Life in a Cat house

Stan Johnson - Life in a Cat House

 People who live with cats know it’s possible to have communication between cats and people. It’s just not the same kind of communication people have among themselves. For the most part, cats are not vocal or verbal. About the only time they can be heard is when they are purring, hurting or angry. A mad cat will growl and if a confrontation turns physical they will yowl, usually at each other. A hurt cat will cry out for help.

When people want to say something to cats they usually do it by talking, just as they would with another person. Cats learn the basic commands and comments made by the people they live with, even if they sometimes ignore what is being said.

What we don’t think much about is how cats communicate with other cats. If there is more than one cat in a household, they carry on conversations. Often, people don’t notice this because the kitty talk is usually done without making a sound. They communicate with body movements and other methods most people don’t understand.

In times past, when we have brought a new cat home there is no doubt the cats already living with us told the newcomers about the rules of the house and showed them around, including the important information about the location of the litter box. Some folks will scoff and say the cats found the litter box by scent and found their way around the house by exploring.

They do sniff around and they do wander about to establish a knowledge of the territory, but I am a sure it goes beyond that. They catch on too quickly for it to happen any other way than the resident cats telling them things. We might not understand it, but the cats do and for them, that’s all that counts.

Our two cats, Skittles and Ozrow, appear to ignore each other most of time. If we could see things from their viewpoints, that probably isn’t true. I think they sit and chat often; they just don’t do it in a way humans can pick up. It’s more through body language and other methods too subtle for the human mind to grasp. I have no idea what they talk about, but would guess it’s topics important to them at times and idle chit-chat at other times. I know at times one of them has been outside when the weather is foul, the information it’s not a nice day is relayed to the one that was still indoors.

When they are out on the deck on nice days, they probably comment on the weather and discuss when they will want to go inside for supper.

As mere people, we are not privileged to listen in on all cat conversations because they speak a language we can’t understand. They know a lot more about what we are saying than we do about what they saying to each other. That’s one of the things that give cats their mysterious reputation.

Just because we don’t know what they talk about, or exactly how they do it, doesn’t mean they are not in communication with each other.

Headlines of the Day