3.01.2009

Cats on Tuesday: The Cat Goes Meow, Purr, Hiss, Chirp, and Ermrrrp



Cats on Tuesday: The Cat Goes Meow, Purr, Hiss, Chirp, Ermrrrp...

Our niece Mackenzie, who recently turned two, knows what several dozen animals say. The Cow says Moo, the Dog says Woof (she has a dog at home), the Duck goes Quack, etc. She can even pronounce Squirrel, Alligator, and Hippopotamus, so it’s no surprise that Mackenzie knows that the Cat Says Meow.

After visiting our house the other day, she had seen three cats, none of whom said Meow. Emma, who really likes Mackenzie, purred a lot. Isis, who does not like having a small visitor in her home (no matter how gently said visitor may pet you) hissed at Mackenzie once. Morgan hid, although remained curious and kept peeking in at us from the next room.

So now Mackenzie knows that Emma says Purr-Purr, Isis goes Hiss, and Morgan hides in the closet. This lesson provides us with today’s Cats on Tuesday.

Most Likely to Inform You That It Is Cat Breakfastime: Emma

Incidentally, Cat Breakfastime is 7:30 am.


Most Likely to Remind You That It Is Cat Dinnertime: Emma

Cat Dinnertime is 6 pm.


Most Likely to Insist a Closed Door Be Opened for Her: Emma

This was nearly a tie between Emma and Isis, but Emma gets the win for sheer persistence. Isis will eventually give up and go take a nap, whereas Emma could sit at the closed door making her argument into perpetuity. Or rather, until the door is opened for her.


Most Likely to Announce Her Entrance Into the Room: Morgan

This announcement is made in her native tongue of Morganese, and sounds rather like "Ermrrrp." No one has yet successfully translated this language, but we suspect "Ermrrrp" is the Morganese equivalent of: "I am, and I have now arrived successfully at my destination." This is only speculation, however, and should not be taken to be an authoritative translation.


Most Likely to Tell You That She is Bringing You a Mouse (or Other Toy): Isis

At least now that we've moved back to the city, it's only toy mice. Lately, she's been bringing Mr. O'Kitten her furry toy mouse every evening. She tells him a little story as she comes into the living room, and then sets it down at his feet. Isn't that sweet?


Most Likely to Scry Into the Waterbowl: Emma

At least we assume that Emma is somehow contacting the future when she yowls deeply into her waterbowl--generally after one has gone to bed and is half-asleep--guaranteeing maximum creepiness. At times she practically shakes the floorboards with the depths of her sighs. What she sees of past, present, or future, I can't tell you. I just hope the neighbors downstairs can't hear her portents.


Most Likely to Lament My Departure: Emma

Mr. O'Kitten claims that both Isis and Emma sit in the living room and discuss my departures (for the store, to work, to take out the trash) at some length. Again, Emma gets bonus points for sheer persistence; Isis just doesn't have the attention span that Emma does. Then again, Mr. O'Kitten might be making the whole thing up to make me feel important.


Most Likely to Tell You a Long and Incomprehensible Story: Morgan

These epic tales, like the arrival greetings described above, are likewise related to us entirely in Morganese. Although these lengthy monologues provide opportunites for more extensive examination of the Morganese dialect, translation remains an ongoing challenge.


Most Likely to Hiss at Her Sisters While They're Having a Spat, or Likewise Express Her Disapproval of Small Human Visitors: Isis



Most Likely to Chitter at Birds from the Windowsill: Isis

Isis used to do this a lot, but I just caught Morgan doing it the other morning when she spotted a bird outside the bedroom window. If you're not sure what I mean by chittering, the short video below captures it perfectly.

I've heard maybe a third of the cats with whom I've cohabited make this funny, eerie noise--usually when they've seen birds that they can't actually chase. I wonder how many cats do this? Have you ever heard your cat make this noise, and, if so, what were the circumstances?








25 comments:

Gattina said...

And did the moth answer, lol ? All my cats do this when they are behind a window and see a bird. Outside never, because then they would try to catch it. Emma is very much like old Lisa who is a real pain in the neck.She doesn't like closed doors and would scratch on them until you open it. That's why we don't have closed doors in our house. If you dare to close the door while you are busy in the bathroom you have to open the door otherwise you could get a nervous breakdown. There are no dinner time or breakfast, Madame Lisa wants to eat at all hours and claims loud if the bowl is empty ! Torties have special characters apparently !

Ydiana said...

Holy cow! No, I've never seen a cat 'talking' like that..!! Yet!

Ps. That very deep thinking figuring out what the cats says with different expression and occassion! :)

Luna said...

That is a great video! Our cats do that voice behind the window when they see a bird outside. I think it is the same with all cats.

When Olli comes in and see us he makes a voice like rrrrrrrrrpp. It´s a welcome voice.
Hissing is the standart voice in our house. Our cats always hiss to each other.
Luna can say : will out and hungry very very loud.

Indees every cat has her special voice and can tell us what they want.

Tink said...

Haha, my cats like to "talk" like that to flies, moths, birds outside... Funny sound!
Emma has a beautiful face, the colours are mixed very well!

Julie said...

Great post! My Katy will make that noise but I haven't heard the others do it yet. You have some beautiful cats. :)

Chris said...

I loved this post! You had some exceptionally wonderful photos, especially of Isis.

May chitters! She mostly chitters at birds. Sometimes at squirrels. Sometimes at bugs. And most amusingly at snowflakes - white fluffy birds that fall out of the sky helplessly?

Tricia said...

Our cats talk like that to the birds and squirrels on the deck. I love all your most likelies.

Tabbikat's Thoughts

Beth said...

And to think... Most people probably do think cats say meow. Closest we come in our household is "me-OUT" and "me-NOW."

Yeah, mine chirp too at birds and squirrels. In the summer we have a hummingbird feeder that hangs right on the kitchen window. Great chirp-ability there!

Love your pics.

Anonymous said...

I do not recall Otto making that noise but he has made a chrip type of noise while watching the birds from the window. When Otto is in a deep sleep he does make a noise that sounds like he is grinding his teeth together. I have checked it out several times and I do not see the teeth moving but I think he is moving his tongue back and forth in his mouth. It is really a loud noise especially when the house it quiet and we are trying to sleep.

When Mackenzie was here Otto also hissed at her. There was a moment when she was able to pet his back and feel the soft bunny type fur that he has but we had to be fast before Otto knew she was the one petting him.

Hope you are having a good day
Stay warm
Hugs
Joanie

Anonymous said...

Sorry the site was playing games with me...

Joanie

Cliff and Olivia said...

What a great post! We talk too. In very different ways and on very different occasions. Cats certainly says more than meow.

Andrée said...

I love the Mackenzie story! Now she knows multiple ways that cats express themselves. Now, I shouldn't have favorites, but I love blacks and Isis is SO beautiful! What a sassy kitty! All the others are gorgeous, too!

katztales said...

Isn't cat chat great? Love those gorgeous fuzzy faces. You've very photogenic cats.

Our cat Au howls into the toilet bowl every six months or so. He loves the echo. Target is so quiet, we had to teach him to speak. Now he's vocal, esp at dinner time! OUr old cat Scoop talked so much we called him the marching band. He announced he was home just like Morgan.

Crypt Stitch said...

Akasha loves to talk to birds outside, she makes the same mouth movements as the cat in the video, but is much more vocal - like a cross between the laughter of the insane and a mimic of a machine gun! Akasha seems to have a bit of all your girls personalities - doors closed are a definate no-no. There is much, much talking. Children are evil and should in no way be trusted - best to hiss, take a quick swipe and run like hell to hide. Also boxes of any kind are the best present ever, and it is very important to wake mum half an hour before her alarm goes off (at 5.30) because damnit she needs to be up at five to feed me. Sigh. But I'd just die without her...

Rosalynn said...

Tyson and Tyra both do this - sometimes Tyra does it more often though. The chatter typically occurs when they see birds outside the screen door, or when they see a moth flying in the house. I'm thinking that it has something to do with the way they perceive things with wings... however, sometimes I'm convinced that what they're really saying is "I WANT TO EAT YOU RIGHT NOW, COME OVER HERE" :D

Puss-in-Boots said...

Bella's always chittering at birds. She puts on quite an act and sometimes I wonder what's wrong with her...but it's only a bird she can't get at.

Mitzi gives high pitched chirrups or outright yowls...I'm sure she has Oriental of some kind in her murky past.

And people say cats can't talk...obviously they've never had one own them.

Carrie K said...

I loved the translations! Morganese. I think Sheba spoke that dialect too. And it's too bad she's gone so that she and Emma could have an OPEN THE DOOR contest. I call it her John Wayne belief. "They'll be no locked doors between us, Mary Kate!" (Quiet Man).

Sheba used to make that chittering noise inside, outside, when hunting. When she got to be an old, old cat, she used to sit on the deck, chitter at the bluejay and wave a languid paw as if to say, "I could kill you in a heartbeat, if I felt like getting up."

Helen said...

My cat makes that noise at birds she can't reach, but my roommates cat just stares them. Our friend calls it the "dolphin noise", he has two cats and neither of them do it either. I am relieved to know that my cat isn't completely crazy.

Obsidian Kitten said...

This is so interesting! So far it looks like my informal (and highly unscientific) poll of indoor cats shows about 20-25% of cats make the "dolphin noise"--thanks!

Trick said...

Hello there! I just found your blog via a google search.. The search terms? 'kitten open and closing mouth chittering'

I was so scared. My kitten Dante and I were playing with a laser pointer, and he started "chittering". Well he has never done it before and .. well.. I'm a bit to overprotective of my little boy so I jumped straight on google to make sure nothing was wrong with him. (This is my first kitten)

Now I have the opinion that it's just a cat's way of cursing! He can never catch the little red dot that floats around the house, so now I kind of imagine him acting like Yosemite Sam, "micken fracken that dirty perka sharka back flatten warten filla buckabarten"

Bugs Bunny "From Hare to Heir". (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpcdOOAf0tU)

Trick said...

Oh, here we go. I uploaded a video of him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnq5iVztULI

Andromeda said...

My cat Kalibunker does this every time he sees a moth/laser/mosquito, too! Never at birds though, Isis must be pretty freakin' dominant!
It's a sound made by cats who are "ready to make the kill."
I did some searching on it a while back when mine was still a kitty. Essentially, your cat is threatening the insect/laser/mosquito or in your case, bird, that if it flies down low enough or the glass shatters, it's going to mess it up.
Hope I helped!

Obsidian Kitten said...

Thanks Andromeda ~ interesting!

Like Trick said, they must be saying something like, "come down here and imma micken fracken dirty perka sharka back flatten warten filla buckabarten you dirty lil' [moth/laser/insect/bird]"!

Sparks said...

My cat sometimes stares at me randomly and makes the chitter/chatter noise.

It kind of weirds me out because he gets this fixed stare on me, waits until I look at him, then he starts chittering.

Any insight on this?!

Obsidian Kitten said...

Wow, Sparks, this is the firsst time anyone has mentioned their cat making the noise at *them* ~ Maybe he's working on some new vocabulary with you?