Before I get started, I want to make something clear. I love cats. I love all animals, but with cats, it’s a little bit of a love/hate thing so, know that this is a topic based solely on love. But seriously, if we’re being honest, cats are kind of asshoIes. I think my fellow cat owners will agree and understand where I’m coming from.
Of course, we’re owners in name only. Cats, as a rule, view us as giant servants. By employing two of their strongest assets, cute + cuddly (despite the razors on their feet), we willingly wait on them hand and foot, oftentimes dropping whatever we’re doing to answer their siren-like beck and call. Cats have it figured out. And don’t let anyone fool you, cats indeed know their names. In fact, I think they understand everything we say. Some dog owners will have you believe that cats are incapable of such mental prowess, that they lack the intelligence of dogs. I call bullshit. The real question here is not whether they understand you, but rather, whether they will deign to listen and come to you when you call for them. In most cases you’ll get “the look,” or maybe, if you’re lucky, an ear twitch, but you know they know.
I have a lovely little monster myself, named Holly, which I think literally translates to evil incarnate (when it’s a cat… I’m sure human Hollys are very lovely). She weighs all of 4 pounds and “though she be but little she is fierce.” There will be times when she starts to continuously meow and outright howl when she’s in a room by herself. Let’s just say she has a set of lungs on her that would make a banshee proud. Now, you might think it’s because she’s lonely. It’s not. She just wants attention and is unwilling to seek one of us out to get it – even though the condo is small and if she would simply be willing to journey out no more than 10 feet in any direction, she would be greeted by a person ready and willing to love on her. But no. She refuses. Why? Because she is a manipulative little jerk princess who demands we seek her out or desperately plead with her to come grace us with her holy presence. It’s her way of keeping the servants, er… I mean us, in check. And we do it. Why? Well, because her raucous lyrical beckoning normally begins around 11:00 pm or midnight, so our desire to keep her quiet tends to override any self-worth we might have in bowing down to the tyrannical feline overlord known as Holly.
Do you want to know how I know Holly understand what I’m saying? I’ll tell you. The other afternoon I was working at my desk, and she started doing her thing. She was out in the hallway, a mere few feet from me, but still around a corner, just out of sight. In a normal voice (so as not to alarm my zoom team members with an outrageous facial expression while I was on mute), I asked, “where are you?” and she came trotting right to me like a proud little puppy (for the love of God, don’t tell her I said that). So she knew the words, understood the words, and presented herself accordingly. If I were to call her deliberately, she wouldn’t come. And why? Because fuck you servant, that’s why. Unless of course I come prepared with an offering such as some string or even better, treats. With a little shakey-shake, the feline princess will appear out of thin air.
All of this just to say, that cats do in fact know what you’re saying to them, and they know that you know that they know. They just don’t care.