Communication is The Best Policy  

If animals could speak the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow, but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much. ~ Mark Twain

Every creature living on planet earth has its own unique way of expressing themselves, i.e., to communicate. Communication in a broader sense is the art of delivering messages to each other and vice versa by signals, behavior, body language, gestures, writing and speech. Let’s see the interesting way cats convey their wants and needs to us humans. Domestic cats have their own way of communicating with humans. Research has shown that wild cats in Africa – which later evolved into domestic cats – don’t have this special skill. However, regarding the domestic cat’s ancestor, a recent study said :

The domestic house cat is descended from the Middle Eastern Wild cat, uncovering proof of how and when cats first came to supervise so many homes for humans. The DNA of 979 cats throughout the world were analyzed and found that all feral and domestic cats today have a common ancestor: the Near Eastern Felis silvestris. Cats were first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent, an area stretching from the eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, and then cats were transported around the world by humans. The earliest archaeological evidence for cats and people living together was found in Cyprus, dating to 9,500 years ago.

Domestic cats have a long relationship with humans, traced all the way back to when farmers began growing grain 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. Farmers recognized that cats would prey on rodents who ate their crop, and through this situation there developed a mutually beneficial relationship between our two species. You see, cats and people have been communicating pretty well now for 10,000 years.
In 2002, a psychologist from Cornell University, Nicholas Nicastro , compared hundreds of “meow” vocalizations from domestic cats (Felis catus ) to African wild cats (Felis silvetris lybica ) and his research proved that the difference between their vocalizations were in accordance to whether they were trying to communicate with humans. For instance, when cats demand to be fed, they express a different “meow” then when they are in an angry mood. Thus, based on my own experience at being a longtime cat-lover, I can tell their moods not only from their different meows, but also by a wide range of kitty lexicon including their body language and gestures – headbutts, how they wag their tails, et al. – right on down to the different ways they purr. Please see YouTube video below for the hard evidence.

The research showed that there are indeed significant differences in the two different types of cats’ abilities to communicate and it all centered on their exposure to humans. The African wild cats were only capable of expressing the unpleasant meow vocal range. They don’t produce the soft swaying meows like domestic cats. Furthermore, cats love to observe and study how we – humans – express our emotions and communicate our feelings to each other and with other creatures. And the clever little devils are taking notes because our cats really know how to push our buttons to get what they want. They have been learning from us all this time. The proof of this statement is available in the YouTube video below.
Posted in YouTube by klaatu42
"Cats are domesticated animals that have learned what levers to push, what sounds to make to manage our emotions," Nicastro says. "And when we respond, we too are domesticated animals."

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15 comments

  • Dr Tweety of da Fab Five  
    March 23, 2008 at 6:59 AM

    This was BRILLIANT!!!! I firstee thought that da same video waz a mistakee...but OH NO.... it waz da kitteezz talkin' likes beanz. Da momee here tinks you might be a furry creative & alivez purrsin to pull dis off. I agreez.

  • Boy  
    March 23, 2008 at 10:04 PM

    Of course we are the best communicators. It's those humans who didn't know any better.

  • Chairman Mao  
    March 24, 2008 at 5:00 AM

    Oh wowie, what a fascinatin postie! And Momma just loves the Nicastro quote at the end. She's always talking about how we Ballicai have got her so well trained -- now we've got proof, Momma is our domestickated animal! hehehehehehe!

    Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMaoMaoMao!

  • Marilyn MonREOW  
    March 24, 2008 at 5:42 AM

    I just love this post! Thank you for sharing that fascinating information -- we kitties are expert communicators, and recent research is proving it! And such precious videos, too. *smile*

    Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn!

  • Moki  
    March 24, 2008 at 7:13 AM

    Happy Easter!

  • DaisyMae Maus  
    March 24, 2008 at 8:39 AM

    Happy Easter!
    Teleport over for some ham at 5 PDT.

    DMM

  • Dragonheart & Merlin  
    March 24, 2008 at 5:00 PM

    Fascinating information! :) Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  • Parker  
    March 24, 2008 at 5:49 PM

    I have known that we can communicate! I talk to everyone in my house all of the time!

  • Darlene  
    March 25, 2008 at 4:29 AM

    This is a very cool article. I really like how domesticated kitties have much more pleasant "voices" than the wild kitties do. I agree that cats do train us to do what they want! They watch us all the time and learn from their observations. We should do the same with them.

    Good job!

    Darlene

  • WereBear  
    March 25, 2008 at 6:11 AM

    Cats are fine scientists when it comes to cause & effect. Research seems to point that each cat comes up with their own language, because we do.

    And the more we talk to them, they better they are at it. Not just getting their point across, but getting ours as well.

  • Katie & Da Katz  
    March 25, 2008 at 12:10 PM

    What wunderfool mews...
    Yes we cats are goods at cohmewnacatin... sumtimez our beans don't payz atenshun!!

    likes my mommee didn't kohs I cud says hur naym!! likes I waw sayin it fur longs times before she figured dat out. silly katrin.

    Boo Boo Bear
    =^..^=

  • Moki  
    March 25, 2008 at 1:23 PM

    Another well written post! I love archaeology. It would be interesting to see what anthropologist have to say about the culture of cats as they emerged into everyday society...

  • felinesopher  
    March 25, 2008 at 10:52 PM

    hi Darlene, nice to see ya around:) Yes, indeed our cats at home have been managed to make their adjustment & fit in into our daily life, such a wonderful harmony.

    I agree with your opinion, we should & owe them to be harmonized with our cats. Your posting on Talk To Your Kitty, And She’ll Talk Back! in your site will make this all possible.

  • Mike  
    March 26, 2008 at 2:47 AM

    Welcome, Felinesophy, and thanks for visiting me. The site you visited me on is my teleport site. The 2009 is a sticky note with all my instructions. By invitation, I'm a traveling fluffhead--Mike the Mysterious.
    I have my regular site called Mike the Mysterious and I belong to Gretchen at Gretchen's Paw Prattle.

    Come to my regular site and Gretchen's site (she's a real feline) and get to know us better. You can find her link through my site.

    I'm impressed with your site. I especially love the kitty on the piano.

    Your bud...Mike

  • Ana  
    March 26, 2008 at 6:21 PM

    I have also noticed that my cats have different voices. When Chica is teaching Pumuckl something she uses a different tone then when she calls him over or when she is greeting us when we come back home. It is fascinating to discover all those differences.

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