How to Speak Cat Like a Native

Many of us are cat owners and when you have cats around you get to know them pretty well, right down to what they are saying when they “talk” to you.

Most cat owners can easily understand the needs and desires of their pets because unlike dogs, cats actually believe they are humans’ intellectual equals.

To quibble about this is insane because cats clearly are highly intelligent individuals, and they will only ignore those arguments that they do not wish to hear anyway. First of all, cats have many different sounds that they make when trying to impress their desires upon humans. A meow preceded by a prrrrup sound (ex: Prrrrow) is the cat’s way of saying, “hello there. How good to see you again. I do believe it is time for my breakfast. Get it now.” This greeting is also used to announce the cat’s desire to use you as a chew toy.

Cats will converse with you roughly whenever they feel like it. I have conversations with my cats all the time. They usually go something like this: Me: “Hi there Sammy.” Sammy: “Merowp” Me: “How are you, huh?” Sammy: (pause to consider) “me…..row” Me: “That’s good. hey, where you going?” Sammy: (over his shoulder as he saunters away) “mrrrrrp.” Translated, the whole conversation goes like this:

“Hi there Sammy.”


“How are you, huh?”


“That’s good. Hey, where you going?”

“Elsewhere, Loser.”

Okay, so perhaps he doesn’t call me a loser, but you get the drift. Cats do seem to have attitude at times, but most often they are in a reasonable frame of mind, just as long as you don’t do anything they consider offensive–such as hugging, nibbling, toe tickling or tail touching. Tummy rubs are okay if you know what you are doing, and back scratches are definitely worth keeping us around for. Cats use body language to ask for these things, so you’d better darn well pay attention.

When a cat is rolling around on his back with all his toes curled up tight, looking at you like you were Moses on the Mount, he is clearly telling you to drop what you are doing immediately and put your hands to good use for a change. He wants a tummy rub and right this second please or he may have to scratch you. When a cat is lying on his tummy with all of his paws tucked underneath and eyes squinched shut, with a peaceful expression on his face, he is in what the experts call, the “meatloaf position” and he is thinking extremely profound thoughts, which usually center around inhaling and exhaling.

Cats use purring as a form of communication as well. They purr when they are happy, excited, sick, hurt, scared…..okay, so it’s a limited vocabulary and they have to make do. They also communicate with their tails a lot. When frightened, the cat’s tail will poof up three times its normal size. When contented and happy, the tail will slowly sway back and forth like a pendulum on a clock. When he’s excited or angry that tail will twitch spasmodically. The cat’s tail definitely tells the tale so to speak, and if it’s telling you to buzz off, you’d better leave town.

Different cats tell you they are hungry in different ways. Some cats will just wait patiently at your feet for you to get with the program and feed them, while others will pace back and forth, repeatedly rubbing against your legs until you stumble and drop the cat food all over the floor, at which point he will stop pacing and rubbing and go ahead and help himself. Just don’t expect him to clean up the crumbs, thank you. A crumb is anything smaller than a cockroach. The cat will shove those pieces of food under the furniture so the vermin will not go hungry. Cats are generous that way.

By the way, as long as we are on the topic of cat food, most cats will not eat people food of any kind. Not even if it once had fins, scales and a tail and swam in the ocean. They will not eat tuna unless it comes out of a cat food can, (trust me, they can tell the difference) and chicken is not chicken unless it is shaped like brown mush that resembles nothing resembling actual chicken. It genuinely concerns me to see cats developing this hatred of human food, because I can’t help but wonder what atrocity might be in there that they are rejecting. Cat food is supposedly full of all the worst meat parts, yet they absorb the stuff like it’s a gourmet dinner at the Ritz. Something tells me our feline friends know something we don’t.

Cats will not drink water that has been lapped by a visiting d-o-g. This water is contaminated by d-o-g cooties and cats will abhor it until you have dumped the nasty water, thoroughly scrubbed and disinfected the bowl, and filled it with fresh,clean tap water. They would rather die of thirst than drink from a contaminated water dish, and will glare at you with suspicious eyes for the rest of the day because you allowed the evil d-o-g to enter their domain. You really should be ashamed of yourself. I don’t even want to tell you what they will do if you go so far as to pet the intruder….you really do not want to go there.

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User Comments
  1. tommy

    On January 26, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    if i ever get a cat one day, i’ll keep this in mind :D

    and i won’t get a d-o-g. :P

  2. Kristie Karns

    On January 27, 2007 at 4:51 am

    Oh, Good. Those darn D-0-G-s are simply detrimental to a cat’s ultimate well-being. lol Good to keep hearing from you, Tommy. :)

  3. Meg

    On December 2, 2007 at 5:18 am

    My cat does eat tuna and chickeN adn she does drink water after a vistiting dog…..Ether my cat is strange or you need to get your facts right.

  4. Zac

    On December 8, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    i gave my cat a cheez-it once and she licked the salt and didnt actually bite into it but i thought it was wierd, my cat is so fat she will eat anything

  5. Alex

    On April 7, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Why do you say dog like d-o-g ? it’s like you don’t want to say the word..

  6. my name here

    On May 17, 2008 at 11:41 am

    dog haters

  7. dont ask that!

    On May 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    i was looking how to speak cat not looking to KNOW stuff gah u should try athropodicts god!

  8. yeahyeah

    On July 7, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    My cat eats human food, gets along with my dogs, and isn’t snobby, nor does she have an attitude. She plays fetch and is social with everyone. That’s the difference between someone who knows how to care for an animal properly and one who spends time writing useless things online instead of caring for their animal.

  9. Name __________

    On July 10, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    hehe, lol nice. i should try it on my cat right now xD

  10. Long time Member of the Cat Staff :-))

    On September 5, 2008 at 10:17 am

    The article was enjoyable and humorus.
    I have owned cats for a while & they all have their own personalities, but are all similar in ways as well (just like humans).
    Currently we have two cats, an 8yo female & 4 month old male.
    Both are enjoyable, but vastly different.
    She has a huge attitude, but is the coolest cat.
    He is fun loving and very playful (painfully so at time, sharp teeth and claws).
    She will “beg” for chips if she sees you eating them, when you finally give one up, she will lick it, then eat it.
    He will devour shrimp to the point that he growls like a dog if you try to reach for it while he is shredding his “kill” in order to eat it.
    Thank you for the article, keep up the good work.

    As for those making negative comments…GET A LIFE!!!

  11. Catlover

    On March 31, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I love cats and this will definetly help me and other cat people. P.S. If the cat grows up with a dog; it will think it’s a dog. It works in the oposite way as well. Trust me, this is true. I have a dog who thinks she’s a cat and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. It’s quite entertaining actually.


    On May 14, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Cats are so very intelligent, I wish more humans were… Loved ya article, post more!
    Oh, and those posting neg. feedback… GET A LIFE!!! like Postee #11 said.>:(

  13. nirvana lover

    On June 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    cats are so awsome but i still cant read my cats hahahaha

  14. NYCAndre

    On July 8, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Cats *should* eat human food, well, at least some that is good for them. Mine love broccoli (slightly cooked) and really dig asparagus, not to mention any kind of raw meat or fish – as a matter of fact he is so picky about it that I can tell the quality and freshness of the meat or fish by his reaction to it. If the plays with it first, prodding it and moving it around the floor (yes, I know, more work.. but worth it) that means THE BEST!

    As far as canned food, please do your cat a favor. It is well known that these foods contains a lot of harmful ingredients (4D: diseased, disabled, dead and dying). For convenience I use some of the least harmful dry pellets, by Wysong – there may be others, but I haven’t investigated them enough to recommend any.

    Here’s a photo of Kal, approving my choices

    And if you ever wanted to know the grisly facts of industry practices (not the melanin Chinese scandals, the usual scandals)
    just google at will, here’s a good one (happens to be dogs, but same applies to cats obviously)

  15. cheyanne

    On April 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    its aq dog not a d-o-g

  16. dog lover

    On April 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    its a dog not a d-o-g

  17. hthecattyluvr

    On September 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

    my cats r too old to learn anything (fwi i still love them!) but when i get a kitten i will train it

  18. Novie

    On August 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    People…Please. In case you weren’t paying attention…this is supposed to be just humorous…nothing else. Take it with a grain of salt, please. I know it’s not accurate and it wasn’t meant to be, for pity’s sake. For the person who told me the difference between someone who writes stupid things online and someone who takes care of their animals…well…whatever. I have raised cats my entire life and I take offense at the thought that someone is accusing me of neglecting animals. How dare you? Go away and do something constructive rather than trolling stupid articles online. As for the rest of you…have a wonderful day! :)

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