Every cat is different in their manner, but they all have a lot in common with their behaviour and intelligence. Often cats are compare to dogs, dogs are trainable which makes them intelligence and cats are not which makes them stupid; this however is not the case, a you cannot train a cat as you cat a dog, as a cat will not do tricks (although some might with enough persistence, but they may not enjoy doing it), but they can learn and they behaviour patterns can be modified.
As a kitten your cats behaviour will be what it had learnt from it’s mother, most kittens understand the need to use a litter tray, how to use a scratching post, what food to eat and many other things. However some will come naturally. Often if a cat is abandoned or left for a long time its behaviour will revert back to a feral state, this was never behaviour that was taught by it’s mother, this behaviour is a natural response to the situation. Therefore although cats can be taught to change their behaviour or even to be have in a manner to please us, some behavioural traits you will not be able to change, as it is their basic cat instinct, such as hunting, and territorial fighting.
Some cats develop what we could call behavioural problems, often there is a reason behind these problems. Your cat may be urinating on your furniture or in other areas of your home, this could simply be because a new cat has moved into the area and your cat is marking it’s territory. Or your cat is clawing the back of your furniture, this sort of behaviour problem normally occurs from kitten hood and should attempt to stop it then, by giving your cat a scratching post.
If you want to train your cat you must first learn to communicate with it. Training or modifying a cats behaviour cat only be achieved if you cat trusts you. Communicating with your cat does not necessarily mean talking to it, it basically means understanding when your cat needs something and responding by providing your cat with what it needs. For example a cat with make a different vocal sounds for a different needs, each vocal sound will have a different meaning, it could mean you cat wants feeding, it would like a cuddle or it wants to be let out. There are many different sounds, however each cat will behave differently in this respect, so look out of the actions it performs at this time too, if you cat makes a vocal sound and waits by the area where you keep its food, then you know it wants feeding, if your cat makes a vocal sound and is scratching at the door, then you know that it wants to go out. The list is endless for the actions and sound your cat will make, but once you can recognise a few, your cat will begin to trust you, at this point you can start to train it.
Training a cat can only be done to a certain degree, as cat are very independently minded animal and will often revert back to an old behaviour after being trained if they feel hard done by. The best way to train a cat is with food rewards and food as a deterrent, for example, if your cat has bad toilet behaviour and has started to use other areas of the house other than it’s litter tray, you can put food in the area it is urinating, this will often stop this behaviour as cats do not like to eat in the same place they urinate. And when your cat behaves well you can give it a treat, for example I taught my cat to come in doors when called to his name, simply by giving him a food treat every time he came, this is the same way you can train a dog to come, it works just as well with cats (however only if they are in ear shot and haven’t wondered off).
A lot of people worry about their cats fighting, often this is just a show of territorial rights, and more often than not it is a male cast behaviour, female cats also fight but this is often to protect kittens. All sorts of bad territorial behaviour can be ceased by neutering you cat. This is best done young, and normally after neutering your cat will have better behaviour in all respects and will be a friendlier cat.
Other than a cats behavioural patterns which can vary greatly from cat to cat, cats are very intelligent animals. Its often said that a cat will know when an owner is about to arrive home, and will greet them at the door, or they will figure out how to open doors by pulling the handle down. And sure as eggs are eggs as soon as your cat figures out how to do something to its advantage it will keep on doing it. Cats can also learn behaviour from other cats, and they will remember where the best places to chase birds are, or which other cat owners leave food outside for their cats, even which cat flaps in the neighbourhood are not locked. Normally this type of behaviour is associated with food, but sometime it’s for fun, just watch you cat sit in the garden for hours chasing flying bugs.