Cat behaviourCA2 Think Cat - Homing in on the Specialised Yet Enigmatic Nature of the Pet Cat


A course for owners, vet nurses and other professionals who want to understand more about feline predatory and social behaviour, and the relationship between cats and their owners.


Cats make great pets! Beautiful, graceful, serene and perfectly designed to be a top of the food chain predator. In fact, the cat is probably the most successful small mammalian hunter ever in terms of numbers, but only since she moved in alongside man. The secretive, shy wild cat then became a comfort and affection-seeking feline missile and tapped into our desire to stroke her lovely fur every day and enjoy all that fun playing with her. The cat is good for us, simply by having one to look after and enjoy a lifelong relationship with, our own psychological well-being, social skills and immune system all get a wonderful boost and every pet cat can be a welcome antidote to the stress of our busy lives and a very valued member of the human family.


And yet, while cats are rarely kept as rodent controllers anymore, their highly evolved hunting capabilities remain intact, largely unaltered by selective breeding or our willingness to feed them and save them the trouble of being a predator for a living. We love them for their companionship now, the cuddles, the purrs and the playfulness, and often do not approve of their ‘natural’ gifts of small furies and birds. And nowadays we may wonder about their impact on some wildlife prey populations in our world. As ever, the cat exposes a wide range of human emotion and response to whatever she does.


This constantly updated course explores the dichotomous nature of the cat, from her remarkable and very recent decision to move in with us and her subsequent rapid spread around the world as a village animal, through ages of persecution, and then into our homes and hearts as our most popular modern larger pet. By understanding how this all occurred and how and why a solitary predatory should want and now, in many cases, need to form a close relationship with you, you can learn to understand your cat even more than she has allowed you to do so far! This course will also help you explore the more subtle aspects of feline behaviour, and the nature of the cat’s social relations with each other, and the knowledge gained will surely help you derive even more from that special relationship and help other cat owners to do the same.


This course will also help you start to explore behaviour problems in cats that have difficulty assimilating into their homes, or who respond to the stresses of living with us or other cats in ways that aren’t always convenient for us, such as scratching or urine spraying indoors when part of their attraction is that they are normally so clean, well behaved and so very relaxed.


Armed with this introduction, you will be able to help others tackle similar problems, but the information is largely designed to provide a sound basis for further study in the field of feline behaviour therapy. (For example, successful students of this course automatically fulfil the qualification requirements for the CDP COAPE Diploma Course in Practical Aspects of Companion Animal Behaviour and Training).


What the student will learn

Unit 1: The history and nature of man's relationship with cats: The development of man's relationship with the cat from Ancient Egypt to Modern times. The rise and fall and rise again of the popularity of the cat and reasons for it. Recent trends in cat ownership and some models of modern owner relationships with their pets.


Unit 2: Feline Senses, Design as Hunter and Feline Learning: A close look at feline senses. Cat anatomy including coat and skin, camouflage and protection, skeleton and movement, claws and pads, heads, teeth and tongue and digestive system. The hunting cat, and how senses and design make it the consummate solitary predator. How cats learn, and a note on the welfare of pet cats. The ecological impact of the cat and its potential effect on specific environments both local, national and worldwide.


Unit 3: Feline Social Relations: The social behaviour of cats-from kitten to cat, early development, including senses, vocalisation, locomotion, the importance of play behaviour, the sensitive period and its key contribution to the emotional life of the adult cat. Feline to feline relationships, territorial behaviour, marking for communication, factors which impact on the social tolerance of cats including availability and distribution of food, shelter, sex and personality. Feline to human relationships, the role of cats in our lives-psychological and emotional, reading cat body language, types of owner/cat relationships


Unit 4: An Introduction to Feline Behaviour Problems-Inappropriate Elimination and Aggression: Assessment and treatment of behaviour problems, fear anxiety and stress, breed differences, feral and ex- shelter cats, some common examples of break-downs in house training and treatments, indoor marking and treatments. Aggression, its importance as a key survival strategy, its complexity as a subject, and some categories of aggression which are useful to our understanding.


Course Information

Authors and Tutors: Professor Peter Neville and Maria Kojs

Course Type: Distance Learning. This is an unaccredited course. See our qualification-accreditation jargon-buster HERE .


Course Format: Each Unit of the course notes is e-mailed out to students as a separate e-Book. Students also have access to the COAPE Student Resource Centre where additional support and course material are available online. The Resource Centre gives you access to a range of rich media content to complement the formal course notes, including video, sound, graphics and pictures, web links, and additional written content.


Much of the coursework for this course is conveniently completed online. We also supply you with a specially designed ‘template’ to assist you in completing the components of the coursework that require more application and writing so you can use your own computer and preferred word processing software. Your can then submit these components to your tutor via the internet, which are marked and returned back to you the same way.


Course Duration: Start in February and September of each year. The duration of the course is 9 months.


Abilities Required for This Course: This course contains practical assessment activities which involve sight, hearing observation and physical interactions/handling skills.

Course fee: £474.00

ALL fees shown include VAT (registration no. 187211800).