Why and How Cats Like It When You Talk to Them

Like people, your cat enjoys being acknowledged, and they get a kick out of you chatting to them. Even better, they love being the center of attention and crave your time and your companionship.

Talking to your cat

  • Enables communication.
  • Strengthens your bonds.
  • Shows affection and acceptance.
  • Demonstrates to your cat that they are understood.
  • Helps to initiate proper training techniques.
  • Alerts you to subtle changes in tone – it could be a health issue.
  • Overcomes loneliness.


Chatting to Your Cat Enables communication.

Cats are amazingly good listeners; they listen intently,and may even purr up a storm in response to your conversation.

While they may not have a clue to what your words mean, they will respond positively to your attentive prose.

  • Everyone likes attention, and your cat is no exception.
  • If you become a good listener, you may start to understand the different sounds your cat makes.
  • Did you know that cats seem to reserve ‘meows’ primarily for talking to their people?
  • They have learned to use the meow to get your attention so you can meet their demands.
  • Meows could be them asking to be let out (along with body language at the door and a slightly raised  swishing tail. Or they could be to asking to be let back in. Or maybe they just want your attention.
  • A hiss or growl means ‘don’t mess with me!’
  • Whereas chirps and chattering are a sign of frustration – such as a bird preening outside a closed window where kitty can’t get it.

One thing is certain. The quicker you learn to talk intelligently to your cat, the happier your cat will be, and the more they will consider your demands … if you are lucky!


Good Conversation Strengthens Your Bonds.

Talking to your cat is easy right? All you have to do is open your mouth and let whatever you are thinking about flow. Easy, isn’t it?

Well, no, it is not quite that simple.

Cats are very intelligent. If you are going to talk down to them or engage in baby talk, your cat will quickly exit stage left, leaving you to talk to yourself.

So how do you talk to your cat in a manner that will not be offensive to them?

  • Soften your voice, as cats have very sensitive ears.
  • Demanding or delivering an order Army style will only alienate your cat. You do not order a cat around, or they will promptly desert you.  
  • Share affectionate words combined with gentle pats and rubs, making sure your body language matches your conversation.
  • Extend your hand slowly with the index finger shaped like a cat’s nose when your cat is approaching. You are allowing your cat to greet you in their language (cats often greet each other by touching noses). Make sure you are in front of them and closer to their level, not from above.
  • Have you ever noticed your cat slowly wink at you when they are relaxed? It is their way of saying ‘I love you.’ Try doing it back to them, they will love it!
  • Cats can be taught special words which are helpful when training your kitty. Words such as ‘treat’, ‘dinner’ or ‘well done’ will help your cat to associate something rewarding with you. Cats are better to be led (aka bribed) when training, than being pushed. You must make them think that what you want them to do was their idea.

And remember, cat conversations are vocal, but they are also about body language.

You cannot fool them into thinking you are relaxed when in fact you are tightly wound up and ready to explode.

If you cannot understand your cat’s body language, you will be severely reprimanded by your cat.

Flattened ears, a low hiss, swishing tail from side to side, yep – they are upset, and heaven help the inattentive human that tries to rub their tummy!!


Talking Demonstrates Your Affection and Acceptance.

  • Acknowledgment via conversation has a long-lasting effect on relationships.
  • Talking is a way to demonstrate the affection you have for your cat. They will graciously accept your adoration and will return the favor if you are genuine in your affections.
  • Modern living comes with the hustle and bustle of making a living. But if you take the time to stop and talk to your cat, they will appreciate your efforts.
  • But do not just breeze past while they are sleeping or grooming with a ‘hi kitty’ and a quick rub then walk on. You are interrupting them, and it is considered rude in the world of the cat. At least stop a while and show some respect!
  • Cats can learn words; they are very intelligent and can be trained or taught different phrases. Talking to your cat is an important part of how your cat learns.
  • How words are spoken is important. Your cat will be more apt to respond if you use a soft and calm voice.
  • If you do use a strong voice to express displeasure at them ripping up your drapes, never use their name and the word ‘No’ in the same sentence as cats find this very confusing.


Talking Shows Your Cat That You Understand Them

  • Love and acceptance are great, but by talking (and listening) to your cat, you demonstrate so much more.
  • What creature on earth does not love being understood, I mean … REALLY understood!
  • When you understand your cat, when you get their meows, their purrs, and can interpret their body language, you offer so much more than just affection. You UNDERSTAND them, and that is prized beyond all else.
  • When you understand your cat, you offer the thing that all cats crave – you offer respect and adoration!


Regular Conversation Helps to Initiate Training

There are benefits to talking to your cat. By training them to associate certain words with an action, you can get them to perform simple tricks or obey an order.

  • Of course, nothing is for free. If you want a cat to do something for you, there must be something in it for them … such as a yummy treat.
  • Keep the training sessions short and frequent, and make them fun. Cats learn by repetition, so repeat the training often.
  • Make sure your cat is in the mood to learn tricks and keep their attention, or they will be easily distracted.
  • Only try to teach one behavior or trick at a time.
  • Ensure you have a ready supply of treats to reward a willing cat.
  • Be warned that training a cat takes patience and creativity.

Training your cat has important health benefits. You are stimulating their mind and body, which keeps your cat healthy and prevents them from becoming bored or anxious.

You can also train your cat to call them away from danger.

Talking to your cat is fun and increases the bond that you have with your cat.


Subtle Changes in Your Cat’s Tone Can Indicate a Problem.

Cats are notoriously devious to disguise any illness that they may be experiencing.

The reason for this evolutionary behavior is because when in the wild, a sick animal is a disadvantage to its peers and is often left to fend for itself against the predator that is closing in.

The predator seeks out the weak, the ill, or the elderly as they know instinctively that they will have a better chance of landing a meal, and it will be less effort or threat to themselves.

A higher-pitched tone than a normal meow, a raspy sounding voice, constant yowling, or an urgent meow can mean that they are not feeling well.

Observe your cat’s behavior to see whether they are asking for your help – notice if their body language has altered to reflect this communication.

If the noise continues for over 24 – 36 hours, it could be a sure sign of illness so prepare your kitty for a trip to the vet to determine if your cat has an infection or illness.


Chatting Overcomes loneliness.

We all feel a bit lonely at times. If you are living alone, it can become almost overwhelming.

But loneliness, depression, and anxiety can be overcome if you are lucky enough to be owned by a cat. (yes, your cat owns you … it is not the other way around)

  • Regardless of whom you talk to, nor whether actual words are spoken or understood for that matter, it has been said that 93% of communication happens using tone, posture, and body language.
  • Therefore, your cat will use your tone and body language along with listening to your words to ‘understand’ what you are saying.
  • For both humans and felines, chatting is a way of communicating which produces the feeling that neither is alone.
  • The feeling of inclusion is of high value to both parties who are conversing.
  • Therefore, feel free to chat way to your cat; they may even meow back or purr in response to your attention.
  • Having an attentive audience can ease any depression or anxiety as it is hard to feel bad when you have a cat chatting away and purring up a storm for your benefit!
  • From a cat’s perspective, you are the most important member of their group (Just for your information, a group of cats is called a clowder).

The only thing you must remember is your manners … such as allowing your cat time to respond to your conversation and have some input.

No one likes a one-sided conversation, so zip your lips when kitty responds and allow them to express their opinion.


Writer: Jean Brewer

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