My older cats let me know when they need food or water, and Charlie lets me know when he wants out/in.
But Storm, the younger one, has a different behavior for each room of the house. In the bathroom she talks to me and wants to be pet, even though I’m busy. In the kitchen she stays underfoot. In the living room, if I’m on the couch she avoids me, but if I’m at the computer she comes over to me and reaches up to be petted.
However, in the bedroom, she wants attention when I am getting dressed. When i go to bed, she waits at the foot of the bed till I get in, then I need to call her and she comes up to lay down next to me. Sometimes I just say come here, or snap my fingers, but she pays attention when I whistle. Oddly enough there is one tune that she always responds to- the theme from “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. This started when I discovered that she reacted to whistling, and I was practicing that song, so she took to it.
It’s 1:30 am, and she just came out to remind me that it’s bedtime.
I have two. Cuervo, the Coolest Cat There Is, and Bear, the alternative cat. Cuervo is an 8 year old rescue who I got from my vet when he was younger than three weeks old. He was flea ridden, wormy, and had a really severe URI. It was about 4-6 weeks before he quit wheezing on a more or less constant basis.
Cuervo has no voice as a result. Well, unless you put him in a car, then he suddenly develops a voice, but you can tell it takes an effort and probably some discomfort for him to vocalize. Consequently, all of Cuervo’s communication with me is non-vocal. I joke with people that we communicate telepathically, but it’s true - I read his face, body language etc, and know what he needs pretty much whenever he needs it. He’s like a bomb/drug sniffing dog, he’ll just sit by what he needs taken care of and wait for me to catch on. Toy, food whatever.
Bear on the other hand is a maine Coon mix, tiny-ish in body but a big ball of fur, ears and paws. And that mother will talk all damn day. He answers if you ask how he’s doing. If you tell him to get the damn hell down from the kitchen island, he will but he’ll whine all the way down. If he’s hungry, nothing happens anywhere in the house until he’s fed.
They both know their names, they both know the word “food” I mentioned that Cuervo doesn’t speak but I’ve trained him to say please before he gets his bowl of wet food each evening. It comes out like a whispery gacking noise but he’ll do it when he sees me holding the dish.
I adopted an adult cat several months ago, and as far as I can tell she’s vocal mostly for conversation. When I come home from work, she meows at me, so I meow back, and we hold a back and forth for a minute or two. I imagine she’s telling me about her day, the bird outside or which blanket she slept on, and I do my best to sound like I’m asking her questions. Other than that she generally makes it clear that she knows I do not understand her.
It wouldn’t surprise me. Despite their reputation, cats can be empathetic. Tabby used to announce her presence. She had a reassuring little “mrr” just for me, when she’d come back into my bedroom at night. Just a quiet way of saying “don’t worry gracer, I’m back”. It was the same sound she had for if I snuggled up to her when she was asleep. Very low, quiet and happy. That’s why I think it’s empathy: it means you are together, you needn’t worry any more. Because she knew that we felt the same way about each other’s presence.
Now I really miss my Tabby and her low “mrr, I’m home”. She was the best cat: fierce, and only mine.
Oh, she understands you just fine. Tripping is your punishment for wanting her to move and not having food. As for the allergy thing, she already knew that. Cats have radar to detect people who are allergic or don’t like them, and an insatiable instinctive need to wallow such people as thoroughly as possible.
Our cats understand us, generally. The older one understands more than the younger one, or at least is more blatant about giving us the “fuck you, I’ll do what I want” stare when we tell her something.
At Casa Scubaqueen, we have the SuperKitteh Trio: Turk, Maggie and Widget. Turk is the ten-year-old patriarch of the household, Maggie, my resident Cast-Iron Bitch (CIB), is four and Widget will be two in August, I think.
Living alone, of course I regularly talk to all three. They all listen and I have no doubt they know what I’m saying. Turk is the least vocal, Widget the most. She arrives in the kitchen the minute she hears the garage door go up when I come home. By the time I get into the house, she’s lined up her signature leap to my shoulder, and is already telling me all about her day. Maggie isn’t far behind, although she isn’t a jumper, thank Og.
It’s like the two of them have this competition running to see who can monopolize me the most. As all cat owners know, there is no such thing as privacy in the bathroom. Invariably, the minute I sit down, I have Widget in my lap and Maggie at my feet demanding my undivided attention – with both of them chatting at once. Especially first thing in the morning when I am at less than my best. :rolleyes: Even Turk will come in – if he’s in the mood, of course.
Both girls will come when called. It doesn’t matter what name. They come running because of the ongoing competition, I think. Turk doesn’t care and isn’t interested. He’ll saunter in for attention on his schedule and no one else’s. Widget has learned to fetch and will go get her milk ring or whatever if I ask her to. Or she gets it without asking and brings it directly to me and drops it in my hand.
The one word they all know and will run over each other to get to the kitchen first is ‘snackies.’ It’s like watching the Oklahoma Land Rush - with fur.
I wouldn’t call my cat an idiot - he’s probably average problem-solving intelligence as far as cats go, but he has the Emotional Intelligence of a jelly bean. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t grasp the concepts of ‘‘I’m hurt’’ or ‘‘I’m sad’’ because his behavior is exactly the same - constantly wanting attention. Hell, when I got my wisdom teeth removed several years ago and was bleeding out of my mouth he didn’t act any different. He loves me, in the most basic, follows me around and wants to cuddle all the time kind of way, but he doesn’t grasp emotional nuance very well. He is a giant baby. Every time I hear about someone’s deeply intuitive cat, it cracks my ass up.
However, he does actually listen when I tell him not to do something. Usually.
My cats kind of understand me, but it’s mostly conditioning.
The know they’re doing something wrong when I clap my hands. I started doing this when I was shooing them, and now they (usually) stop what they’re doing when I clap.
Similar to the clapping, they know it’s time to get down off my lap or bed when I tap them on the kitty spot (that area on the back just about the tail that cats seem to get off on) twice. I started doing that before I shooed them off me, and now they know what it means.
Of course, my cats have trained me as well. Both of them know that if I stand next to me and meow I pet them. It’s automatic now.