My wildcat census study in Costa Rica proved that our domestic cat is similar to their wildcat counterparts in so many ways, but studying other species is just as important to understanding a particular one that you may be interested in. As Dawkins once pointed out – the difference between species is by degree, not kind. An animal behavior professional who attends university (either online or in-person) to study in the field of animal behavior will study many species as opposed to just one because learning about animal psychology includes comparative study between species, and the fundamentals of genetics and how animals learn.
There are many courses on bird behavior and dog behavior – but on many levels cats learn very much the same way as other species do. Also, as with other species, factors like external (e.g. environment) and internal (e.g. genetics) drive their behavior in both similar and different ways.
Understanding a cat’s evolutionary environment is a big part of understanding domestic cat behavior (as well as other species), how they think, and what they need in captivity to be happy without prolonged stress in their lives. You will see many similarities among different species in this regard.
My experience at Harvard University and at Harvard University Extension School animal cognition course, “The Cognitive Dog: Savants or Slackers?”, you could attend in Harvard Yard in-person or through their extension school (one of their 12 schools at Harvard) – I did both. This course was a popular success as one of their most registered extension Psych courses (82 students registered only second to 84 students registered to Intro to Psych). To receive a citation in animal cognition back in 2007 three courses were required (2 bird and 1 dog course). Irene Pepperberg (Alex and Me) and Bruce Blumberg were the amazing instructors for those courses.
Oxford University 2019 – Dept. for Continuing Education – Animal Behavior and Psychology.
University of Edinburgh – Royal School of Veterinary Studies: Study of Animal Behavior and Animal Welfare Course – Cat Behavior
External Factors that Drive Animal Behavior and Abnormal Behavior and Early Life Environment Enriched Habitats: Sensory, cognitive, social, physical, occupational, feeding. Internal Factors and Animal Behavior (Tigers, Bear, Lizards, Primates). Study of genetics, animal cognition, emotional status, health status, and physiological status.