Cat Psychology and Training

Course CodeBAG222
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
Cats are wonderful.  

They are inquisitive and independent, affectionate and aloof.

Anyone who knows cats will know they can display certain natural behaviours which result in incidents or damage which is frustrating or costly for humans. Ask your cat not to scratch the furniture and it's unlikely they will listen. 

This course will take you through strategies which can be implemented to ensure that cats can be persuaded to act to act in certain ways. Whilst most cats may not be trained to perform in certain ways, we can use cat psychology to prevent negative and destructive behaviour, like scratching furniture.


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 Rhythms 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
    • Idiopathic Aggression
    • Dealing with Aggression
    • Housebreaking
    • Inappropriate Elimination
    • Excessive Vocalisation
    • Geriatric Dysfunction
    • Controlling the 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 - Problem Based Learning Project


  • 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.
  • Explain cat behaviour that is natural, hence predictable; and learn to identify signals that cats give.
  • Explain how cats develop behaviour characteristics throughout stages of their life.
  • Describe commonly occurring behaviour problems in cats.
  • Describe techniques for training cats
  • Implement measures to manage the behaviour of cats.
  • Develop knowledge on running your own cat business.

Understanding Cats is the First Step to Training Cats 
Pet cats are not trained in the same way as domestic dogs since they are quite different creatures. Cats are less dependent on humans. Most cats require little training other than encouraging them to use litter trays and cat flaps. However, some cats may have specific behaviours which need addressing.
  • Fear - some cats are fearful of humans, other animals, or changes to their environment such as loud noises or moving home. This fear may have arisen because they were abused by humans before they were adopted by their current owner, perhaps they were abandoned, or maybe they had a frightening encounter with an aggressive animal.  In these cases it is important to establish a safe zone in the house that the cat can retreat to when it becomes fearful. It could be behind a sofa, under a bed, or even a room where the cat can relax and feel that it is not threatened. 
  • Stress and Anxiety - this is often caused by changes to the cat's environment, loud noises, or visits to the vet. Techniques for managing anxiety include covering the cat basket with a towel when transporting it to cut out visual stimulation, setting up a safe room with the cat's favourite toy, bedding, scratchy pole, and so on, allowing the cat plenty of time to explore and become accustomed to a new environment, and making sure that the cat can escape from noises or unfamiliar sounds such as when visitors arrive or there are fireworks.
  • Aggression - cats may be aggressive because they have been allowed to become this way by their owner. Typically this occurs when an owner allows the cat to scratch and bite their hands when playing with it. If a cat does this, a good way to control it is by slowly removing your hand and grabbing the cat around the scruff of its neck (parent cats do this with their mouth), and then pushing its face towards the ground. This is how their errant behaviour is dealt with when they are kittens and they usually feel sufficiently embarrassed afterwards to stop the behaviour. Sometimes cats can become aggressive because they are overstimulated. Owners need to recognise when to stop petting or playing with their cat.  
Cats are generally creatures of habit. They like a clean litter tray and they prefer their food and water bowls to be away from the tray. They also need to feel safe and have freedom to move around. Many problems can be overcome by providing a stress-free environment.
Sometimes unwanted behaviours are caused by illnesses, fleas, sores, and other factors. In these cases taking care of the physical problem can help to control the behaviour.    
Cats vocalise with a range of noises, such as purring, growling, hissing and meowing.  
  • Meowing is the most commonly known cat sound.  In nature, a meow is the sound a cat makes to signal its mother. Adult cats do not tend to meow to each other. So when a domestic cat meows to a human being, it is showing behaviour that is an extension of its kitten behaviour – meowing to its mother or primary carer. Meowing indicates that the cat is calling for attention.
  • A purr is a sound made by most felines.  It is a tonal buzzing.  Purring generally starts when a cat is only a few days old; the purpose being for the kitten to let the mother know it is content while suckling
Domestic cats tend to purr at a frequency of 25 to 150 vibrations per second. The sound is thought to be caused by using the larynx muscles to rapidly dilate and constrict the vocal cords causing air vibrations when they breathe in and out.  It is generally thought to signify happiness, but it can mean that the cat is in pain, ill, tense, threatened or angry.  

Cats may also meow, hiss or growl when they feel threatened or are angry. This is a warning to the other party.  If the other party does not heed the cat’s warning, then the cat may violently attack. They may extend or retract their claws whilst “poking” with their pores.  
  • A cat may hiss and arch its back to make it appear larger to face a threat. A hiss is usually a warning sign.
  • Cats may also make chattering or chirping noises when they observe prey. Listen to a cat when it sees a small bird in the garden.
  • Cats may also issue a “caterwaul”. This is the cry of a cat when they are “in heat” or in oestrus. Some authorities say this sound indicates anger.
  • A squeal can indicate distress. Screaming can indicate pain.
  • A clicking can indicate the cat is on the prowl.


Why Study This Course?

The industry desperately needs trained people now! There are not enough people with the formal knowledge for the jobs available. 

  • For working directly with cats (in a pet shop, as an animal behaviour consultant or cat trainer etc). 
  • For working for any cats protection or welfare agency. Almost every role requires the staff to have developed understanding of cats. 
  • To work in control of feral cats or in land based industry. 
  • For insights into working with wild cats (eg. lions, tigers) in paid or voluntary posts. 
  • To work in self-employment and have credentials and a skills-base to give your customers confidence in your service. 
  • To develop some key skills as an online learner. 

What are you waiting for ... the opportunities are limitless! 


What to do next? 

The animal industry needs suitably skilled and confident people now! Today one of the biggest cat protection agencies in the UK is advertising close to 50 vacancies! 

Gain a Statement of Attainment in Cat Psychology and Training and demonstrate exactly how much you know cats. This course content is not limited to domestic cats. If you are seeking opportunities working with wild cat populations, you should view this course as professional development in your role. 

Start making a change to your life and the lives of cats...

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