I just finished reading an article in the latest issue of CatWatch (newsletter from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine) about how cats brains are very much like humans. I must say that I totally agree with the article that cats are very smart. Observe your own cat and you’ll see what I mean. My own observations over the years with my many cats have proved it to me. For example, they do learn from us, my cat Cleopatra learned how to change the channels on the TV using the VCR controls. My cats all learned to look both ways before crossing the street. Culann can tell time either by the clock in the kitchen that gives bird calls at the stroke of the hour or by what is on TV. My cats have always had a good understanding of English, for example Culann knows what I mean when I say right, left, go straight, go potty, and go to bed. He understands much more than that. I had read to my cats and that helped them to understand English. I still read to Culann. His favorite books are the Harry Potter series.
Most people believe that cats can’t be “trained” like dogs. They can it just takes longer. The difference is that dogs train easier because they are breed to please, where cats do it because they want to. Since their domestication cats have always been thought of independent and people never have breed them for pleasing humans. Therefore if your cat doesn’t want to it won’t happen. There has to be a very good reason that your cat will do it like a tasty reward. Or even praise will work. But it does take time, because they are processing if what you are asking them to do is worth their time and energy or is there something better that they could be doing. So take time to watch your cat you will catch him sitting and thinking about the next thing that he’ll want to do.