Training a cat is generally thought to be impossible – it is said that unlike dogs, cats cannot be bothered to please their owners, and are not really interested in working for food either.
This is true, but only to a certain extent; it is certainly possible to train a cat to perform various tasks. Cats are also often thought to be less intelligent than dogs – this however is certainly a myth. Measuring animal intelligence is complex, inaccurate, and perhaps even impossible – tests are often confused by factors such as the animal’s motivation to perform, physical dexterity, and liveliness or laziness.
In any case, some studies have shown that cats can certainly learn rather complex actions, and have a considerably long and impressive memory. Of course, there are also many owners who will speak without exaggeration about how their cats have learned to open doors and windows not merely by pushing them open, but by using handles, latches, and so on.
As far as training a cat goes, most owners of course merely want their cats to be toilet trained.
While this is nowhere nearly as easy as dog toilet training, it can be done if the owner is patient and consistent. Cats are naturally fastidious about their waste – they prefer to defecate outdoors, far from their living area, and will cover their waste with sand or mud. Training a cat to use a litter box is therefore easy – it is usually the only indoor surface that has the texture and consistency of mud, and is therefore the obvious and instinctive choice of location for a cat to urinate or defecate. However, some owners would prefer to have their cats use a human toilet, and this takes much more time and effort. House training cats in this manner requires you to first get the cat used to using a litter box. The litter box is gradually moved next to the toilet, and level of the box is gradually raised. Finally, the litter box is suspended over the toilet bowl, and is eventually eliminated completely. This entire process takes at least six weeks, and is not always successful.
Cat training can of course go beyond this basic level. Some cats are known to follow basic commands such as sit, and may even play games of fetch. The basic concept of positive training remains the same as for any other animal. Motivation and reward are essential. However, some insight into cat behavior and psychology is necessary, and it may be useful to get some cat training tips from a professional.