Cats have a reputation for being difficult to train, but Shreve said challenges could be overcome if care is taken to "socialize the cat to experiences outside of the home, find rewards or experiences the cat most wants to work for, and use positive reinforcement to reward those behaviors you are trying to train."
In terms of socialization, Shreve has taught kitten training and held a monthly Cat Socialization Club, where felines in a safe space could "mingle," play with others and eat treats.
Choosing the right food for rewards during training is critical.
"Would you go to work every day to earn your living to be paid in corn?" she asked.
Carnivorous cats may not work for carbohydrate-packed treats, but they may be motivated by cooked chicken or tuna, she said, adding that cats seem even to prefer more intangible rewards, such as play or social interaction.
"I think the public perception of the 'un-trainable' cat stops many people from trying to train them for more complex tasks," she said. "In our kitten classes, adults and children have taught cats to sit, stay, go to mat and stay, stand, spin, high jump, ring a service bell and much more."