Author Topic: Translation of Cat Speak?  (Read 1817 times)

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Sneezy

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Translation of Cat Speak?
« on: November 04, 2012, 08:20:23 PM »
I live with five cats. They are all quirky in their own way, but there is one thing that I can't figure out. My boy cat, who exhibits no alpha cat characteristics whatsoever, has a strange routine he does every so often.  I think he's trying to play, but the other cats have such a weird reaction to this, I am wondering what you all might thing about this.

He will stand about three feet away from one of the other cats and stare.  Then, he will slowly move while keeping eye contact.  Probably seen as aggression by the other cat, who will just sit there and look confused that Sir Meeps a Lot is being aggressive. He moves closer and closer.  The other cat starts to cower, even the alpha cat of the house. 

Slowly, he lifts up one paw.  Finally, he meeps like a kitten. Just one meep.

The other cat will freak out, scream, and either run away or lie there unable to move.  A few minutes later, he gallops around the apartment and resumes normal behavior.

What is going on here and/or what does "meep" mean in this context?  I'm guessing it's the ultimate in four letter words?

CrochetFanatic

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 08:26:28 PM »
It sounds like a challenge to me.  Cats will do this before fighting, and usually the stare-down has a drawn-out yowling match.  Our cats will sometimes do it, but it seems to be a watered-down version of a stray cat territorial dispute.  They just seem to be messing with each other, and seeing what they can get away with.  That's just what it seems like with our bunch.

Auntie Mame

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 08:31:30 PM »
I have translated everything my cat says to me.  It all boils down to "AND ANOTHER THING!"

She Siamese, there's no "quiet button"
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chibichan

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 09:09:42 PM »
From my cat experience , here is a rough translation of typical cat language :

Mew : FOOD !
Meeeeww : FOOD NOW !
Mew ? : Where's food ?
Mew ! Mew ! : Cat will die soon from lack of food .
Meow : Want OUT
Meow : Want IN
Prrrrrr : More Petting
Prrp ? : Why you stop petting ?
MAOW : Cat will die soon from lack of petting .
Nyaaaow : You are taking too long .
Chk-chk-chk-chk : Squirrel / bird / dog / postal worker is pretty darn lucky that I can't get through this window right now .

Of course , in your case and given the circumstances , I would translate Meep as " BOO ! " .
The key to avoiding trouble is to learn to recognize it from a distance.

MerryCat

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 09:25:43 PM »
I think this is just your normally laid back guy's way of asserting himself once in a while by messing with the others. Kind of like how everyone's always more surprised when the quiet person in a group gets aggressive.

misha412

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 01:27:58 AM »
Snerk.  ;D

He reminds me of my girl kittie, Dinka. She is gone now. But, when she was young, she had three "brothers." The oldest boy, Aji, was the dominant male. He and the other two would play all the time. Dinka tended to stay out of it most of the time.

However, on a rare occasion, she would silently walk up behind Aji and swat him a good one. Aji would turn around and crouch down real fast. The look on his face translated to "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!!!" At that point, she would stand up, smack her tail around a couple of times, then stalk off.

It was her way of reminding the dominant male of who is in charge. And it wasn't Aji.

I think your boy cat is just making sure the others know who is the real boss is. While he is not an overt alpha male, that doesn't mean he is not dominant.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 01:36:32 AM by misha412 »

mechtilde

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 04:54:59 AM »
Even quiet, gentle cats can be dominant- some of them just don't need to throw their weight around. It sounds as though he's just reminding everyone who's boss.
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Ygraine

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012, 07:05:05 AM »
He takes a victory lap!!!!   ;D  That is priceless.   
I agree with the others- he's the alpha, and is just reminding the others of that. 

iridaceae

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2012, 07:21:36 AM »
I completely disagree. Clearly Sir Meeps is letting them have it for not having his back in his attempts to take over the world.

...Or it's a dominance thing. Take your pick.

Jones

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2012, 08:33:56 AM »
Here is my thought.
Remember those stories when we were kids, when the teller would turn their voice soft and hypnotic, and look the listeners in the eye? Then, suddenly...BOO! CREEPY AXE MURDERER IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU!

That's my guess anyway.

happygrrl

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2012, 01:14:51 PM »
Two of my crew will doing something of the same variety, and my theory is that they are slightly bored, and trying to mix things up a bit. Then the tiny one will get courage and jump in the middle, and all three will go running off.

"Victory laps"--love it!! lol
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onikenbai

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2012, 09:31:30 PM »
I had a cat that did something similar and it usually ended in an eipic battle play between my two with bits of fur flying everywhere.  It's a thin line between fight and play sometimes.  Luckily I had two that were fairly evenly matched and both were up for it, but your other cats may be clearing out before the fur flies or rolling over to get all four weapons freed up.  The meep could be an invitation to play.  Cats that have never had to hunt and fight for themselves don't really grow out of being kittens in some aspects and will hold on to kitten behaviours well into adulthood.

Kiara

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 09:10:29 AM »
I have translated everything my cat says to me.  It all boils down to "AND ANOTHER THING!"

She Siamese, there's no "quiet button"

Ah!  Like my parents' cat, who is part Siamese.  Except hers all boil down to "EXCUSE ME!  PAY ATTENTION!"

Sophia

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2012, 02:48:53 PM »
When they sleep in the same general area, who has the highest perch?  That is the dominant one. 

When I was growing up my parents had a decorative trivot on the wall.  It said, "I am the boss of this house, and I have my wife's permission to say so."  Could be the SirMeeps is the wife. 

blue2000

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Re: Translation of Cat Speak?
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2012, 09:00:32 PM »
When they sleep in the same general area, who has the highest perch?  That is the dominant one. 

When I was growing up my parents had a decorative trivot on the wall.  It said, "I am the boss of this house, and I have my wife's permission to say so."  Could be the SirMeeps is the wife. 


I don't think that is always accurate. My little tiny Burmese kitty likes high places because she can jump and her big pushy brother can't, so he can't bother her there.

But if the other cats are backing off, I would agree that Sir Meeps is asserting himself.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.