Do You Speak Cat?

By Adele

Millions of dogs and cats strive to communicate with humans, and our efforts are finally paying off.

A recent phone survey of 1,129 pet owners by and the Associated Press revealed that 67% of people claim to understand animals, and 62% think their pets understand them. The pets in the survey included horses, hamsters, birds, fish, snakes, and others.

You show me a snake nodding in agreement and I’ll bet my treats he’s just trying to swallow a mouse whole.

Since dogs are attention hogs and their incessant barking constitutes torture, it’s not surprising that 7 in 10 dog owners think they communicate well with their dogs. (“Whatever you want. Just shut up!”)

Only 5 in 10 cat owners think the same, since we tend to be subtle in our demands.

However, cat owners believe we’re superior communicators, with 25% saying they completely understand meows. Only 16% of dog people feel fluent in woofs.

Karen seems pretty fluent in cat. We can usually get her to obey, and she knows who’s calling her from another room, even if she can’t see who it is.

We try to meet her halfway on her favorite phrases:

“Who’s a hungry cat?” causes a stampede, which inspires her to do some dreadful off-key warbling to the tune of “Eleanor Rigby” — “Where are all the hungry kitties? Where do they all come from?”

We could live without that.

Thanks to Fred, we’ve heard, “Tinkles in the box!” about a million times.

And we try to leave her a spot on the bed whenever it’s, “Time to get some shut-eye.”

But according to the survey, over 30% of humans are either just plain stupid or part of a vast conspiracy to ignore our voices and keep us from getting the vote. Men are twice as likely as women to say they don’t understand animals at all.

There’s still much work to be done.

4 Responses to Do You Speak Cat?

  1. Bob says:

    Hey Just to let you know, there is a preview of Bourdain in Venice on Youtube.


  2. catsworking says:

    Thanks for the link, Bob. I can hardly wait to see Bourdain in Venice. Maybe it speaks to my lack of adventure and my love of indoor plumbing, but my favorite episodes are the ones where he’s visiting romantic cities.

  3. Adele says:

    The last 1 and 1/2 years, Alice has been my only cat; it’s the first time in over 30 years that I’ve only had one cat, and I’ve become very good at interpreting her meows. I’m pretty sure I know “I’m hungry;” “Let’s play;” “Brush me;” (although that might be because she goes into the bathroom, where her brush is kept and starts to meow), and “Pay more attention to me.” I think she knows “breakfast” and “dinner,” “Come to bed,” and “Snuggle” — when she’s in bed, and I say, “Snuggle,” she cuddles up to me more often than not. And she tries to humor me: when I’m sitting in my favorite chair, and she’s curled up on the back of it, she often pats my head.

    Looking forward to Bourdain in Venice. I spent 5 days there in ’00, and it exceeded my expectations. Venice and the lagoon islands also seem to be a good place for cats. There were lots of friendly and well-fed cats, roaming the city, and since Venice proper has no automobile traffic, it’s a pretty cat-friendly place.

  4. catsworking says:

    When Karen’s sitting on the couch, Yul will come up behind her via the end table and “pat” the back of her head — with his claws out. Maybe he’s trying to comb her hair. He also likes to sit beside her on the back of the couch.

    We understand a lot more of what Karen says that I posted here. We’d be idiots not to. She never shuts up!

    The latest trick I’ve taught Karen is to take out the laser pointer when she sits down to watch TV in the evening and flash it around for me and Yul to chase. All I have to do is sit at her feet looking expectant, then I snap to attention when I see her pick up the pointer from the table (as positive reinforcement). It works almost every time, and she’ll perform for me without even being rewarded with a treat.

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