We were always of the understanding that cats were independant compared to dogs, but she seems to have a large vocabulary...
Do you think its all down to tone of voice, or do they memorise words ?
Cats don't understand any word. They might associate certain sound with good things or bad things, but I doubt they can actually understand its meaning. You can train the cat to come when his name is called, but that doesn't mean the cat knows that's his name, he just expect to be petted or fed.
Cats are smarter than you think! If I told you what I have taught mine, you would not believe me, that's how I learned how smart they are. They can learn and will if they want to. Some cats are much smarter than others much like their owners.....
When I was in university my parents fostered an oriental cat. At home on break, Shadow was all underfoot while we were in the kitchen. my mom says "Shadow, go upstairs and get in your box'. He leaves the kitchen immediately. 10 minutes later I go upstairs, and Shadow is in his box. As said before in this thread they DO understand. Some more than others. You are mistaking aloofness with lack of understanding. Nobody is expecting them to be human and understand every word.
Monet understands "bedtime!".. he'd happily walk with me into the bedroom to snuggle, no matter the time.
the both know "hungry" and "dinner"
and I swear Monet knows what "Who's got a beautiful face!?" means.. he meows every time I say it. he doesn't meow for anything else (aside from dinner)!
I'm certain my first cat Skittles could read my thoughts! I always said it was a good thing she didn't know how to talk--the tales she could have told about what was going through my head sometimes.... LOL
The three year kitties we have now understand what they want to understand--typical teenagers.
Si appears to understand and responds to ~
His name ~ He comes running.
Nom-Noms ~ He heads straight for the door his food is kept in.
Are you Momma's Boy/Is that Momma's Good Boy? ~ He climbs onto something to climb onto my shoulder to get lovins.
Bedtime ~ Takes his regular spot on the bed.
Where's your toy?: To me the best, because he gets flat on the bed, staring intensly at the overhead cabinets above the bed where 'da Bird is kept. LOL
I'm working on him actually meowing Mama. He's such a talker that any day I expect to hear it.
I do agree that tone of voice, along with repetition, seems very important to his interest/understanding of the word or phrase.
I'm not sure if I've seen cats learn actual words, but I haven't had many cats either. There is definitely communication through tone and visual signals though. Every night I wait for Jasper at the living room door, say "come on" and he (usually) follows me up the other end of the house. If he is up on a bench or somewhere he shouldn't be, he very quickly jumps off if I say "get down", "off" etc but I think that's tone and saying words sharply. I think we probably communicate in ways that I'm not even really aware of, like making room for him on my lap in response to a look or gesture from him. My favourite at the moment is when he jumps up on the table, then he beckons me over and gets all smoochy. I'm just hoping he will learn what "No, I don't want to sniff your butt" means
Well mine definitely know their names, NO! (and I swear they say it back sometimes), and down.
They also understand the snap and point. I'm sure this is actually a legit training move, but it's something my husband and I started doing. When they are somewhere we don't want them to be or if we want them to go somewhere we can usually say their name in combination with a snap and a point to the direction or location we want them to go. Often, if we are on the phone, we can easily just snap and point and they will do as commanded without hearing their name.
Yes, I think Cats are smart. The more time you take to communicate with them, the more they understand. I noticed a while back that Angel knew quite a few words/names, so I wrote them all down,
and I think it was around 20! Anywhere from the neighbor's cat's name, who he knew, to words like ;
go potty (I swear, if he hasn't gone sense the morning, & it's almost bed time, I will say" time to go potty, or pee,pee", & usually w/in 5-10 Min's. he does!) (after 3 rounds of cystitis last yr!)
crunch, crunch (in attempt to get him to chew, or at least bite his treats, & not just swallow them! When he does I say good boy, so he gets it.)
I may be predigest, but I think my sweet boy is pretty smart!
When we get the brush out Thunder rolls over too.