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Talking Cats

Talking cats? Really? The two clips below sure seem that way. The first really sounds like its saying hello.

Animal behaviorist, Dr John Bradshaw, believes that cats meow at us because they are trying to mimic human speech.

Kittens use their voices more than older cats - usually when cold or hungry, and mothers call their kittens using a chirrup sound.

Cats are thought to have at least 16 different vocal sounds and researchers are trying to interpret what they each mean.

Persistent "talking" however, can be a sign of attention-seeking behavior. A cat who suddenly becomes much more vocal than usual may be telling you there is a physical cause such as diminishing eyesight. Worth a vet check to be sure. On the other hand, if the behavior is purely attention-seeking and you respond each time with food, you can end up with a fat, unhappy cat. Ideally, wait until there is silence before responding to any demands.

Try to work out what the cat in the second clip is saying...is it "no, no, no, no" or "long John"?

House cats are far more vocal than feral cats, who are surprisingly quiet. Some breeds, like Russian Blues, are consistently quieter and less likely to vocalise their needs than others. Oriental types, like the Siamese, are well known for being very loud and chatty with their owners.

Animal behaviorists believe that cats meow and trill to humans rather than to other cats because from early in life, we reward them when they do so. The two cats below, however, are clearly communicating with each other...

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