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Questions about vocalization

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
When I first got Ferris, he was completely silent - not a peep out of him for quite a few weeks. He was 3 months old when I adopted him, and had been born outdoors, trapped and fostered at approximately 8 weeks old.

In researching care of feral rescues, I learned that ferals are most often very quiet cats due to the need for safety when living outdoors, and that their momcats teach them to be quiet like that.

Ferris is now incredibly vocal, trilling and breeeping and meowing and meeping, almost continually - he talks when he walks, he talks to himself, it seems, at times. He vocally asks me for treats, for scritches, he meows greetings to me, to my roomie, and of course, to Ginger.

In reading about cat language in general, I learned that cats speak to each other using body language first - which makes sense - but that they become vocal in households because they pick up on the fact that we humans use spoken language to communicate.

So I guess my question is, how "normal" is it for feral rescues that are socialized into households to become vocal animals? Is it a typical thing? Or do some never vocalize?

Does it matter when they are captured and socialized, so for example, one caught as a kitten might pick up vocalizing faster/more naturally than one that is captured and brought indoors as an adult?

I know that all behaviors will vary from cat to cat, as I'm sure personality has everything to do with it, but the more vocal Ferris gets, the more I've been wondering.

Can anyone share any thoughts/comments/insights with me about this?
post #2 of 3
Vocalization depends upon age, "training", and genetics. Some breeds are more talkative than others, so whatever your domestic short (or long hair) rescue is a mixture of will influence talking once socialized and trusting. Age will definitely make a difference. Flowerbelle was rescued before she could have been trained not to talk, and she mirps and chirps all the time. None of our other feral rescues talked - until a few months after Flowerbelle came into the home. Then, slowly, they all started eeking out rusty meows on occassion. Now, Lazlo meows when he's excited about dinner, Shelly meows when he wants pets, Tuxedo meows when he wants treats, and Spooky comes into the bedroom every night to meow for her "good night" pets.

As I'm sure you've read, Ferals are taught by feral parents not to talk for their protection. When they come to trust, and they no longer have the "survival fear," there's no reason for them not to talk if they're so inclined. So kittens will likely pick up vocalizing quicker than adults. On the other hand, if Flowerbelle hadn't come into the house, I suspect that Shelly and Spooky would never have vocalized, probably or potentially ever.

post #3 of 3
Zoey didnt talk much when we first got her ( she to was a feral only about 6 months when trapped ) .... She now carries on conversations from other rooms
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