Tag Archives: language

The Language Lightbulb

I talk to my cats.

This is not to say that they talk back or understand what I’m saying. But dogs are supposed to be able to recognize up to 300 words, so I figure cats can learn up to 500. Not knowing what those words are, I just talk. Besides, it would take a lot of effort to just say words at a cat. Talking is easy.

And though I don’t know what they say all the time, Kitten Thunder also talks to us. Oliver has some very recognizable phrases: “Girl,” “Breakfast,” “I’m about to toss my tuna,” “Where is everyone?” I’m sure some will be shocked that “Girl” and “Breakfast” are not the same word. Not even close. After all, I do snuggle with him as well.

We haven’t figured out Obi as well. He makes a lot of sounds, but I can’t assign a certain sound to a certain action. The closest we’ve come is his new “where is everyone?” call. It’s funny how cats will walk out of a room and forget where they left their people. Or maybe they just want me to follow them.

I know that Oliver knows certain words, like “breakfast” in human. When we feel like torturing him in the morning we’ll go through the options. “Do you want some dinner?” Blank stare. “Do you want some lunch?” Blank, edging toward irritated, stare. “Do you want a snack?” Glare. “Do you want breakfast?” YES! BREAKFAST! She puts the food on the plate!

The other evening, Oliver and I were laying on the couch. I asked him if he wanted to go to bed and he rubbed the top of his head across my lips. “Oliver,” I said again. “Do you want to go upstairs and go to bed?” Again with the hugging. But then I saw the wheels start to turn. I saw him recognize the words…upstairs…bed…

Yes, yes he did want to go to bed. That’s where all his best snuggling happens.