have outlined one basic approach below. For further advice on training in general take a look at our blog, Tips on How to Train Your Cat.

Training to High Five – One Simple Method

1. Begin by holding a Nibble in your fist. Some (super smart!) cats will lift their paw to your hand almost straight away to investigate, which can then be rewarded with the high five command, or a clicker, and the reward.

Gorbi was not on that particular genius wavelength and I couldn’t hold out for long because it felt as if I was teasing him. We settled on giving the command and the reward as soon as he lifted his paw off the ground at all. That was all we practised on day one – hiding a Nibble, waiting for a minor paw lift and then rewarding immediately.

*I did commit to both of us using the same hand and paw every time, and I would recommend doing this as it provides continuity, and also means that later on if I wanted to approach and just stroke him, I could use the other hand and it wouldn’t be confused with a signal.

*Paw lifting is easier if your cat is already sitting down.

2. Once your cat has figured out that a Nibble in your hand requires a paw lift, you can gradually start withholding the Nibble until the paw lifts higher and eventually touches your hand. I found this phase quite hard because I felt pretty mean raising my standards for the Nibble, and I could see Gorbi was trying really hard to figure it out! He did click quite quickly though, fortunately, and by the third day had mastered touching my hand.

*Try to avoid talking all the time, just give the command as your cat performs the required action and then give lots of praise with the reward.

3. Once you are at the stage of the paw touching your hand for a Nibble, you can swap the Nibble to your other hand and open your fist to get a proper high five. If you have stuck to only using one particular hand then your cat should adjust quite quickly to still touching that hand when it isn’t holding a Nibble.

*It may help to keep your hand directly in front of your cat until they get the idea (basically, start with a low five until ready to graduate to a high five!)

4. At this point you can start giving the verbal cue before the action and the association should be strong enough for it to function as a command. I think for most cats the physical action of putting a hand up will still be a much stronger signal than the verbal command, and that’s okay!

5. If you’ve got this far you have mastered the high five! Congratulations!

*At this stage Gorbi started to behave as if he’d written the manual on high fiving and in his enthusiasm would do it really fast so that at times it was more of a swipe than a high five! I just did not reward this behaviour and he settled down.

*The most heart-breaking part of the whole process for me was that after learning this trick Gorbi started to initiate the high five with me. I chose to rather cuddle him than high five in response because A. I didn’t have a Nibble handy to reward the behaviour, which may have confused the process, and B. I wasn’t sure that Gorbi should be training me! But until you’ve left a cat hanging in a high five, I’m not sure you can really imagine how it feels (devastating!). That decision is up to you - but consider yourself warned!

Best of luck to everyone who partakes in the challenge! It’s difficult to predict how open an individual cat will be to learning to high five, but we are pretty sure everyone will have a good time trying! Keep an eye out on Instagram for the hashtag #KatKinNibblesHigh5 – we’ll see you there!

Want to learn more about KatKin?

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