Millions of cats roam the streets, are in shelters or worse. Yet thousands are the lucky ones that find loving families and homes. Training a cat is almost exactly like training a dog – just a different species.
Cats have very strong, independent personalities. They want you when they want you. It is easy to know when they do not. From the time they are babies, constant affection is necessary. Try to make them feel that they are safe. Treat them as part of the family. Surely, the love will be returned.
To get a cat to come when called takes repetition. Continue the same commands each time, using the same key words like "come" or "here." Using training treats can be helpful. However, it is better that they don't get used to getting a treat for everything all the time. They will come to expect it. Being playful can be a reward in itself. Playing little games, or simply showing love is its own reward. Eventually, it will get to where they come on command when called.
Having a routine is very important. Eating at certain times is a must. Their bodies will adjust and they will realize when eating time is and not fuss for food all day. Keeping their things – such as the litter box, water bowl and toys – in a specific place is very helpful. That shows them their space. There is less likely a chance for accidents if they know where the litter box stays.
It is said that petting a cat can reduce stress levels. Imagine what knowing they are loved and taken care of does for cats. Taking time out to show them attention makes it less likely that they will act out or do something to be spiteful such as tearing something up or urinating in inappropriate places.
Introduce changes slowly, whether it is bringing in another animal, moving, etc. Disrupting their lives and what they know can be traumatizing if not done carefully. Making sure they know that they are not forgotten and a little extra loving can calm uneasy situations. Make sure they know where their things are if they have been moved. Physically put them inside the litter box and show them the water bowl.
There are several books on this subject. However, every cat is different. Every situation is different. Understanding the cat's unique, individual personality will help when figuring out the best ways to train them. There will be trial and error, and it will require patience. What works for one person may not work for another.
Always keep in mind that they are one of the lucky ones, and it will not be hard to develop an amazing friendship and companion. Cats are in fact animals. They are independent and strong willed. If taken care of, they can become a best friend and family member. A human becomes their world. That is all that they have. They learn to rely on people. If shown compassion and love, they are sure to return the favor.
Keep these things in mind when they do not get the training the first time around. Cats are not born knowing how to come when called. Give them a chance to be themselves. If for whatever reason it does not work out, try to find a new home rather than putting them on the streets where their chance of survival is slim. Remember, they did not choose to be there.