Cat Psychology and Training

Animal Psychology home study course. Understand cat psychology and apply that knowledge to manage and influence the behaviour of your cats.

Course CodeBAG222
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Understand cat psychology

Learn to manage and influence the behaviour of cats.

This course will guide you through the different behavioural patterns your cat may exhibit from their instinctive behaviour to how they might think and react to certain situations they come across at home and throughout their growth period.

Getting to know your cats behaviour will help you acknowledge what your cat may like or dislike, find pleasurable, challenging and/or threatening.

your cat's way of expressing itself may help avoid undesirable situations, as well as developing a close and harmonious relationship with your family. 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Nature and Scope of Cat Psychology
    • Introduction
    • Terminology
    • Cat Industries
    • Differentiating health and behavioural issues
    • Feline Diabetes
    • Kidney Disease
    • Stress
  2. Cat Senses and Communication
    • Understanding Cat communications
    • Sounds made by the Cat
    • Body Language
    • Smell
    • Hearing
  3. Understanding Natural Behaviour in Cats
    • Aggression
    • Scratch Fever
    • Cat Behavioural Development
    • Biological Rythms and Sleep
    • Sexual Behaviour
    • Maternal Behaviour
    • Eating and Drinking
  4. Behavioural Disorders/Abnormalities
    • Nature or Nurture
    • Sensitive Periods
    • Neurological Development
    • Sleep
    • Play
    • Cat Temperament Tests
    • How Breeds Differ
  5. Basic Training
    • Aggression
    • Redirected Aggression
    • Maternal Aggression
    • Ideopathic Aggression
    • Dealing with Aggression
    • Housebreaking
    • Inappropriate Elimination
    • Excessive Vocalisation
    • Geriatric Dysfunction
    • Controlling killing of Wildlife
    • Eating Disorders
    • Abnormal Suckling
    • Separation Anxiety
  6. Obedience Training
    • Forming Habits
    • Train them Early
    • Conditioning
    • Operant Conditioning
    • Socialisation
    • House Training
    • Grooming
    • Bathing
    • Scratching
    • Catching Vermin
    • Tricks
    • Discipline
  7. Cat Behaviour Management
    • Cat Doors
    • Microchipping and Registering
    • Coming when Called
    • Energy Release Activities
    • Neutering
    • Drug Treatment
    • Nice Smells
    • Getting Used to a Cage
    • Managing Climbing
  8. Operating a Cat Business
    • PBL Project

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Understand cat psychology and apply that knowledge to manage and influence the behaviour of cats.
  • Describe how cats think, and discuss the relevance of understanding cat psychology to people.
  • Explain how cats communicate; and formulate an understanding of possible ways that a human may communicate with a cat.
  • Understand behaviours that are natural, hence predictable in cats; and learn to read signals that cats give.
  • Explain how cats develop behavioural characteristics throughout stages of their life.
  • Describe commonly occurring behavioural problems in cats.
  • Describe techniques for training cats
  • Implement measures to manage the behaviour of cats.
  • Develop knowledge on running your own cat business.

Cats' Behaviour can be Managed

but it is important to recognise - cats are not the same as dogs!
It has been said that “nobody owns a cat” (Ellen Perry Berkeley), but cats are extremely popular pets. It is thought that around 34% of American homes own a cat. 
But –
A dog is a man’s best friend. A cat is a cat’s best friend”
(Robert J. Vogel)
“The phrase “domestic cat” is an oxymoron”.
(George F. Will)

Cats do seem more independent souls than dogs, but humans and cats have lived together for thousands of years. 

A cat’s jawbone was found in Cyprus that was around 8000 years old. As it is unlikely that anyone would have taken a wild cat on a boat, it is suggested that domestication of cats occurred around 8000 years ago.   But a later finding from 9500 years ago was a cat buried with a human, suggesting domestication was even earlier than thought.  But even further than that, in the Near East it is thought that domestication began nearly 12000 years ago. 
But why would humans want to domesticate cats?  Dogs were useful. They could hunt. They were domesticated well before cats.  But cats only became useful when people began to grow crops and store surplus crops.  The stored crops attracted mice and other scavengers. Scientists think that wild cats would have entered an area and humans noticed that the wild cats caught the scavengers, leading to them trying to domesticate the cats. 

The Ancient Greeks revered cats. There was a death sentence for anyone caught killing a cat.  The Ancient Romans held cats as a symbol for liberty.  But during the Middle Ages, cats were demonised as they were thought to be linked to the devil and witches – the witch’s familiar and so on.  Many were killed as a way to fight off evil. This unfortunately was not a clever thing to do as some researchers think that this helped to spread the plague as the cats were not there to kill the rats carrying the plague.

Today cats are viewed more popularly, with films about cats, cat services, cat products and so on.  So cats have been with humans for thousands of years, but can we really train a cat? This course will look at cat psychology and how we can use psychology to train them.  

Why Study this Course?

Some study this course purely because they have a great passion for cats. Others take this course to give them the knowledge and skills to work with cats.

Through these studies, your knowledge and understanding of cat behaviour will grow, and your ability to respond appropriately in order to manage cats will increase.

You are likely to find yourself looking at cats differently, analyzing what they do and postulating how humans should or should not interact with them.

This course can be very useful for:

  • Cat owners
  • Pet shop staff
  • Veterinary assistants
  • Breeders, groomers and cattery staff
  • Animal control officers, animal shelter staff

Alone, no 100 hour course will make you into a fully capable cat trainer; but this course certainly provides an excellent starting point, giving you a foundation for growing your knowledge and skills and developing your capacity to train cats with ever increasing competence, through ongoing experience and training over the months and years that follow this course.



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Peter Douglas

Over 50 years experience in Agriculture and wildlife management. Former university lecturer, Wildlife park manager, Animal breeder, Equestrian. Peter has both wide ranging experience in animal science, farming and tourism management, and continues to ap
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Alison Pearce

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