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Cat Language

November 18, 2009

Fascinating! Tell me more...

I’ve got the two greatest cats in the world. (Sorry to all of you who thought yours was the best, but no.) George and Gracie are fantastic: perfect, well-behaved, loving at all the right times, and most importantly, they’re great listeners. If you’ve read my blog here, at Open Salon or followed me on Twitter, it probably comes as no surprise to learn that I’m one of those people that talks out loud to myself quite a bit. (Hope that’s not over-share, and doesn’t frighten you away.);-)

Did you see what just happened? I got self-conscious by simply admitting to talking to myself. We all do it to some extent, but I think we all believe, at least just a bit, that it reveals a hair-line fracture in our sanity. Ever been yapping away to yourself when someone walks in on you? Embarrassing, huh? But it’s probably happened to everyone at one point or another.

For those of us that are more, shall we say, ‘verbose than the norm’: there’s nothing like a pet. Other people might still give you the odd look, but you don’t question yourself so much when there’s another living being in the room. Gracie may not really care about the desperate need for healthcare reform in this country, but she listens intently. George may not have a preference between Sweet Chamomile, Spiced Butternut and Chickadee (paint colors for the living room), but he sits there, drinks in my debate and sometimes even responds. (He likes the Chickadee!)

Studies have demonstrated for years that we derive enormous benefit, both physically and psychologically, from pets. Speaking as someone who works from home quite a bit, it’s nice just to occasionally hear the gentle jingle of their bells, or the wall bump as they climb up their tower. You’ve got company, you’re not alone, and the house doesn’t get so spooky quiet. Especially in this digital age when more and more of us spend less and less time in an actual office with actual humans, pets give us a connection to life.

So I occasionally like to “speak their language.” Just this morning, as I sat with George meowing away, it occurred to me (not for the first time) that it seems a little crazy. Obviously, we’re not communicating; I don’t actually know cat language. But does it matter? Is it not possible that he appreciates the fact that I even try? Does he think,”Ha ha ha, there she goes again, ‘peephole steam footsie?’ She has no idea what she’s saying! Bless her silly human heart.” Or, maybe Gracie just thinks I have a funny accent. Who knows?

Of course, it may be more likely that no matter what I say to them, cat or human language, it all sounds the same to them. Still, they listen. They may not comprehend, but how many people do you talk to in a day that really listen and understand what you’re saying? At least with George and Gracie I know that while they listen, they’re not just thinking ahead to the next break in conversation when it’s their turn to speak. Unless, of course, it’s dinner time, then that’s a whole different story.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2009 3:50 pm

    Great post, super cute, award-winning picture. This captures the coolness and cuteness of cats so well. I grew up with cats and dogs, I dearly love them both. Thanks for the inspiration.
    absurd thought –
    our Supreme God says
    never think out loud

    fight to keep a train of thought
    amidst all competing thoughts

  2. November 18, 2009 4:13 pm

    Cats don’t judge. And they are great conversationalists. I love talking with them. 🙂

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