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Translating Catspeak

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Ivartheboneless, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    I have now learned what certain "words" in catspeak mean, after a while. I probably haven't cottoned on as fast as Captain Cook with the Maoris, as I am working with the Miaowris!

    “MIAOW!” Shouted loudly half an inch from the ear at 6.45 am precisely = “Oi! Where’s my breakfast?”

    “Miaow” issued softly while licking chops on returning to lounge after breakfast = “Ta for that dad, it was ok.”

    “MIAOW!” Shouted loudly while sitting and staring at 7.00 pm = “Oi! Its treat time!”

    “Miaow!” Shouted loudly at other times = “Oi! Food or water bowl empty!”

    “Miaow!” When not one of the above = I want something! (But who has a clue what. I’m a cat!)
  2. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    My dogs mainly communicate by soppy looks or hard stares. Unless unsuspecting strangers dare to approach the perimeter of our house which elicits a chorus of barking/growling noises that I translate as a continuous volley of...’fork off’ ‘fork off’ ‘fork off’ ‘fork off’ ‘fork off’.
  3. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    One of my cats is more vocal than his brother, who lets him pester their human when (they perceive) it's dinner time. There ensues a chorus of miaows from both cats when I am dishing up their food.
    Shedman, primarycat and Jamvic like this.
  4. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I recognised much of the catspeak when I last had a cat, including "Can you please get my catnip mouse out from under the fridge?"
  5. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

  6. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    One cat is almost entirely silent, except for when he’s crooning the “I’ve caught a mouse” song to himself under the dining table.

    The other one makes noises all the time: she sings the “I’ve just been to the toilet” song, and chirrups with delight when she spots a spider. The other cheerful mips and mraws I call her “Happy Little Noises”.
    Jesmond12, Jamvic and primarycat like this.
  7. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Tigger does the happy little noises too. I always thought, not have been a cat owner/guardian/body slave in my role as biology knowall, that cats (apart from the lion Panthera leo) were solitary creatures so had little need for communication and less for company. Moggius domesticus is a miracle of evolutionary adaptation like the wolf/dog transition, by adapting to humans they have become very "succesful" species (in evolutionary terms), especially as its the cats manipulating us. Perhaps Douglas Adams was wrong in the Hitchhikers Guide series, and it was the cats, not the mice. Tigger, I feel, must actually like me, although he is not a lap cat, he prefers to sleep on the bed, or on the setee, or on my slippers. He shouted fro his treat at 7 (one of those long stick things from Aldi, very cheap but he loves them) then came back shouting again, so I went to look and the food bowl was empty. I just wish his claws weren't so sharp when he gives "hugs".
    Jamvic and primarycat like this.
  8. primarycat

    primarycat Star commenter

    Cats do like us. Just on their terms. I had a cat who not only insisted sleeping on the pillow next to me, but he had to be lying on the side that I faced. He moved if I turned over and had my back to him. He was the most affectionate cat I have known - just lovely.
  9. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Some extracts from my human -cat dictionary.

    cat - pat on the nose at 4am- "get up its breakfast time"

    cat -push bum repeatedly into human's face when they are sitting at desk -"put that computer away and pay attention to me"

    cat - "MIOWWWWWW" -"feed me"

    cat- "miow-miow-miow-miow-miow" - "o boy o boy, the human is coming to feed me"

    cat "Miow-----Miow----Miow----Miow"- gosh this is a bit worrying, please remove this vet from my vicinity"

    cat - PPPPPPPRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR- "yes I know you can't see the TV when I'm climbing all over you, but we love each other, don't we, so its worth it"

    cat - GGGRRRRRR yoooooooowwww! -" I have just bravely and selflessly put myself in extreme danger to save you from this vicious hair band. Don't worry, it's dead now"
    Piscean1, primarycat and Jesmond12 like this.
  10. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I have not had a cat for many years now. However, one dearly loved cat used to like laying on top of me whilst she had her tummy stroked. Then, out if the blue she would attack and bite my hand which , I suppose, was her way of saying “Enough of that, I’m bored with it”
  11. Nellyfuf2

    Nellyfuf2 Established commenter

    Cats make a particular noise when you stand on their tails........
  12. Nellyfuf2

    Nellyfuf2 Established commenter

    Which is unavoidable, because when you have to step over them, they invariably know where you are going to put your foot down.
  13. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    One of our cats had a specific word for birds, probably an unsavoury word, but you definitely knew when she'd seen one through the window. She had certain issues which left her with a bad reputation at the local cattery whenever she stayed there. We could always tell when she was getting ratty because of a slight head twitch that she used to do - that was when you backed off to a safe distance.

    Our other cat had a word for mild irritation when you were faffing around with the food preparation - it sounded like "Wi-ow". We've adopted the word in the family for the same purpose, in tribute to her.

    Our daughter's cat has a similar vocabulary to our last cat, so most of it is obviously in the DNA.
    primarycat likes this.
  14. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    Mine makes a great fuss before using the litter tray. He has a special tone for this which is different from his let me in voice or time to get up voice.
  15. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Mine does that, but I think the grabbing and biting is just hugs. I let him, as the bites are not hard (have you seen their teeth!), its the claws that sometimes break the skin. Mine's a stripey menace, wheedling his way into my soul.
    primarycat and Jesmond12 like this.
  16. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    I have to say that I love my cats' non-verbal communication. One will give me lots of nose nudges prior to asking for his dinner and the other will roll on his back, legs akimbo when he wants a fuss - guaranteed to make his human go very soppy indeed.
    primarycat likes this.
  17. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    One of mine is a very polite young man and says thank you when he gets a treat by nudging my hand with his head. He doesn’t meow much but makes cute meeping noises to announce his arrival.

    His brother from another mother brings me live newts and places them ( still alive ) at my feet, while waiting for my approval for his noble deeds. He is your traditional meower.

    Good job I’ve always had a thing for amphibians.

    The newts go in the newt hotel for the night , dining on bloodworms, before being chauffeured home the following day to the fence so they can slip underneath ( hopefully) back to their pond. The hotel can sometimes be fully booked with three, four or five newts.
    Corvuscorax, Ellakits and primarycat like this.
  18. Ellakits

    Ellakits Senior commenter

    After a lifetime of ownership by cats I have come to the opinion that it is probably best that I don’t attempt to translate catspeak, otherwise I am highly likely to be both appalled and terrified, in equal measure, at their plans.
  19. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Apparently rubbing foreheads with your cat is a sign of mutual respect. I was able to do this with the moggy who lived to age 20, but wouldn't have dreamt of trying it with her ratty counterpart who only made it to 10. I'm working on our daughter's recently-acquired rescue moggy.

    I'm always intrigued by how most cats everywhere respond to the extended human hand with the finger and thumb being rubbed together as a gesture of greeting. The usual response is to head bump the hand. It transcends national boundaries. It has to be a behaviour they've learned since relating specifically to humans, but has it become genetic or do they somehow teach it to their young?
    BertieBassett2 likes this.
  20. primarycat

    primarycat Star commenter

    I read once that the human fist is about the size of a cat's head, and they rub cheeks etc with cats they are close to. So they respond well to a familiar hand (or unfamiliar if they are sociable cats).

    Having said that they only miaow to humans, not each other. So they've developed some interspecies communication skills.

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