Does your cat recognise certain words?

(49 Posts)
StuffezLaYoni Wed 24-Apr-13 20:50:02

I know how stupid that sounds. Obviously he recognises when I do things like pickup his food bowl, head to the loo (sign to sit in the bath and mew for water!)
But do you reckon your cat actually hears some words and understands them? My kitten I SWEAR recognises the words "where's the ball?" It sends him into excited frenzy looking for his plastic jingly balls - there are about eighty hidden in various corners of the house!
I have tested this scientifically (!) and said the words in a neutral voice and I swear he KNOWS!

Or am I a loser with too much time on her hands...?

cozietoesie Wed 24-Apr-13 21:08:49

Definitely. He has a vocabulary of about 30 words, maybe 20 of which are food related. He can just about cope with two words being linked, depending on the words, but anymore than that you lose him. Bright cat though - which is something I've always been used to.


cozietoesie Wed 24-Apr-13 21:09:44

Much depends as well on voice and intonation of course.

CognitiveOverload Wed 24-Apr-13 21:11:56

Yes they can recognise the sounds...not sure they could make a sentence though ; )

Hamnvik Wed 24-Apr-13 21:18:01

They recognise their names, No!, come here and dinner but not breakfast for some reason you have to call it dinner. I'm sure its a lot to do with tone of voice too though, I have a special speaking to the cat tone I think.

MillyMoo1113 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:20:32

They recognise their names and "chicken!!!"

In fact calling chicken gets then in the house quicker than their names sometimes....grin

Schlock Wed 24-Apr-13 21:20:43

I used to have to spell the word vet if I wanted to see the cat within 48hrs.

I bet people would pay good money to see a cat with jingly

cozietoesie Wed 24-Apr-13 21:20:59

Yes - I think I have that tone. But he does do different things according to what I say in that tone.


StuffezLaYoni Wed 24-Apr-13 21:21:25

Haha! You lot have tested this too!! grin
I have fallen out with mine this evening because he has pulled the curtain down about six times. He KNOWS my NO voice but chose to ignore it. If I could make him sit on the time out step I bloody would!!!

crazynanna Wed 24-Apr-13 21:22:15

When crazycat was a little kitten, I used to say repeatedly, in a slow quiet voice, "go to sleeeeep", and she did! shock I used to show all my family and the neighbours...'twas my party trick wink

StuffezLaYoni Wed 24-Apr-13 21:22:44

Schlock he has had his jingly balls removed recently! As an aside, my pad isn't correcting the word schlock - what is a schlock?

cozietoesie Wed 24-Apr-13 21:23:28

Seniorboy has re-started an old habit which is pulling down washing drying on radiators. He avoids censure by doing it when I'm not immediately around and then diving up to his bed. As I said - bright cat.

GreyGardens Wed 24-Apr-13 21:23:48

Yes! One of my cats always miaows when I say 'tell me'. But neither of them seem to understand no wink

cozietoesie Wed 24-Apr-13 21:24:25

Trashy, Stuffez.

Sparklingbrook Wed 24-Apr-13 21:24:36

Yes-Sparkling Cat understands 'birdies' (dashes to the window to look) and 'dinner' and the name of the cat over the road grin All have to be said in a sing-song voice.

SacreBlue Wed 24-Apr-13 21:24:48

Mine do too. I think it's part and parcel of ruling the world with a padded claw.

Hassled Wed 24-Apr-13 21:26:36

I'm not convinced mine know their names but they certainly understand "get down".

StuffezLaYoni Wed 24-Apr-13 21:32:59

Ah thanks!
My little bundle of joy is very chirruppy, he has quite an obnoxious meow when he wants attention and I'm shattered and sitting down, but generally if I talk to him, he respons with little chirrups which is lovely!

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 24-Apr-13 23:38:17

Yes cats can recognise commands and can be trained using commands. I clicker train the beautiful moggy girl when she was a youngster to sit, lie and stand.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 25-Apr-13 07:08:39


I trained my cat 1 - 2 - 3 to stop him dithering at the door!

He also knows, crunchies, no, his name and to come when I whistle 4 times.

Sadly missing atm. I miss him terribly.sad

bootsycollins Thu 25-Apr-13 09:12:24

I can shout my cats name in the garden like a crazy cat lady and after a pause I hear his bell and he jumps onto the fence, so cute. I hope your cat comes home soon TeWi

heronsfly Thu 25-Apr-13 09:14:25

My cat is off to the vets tomorrow for the chop, and i'm sure he knows,he is most definitely sulking grin

aliciaflorrick Thu 25-Apr-13 09:20:00

If I say bed time to my cat, she knows to leave whatever room we're in and take herself off to her bed upstairs on the landing. She knows her name. However after 17 years she has me trained to be fluent in cat speak, I can understand " get out of bed, NOW. Feed me, NOW. I need water, NOW. Open the front door I want to go outside, NOW. Budge up I want to snuggle under this blanket on the sofa too". She's a tiny little thing but she's been able to control my behaviour for years.

cozietoesie Thu 25-Apr-13 09:22:10

Not totally relevant to the thread but I couldn't resist telling you.

My boy two ago went outdoors and had a 'calling whistle' that he'd learned. (Three high notes and then a dip to a lower note.)

One dusk, I heard this being repeated and knowing that the cat was inside asleep on my bed, I first told DH that he was in (because I hadn't called it) and then asked DH why he kept calling him when he was inside. DH firmly denied calling him at all.

We eventually worked out by listening and watching that the local chief blackbird had incorporate a pitch-and-timing-perfect version of the cat's calling whistle into his song. He'd obviously heard it a lot and liked it - so decided to adopt it as his own.

Must have been one confused cat thereafter.

For years after the cat died I would hear this in the garden of an evening. It was a bittersweet reminder of him.

bootsycollins Thu 25-Apr-13 09:33:51

Arw * cozie* thanks

QueenStromba Thu 25-Apr-13 11:12:07

Mine definitely understands that "nice food" means that she can leave her biscuits alone because I'll be back in a minute with some wet stuff. Unfortunately she doesn't understand "leave me alone I'm trying to sleep" and misinterprets it as "please bat me in the face and then scratch at my hair".

ZebraOwl Thu 25-Apr-13 11:41:08

Mine seem to have a fairly good vocabulary. Including some Denglish & Franglais.

Sure my neighbours are perplexed by my call of "toothpaste" in the evenings: the cats get a bit of the toothpaste you can just feed to cats before I go to bed at night & come running for it...

CarpeVinum Thu 25-Apr-13 11:51:38

Lilly is a cat genious.

She has known her name since she was 15 days old.

At eight months ish she now responds to "outside?" by leaping on the counter, leaning over and trying to open the door by pressing all her wieght on the handle.

If you say "Love Daddy! Love him to death!" she jumps on the nearest person to me that isn't me, that is often Daddy, and licks him frantically.

But if you say "I'm clean enough now, ta" she carries on licking you to bits anyway. She does understand <proud mummy> but disagrees with your evaluation of your person hygene standards so carries on regardless. I know she understands cos after you say it you can see the look in her eye that is her saying "of course you are dear, now stay still while I get this bit clean"

She should be on cat mastermind. In feline mensa. And probably get a cat nobel prize for sheer brain power.

I luffs her so much, and would still do so even if she had the basic cat intelligence wot all your cats do.



CarpeVinum Thu 25-Apr-13 11:55:06

local chief blackbird had incorporate a pitch-and-timing-perfect version of the cat's calling whistle into his song

Ha! That is fabby. Although I have visions of a cat going, "wait! which direction am I supposed to be going in!" grin

Horsemad Thu 25-Apr-13 16:41:05

Mine understands the word prawns and dashes expectantly to the fridge, miaowing like mad!

SacreBlue Sat 27-Apr-13 07:14:20

Lol horse mine know the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg when I make hot chocolate, and gather round the fridge waiting on the cream coming out

DeafLeopard Sat 27-Apr-13 07:31:11

DH says "tiddle time" and the cat knows its time to go out for five mins before bed. If she's feeling helpful she goes to the door, if she knows its cold or rainy she shoots upstairs like a streak of lightning to hide.

TigerSwallowTail Sat 27-Apr-13 07:58:48

Yes he knows his name, he turns round and looks when it's said, will run to you if you shout it from the other side of the house, and I swear he knows 'no' too as he'll pause what he's doing if it's said'. Our last cat knew his name too.

MrsMaryCooper Sat 27-Apr-13 08:01:08

My cat might know his name, but he doesn't let on.

cozietoesie Sat 27-Apr-13 08:08:22

Bet he lets on if you say 'Coopercat.....Roast Chicken!'


Thingymajigs Sat 27-Apr-13 08:15:39

Mine know their own names. If I just casually mention the oldest cats name to someone in conversation she'll suddenly run towards me expecting strokes.
DP's cat took ages to learn his own name. We thought he could be deaf but it turns out he's simply ignoring us.
Obviously they all know "GET DOWN. FGS. DOWN!" grin

Horsemad Sat 27-Apr-13 09:37:54

SacreBleu we used to give our old cat cream and then count how many times she licked her lips afterwards!!

The record was 32 times smile

Bonbonchance Sat 27-Apr-13 10:08:56

My cat knows her name, but responds more often to "dinner" I can ask her "Do you want some dinner?" and get a very specific miaow meaning "yes of course, always! Get it now!"

The word "ham" (generic word for treats) will make her stop in her tracks/double take/wake up when whispered, and she seems to understand if I tell her I'll get her some ham if I have to clean her ears, check her mouth etc - she generally calms down and let's me do whatever I need to! She understands NO! and Get Down! and a few words for tricks she does, although usually with an action, if I just say the word I can see her thinking frantically "what one is that??!" "Outside" tends to give her a look of panic!(she doesn't like outside!)

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 27-Apr-13 14:34:12

Ours knows "spiders", he looks up at the coving. If there is a spider dh picks him up to the ceiling and the cat picks them off. Poor spiders. sad

spanky2 Sat 27-Apr-13 14:39:17

I said to my 14 year old "I haven't got time can you just eat Mostyn's?" And he went to the other dish and ate it! He is amazing . grin

HazeltheMcWitch Sat 27-Apr-13 14:47:41

Mine knows a couple of words, most all food related.
He knows drawer, as in - the place where the cat treats are kept - but can't distinguish it from draw, or drawing, as in 'That's a nice drawing, DD'.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 27-Apr-13 15:58:58
cozietoesie Sat 27-Apr-13 16:04:13


PipkinsPal Sat 27-Apr-13 16:08:39

Barnaby is on prescription food but his brother Troy is not. When Barnaby comes in and goes straight for the first bowl in line I say "that's not your bowl Barnaby". He then moves onto his own food. When I turn the tv off and say "bed" they both jump off the settee and go into the kitchen for a quick snack before retiring for the night. When my 2 year old niece comes over they disappear. When she goes I shout out "she's gone now boys" and they sprint into the house. So I reckon my cats know what I am saying and it's not all food related.

cozietoesie Sat 27-Apr-13 16:12:49

Like you, we have the phrase 'All Gone!' which has now become a catch-all for 'the situation is back to normal'. They're not all food related by any means.

VenusRising Tue 30-Apr-13 10:02:09

Yes, like most she knows her "food" name- when I call it she streaks to her bowl.
She knows down, and no, and she knows "where's your ball" too, as she hunts around for it if said.

She's only 9 months though, so who knows how intelligent shell be when she's older <preens, and runs>

I'm sort of falling in luff with your DH and "Tiddle time" Def blush so cute!

Cozietoesie, we had a song bird (canary) who copied all the wild birds songs, drove our cat mad!

VenusRising Tue 30-Apr-13 10:04:10

Fluffy, do you think that our cats train us up for teenagers? They're quite similar!

VenusRising Tue 30-Apr-13 10:12:00

Schlock is a Yiddish word, meaning something slapdash, or shoddy, I think?

ClaraOswald Tue 30-Apr-13 10:29:45

YEs, definitely

Dad's home
other cat

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