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Learning to Communicate?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
This sorta applies to two questions I have.

First off, can cats learn to communicate with each other or learn how to communicate from another cat? I'm sure they can, but never really thought about it until my two started to do it... My Roarie does not normally meow, she chirps. If she does meow, it's still half-chirp. 1337 has started doing the same rolling chirp as Roarie (only in his own "voice," obviously). He used to meow a lot when we first got him about a month ago and now he tends to do as Roarie does. Sometimes I get the two confused if I hear a chirp and I used to be able to tell right away it's Roarie coming down the hall or in the kitchen. Is this common?

Second, communication between people and cats... Can a cat learn tricks like a dog? I mean, I've seen it, so I know they can, but anyone have a cat that does things on command? I started to teach 1337 "sit" and he does so-so (only started a couple days ago). Just curious if there are special techniques you can use to teach them... I've been using Zak George's methods for teach dogs, LOL. (Basically you say "sit" and if they don't, you say "no," help them sit and then say "sit" again, using a treat maybe to help)
post #2 of 7
Well, you teach cats by being lucky enough to catch them doing something you want, then you reward them with tiny treats - they'll learn faster than dogs, but not if you say 'no' or discipline them in any way. It's called positive reinforcement. And here's a for instance story to answer your first question - Plato's 12 and Goblin's 2 (best friends tho'). When we got Goblin, we were feeding him all the time and he asked for food with little chirps. Guess who started talking 'baby talk' again after so many years?! They aren't called copy cats for nothing! And Gobie watched everything Plato did around the house to learn how to live in a human environment, and did it very well.
post #3 of 7
Yes they can communicate with each other and with humans. Mitten (my first HHP) was super smart in many ways. He could read my mind, he did several tricks (which impressed the heck out of people ). He could speak a few words such as milk, out, no that sounded really close to human language - not just a meow sound.

He also was harness/leash trained. He had a wild female rabbit friend that he would play with (tho he did kill baby birds, squirrels and baby rabbits as a partially outside cat).

I've never had another cat that was so easy to train. I'm sure if I wanted to, Charlie would catch on quickly - oci's are very dog-like. So I might start teaching him some of the same types of commands that Keno knows for tricks (like shaking hands or something).

With my one rex, Spooky, I know they talk to each other - my son had gotten a female rabbit for a pet (in his room). We figured we would introduce the cats one by one to the rabbit. I took Spooky first as he was the most laid back and friendliest rex we had. We let them meet nose to nose in the cage. All was well - let the rabbit out and the rabbit actually went after the cat and chased him out of the room! Spooky went downstairs, must have told the other cats about the "killer rabbit" cause NONE of the other cats would go in the room to meet the rabbit
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
And I thought my cats were unique. Good to know I'm not going crazy, though.

I don't scold the cat when I teach him sit, just say "no" (not even in a mean way, just use the word "no") and then gently push his but down while saying "sit" again. It seems to work, he's catching on (slowly... He's not a bright cat).

I would think cats would learn quickly, but it's just getting them to sit still and pay attention that's the hard part I'm sure. They like to do their own thing. LOL.
post #5 of 7
4 of my 5 cats are currently in training to be trick trained super stars ;-D lol I teach them with clicker training (http://www.clickertraining.com) All of my cats caught on really quick (even my 8yr old boy) and they're all learning amazingly fast. First I taught them basics (touching my finger as a 'target' and politely waiting for their treats to I keep all my fingers intact lol) and now we're working on tricks. My 3 kittens will all sit, lie down, and stand/sit still for nail clipping, grooming and eye/ear/teeth check ups and they've all got a couple of their own tricks which they do XD Clicker training is a great way to train just about any animal, I've done it personally with potbellied pigs, horses, mini horses, mini donkeys, llamas, alpacas and dogs. All you need is some treats (or their regular dry food, my silly cats don't care as long as its edible ) a clicker ($3-4) and your imagination and your cats
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info!

A video of your cats doing their sit and lie down (the simple commands) would be nice. ;-)
post #7 of 7
Sure thing I'll video them the next time we 'play', although I've got to go get another download cord for my camera. (it had a fight with the couch leg and lost...miserably lol) I'll upload them and post links in the next couple of days for ya though!
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