This course is accredited as a Continual Professional Development course by the South African Veterinary Council.


SAVC CPD ACCREDITED: CPD points for SAVC accredited courses are only valid for qualified veterinarians and para-veterinary personnel in South Africa.

 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.

This course is a qualifying course for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.

Students with no prior experience in this field may enrol for this course.

Students can enrol at any time.

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. Every pet cat can be a welcome antidote to the stress of our busy lives and a very valued member of the human family.

Introduction to Feline Behaviour


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 furries 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 one of our most popular modern larger animals, at times exceeding the dog in popularity. By understanding how this all occurred and how and why a solitary predator 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 subtler aspects of feline behaviour, and the nature of the cat’s social relations with each other. 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 information 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.



Unit 1:

In this first unit, we examine the history of man’s relationship with cats from their origin to modern day pet cats. We investigate the feline-human relationship and focus on the crucial first step when addressing feline behaviour problems: Understanding owner attitudes and how this affects their cats.

Unit 2:

Unit Two delves deeper into the details of feline design as a hunter, we study how the predator relates to his environment and the impact their hunting activities have not only on the well-being of the cat, but also on their prey. The student will learn more about feline senses and cognition and will be presented with assignments to further their knowledge on the subject.

Unit 3:

The focus of this unit is the psychology of how cats learn. Students will examine instinctive feline behaviour, early development and the crucial role this plays in the adult cat’s behaviour. This critical period affects the cat throughout his adult life and a thorough understanding of this subject is required in order to address cat behaviour problems.

Unit 4:

Studying the social behaviour of the domestic pet cat is the focal point of this unit. We examine how the cat interacts with other unrelated felines in his space and how that contributes to his behaviour and emotionality. The student will learn more about understanding feline/human and feline/feline relationships.

Unit 5:

In Unit Five the student will learn how to approach feline behaviour problems and treat inappropriate elimination. A comprehensive case study has to be completed in order to successfully pass this unit of the course, and the student will be provided with the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned thus far.

Unit 6:

We study aggression problems in domestic cats and guide the student towards a more detailed understanding of how to resolve inter-feline conflict situations. The student is required to complete a practical case study for this unit.

Special Study:

The special case study forms the final grading basis of this Unit. Here, a personal study concerning any aspect of cat behaviour must be submitted for marking and the student has to comprehensively demonstrate an understanding of all the topics discussed in CatWise.



  • Understand your cat better and learn how to improve your relationship through positive reinforcement.
  • If you are a veterinarian or veterinary nurse in South Africa, this course qualifies for Structured SAVC CPD points and will teach you more about feline behaviour problems and how to help your clients deal with them. It will also give you more detailed insight into basic feline behaviour, which will benefit your practice and your clients.
  • The successful completion of CatWise qualifies you to enrol for the COAPE Diploma in Animal Behaviour.




  • Leigh Shenker

Course Type:
Correspondence online.

Course Format:
Each Unit of the course notes is e-mailed out to students as a separate e-Book.

The coursework for this course is conveniently completed online. We supply you with a specially designed Assignment Workbook to assist you in completing the components of the coursework, so you can use your own computer and preferred word processing software. You will then submit these completed assignments to COAPE International via the internet, they are marked and returned back to you the same way.  

Course Duration:
The duration of the course is 12 months, but can be completed in a shorter time frame. The maximum time allowed for a student to complete the course is 15 months.

Students can enrol at any time of 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