Catspeak: What Would Happen If Your Cat Could Talk?

In reality, animal lovers get a great deal of pleasure in understanding what their pets are feeling.

What would your cat say? By: ac1982
What would your cat say? By: ac1982

Years ago I read a story about people in a small town who could suddenly hear what their pets were thinking. At first, everybody was very excited by this; then they discovered that the animals’ thoughts about them were less flattering that they’d imagined.

And the main character heard a few things from her Siamese cat, Pearl, that she would’ve been happier not knowing.

It was a Dr. Doolittle world gone wrong and, thankfully, a fictional one. In real life, animal lovers get a great deal of pleasure in understanding what their pets are feeling.

Talking With the Animals

Nowadays, when something serious and/or mystifying comes up with their cats and dogs, many people turn to animal communicators without hesitation.

“I work intuitively and have applied that to animals,” communicator Gigi Kast once told me during an interview. “My strong spot is helping the spiritual or emotional bodies clear by spontaneously going to the root of the problem.” Often, she added, a healing would occur over the phone while she talked with the cat’s human: she would “energetically work with them,” channeling through “sound, movement or seeing the vibration shift with color.”

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Another animal communicator, Barb Borkowski of The Healing Journey, works either onsite or through photographs. “Intuitive communication is not a logical process,” observes Marta Williams in her book Beyond Words: Talking with Animals and Nature.  “It can be done at great distances, and you do not have to actually see or know the animal you wish to speak with. Information is exchanged in a nanosecond and unlike with human speech, many people can talk with the same animal at the same time without any worry about noise or interference.”

Listen Up, Humans

Cats, of course, have many ways of communicating with their humans and with each other. In fact, their audiences frequently overlap.

Purring, miaowing and chirring are sounds that they learn in kittenhood: they purr while snuggled up against their moms and nursing, and they miaow when they want a little – or a lot of – maternal attention. So, when those kittens grow up, they bring some of that sound system with them — probably because they tend to view their humans as substitute parents.

Chirring or chirruping, on the other hand, is a sound that mom-cats make when they’re calling to their offspring. So why do our cats do it with us? Zoologist Desmond Morris argues that cats, especially spayed females, sometimes turn things around and view their caretakers as great big lovable and sometimes stupid kittens who need taking care of. This is also why they sometimes bring us their prey or, failing that, a really good cat toy.

And, of course, they also use their eyes and body language to communicate with us.

Straight From the Cat’s Mouth

There is a picture of a cat that has been making the rounds on Facebook lately. The caption starts off something like this: “I didn’t mean to scratch your child…” The cat then goes on to explain how the kid pulled his tail, which led to the parents getting rid of him.

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Having done rescue work for many years now, I’ve seen cats abandoned for a whole slew of reasons. A woman got clawed for getting in the way of an Abyssinian protecting her kittens from a stray, and the little mom-cat got tossed outside.

Would cats be even more demanding? By: micklpickl
Would cats be even more demanding? By: micklpickl

A Siamese, whose caretakers were separated, peed on the rug, and the soon-to-be ex-husband immediately started talking about getting rid of her. Our foster cat, Cora, was pulled out of a murder-suicide house, shoved in a cage at Animal Control and labeled as unfriendly (read “unadoptable”). She was almost euthanized.

If Cora or the other cats could’ve spoken human-ese, maybe the people around them would have understood why they were acting the way they did. We would also know right away when our cats get sick.

Many times, the symptoms don’t manifest themselves until an illness is too advanced to do much. Our feline buddies would be able to let us more clearly when they wanted us to play with them or comfort them. They would be able to tell us about their world, and we would be the richer for listening.

T.J. Banks

View posts by T.J. Banks
T.J. Banks is the author of several books, including Catsong, a collection of her best cat stories, which was the winner of a Merial Human–Animal Bond Award. A contributing editor to laJoie, T.J. has received writing awards from the Cat Writers’ Association (CWA), ByLine and The Writing Self. Her writing has been widely anthologized.

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