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tinyfaery's avatar

To what extent do you feel your pet communicates with you?

Asked by tinyfaery (42541points) June 27th, 2008

Do you feel your pet understands what you say? Do you feel your pet “talks” to you in its own way? If so how much, and in what ways (i.e. telepathy, barks/meows, body language)? I ask because I have the most talkative cat, and I swear sometimes he’s yelling at me.

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20 Answers

yetanother's avatar

I don’t think my pets understand what I say, but I do feel that my body language and pitch/tone do a good job of communicating, and it works both ways.

I do believe that animals and people learn to “talk” to one another in this way. Neither one of us truly knows what the other wants but over time we learn to communicate.

AstroChuck's avatar

To the extent that requires me to clean up their “communiques.”

marinelife's avatar

Yes, I do. Humans are very arrogant about what constitutes intelligence. I think animals are much smarter than most conventional wisdom allows, but they are smart in different ways and have different priorities than we do.

My dog Mackie (whom I have raised from the age of 10 weeks) and whom I have spoken to as a regular person since that time understands a wide range of human vocabulary. We were at the dog park one day, and I called out to him with a complicated set of instructions that involved conditions. A woman walking nearby heard me and laughed, saying “Yeah, sure, like he is going to understand that.” Mackie then did exactly as I had asked him to and the woman was amazed. I hadn’t really given it much thought, because that is how I have always spoken to him.

My husband was surprised one day when we were in the car. Mackie was panting and I looked over my shoulder and said, “Mack, if you move to the other side of the back seat into the shade, you will be cooler.” Mackie got up and moved over.

I just wish I could understand what he was trying to tell me better. Dogs communicate mostly via images, and I, being very verbal, am not great at receiving pictures. So, our communication is more one-way than I would like. I have learned to differentiate his bark tones and to listen to him when he is reacting with his far superior scent reading.

On the other hand, when we got Kobe, our adopted ex-racing greyhound, he did not speak English at all. Now, in a little less than a year, he is much more responsive, but I suspect it will never be the same as a dog I raised from puppyhood.

Cats, by the way, can develop a human vocabulary of about 23 words (to dogs some 250). I am sure your cat is sommunicating with you. Their thought processes are even more different from ours than dogs though.

Seesul's avatar

Chuckie. You should ask your pet not to swear at you. —does Astro have a Dorg named AstroJr????-

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

My dog thinks I’m crazy. I’ll be back when I’m done arguing with him.

just kidding

ninjaxmarc's avatar

yes, I ask questions and he replies back with a bark. One for yes, two for no.

He’s a attention whore but he knows how to get what he wants, how to communicate it and always happy.

He’s part rabbit, he loves his carrots.

scamp's avatar

My house is like Dr. DooLittle’s. I talk to them, and they answer daily!!

Knotmyday's avatar

Drake came from a shelter. He is very friendly and exceptionally well-behaved. Kids love him, because he is very patient, playful and gentle.
However, I have noted several things about him. He responds to sudden actions (such as standing up quickly, changing directions while walking, or even reaching out to pet him) by cringing, tucking tail, and running a few steps . Also, if you approached him with an object in your hand (tv remote etc.) he would flee and hide under furniture.
So, obviously that tells me he had been abused. With that in mind, I have been continually untraining him to fear. I realize that he needs a bit more of a gentle touch than other dogs, but he also needs to regain confidence. I may move a bit more deliberately around him, but I speak to him in a firm, encouraging tone, and make sure our physical contact is made in the same manner.
He is getting better…he still has a tendency to duck and cover, but he stands his ground at least. The other day he barked for the first time, at the air conditioner repairman. Very deep and powerful. I was so proud.
Anyway, I realize we still have a long way to go, but his progress makes my very happy. He is a Very Good Dog.

Zaku's avatar

My cats know a few words, and they communicate and understand communication, but mostly it is not with symbolic word meaning. It’s more with body language, voice tone and volume, affect, eye contact, facial expressions, even scents.

Cats do have verbal type language though, too. It’s too bad instruction in it is not more commonly known and available.

whatthefluther's avatar

I’ve always talked to my cats and dogs, and while they communicate by their demeanor, we generally understand each other very well.

tinyfaery's avatar

Thank you all for your responses. Personally I think my cats understand a lot of what I say. They all know their names, and their nicknames. And my boy cat, Mushroom, is always telling me how he feels. I’ve learned to decipher his dozens of meows, trills, grunts, etc, and of course I can read his body language. The reason I know Mushroom understands some of the words that come out of my mouth is because one time I called him a shit-head because he’s a boy, and he can be a shit head and he growled and hissed at me. We have some issues in our relationship, but we love each other dearly.

youknowconnor's avatar

A very high extent. I feel that we share a deep connection at times. But maybe I’m just crazy.

girlofscience's avatar

A very high extent.

I just found out that cats only use “meow” to communicate with humans. (To communicate with other cats, they only use purrs, hisses, growls, and body language.) My cat meows honestly at least 75 times a day. She’s quite vocal. So she’s saying a lot to me, that’s for sure.

tarkadal's avatar

My mother-in-law was on the phone, with her daughter and asked “Who is saying “Hello””. Itty Bitty started saying “Hello” at night searching for her kittens” Her daughter Brio also say “Hello” when looking for other to start the’ Tag/Hide/Chase” game.

sccrowell's avatar

When my Dachshund Bailey was about three months old would grab my hand and bark at me. He would run to my bedroom door and bark then he would run back to me and cry or whine and grab at my hand tugging at it. I’d ask him what he wanted and he’d bark once then run intomy bedroom. If I didn’t or don’t get up, he will continue to do this, until I give in and say. Okay, let’s go night night! Boy, let me tell you, he’d run to the bedroom and run up his ramp on to the bed and sit therewaiting for me. What was funny. Was there were a few times I had gotten into bed only to have to get back up and out of bed (bathroom, or get a book to read) he would just get so angry and bArk at me that is until I got back into bed. Now three years later he’s still doing it. He let’s me know when it’s time for bed as well as when he wants to go byebye.

Kaden, my African Grey tells me when he wants to go to bed. He says, “Go night night now!” He has a 400+ word vocabulary! I think he was a Peace Officer in a former life.

himenokuri's avatar

I think that my cats always talk to me with their eyes when they blink slowly thats their way of smiling and then they mew at me when they need me for something and they know when I hurt and come to me :)

himenokuri's avatar

Oh and also my cat was growling at the window and scratching at it and I saw that my mom had fallen down the stairs from my back porch! and I was able to get her up and back into the house

poofandmook's avatar

This is super old but the Poof absolutely communicates with me. She has a raspy meow that sounds like a scream when she wants attention. She has a deep, very weird, loud, “MOW” sound (not meow, mind you. “MOW”) that means she wants to play; she will always be sitting patiently with a toy between her feet after that one.

But what really made me bring this back up, is that tonight I was watching Friday the 13th, and she was on the end of the bed also watching the TV. The first time a woman screamed, she immediately whipped her head around, with her ears back, stared at me, and most definitely gave me the stinkeye. When the screaming stopped, she went back to watching the TV.

MissAnthrope's avatar

My cat communicates vocally and through body language. She’s a talker, so she frequently meows to tell me stuff, but I don’t always know what it is she’s saying. I’ll reply, and she’ll reply, and so on, until one of us gets bored.

She does know some words/commands, though. She knows her names (Kitty and Kali), she knows “come here”, “inside”, “outside” (and “out”), and probably a few more. I’ve come to learn some of her meows, as well. There’s one in particular that is food-related, either when her bowl is empty or I’m getting ready to give her wet food in the morning. It’s kind of a soft, abbreviated, purry “mow”. Another one is the alarm meow, which means she’s stuck somewhere or wants my help. Another is one especially for when she’s outside and the door is closed, which is pretty smart because it’s higher-pitched and louder, so I can hear her through the door.

Then there are the purrs, chirps, head-butts, and love bites that let me know she’s pretty fond of me.

MaryW's avatar

Absolutely, my animals talk to me and understand me very well.
Yes to… telepathy, barks/meows, chirps, whinnies, nickers, stares, whines, body language? I do know what they want by all three methods you mentioned. Also: Many animals are quite capable of training their owners exceptionally well. I enjoy watching it happen. It really tickles me because many people think every species except human are unintelligent. My dogs and horses know a great many words and when I am speaking to them or aside to someone else. Both dogs and horses can pick the words out of sentences. So I can talk to them and have fun with that and they still know where to go and what to do or not.
“I ask because I have the most talkative cat, and I swear sometimes he’s yelling at me.” ... He really might be :-) if your cat is a Siamese or part Siam they always say everything loud and are great fun, although mischievous.

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