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November 1999
No. 002

Page 9

Cat Talk

Speaking 'Cat'
By Dr Doevenless

Hello! I'm Dr Doevenless, the PKC Herald expert on the real world of cats and dogs. This week I'm going to introduce you to 'Cat', the language that you can use to talk your pet cat. I have included the basics on Cat, as well as actions that mean things too. Now, obviously you won't be able to do some of the more technical things with your ears, but you will know what they mean when you see them on a cat!

Mow - Pronounced as 'Cow', with your tongue is at the top and back of your mouth.
*This is a sort of formal greeting to a cat like 'Good Day'. Most cats use this word, only a few cats use different meows as their main greeting. Mow also means 'Cat' or 'Human'.

BRrup - Pronounced as if the 'Rr' sound was a sort of 'rl' sound. The sound is rolled on the tip of your tongue.
*This is a much less formal greeting, more like 'Hi' and 'Bye' than 'Good Day'. I often use this with success with cats in the street and my own cats.

Tail Twitching - Last 2 inches of the tail taps gently.
*This is a sign of happiness and contentment.

Tail Waving - Half the tail or more waves hard through the air.
*This is a sign of irritation and anger.

Eyes Wide Open
*The cat doesn't trust you OR is interested in what you are doing. Either way it doesn't want to miss anything by closing its eyes.

Eyes Tight Shut
*The cat trusts you with its life - do not abuse this trust as it is the highest compliment a cat can give a human.

Ears forward and close together
*The cat is interested and alert.

Ears back and folded
*Watch out. The cat is irritated and dangerous.

Ears facing forward but held lower and far apart. Eyes will be wide.
*Cat is terrified.

The Blink - Close your eyes slowly and open the slowly while looking at the cat.
*This is a catty smile, and shows that you like the cat, that you trust the cat and that the cat is superior. This is another high compliment from a cat and is also used as a greeting.

The Gentle Reproach - Close your eyes slowly and look away from the cat slowly. Then open your eyes.
*This is the way that cats tell kittens and humans off when we've done something wrong. It can be used to tell the cat that it has done something wrong too.


The Hiss - Mouth open, top lip curled up so your 'fangs' show, tongue high in your mouth and blow hard over your tongue.
*Good for quietly getting unwanted cats out of your garden, whereas a loud growl will bring the cat's owner out to see what you are doing to their cat! The Hiss is like catty equivalent of muttering something rude because saying it any louder will mean you get beaten up. You'll see cats hiss when fighting and then slink off. Sometimes they mean it, often it's just for show.

The Growl - Your mouth should do what a lion's mouth does when it does a little roar. Starts of open but ends up almost closed. Roll the growl at the back of your throat and make is deep and long and sudden.
*The growl startles a cat and tells them that you mean business. It is a good way of getting cats to drop small animals if you rush at them growling. To a cat its skin is much more valuable than its pride, or the small animal! You know you have no intention of hurting the cat, I know that you don't, but the cat doesn't know that and isn't going to wait around to find out.

The Purr - A continuous rolling sound at the back of your throat.
*Surprisingly just because a cat is purring doesn't mean it has good intentions. If a cat is excited and interested in a toy or live creature it will purr, just like it will purr while eating and after eating said toy or live creature, and just like it will purr 2 hours later in front of the fire etc. The Purr just means the cat is having a good time. You purring *at* the cat has only a little effect, because ultimately the cat is interested in *their* happiness, not yours. I suppose the way they see it is 'I am happy, therefore you should be happy as you have done your job (feeding, stroking and generally looking after me) well'.

The Scent - Scent glands are under the jaw, along the side of the cat and under the tail.
*When a cat rubs against you or your furniture it is putting some scent on there that says 'I own it'. Strangly cats 'own' humans, but they don't 'own' other cats. Tickling your cat under the jaw tells it that you like the cat and you trust the cat and the cat is a superior being.

Well, I expect you to all go and have long, worthwhile conversations with your cats now, and develop a wonderful, respectful relationship! I personally am going to have a bath. My cat talks too much anyway. Let me know if you have any success with the language Cat! You can email me at the PKC Herald email address, whatever that it (I never pay attention to these things). Next week I will be talking about dogs and their body language.

Until next time, BRrup Mow!

 - Dr Doevenless, your expert on the Real World of Cats and Dogs.

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