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Communicating with Cats (Plus Examples)

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posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 12:43 AM
Got three cats here. They're pretty well adjusted and get along great for the most part. (In some ways they're almost too polite, but I really wouldn't want them any other way.) It seems their major communication is eyes, tail, and ears, vocalization is usually the last of it or last resort. (Domesticated cats are actually one of the more social felines - almost like lions in that regard, so on those occasions where they work together it's body posture that gives a each other clue and their prey never hears them coming.) But it is true that intonation or inflection does have a part in what they're saying given their otherwise limited verbal vocabulary.

As for cats getting along or not getting along with people? They all have their individual personalities and shifts in mood. If you know how to read them, it's fairly easy to avoid most troubles. But cats also pick up on other things like smells. They might not hate you personally but maybe it's that perfume, or you reek of wet dog, or if you do cleaning a lot - you ever so faintly smell of ammonia which cats can't stand. (To them ammonia is more strongly associated with urine than urea. So they don't think of it as a "clean" smell.)

Most cats are also smart enough to discipline without direct punishment, but rather the threat of it. My cats all hate to get wet, so if they do something I don't approve of, all I have to do is shake a closed bottle of water and they get the idea pretty quick. For most things, once they get the understanding they tend not to repeat whatever got them in trouble. (Or at least are very good at avoiding doing it when I'm around.)

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 01:04 AM
reply to post by Lolliek

It sure doesn't work with a Manx. One learns to watch the ears...or else.

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 01:17 AM
I feel like I'm really understanding my cat too. I can tell what she wants. I think that's normal. I think I might just imagine what I think she was saying though. Her short meows are just "hello , glad to see you".

I'll look at the cat video now

Interesting thread for us cat lovers

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 01:21 AM
Re the video translation
It's fairly easy to tell that particular meow is where are you. I need your attention . Now .
They all make that sound to convey that message. Not all of them do it. Just the bossier ones.

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 01:54 AM
Thanks to all for the post and the videos. They had me laughing so hard I was crying.
We currently are in loyal service to two feline tyrants, one male, one female. The female came to us directly from the litter, about a week after her mother had weaned them. She's the sweetest, most social and agreeable cat I've ever known. She's not very vocal except about hunger and then you should hear the pitiful stories she tells---about how her stomach has a blister 'cause it was rubbing her backbone---this from a cat who has never known a day of hunger in her entire life. The only other time she becomes vocal is when she is playing "Growl and Howl" with her brother!
The first few times I heard those screeches and screams I was convinced that she was being disemboweled at the very least---only to discover that she was was six feet above him looking down and howling like someone was chewing on her tail. The male meanwhile is looking at me and plainly saying, "Such a little drama queen!"
The male is twice her size and came to us as an emaciated and very distrustful young fellow about 4 years ago. He appeared on the porch one day and came right up to me and told me he was very hungry and very tired and hadn't had a nice scritch in a very long time. He was obviously socialized to some degree but was also obviously neglected. As we sat there on the steps, I noticed something strange about him.
His tail didn't move. Even when he did the scent markings on the porch posts, his tail was just hanging behind him. At some point in his life, his tail had become separated from his spine. It handicaps him in many ways and I think communication with other animals is a major handicap. He gets along just fine with dogs but it takes other cats a long, long time to trust him. And although he and I bonded upon first encounter, it took him a long time to trust me enough to pick him up and examine him if need be. I got slashed numerous times because without a tail to watch, I had a hard time discerning his moods.
It took my husband a full year to gain his trust but once they bonded, they are buds for life. But there are few other humans that he will allow to touch him. The only exception is the vet's office. Once he gets into the office, they can do whatever they need to do and he is patient and accepting. I was absolutely blown out of the water when I took him into the office the next day after he appeared to have him tested and examined. I warned the staff about his slashing because we'd never had a cat that was a slasher before. But he was a perfect gentleman. He was in perfect health except for being about half of his normal weight. So we scheduled the surgery to neuter him as soon as he gained his weight back.
Because he has no use of his tail, I've learned to watch his ears and eyes more and although I don't always catch things the first time around, he's become more tolerant and understanding of me as well.
He came into our lives in a very turbulent time and there is a part of me that believes he was sent to teach us about to handle handicaps that aren't readily apparent. My husband had just suffered a stroke and although he had recovered from the obvious physical disabilities he/we were just realizing that there were other disabilities that weren't so readily apparent or easily communicated. The cat with his disability and his need for nurture allowed us to focus on something other than our issues. He helped us through that awful time and brought us closer together. Now---we are enslaved completely, following each and every order either of them commands!
I've always been known in my family as She Who Speaks Cat. I suppose I learned cat language from them at the same time I was learning human language from humans. We always had lots of cats around the farm and house and I had my own cat from my earliest memories. I learned early that each animal had their own personality, just like each person I encountered.
I'm not claiming to be nearly as adept at communication with them as the lady who talked to the leopard. Sometimes I wish I did have that ability and then....I think maybe it's best I don't know how our ManCat lived before he came to us...
Again, Thanks for the posts and the thoughts...

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 04:24 AM
reply to post by the owlbear

Is that Brenda Dickson?

"You don't need a swimming pool for this breast stroking" - wow - that - takes talent.

Hilarious video Owlbear.

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 09:46 AM
Darkbake this is a great thread! I have had cats all of my life and think of myself as pretty intune with them. You have hit the nail right on the head my friend. Cats really are very easy to communicate with, as easy as dogs, they just have a different language.

The "stare" is the obvious one and many overlook it. Stare at the door, the food bowl, the litterbox this all tells me my cat wants something. For years I couldn't figure out why he would all of a sudden bite me while pettying him. He obviously wanted to be petted but then would bite me, answer? He didn't want me pettying him where I was pettying him.

Everytime I would cook my food he would bring me his favorite toy and my response was the same, "not now I'm cooking" then one day it hit me, he's bring me his "catch" to contribute to dinner. I know that sounds farfetched but I honestly believe thats what it is. I tell him "good catch what a good hunter you are, thank you" I then pet him on the head and off he goes all proud of himself.

I've had this cat (the one in my avatar) for 12yrs, he's traveled around with me, sleeps in my bed every night and just totally interacts with me, we do understand each other well. But like you, I can not get this cat to understand that my laptop is not a place for him to rest his head or walk across, it seems to be an endless battle. I don't think it's that he doesn't get it, I think he's trying to tell me he wants the attention that my laptop has been getting. Now my new tablet has really got him confused he hasn't figured out how to get between me and it.


posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 09:48 AM
A very interesting thread.
Generally, my cat makes a lot of sounds (before I took care of a cat I had no idea they talk so much) and each and every one of them is now recognized by everyone else at home. For the most part, a sound ending higher (like -/) is asking to play or asking questions about something new or interesting and sounds ending with a lower pitch are a warning, like "get away from me" or "I don't have time for this, I got other cat business on my mind now". Also, the tail tells a lot. When the end of the tail is moving it's either the cat is having fun or is very interested at something (like looking at a bug). Wagging his whole tail strongly is a sing of impatience, anger or just getting ready to attack a toy.

At first, when I didn't understand these things the cat often bit me, hissed at me or scratched me.

The cat in the OP video makes the exact same sound when my cat is bored and calls for someone to play with. Or after she pooped and the litter tray requires our attention

Also, the funny thing is, I can call my cat (she has no name... just 'cat') by making sounds like she does when calling me. She comes quickly and stares at me with a face telling "What? What is it? Are we gonna play?"
Not only sounds and the tail are telling what the cat feels or thinks about, but also her face. Many people may think "animals don't have faces!", but yeah, they do and they show lots of emotion. I can see when she's interested at something, scared, surprised, bored, etc.

When somebody says animals don't have souls... oh, they're so wrong.

edit - oh, and she understands human talk too. For example, we often tell her, when we see she's sleepy, to go and lay over there - and she goes there without us even pointing in that direction. She's very scared of the vacuum cleaner, so once I told her "Hey, I'm gonna use the vacuum cleaner in a few minutes so go to my room" and... she went

edit on 27/1/2014 by relu84 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 11:15 AM
I'v had cats all my life, and it's really interesting how diverse and unique personalities they have. Just like people. Some are assholes, or timid, or all cuddles pay attention to me, or just plain weird.
Either way, I'v learned over the years certain sounds and pitches to use to get cat's attention. It's fun, it's cute.

I talk to my cats. Two grey splotchy tabby sisters. Bastet and Sekhmet. Or Tet and Met for short lol.
Sekhmet absolutely adores and loves me, and only me. Even when her own sibling get's too close she get's all hissy pissy..
But when I come home she dances around on her tip-toe paws and makes these cute soft "mew, mew, mew" and rolls around on the floor showing her belly so I can pet it.
I notice how me mimicking cat sounds, they way their ears go, and their eyes. I believe a conversation is taking place.

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 01:53 PM
I think all people who are cat lovers know this and more. I have had them all my life and it just comes natural to know what they are saying over time.

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 02:30 PM
Its all about the eyes with cats.
They dont rationalise things with smell like dogs do .
With cats your the subject of their interrogation.
I find it interesting that dogs usually respond to you with words and actions, cats act as if they dont hear you.
In some strange way their communication is somehow deeper into the psyche.

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 04:08 PM
I wink at my cat all the time, and he winks back at me. I am serious, Felines are very intelligent creatures. ~$heopleNation

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 05:42 PM

Excellent OP! You obviously understand cats in a way I probably never will, but I really like the idea of judging the cats demeanor by it tonal characteristics. I wonder if you can help me here...

I have a real old cat, and love the little bugger. He is now going on 21 years old.
He starts out his day absolutely howling, like in a jungle movie. Sometimes my dog gets so upset that
he takes off into another room until it is over.

I have taken him to the vets a few times about this, and they are saying to me that he is becoming hard of hearing, and also losing some of his eyesight. They say that the howling is a symptom of senility, and that he basically does not realize that he is doing this.

I disagree, because there are times when I pet him or when he is just basically relaxing by the fire, where he seems totally content.
Then, all of a sudden, it starts up again....

The howls are really screams. They are very loud . The most common sound he makes starts low, goes very high and ends mid tone.
I guess this is your code for it: " _/-_ ", and is not a meow, but more of an "AaaaaROWWWwww "

He does this just walking around the house, like there is nothing wrong...
If I say something loud, he stops and looks at me. I know he is probably trying to convey something to me, but it totally eludes me.
I wish I could post sounds here on ATS , so you could hear it. The sounds remind me of jungle sounds in old Tarzan movies.... really freaky.

Thanks for anything you might suggest.

That sounds like a declaration of territory yowl
We had two feral cats that shared our garden. One was a small timid white cat that would live on top of our woodshed. The other was a large black/white cat. He'd basically bully the white cat and you would hear their yowling at 4am. It would start out as a deep load growling and gradually get higher and higher. This would go on and on until someone went downstairs and outside with a torch. Even then it would take a someone to throw a bucket of warm water over the nearby bushes to scare them off.

Perhaps your cat is smelling or hearing other cats.

posted on Jan, 28 2014 @ 05:30 PM
" It's not what your cats can do for you, but what you can do for your cats.."

posted on Jan, 28 2014 @ 08:15 PM
reply to post by darkbake

A few weeks ago i'd have ignored this thread due to non-interest more than anything else. I believe in psychic phenomena, but I never really knew enough about animal psychics to care. But then i saw this documentary, and now your talent has my attention!

There's definitely something to what you're saying. This is a real phenomena that deserves real acknowledgement.


posted on Jan, 28 2014 @ 11:15 PM
reply to post by darkbake

My cat hardly ever meows. I communicate with her telepathically. I can read her facial expressions too.
She is so funny sometimes with the expressions she makes.

I love cats... always had one since I was just 3 or 4 years old.
They seem to be attracted to me. I get all the strays in the neighborhood coming to my house!

Half my grocery bill is for cat food at the moment... until I can find the strays a home, or to the shelter. Sigh...

posted on Jan, 28 2014 @ 11:29 PM
reply to post by TheAnarchist

What an incredible story! Thank you for sharing the video. It brought tears to my eyes!

posted on Jan, 29 2014 @ 09:46 AM

Half my grocery bill is for cat food at the moment... until I can find the strays a home, or to the shelter. Sigh...

That is funny ! But awesome, too.

posted on Jan, 29 2014 @ 09:47 AM
reply to post by TheAnarchist

Sweet, I am going to check that video out, thank you Anarchist.

posted on Jan, 29 2014 @ 10:08 AM

" It's not what your cats can do for you, but what you can do for your cats.."

The image that was here seems to have been removed (?).. Have notified Mods to sort out

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