While the idea of training your cat may not be as common as training a dog, there are techniques you can use with great success to train you cat in various ways. The most common thing you want to train your cat to do would be to use the litter box, stop scratching and destroying household items, and be well behaved.
Just as with other animals, before beginning to train your cat you need to know first how cats learn and second understand your cat’s learning habits and personality. Most often cats responds to the experiences they receive after specific actions. So when you want to train your cat you need to make sure that whatever you are teaching them to do provides a positive experience. Whatever you want to train your cat not to do, you turn whatever activity that is into an immediately unpleasant experience.
It is almost impossible to catch a cat in the act of bad behavior. Therefore if you are trying to train your cat not to do something you need to set up their environment where they can’t do that without negative immediate results. It does not work to come in minutes later and try to punish a cat for bad behavior you just found; she will not connect that what you are punishing her for is the behavior from minutes ago and not something that just happened. Instead of connecting that she is being punished for having scratched up the furniture for instance she will think she is being punished because she came up to you when you got home. In this case, if you are trying to train her not to scratch the furniture, try wrapping the corners with aluminum foil or cellophane instead. Because the cat immediately won’t like the texture of this she will stop immediately doing it and come to realize that this is not something she wants to continue doing.
Most importantly, set up your environment for success instead of failure. Instead of hoping your cat will learn where she is supposed to play, create a specific space for her. Set up a scratching post and reward her whenever you see her use it instead of only punishing her for bad behavior. You can also create relaxing spaces for your cat by creating areas where her toys and treats can be found.
The best way to train your cat is to work with her natural instincts. As you learn more about what her habits and tendencies are you will know the best ways to encourage the behavior you wish to see. If you want to teach her tricks you can do that if you are willing to put in the time, have patience, and remember that the more she is praised the more positively she will respond.
Most importantly when training your cat, as in training any animal, the more she knows she is loved the more positively she will respond to learning new skills or tricks to impress you. Create an environment that allows you both to succeed.