Thinking Pets - Training Excellence

CO4: Think Cat – Stage 2

The following course is ideal for anyone who wishes to further their study of the science of animal psychology and behaviour and will help students on their journey towards becoming qualified companion animal behaviourists. Students with no prior experience in this field may also enrol for this course.

Students may enrol at any time.

CO4: Feline Behavioural Psychology

It’s official, cats are now as popular as dogs! According to recent statistics, 1 in 5 of the population owns at least one cat. 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?

Think Cat - Stage 2

Feline Behavioural Psychology
Think Cat – Stage 2

Drawing on the very latest scientific research, this course brings together everything we currently know about mammalian 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 mammalian mind and give you the information you need to enrich the human-feline relationship.

This course is the ideal course in feline behavioural psychology for veterinarians, vet nurses and other professionals who want to develop their knowledge and skills of interpretation of the behaviour of the cat.

C04 Think Cat is the companion course to C03 Think Cat. While C03 explores the nature of the cat in terms of his behaviour as predator and pet, in C04 we explore mammalian psychology and the intricate mental processes behind all feline behaviour.


 We start the course with an in-depth study into the components that make up the feline/mammalian brain and how they work together. A grounding in basic brain anatomy and physiology forms the bedrock on which the other Units of this course are built.

 In Unit 2 we tackle learning and how it works in domestic pet cats. 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 something is learnt? How can we best utilise the latest scientific information to make learning fun for cats and for us? These are all questions that are answered in Unit 2.

 Unit 3 addresses memory and its function. When individuals 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 humans do? In this unit, the student will find the answers these questions and many more on the nature of mammalian memory, its strengths and its limitations.

 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. In this module, the student will 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, and a timid, antisocial bundle of teeth and claws that most owners would rather avoid.

 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 he ‘sees’ the outside world is nothing more than a clever ‘trick’ played on him by his brain. He relies on his brain to gather in, process, interpret and make sense of all the information bombarding his 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 lovable pet.

 In Unit 6 the student draws on everything learned in the previous 5 Units to answer 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 into 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 owners and their cats.

 This final Unit of the course is where the student has the opportunity to design and undertake a research-based project of their own choice that will expand on their understanding of the cat’s mind. The student will be given lots of help and guidance along the way to make this Unit not only enlightening but the most rewarding and satisfying module of them all.


  • Learn about the inner workings of the mammalian mind. C04 introduces students to mammalian neurophysiology and animal cognition through modern research conducted into this fascinating subject.
  • C04 is the perfect “breaching course” for anyone who already has experience in basic feline behaviour, in preparation for the Diploma in Animal Behaviour.
  • Students who successfully complete the course with a final mark of 50% or above automatically fulfil the qualification requirements to enrol for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour. If the final course mark is below 50% students are further required to successfully complete the Think Cat Stage 1 course prior to qualifying to enrol for the Diploma in Animal Behaviour.



  • Karin Pienaar (Landsberg)
  • Wendy Wilson

COAPE has a team of qualified Markers who mark student’s assignments in order to ensure complete impartiality. These assignments are randomly moderated by a qualified Moderator to ensure consistency in the marking standard worldwide.

Course Type:
Correspondence on-line.

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.

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. You can then submit these components to the COAPE offices via the internet, which are marked and returned back to you the same way.

Course Duration:
 The duration of the course is 12 months and you can enrol at any time during the year.

Abilities Required for This Course:

  • This course contains practical assessment activities which involve sight, hearing observation and physical interactions/handling skills.
  • Students must be computer literate, have the use of a computer with internet access and be able to operate basic programs such as Microsoft Word.
  • A good command of the English language is essential.

Pricing & Enrolment

Don’t forget to enquire about our affordable monthly payment plans, make your dream course a reality!



Please note that there is a required reading list which you will receive once you have enrolled and paid the deposit. The price of the books is not included in the course fee. It is the student’s responsibility to source and obtain the books. A number of the books are available on Amazon Kindle or E-Readers, which may prove more cost effective.

For all COAPE Course enquiries, please contact Wendy Wilson:  [email protected] or [email protected]

Wendy Wilson
[email protected]

[email protected]