Cat behaviour

CA3 The Feline Mind - Exploring the Psychology of the Behaviour of the Cat


A course for owners, vets, vet nurses and other professionals wanting to develop their knowledge of interpretation of feline behaviour.


It's official, cats are now as popular as dogs! According to the 2009 statistics, 1 in 5 of the U.K. population own at least one cat, that's a staggering 8 million cats. And the reasons cat owners gave for choosing a cat where Love: 31%, Companionship: 27%, Easy maintenance: 7% and Gets on with other species: 3% (source: PFMA UK).


Nearly 60% of cat owners, according to these statistics, have a significant relationship or bond with their cat and are naturally anthropomorphic. That is, they interpret the likely motivation and accompanying feelings, such as happiness or sadness, driving a particular aspect of their cat's behaviour as if they were human.


Apparently 'dogs have owners while cats have staff', but behind the meow, just how much do we really know about the mysterious inner workings of the cat's mind?


How do cats feel as they go about their daily business? What is going through their minds as they hunt, fight, mark and play? Can they use their memories like we humans can to 'rewind' then 'play back' past events in their minds, or do they live in 'the now'? Can they think anything at all?


Drawing on the very latest scientific research, this course brings together everything we currently know about feline psychology. Each Unit of the course presents the facts in an accessible, jargon-free style that will help you unlock the mysteries of the inner workings of the cat's mind and give you the information you need to enrich the human-feline relationship.


This nine month distance learning course can be successfully completed by anyone who wants to take their understanding of the feline mind and behaviour a stage further. It will also provide an excellent basis for further study, and successful students automatically fulfil the qualification requirements for the CDP COAPE Diploma Course.


What the student will learn

Unit 1: The Stuff that Brains are Made of: The components that make up the feline brain and how they work together is the subject of this first Unit. A grounding in basic brain anatomy and physiology forms the bedrock on which the other Units of this course are built.


From Foetus to Feline: From fertilised egg to fully functional adult cat and on through to old age. We chart the cat's journey through life exploring the critical points of development. We find out why these developmental stages are important and what actually happens inside the cat's brain that makes the difference between a well-balanced, sociable cat, that every owner wants, and a timid, antisocial bundle of teeth and claws that most of us would rather avoid.


Unit 2: See That? Copy Cat!: In this Unit we tackle learning. Despite having a reputation for being stubborn, independent and difficult to train, every cat owner will testify just how quickly their cat is able to learn something new that they pick up on their own, often quite inappropriately! What actually happens in the brain when cats learn something? How can we best utilise the latest scientific information to make learning fun for cats and for us?


The Infinite Storehouse: When cats learn something, it has to be remembered and later recalled somehow. This is the job of memory. How does memory differ from learning? Do cats remember events in the same way that we humans do? We try to answer these questions and many more on the nature of feline memory, its strengths and its limitations.


Unit 3: The Great Illusion: 25 million years of evolution has ensured that the cat's sensory systems are perfectly adapted for this top-of-the-food-chain predator. But the way they 'see' the outside world is nothing more than a clever 'trick' played on them by their brains. They rely on their brains to gather in, process, interpret and make sense of all the information bombarding their senses such as light, sound, smell, touch and taste. In this Unit we explore how cats perceive the outside world as a predator and as a loveable pet.


Unit 4: I, Cat!: In this Unit we draw on everything we've learned and tackle the final question: Can we ever know how cats really think? The quest to answer this question is fascinating, perplexing and highly controversial. Do they have an imagination? Can they think creatively? Can they think at all? We delve deep inside the cat's mind and explore the very foundations of emotions, consciousness, personality and intelligence. We also explore communication and language and gain insight into just how much we can expect our feline companions to comprehend, drawing a line where anthropomorphism is no longer an asset, but becomes an obstacle between You and Your Cat!


Course Information

Authors and Tutors: Dr Robert Falconer-Taylor BVetMed, MRCVS


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: £395.00

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