How to Train Your Cat to Shake Paws

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Here’s how to train your cat to shake paws/hands!

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Rewards (treats are usually the best rewards!)
  • A clicker (optional)
  • A little bit of patience

The key to training is to connect these three things: the command, the action, and the reward.

If you can establish a connection in your cat’s mind between the command, the action, and the reward, you’re in business!

The best way we’ve found to achieve this is to start out by giving your cat a helping hand.

Give the command, then go ahead and shake your cat’s paw, clicking the clicker to create an audio signal that something special just happened. As soon as your cat “performs the action” by shaking your hand, reward that kitty by giving your cat a treat. Repeat this process. Gradually put a little bit of space between the command and the action. This will give your cat the opportunity to figure out what to do on their own.

By withholding the reward until your cat reaches out their paw on their own, you’re making them ask: “What is missing here? What was I doing differently when I last got the treat?”

The second that your cat experimentally reaches out a paw, click the clicker! Cats have amazing ears and the distinct audio cue tells them that something special happened at that moment. If you don’t have a clicker, don’t worry! You can use a retractable pen to make a clicking noise or just give a verbal cue. You can also simply give the treat immediately – that works, too.

Eventually, your cat will put it all together and you’ll be shaking hands like pros!