Learning about cat care

As a dedicated, professional cat sitter, I’m interested in learning as much as I can about cats, their behaviour and psychology, and best practices in caring for them. There are many courses out there, including some free ones, that will help you learn more about cats, and I’m going to share my favourite ones thus far with you. (Just as a note: none of the links here are ads or of profit to me in any way; these are just courses I genuinely like and think are worthwhile for anyone interested in learning more about cats.)

A cat “helps” their human to learn.

A cat “helps” their human to learn.

My favourite free courses with cat content come from The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at The University of Edinburgh. Coursera has three from Royal Dick that ailurophiles should check out: The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Animal Behaviour and Welfare, and EDIVET: Do you have what it takes to be a veterinarian? These courses are put together by vets and other animal experts. Each of the courses contain videos with written transcripts, readings, and quizzes. Your grades on the quizzes determine passing or failing in the course, but you are allowed to take multiple passes through the quizzes.

Tom “helps” me with one of my University of Edinburgh classes from Coursera.

Tom “helps” me with one of my University of Edinburgh classes from Coursera.

The instructors are great at giving students content warnings, though as a first-year vet school sampler course, EDIVET contains some graphic medical images some folks might not be comfortable with. If you want a completion certificate for each course, there is a fee, but you’re not required to pay to access any of the course content. The courses are about other animals besides cats, but they contain enough cat content that I would recommend them as a good knowledge base.

Cat gives their human a high five.

Cat gives their human a high five.

Holly and Hugo from Ireland has a variety of animal-related courses. I’ve taken Essential Kitten and Cat Care and Care of the Senior Pet thus far. The latter focuses on both dogs and cats. These two courses were put together by Dr. Pippa Elliott, who is a veterinarian.

Each course module contains about 16 to 24 short pages of reading along with a short video—no transcription or subtitles, though—of Dr. Elliott explaining some of module’s key concepts. Every module is followed by a short quiz that you get one pass through.

If you’re interested in these or any of the other courses Holly and Hugo offers, I’d recommend buying the course through an affiliate for a deep discount. I went through Reed and paid about 10 per cent of the price listed on Holly and Hugo per course. There are other affiliates out there, though, so it’s definitely worth googling to see who has the best offer at a given time.

I actually relied a lot on what I learned from Essential Kitten and Cat Care to help my friend care for the three kittens they found. So while I can only speak to the two courses I’ve taken, it’s no exaggeration for me to state that the skills I learned at Holly and Hugo have proved invaluable in making a difference to real cats. In the future, I’ll be looking to take other cat-related courses from Holly and Hugo.

In a future #TipTuesday, I’ll discuss my favourite courses specifically for cat sitter professional development.