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Does your cat understand language? Talk?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I know there are folks out there right this minute, who are afraid to tell
people about this... be laughed at.

My girls really do understand language, each is a bit more gifted in this than
the others.

Our youngest Oreo... seems to be very talented in this.

I have also had 2 cats (one still living) that tried to "talk".

The past one said "going" whenever we put her in her cage... to travel or go to the vet.

And Sheba learned to mimic my son, when he called me...MA?
It wasn't until he was taking the bus to school, (5th grade) he'd come charging in calling MA? Well, that is when Sheba started to do this.
When I am not around, she goes up to my hubby and says MA? And he answers, Ma's at work, or buying FOOD, and she accepts this and goes back to her life. She never makes that sound otherwise.

And Oreo always says uooooo uoooooo when she wants out. (most of the time the cat door is used but when not available ) I can't spell this sound...
very well.

I've told Oreo to go over to that big rock (without gesturing) and she does!!!
right away... she did it again this summer.. so we could take a pic!

All of our kitties know basic words... IN, OUT, UP , DOWN, NO, Be Nice,
No Nails, Tuna, Food, Mommy Fix It, Brushey Brush and READY (for toy games) (we call Oreo's whipped cream= Chooka and she comes when we use that word). Sheba always sleeps with me for at least a while on the BIG BED...and I can say that and she will start up the stairs, before me. And don't dare say Shrimpeys.... that is a big buzz word here, in idle conversation. We spell it out, or call it you know what etc.
She will start up and we have to give it then.

Any other stories... I betcha there are many of you with great ones!

I don't really "talk" to them in sentences...and try to keep stuff simple.

post #2 of 23
Mine don't say anything that sounds like English words, but they understand a lot of words and phrases. The most interesting one is "I'm going to bed, Red Cat (or Purdy or Sheba), if you want to come with me." They ALL understand that phrase, whether they choose to come immediately or not. And most of the time they do. Sometimes they head up the stairs or to the bedroom before I do. Of course, if I just had started saying "bed" instead of that whole sentence, they would have learned that, instead, but the long sentence is just more fun.

Another one that is probably different from most households is the phrase "It's safe now." That means that my very timid cats can come out of hiding, since the stranger (anyone but me) has left. And they do.
post #3 of 23
Oliver DEFINITELY understands the word and sign language for "cookie" and runs to where his cookies are when I say/do it... he also knows "tuna" "daddy" and his name, of course.... Now I'm not positive, but more than once, I SWEAR he's meowed "hello" when I've come back home from being away.....
post #4 of 23
Our next door neighbor had come for a cup of coffee (this was in the 1960s) and conversing with Mom when our grey tabby Tom Tinker came to the door and said, "me-in". The neighbor's jaw dropped as mom went to the door to let him in.
"That cat said 'in' ".
Mom said yes he did.
Tom went to his dish and said "meat".
The neighbor gasped, "that cat said 'meat'!"
Mom said to watch as she gave him some milk. Tom looked at the milk, looked up at mom and said "meat" again. Mom gave him some canned food.
He ate, went back to the door and said "me-out". Mom let him out as the neighbor shook her head.

Tom had the biggest vocabulary. But others have understood various words. Jasper had "nap time!" down pat! I was ill with the flu and was tired all the time so he got used to me sleeping in the afternoon. It got to the point he expected me to nap even when I wasn't tired.

Aristotle has seemed to learn his name - or at least the tone used.
post #5 of 23
Yes, both of them do, especially the phrase that included the eat word.
My Max who passed in July understood when I told him I was going to hide from him.
I would run and hide, and every time, he would come find me. My husband was very shocked when I asked if he wanted to see Max play hide and seek. Max never forgot how to do this.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
great stuff.... I am fascinated at how smart cats really are.

Its been 40yrs for me (my whole adulthood) and I am surprised daily still!

I love the stories, and I really hope to see more on this thread.

Our middle kitty Tippy does not make many noises..or meows. But she understands alot. She runs around the house looking out windows at night.
(we have French type windows with a low sill. She watches out of all the rooms.)
One morning at breakfast, a neighbor's cat jumped up on the table that is outside (my potting garden work area) and looked in our window, when Tippy happened to be there on the other side. This cat was an indoor, and had escaped, and was kind of desperate.

Then Tippy let out a scream--she was surprised I guess, and felt invaded... we called it the Scream of Screams!!! I almost had a heart attack it was so loud. We didn't think she was capable of THAT.
She was about 6 yrs old then. She often does the Silent Meow... you know what that is? Just opens the mouth...no sound. I've been told cats can emit an ultrasonic communication, but I don't know if that is what this is!

post #7 of 23
What amazing cats you guys have. I think my cats understand me, though sometimes they choose to ignore me! My parents were shocked this weekend when i called I saw a bug so i called for lucky and she came. I'm still working on making her deal with the bugs...she prefers to just watch them (NOT HELPFUL!).
When i say to rambo "come for cuddles" he will come right over and cuddle with me. He's the quiet type though...doesn't have much to say.
post #8 of 23
I love America's Funniest Home Videos. There's a clip on one of the shows of someone's cat spread eagle in the doorway, clinging to the woodwork while someone's trying to pull him into the bathroom saying "Bath". I kid you not, the cat was meowing, "NOOOOOOOOO! HEEEEELLLLLP!" Cracks me up!

My Josie is very smart. She knows lots of words, but never has tried to vocalize them. However, she chooses to let me know when she WANTS to understand or not. Like when I call her name and ask her to come, she rarely does. Most often she gives me a look that says, "You're nuts if you think I'm going to come to you."
post #9 of 23
I don't know if they understand language per se. But they are definitely getting trained. For example, I've started routine playing times when I get up in the mornings (after I brush my teeth, make the bed and clean out their boxes LOL) and then they get yummy treats and breakfast. So when I put the toy down, they come RUNNING into the kitchen, pacing around till I give them their yummy treats. Then Napoleon eats his, starts pacing and mewing till I give him his food (but Cassie gets fed first, she's already standing in her spot LOL).

When I say "Who wants a yummy treat?!" I know this will get either cat out of a dead sleep and running into the kitchen. Sometimes there are ulterior motives (like giving them medicine or trying to clip their nails), and they get upset but they definitely know treats. Or "go on up, poopy cat!" (when we try to get Cassie to jump into bed with us!).
post #10 of 23
Alcott and London know their names, though London will often come to Alcott's name. I'm working on simple commands, especially to see if I can get them to "stay back" so they don't knock me over while I make their dinner.
post #11 of 23
My cats know these words:

Treats (they will run into the kitchen)
Brush (they will run into the family room where the brush is kept)
Hungry (they'll take their spots where they are fed!)
Nip (catnip... they'll come to the cat tree & wait for me to sprinkle it on the floor)

With Dusty, if you make a really shrill "S" sound, she will reach up & give you kisses. Not sure why.

Snickers trills, NEVER meows... has this high-pitched, sing-song sound like a dove. When he trills and I trill back, he will trill until he finds me! We do this sometimes at night if he doesn't beat me to the bed.

Hammie sort of has his own language; he makes noises with his mouth & throat. If you watch him while he talks to himself or talks to his toys, his mouth moves around like a humans! One morning when my daughter and I were eating breakfast, Hammie was running around like a maniac and he said, "Hello?"... sounded like he asked a question!

So yeah call me nuts or whatever, but my cats DO understand our words & they have their own speech.
post #12 of 23
Mitts is a talker and is always meowing about something or other.

If I call his name, he will usually come (unless he is annoyed with me )

When he is in a room where no one else is ( he likes to be around people, not on their laps, but just there) he will yell "Hello" It sounds just like hello. And if i answer back, he changes his meow.

He also yells something like "Mc Gow" when he wants to play. I have yet to translate this one, but I am sure in Mitts world it means "get out that toy mommy, I'm bored."

Then there's the food yell, which is like "now"

And the you just got home yell (even if you just left 5 minutes ago) which sounds like a small child screaming for milk from mommy after 24 hours with no food.

Like I said, he's a talker!
post #13 of 23
Of course!!! Sophia and I have conversations!!!
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
I REMEMBER that video from TV... it was a black cat saying NOOOOOOOOO, in the bathroom, and bathtub

It won the grand prize too, if I remember.. that was several years ago. I remember the video started with going to have a BATH and the cat started in right then in the beginning... HE KNEW. LOL

We laughed ourselves sick over that.... since we had Hoshi saying GOOOINNNGGG in the car all the time.

These stories are so much fun. I love em!

post #15 of 23
Ha Ha!! I LOVE your stories!! I have been so embarrassed to admit this cos i thought people would think that i was due for my meds again.. BUT ITS TRUE!!

Theo has verbal and non verbal communication with me. Whenever he's comes in the room he says hello to me, and gives me a little kiss on my nose before slinking off to do whatever he wants to. He says goodbye as he leaves the house. If he's snoozing, he'll flick his tail to acknowledge my prescence. He chooses his own tea by miaowwing at the right tin. He uses his tail to say yes or no (LAWDY I SOUND CRAZY!!) by giving a big flick for yes and a little flick for no. But the other day was the strangest. Example - i am planning to move house, and 'discussed' it with him last night, and said what do you think and he gave me a small flick (no). Then i said 'do you love me?" and he gave a big flick (yes), and i was like "Do you trust mummy" - big flick..

I've just started giving him snacks and treats again as he went through a phase of getting a bit podgy round the middle so its not like he knows snacky words or where i keep them or anything. Anyway, a couple of days ago i bought some for him and i was fixing myself a snack as he was about to go out. I said to him that he could have a snack when he came back in again as i had got him some treats, and he gave me a little mew (means general ok) and he went out. So, after about an hour and a half, he saunters back in, gives me his usual kiss and hello and went to the kitchen, where he proceeded to HOWL. I was fascinated by this, and wanted to see if it was a coincidence, so i called him and asked what he wanted. When Theo wants his tea he bites my fingers gently, so I was looking for this. He came into the living room and jumped up on me, bit my fingers, and jumped back down, meowing and leading me to the kitchen. I couldn't believe it.. he knew i'd said that he could have a treat!!

i find it so amazing that he can communicate with me and that i can understand his every need.. it fascinates me that i have this bond with him that no one else does!
post #16 of 23
Absolutely! My girls understand every word I say! I agree that whether or not they choose to acknowledge the fact is another story!
As far as talking, Sierra has very clearly said "Mommy", reallly, she did! Serenity is still learning!
They each have very distinct differences in their various "meows" for different occassions. Serenity still chirps like a birdie most of the time, but when I'm preparing her food and she wants to assure me that she's starving, she says "meooow-e-ooooow". She has a special "pick me up, Mommy" chirp as well as her "I'm upset, come here" chirp, and "I'm so happy" chirp!
Sierra and I communicate on such a level, speaking is hardly necessary, but she has the most beautiful voice! She also has special talk and clearly makes her point known. "Mommy's home!", "Pleeeese, may I have a treat!", "It's dinner time!", "I'm upset, please comfort me", "I see something fun out the window!"
They each have a much wider vocabulary, but these are a few examples. I love my babies so much!
post #17 of 23
I love this thread! It's so much fun to tell these stories, and the people on here don't think I've absolutely lost it! (I hope!)
Serena is the most amazing kitty I've ever had. I never knew cats could learn and understand so much!
For example:
She loves her red birdie. She'll carry it around with her, just like Linus and his blanket. If I grab it and take it into the living room, and say "Mommy's gonna throw it!", she runs up to the front door and waits for the birdie to fly over there. Then she brings it back and we do it all over again.
She will also put the birdie in my shoes on command ("Put the birdie in the shoe!").
And when I say "Are you ready for bed?", she'll run to the basement door and wait for me to open it so we can go downstairs.
So adorable!
post #18 of 23
My kittens don't talk, they maybe only meow once a week but they sure understand. They understand Bonito but that may be the inflection. Darci is becoming more independent and she understands her name when I call her she always come - I give her a treat. The other day she did not come and I said to her brother "Finn where's Darci?" I was looking for her and I heard him meow right by the bathroom door - bad mommy shut her in. Oh they also understand Dinner time and hungry because they go to the kitchen for that.
post #19 of 23
Rowan only really knows the words 'off', 'out', and 'food' in regards to understanding human speech... but oh man does she have *me* trained up a treat.

She has very distinct miaows for various situations such as:

"Moooooom..... clean my litter box!"
"Open my window!"
"I'm starving to DEATH"
"Pet me NOW!"

I'm a pretty good cat slave for her simple needs.
post #20 of 23
despite that i've had Pouncer only three days, i'm very sure she understands speech. doesn't vocalize anything, but she sure does understand what i say somehow.

i made her a towel-lined box on our back step the first night she was adopted. she kept jumping out and following me- so i finally picked her up, looked her in the face and said, "you need to stay in the box tonight, okay? we're going to see the vet tomorrow, and isn't the box better than the bushes i found you under? it's night time, it's bed time, go to sleep, okay?"

and she stayed, and slept. :O

i would have thought it was just a lucky break- but no. the NEXT night, she was hopping out of the box again, and i had to explain to her that the vet was out for that day and we'd go see a doctor today, and get her looked at, and get her healthy. i told her one more night in the box outside, and then we'd get a litterbox.

and again, she stayed and slept. :O

she's slowly learning "no clawing" "stay in box" (for things like traveling in the car in her box) "dinner time" "good girl" and "time for bed". she's going to be bilingual, since my mom talks in chinese to her... lol.

your stories about the cats actually saying things is cute, though. i've never heard one say anything remoately resembling human speech, so i'd love to hear one sometime.
post #21 of 23
Mine understand quite a few things that we say:
Of course they each know their own name.....and Toby will say "Hummmm?" (like "Yeeees???") when he is called or spoken to by his name. (Tedy just comes running thinking there must be food to be had!)
If I ask, "You Guys wanna get brushed?"...they go over to the cupboard where their brush is kept and lay down waiting.
If I say "Dad is home!"......Tedy will run and sit on the rug by the back door till he comes in. It probably helps that he always brings a treat from the bag he keeps in his truck....which Tedy LOVES....but Toby does not. (He`s not as much of a would-be-junk-food-junkie as Tedy would like to be)
If i say "I SEE YOU TOBY!" ...he will run and hide and wait for me to "find" him....then i hide and call him and he comes and finds me. If he did`nt actually see where I hid, he`ll come into the hallways and yowl "Rrrroow?" (actually does sound like a ? mark at the end too) because he wants me to call his name again so that he can tell where the sound of my voice is coming form for sure. Tedy does`nt like to play this Hide-N-Seek game....but he sure is intrested in watching us play.
If I ask "Do you guys want the winow open?" ...Even before I make a move towards the window Toby will jump up on the sill and try to hurry me.
If i go outside they will often run to the door as if they want to go out too (Toby has escaped twice before !) but when I say "NO!" they will both lay down on their sides on the rug as if to say "Who me? Why I was`nt going to try to get out! I was just going to lay here and nap on the rug!"
The latest new thing that Toby has started the past few weeks (and this does`nt have as much to do with his understanding my words as it does with me trying to understand him) is that when I get after him he will walk away from me saying "Rat, rat, rat, rat!"....and I`m not sure if he`s just meaning "yea, yea, yea, yea...I`ve heard it all before" ...or if he`s actually calling me names!!! What do you think?
CATS! Are`nt they fun??????
post #22 of 23
My old cat I've had for 2 years knows things like "F--- off!!" and "Come here" as well as certain sounds that mean snuggles.

He's fairly vocal too, yowls at me when I get up in the morning, I think it's because he thinks that this will be the day he gets wet food. Also, if I stare at him long enough he'll meow.
post #23 of 23
Prada understands "want some" (when we are getting her wet food out for dinner) she runs to the closet where we keep it and waits (tobie is learning from her and just follows her lead...he is too cute) and andrew and I laugh because after one of us leaves in the morning and she runs over "talking" and we always joke that she is tellin on someone...if he leaves w/out giving her a treat she "talks" about him for 10 minutes. My neighbors probably think I am crazy, getting ready for work and holding a convo with my cat. hehe
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