Can Cats Actually Talk: Cat running towards and meowing at someone

Can Cats Actually Talk? Or Is It All in Our Heads?

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One of the appeals of cat ownership is that our kitties often do things we never expect them to! They’re funny and fascinating that way. They’re literally like babies who do something new and surprising everyday.

Well, thanks to technology and the Internet, we can now set up cameras to spy on our fur babies so that we don’t miss out on all their adventures while we’re not around.

This was the case with @nickyrosetattoo who set up cameras in her home while she stayed in the hospital. Although she asked her dad to look after her kitty, this sweet cuddle bug must have been missing his mom so much and was so confused as to why he couldn’t find her.

In the video, you can hear the OP’s cat calling out to her in English, which is heartbreaking but also mind-blowing. Can cats really talk? @Gods-son85 commented, “Cats can talk. When I was a kid, I heard one.” @chispa9550 also said, “Yes. I do think that cats can talk. I had a cat that call [sic] me by my name. I thought it was my imagination but now I realize is not.”


I have been at the hospital the last 5 days and he’s really been misisng me 😭 (my dad goes every 2 days to check on him) #catsoftiktok #cats #catlover #cattalking

♬ original sound – nickyrosetattoo

Here are some more stories from commenters about hearing their cats talk:

@Riskii: Cats can talk, my cat used to be behind my door saying my name.

@Marcy 777: Cats can talk when they want you to hear them. Our cats call my hubby’s name! I told them to call me mom and they sound like this when they want.

@Jade.R: About 25 years ago my mum said she met a cat that said hello how are you. I didn’t believe her. Now I believe her.

@Lucy GarMors: Absolutely!! My cat says “agua” when his water bowl needs replenishing.

@melanieanicic: I picked my cat up the other day, and he said, “Leave me alone.” I put him down, he looked at me …huffed and walked away.

@Scarlethope: My grandparent’s cat can understand when they speak to her in Japanese. Cats are so smart.

@tmclachlan2003: Animals, like humans, pick up on languages. We had a Siamese cat many years ago. Any time she had a hair ball, she would say, “uh oh, I don’t feel so well.”

@Dannie: My cat used to say, “hello who is it” when someone knocks on the door.

@AleFassby: I had a cat that came to my house for food. I asked him very politely to catch a mouse I had in the kitchen. He did it.

@Eva Sarahi: We hear our cat saying mom all the time. My husband is like, there she is calling you again lol.

@Sugarbesoss: I had a cat that said, “I Love you.” People didn’t believe me until they heard him! I wish I would have recorded [sic]. He has now passed away.

As @JustsavinglivesNBD94 summarizes, “Cats have the ability to mimic humans!”

So, can cats actually talk?

Although most people consider meowing to be ‘talking’, some owners have pushed the idea further by claiming that their feline pets can truly speak the human language. A team of animal experts from AnimalWised explained that most domesticated cats have learned to modulate the sound they make to make their humans give them what they want a lot faster.

As early as 1895, people who domesticated cats to become household pets believed that their feline companions not only understood them but were also capable of talking back like humans. Some academics even went as far as writing an entire dissertation that claimed to translate common “cat language” into something that humans could understand.

Aside from modulating their voices, some cat breeds also seem capable of learning sounds that resemble human language, further making it seem as though they speak like a regular person.

In 2016, a group of researchers from BBC Earth released a documentary which showed that cats speak to attract attention and to get what they want from humans–whether it’s warm shelter, delicious food, or infinite belly rubs.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to help your cat live a long and healthy life

In more recent years, self-proclaimed cat experts, such as American author and naturalist Jean Craighead George, claim that cat vocalizations are the animal’s ingenious way of communicating with humans. However, some scientific studies still contend that these vocalizations are just a cat’s way of conveying their current emotional state and are in no way similar to human language as we understand it.

Cats talk to us because they know they can manipulate us

For the most part, cats communicate by combining verbal cues, such as meowing, hissing, growling, and purring, and non-verbal cues, such as swatting or tilting their heads. Interestingly, animal experts found that these types of cat communication are mostly aimed at humans.

Research shows that adult domesticated cats rarely express themselves to other cats since they cannot be manipulated to act in the same way humans can. Now, that’s why they confidently boss us around!

Domesticated cats can learn to communicate with humans

People assume that all animals create sounds as a way to communicate with humans. However, animal experts, scientists, and veterinarians point out that domesticated cats are more likely to learn to modulate their voices, create human sounds, and verbally respond as opposed to their feral counterparts.

Most feral cats are not familiar with the way humans communicate. As such, they’re more likely to “communicate” in a different way. They are also most likely to respond negatively to humans.

In addition, researchers found that house cats are more likely to respond if their owners communicate with them using “baby talk” as opposed to talking to them as if they were adults. In fact, the study concluded that cats become less responsive whenever humans use their ‘adult’ voice in their cat-directed speeches.

Research also shows that cats respond to humans in different ways, depending on their relationship with the particular person. Adult cats almost “talk” only to their owners and ignore a stranger’s voice. They also express their emotions in different ways, depending on the people they live with.

Moreover, another study showed that there is no such thing as a universal language even among cats of the same breed. Every meow, hiss, growl, or purr can mean different things even when they are made by the same house cat!

Final Thoughts

Cats are indeed masters who love to boss us around. They even managed to learn our language to make sure we understand what they want and that we give in to their demands.

Although there’s no solid scientific evidence that cats can speak human language, I’m sure all cat parents would like to believe that their kitties can. Well, with all the anecdotal evidence that shows cats talking to their humans in one language or another, I’d like to believe that cats can actually talk and that it’s not just in our heads.

Featured Image Credit: Abdulla Nadeem / Pexels

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