Have you ever noticed how cats watch you with thoughtful, serious whenever you speak to them, pause for a brief second… then proceed to do exactly what you just told them NOT to do? Have you ever sworn you kitty must have fallen really hard as a baby, and didn’t exactly land on its feet, maybe more than once, because they sit and watch you get the spray bottle as they meticulously do something they know turns your face red and their tails wet? Did you know that’s one of the main reasons that non-cat people genuinely believe cats are stupid? But how stupid can an animal that has memorized your reactions to certain behaviors, calculated the exact amount of time it will take you to reach them and bolt straight for the fastest, safest route to a hiding spot really be?
Fun fact: cats typically don’t meow to each other to communicate. They growl, hiss, and cry out in distress if they are trapped or in danger. Other than that, they only meow at us, to us, for us. (We maintain that there are always exceptions to every rule, and some cats DO meowversate with one another. We speak a great deal from our own experiences!) They know that we open our mouths and make sounds, and then things get done, so they associate “talking,” with asking for (or demanding) something they need or want.
What they don’t understand is that, while they eventually learn rough translations of things we say often, especially directly to them, we aren’t afforded the same blessing. The best we can usually do is deciphering a hungry meow from an injured cry, or a sucking-up-so-you-forgive-the-mess-I-made chirp from the “new people in the house” alert. Beyond that, we’re on our own for figuring out what our kitties are trying to tell us. And, unfortunately, they aren’t quite as patient or understanding as we are with them while they’re learning. Since they don’t have reason to care about decryption, they don’t realize we’re stumbling through Meowterpretations 101-Pitch and Inflection – the crash course – and the tutors for that class… well, they don’t speak Human. They think we just aren’t paying attention, so our cats do what they do best: give us plenty of reason to never stop chasing them!
Feline Rebellion: The Cat it All Summary
Yes, cats are rebellious little creatures by nature, and sometimes we’re convinced they’re conspiring to take over the planet. However, their tantrums do not spawn from a pure, black desire to see how much angrier they can make us than the day before. Cats are usually destructively or dangerously rebellious and temperamental for a reason, even if involves something other than “talking,” Consider these variables in the equation, as well:
- Excess energy from lack of exercise
- They lost sight of the bug/lizard/mouse they were hunting
- Furniture rearrangement or moving to a new home
- They noticed the food mountain in their dishes is shrinking
You get the idea. So, they try to tell us. They continue trying over and over, but that cursed language barrier is unbreakable. We know we can’t blame them; they can only be the animals we adore and admire, nothing more. However, we also know they can’t keep making bandages out of anything that hangs less than four feet off the ground or digging for bone in these here ankles when we pass them.
The Best Place to Start is the Beginning
Again, we remind you that our pets do not wake up every morning, plotting and looking for ways to get in trouble and make us furious. However, they have learned that this gets every bit of your attention, and then some! So, give them what they want, and they will stay away… from some of the Forbidden Human Treasures.
It will take a little practice, as with training your cat, but when they’re trying to show you what it is that’s making them so vocal, pay close attention. Follow their every step, stop walking when they stop, look around for anything unusual, unsanitary, or unalive. You’re bound to stumble on whatever it is they want you to see or know some time.
DO NOT Nip it in the Bud
For cats who still carry a chip off the old rebel, listen well! You know by now that we are against things like “spanking” our pets, and that is true in these situations more than ever. To spank or punish your cat after they’ve spent days TRYING to communicate with you would set them back days, or even weeks, and all the progress you’ve made communicating with them is gone. Some cats might even go silent, and never attempt to talk to you again, and others might even slip outside and run away from home.
Personal experience tip: go to a pet store and buy a feeder mouse or a small lizard. Take it home, release it in a safe space with minimal furnishings or props. Now, LEAD your cat to this area, direct your pet toward the surprise, and let your baby do his or her job! When it’s over, win or lose, brag and love on your little hunter. That’s an ego that won’t deflate for weeks, and now your scratches can heal!
Flip the Scribble!
By now, your cat is well-prepared for your wrath. There is probably very little you could say or throw to scare your cat anymore, so, don’t try. Make a HUGE production of giving up and walking away. Hide and watch your cat for a moment. Then, head back and do it all over again. Keep it confusing; throw in a little help destroying things you chastised your cat for ruining, and invite them to join your demolition. They won’t understand why you suddenly changed the rules, and many times they won’t stick around to find out, or try to locate the fine line they love crossing. They’re scared now; later, they’ll be upset because you said it was ok for them to do that. If it’s not taboo, kitty says “nooo.”
Note: don’t keep up this charade for too long. About 10 minutes should be enough to make your point. Your cat can become sincerely frightened, even of you. That sudden fear jolt doesn’t vanish in a couple of hours.
Good Game, Whiskers
Keep in mind that a bribe is given with the intent to keep someone quiet about something. Giving your cat catnip when they’ve been restless and cranky for a few days is like bringing soup and chocolate to a sick lady, not like bribing the poor thing. It’s a spirit-lifter, a pain reliever, and a magic dust that turns your fierce Tiger back into a sweet little Cubby again for a night. Your angel has earned it for all the practicing and improvement. That’s not spoiling; that’s encouragement and love.