Your cat will not understand what you say to him, but he
will certainly respond to how you speak to him. He will recognise a warm tone when he hears it and will appreciate your friendly
The strange, potentially embarrassing
'baby language' we use when talking to our cats seems to have a very specific function. However, the words we use probably
have less importance than the gentle, sing-song way in which we use them. This repetitive language, coupled with certain actions,
particularly around meal times, helps our cats adjust to our lives. Our highly intelligent, sensitive cats are quick to put
two and two together in the name of familial bliss. Our relationship with the apparently aloof and enigmatic cat is a lot
closer and more subtle than it would first appear. It is a relationship that many cat owners would be hard-pressed to describe
in any detail. Yet any owner, when questioned would agree that his or her cat is an important, long-term member of their family.
One of the ways we display this relationship with our pet
cat is in the way we talk to them. Most people automatically talk to their cats as if they were babies. This affectionate
and very intimate cooing language is usually combined with certain actions in repetitive cycles each day.
Cats are able to signal their
fear and distress in a very graphic way. As well as using their voices, their body language will display their mood.
For example, we may tap the cat's bowl and call out, 'Here,
kitty, kitty!' to let it know that its food is ready. This action normally takes place at the same time each day and a routine
quickly develops. Your cat will often take a nap when you sleep, and sit peacefully beside you while you read the newspaper.
Although cats cannot physically talk to us, their interpretation of what we say to them is truly rewarding.
DID YOU KNOW ?
?In one us survey of 900 cat owners,
96 per cent of them said that they talked to their cats at least once a day
?Such is the deep relationship we have
with this intelligent animal that many an owner has admitted confiding their problems to their pet cat
?A cat will recognise the sound of her
owners car arriving home from work particularly if she knows she will be fussed over.
Q I work odd hours and whenever i come home my siamese cat
does not seem to recognise me until i have called her name. Why is this ?
A Unfortunately, some siamese are prone to eye problems
so it may be that your cat is having trouble recognising you until she hears your voice. Also, your odd working hours unsettle
your cat. Try establishing daily routines at home wherever possible.
Q I always know when my cat is home because she meows at
the top of her voice. Yet when she see me she stops. What is she doing ?
A Your cat is simply letting you know that she has come
home and that you can begin making a fuss of her! She is also copying your behaviour you probably call out to your cat as
soon as you come in too! This is an examle of how we live in harmony with our cats.
PURRING-WHAT DOES IT MEAN
When a cat chooses to sit on a lap, it's a sign of trust,
given that in the wild cats avoid body contact even with each other. Stroking echoes being groomed by its mother and the cat
will purr with contentment.
The sight of a cat curled up
on a warm lap purring loudly is a classic image of contentment. When we humans hear the sound we often feel conteneted too.
Purring is not a universal characteristic, it is a feature common only to the cat family. The reasons for this are unclear,
although it has now been discovered that cats will purr in a number of very different situations, including when in pain or
when scared. So what message are they sending out ?
Purring is a unique feature of the cat family. Although
lions and other large wild cats cannot make the sound. But what does it mean ? As far as we know, a purring cat is a happy
cat. Indeed, anyone who has a purring cat asleep on their lap will feel the contentment emanating from their cat. Yet cats
that are frightened, in great pain, or even females giving birth, will purr. The answer to this apparent contradiction lies
in the mother and kitten relationship.
When suckling both the kittens and their mother will purr
at the same time. The sound has a dual role for the mother. It calms the kittens and stops them clawing at her teats, and
it also lets the kittens know where their mother is at all times.
Cats don't lose this behaviour when they grow up and become
solitary adults. When a cat sits on your lap and begins kneading with its claws (know as paddling) and purring at the same
time, it has actually mistaken your warm lap for the warm belly of its mother. Another reason why it may purr when it is in
pain or is scared is to draw attention to itself and to signal its distress.
Although cats seem to have sleeping
down to a fine art, they like to feel confident before they doze. Often they signal their security by purring.
DID YOU KNOW ?
?Purring helps to provide a means for
kittens to keep in touch with their mother.
?The sound of purring is less likely
to attract the attention of predators than crying out louder would.
?Kittens are able to purr at one week
old. They do this while feeding on their mother's nipple to let her know that they are receiving her milk. She also purrs
to comfort them.
Q Whenever i look directly at my cat he starts purring at
me. Sometimes the sound is so loud it is offputting. What is he doing ?
A Staring at a cat especially without blinking is a very
threatening gesture, you are making your cat nervous and he is purring to let you know that he is friendly Next time try blinking
slowly when you make eye contact. This is a strong reassurance signal.
Q Whenever my cat gets on my lap she purrs furiously, paddles
with her claws and chews my jumper. How can i stop her from doing this ?
A A cat that acts in this way is really expressing its over-dependency.
In other words yours is acting like a kitten. Next time your cat acts like this move away. In time she will break the habit.
She needs to be encouraged to be independent make sure she spends part of the day outdoors.
This cat is enjoying the attention that is being lavished
on it by its human companion. It will show pleasure by certain vocal sounds, which include a chirping note, and a murmur the
Your cat is able to produce a
wide variety of sounds in order to communicate with you and with other felines. Researchers have distinguished at least 16
different types of vocalisation among cats in general. Some cats, however, are much more vocal than others. For example, siamese
are renowned for the variety and frequency of their vocalisations and for their unique sounds, while Abyssinians are quiet
cats that rerely vocalise. Kittens under 12 weeks of age are not able to make the full range of sounds of the adult cat. At
birth they can purr, growl, make a spitting sound and, most important of all a cry of distress. Researchers believe that this
distress call is unique to the individual kitten, so the mother knows which kitten is in trouble.
THE FELINE VOICE
Cat vocalisations can be divided into three types vowel
sounds murmurs and calls of high intensity that are usually strained. The first two are used particularly when talking to
humans. Vowel sounds include the familiar miaow in all its variations. The cat uses this sound in a wide variety of situations:
to let you know it is there, to say hello, to sak to be let out or in, and for demanding, begging or complaining. Through
repetition, most owners learn to distinguish many different miaow sounds and the particular meanings that they have for their
cat. Purring and other soft sounds belong to the murmuring category of vocalisations. They are used for greeting, acknowledging
their human friend and approval. Purring can also occur in injured or ill cats, when they are stressed or traumatized in some
This cat is complaining by chattering,
possibly at a bird flying overhead that it is unable to catch.
CAT TO CAT
The third set of vocalisations, high-intensity sounds, are
usually reserved by adult cats to communicate with other cats, and even dogs and horses. Most of these sounds are produced
with an open mouth, such as the spitting sound of aggression, and growling, wailing and hissing sounds.
DID YOU KNOW ?
?Unlike humans, cats can vocalise while
they are breathing in as well as when they are breathing out.
?The cat's miaow is only used to communication
with humans a fact that surley points to the intelligence of the cat, which has developed a unique way of talking to its owner.
?Cat not only purr when they are content,
but also when they are anxious for example at the vets. Some cats purr while dying.
?Gioacchino Rossini, the famous 19th
century Italian opera composer was inspired by feline sounds to write Cat duet a celebrated party piece for two female singers.
Q A friend told me that her cat woke her up by miaowing
loudly when her electric blanket caught fire. Should i believe her story ?
A It is very possible that your friend is not exaggerating.
There have been countless stories in the media throughtout the world of such events taking place, when in fact cats have saved
their owners lives.
Q The other day i went out in the garden and noticed that
my cat's teeth seemed to be chattering ! it was a warm day, so it can't have been cold, and she didn't seem shocked in any
way. What's the explanation for this strange behaviour ?
Its quite noemal for a cat's teeth to chatter it's an indication
that the animal is frustrated in some way. It will make this sound when it is unable to get at pray.
For more on communicating with your cat click
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