Learn online, study cat diseases, cat breeds, and caring for cats, with self paced online courses.

Course Code: BAG107
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn Responsible Cat Care

This is a course for:

  • Pet Owners
  • Pet Shop Staff
  • Veterinary Assistants
  • Cattery Staff
  • Anyone working with, or passionate about cats


Start study any time and work at your own pace. 


Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
  2. Feline Biology
  3. Breeds
  4. Feline Health Care
  5. Feline Illnesses
  6. Feline Diet
  7. Feline Behaviour
  8. Breeding and Raising Kittens
  9. Feline Services (includes a PBL Project)


  • Investigate aspects of domestic cat care and the basic duties of owners and professional carers.
  • Develop understanding of basic biology – anatomy and physiology – and associated processes.
  • Examine variations between different breeds by focusing on common health issues, temperaments and characteristics.
  • Recommend different preventative care schedules and learn how to recognise and treat ill health.
  • Develop clear understanding of parasites, ailments and disease, treatment options available and the significance of veterinary assistance.
  • Investigate feline nutrition and outline an appropriate diet for the domestic cat specific to their needs.
  • Distinguish between normal and abnormal cat behaviour, extending this to develop appropriate strategies for dealing with problem or undesirable behaviours.
  • Assess the current breeding industry and demonstrate ethical standards in cat breeding and rearing kittens.
  • Investigate and evaluate services which exist in the current cat industry and propose a small business idea which is of personal interest.

Learn the Fundamentals to Manage any Cat

Every cat is different. Age, temperament, and the situation in which it is living will all influence the challenges that a cat brings to it's owners. Cats are not humans. They need to consume a different diet, and their minds work differently to yours.
This course provides the foundation for making the right decisions for cat care in any situation. 

How Do You Manage an Old Cat?

Older cats can exhibit different behaviour as they age; and can require extra special treatment, not unlike a geriatric human.

In humans we may talk about Dementia. In cats this is technically known as Feline Cognitive Dysfunction.  The signs that a cat is going senile can be confusing and mimic other behaviours, such as feline separation anxiety or petting aggression.  This will usually occur when the cat is over 15 years old. The cat will often develop problems elimination rather than using the litter box.  

In the past, the symptoms may have been seen as part of the normal ageing process, but feline cognitive dysfunction is actually a medical condition.  The cat will develop a waxy protein deposit (beta-amyloid) in their brain. This affects cats in a similar way to how Alzheimer’s disease affects humans.

Changes in Interactions you might observe in a geriatric cat: 

Avoids or dislikes petting

  •  Does not greet family members
  •  Does not want attention
  •  Interactions with other pet’s change

Cat Disorientation

  •  Gets lost and confused
  •  Gets lost in the house
  •  Gets stuck in corners
  •  Wanders aimlessly
  •  Doesn’t recognise familiar places and people

Compulsive Behaviour

  •  Tremors
  •  Repetitive pacing
  •  Yowls and cries for no reason
  •  Licking the floor or objects

Changes in Sleep patterns

  •  Awake and active at night
  •  Disrupted or reversed sleep cycles

Urination and Defecation 

  •  Forgets cat litter
  •  Can’t find the litter box
  •  Does not know what to do with the box

Treating the Geriatric Cat

Cognitive dysfunction cannot be cured, but about one third of all cats can be helped temporarily with drug therapy. 
We can help prevent degeneration in cats in a similar way to that in humans encourage them to use their cognitive function. Encourage them to use puzzle toys.  Mental stimulation can improve the cognitive function of older cats.  
Examples may include: 

  • Train the cat to walk on a lead/leash, which can open up a new world for the cat.
  • Provide stimulating entertainment for the cat. For example, a bird box outside a window that the cat cannot reach but can watch.
  • Encourage the cat to learn tricks
  • Hide their food around the house so the cat has to hunt for the food.
  • Give puzzle toys that give a treat to the cat.

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand

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

Alison Pearce

University Lecturer, Quality Assurance Manager, Writer and Research Technician. Alison originally graduated with an honors degree in science from university and beyond that has completed post graduate qualifications in education and eco-tourism. She has m

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