Saturday, December 24, 2016

Rexie has invented a new word in the language between people and cats 12/24/2016

Rexie on the balcony, July 12, 2015
(Written 12/24/2016. First published 2/3/2017.)

Rexie has invented a new word in *the* language between people and cat-people. Of course that language is a large part body-language, and only a little verbal. And it isn't a single language - it is a set of codes for each community of people and cats, just as individual and mutually intelligible as that between each mother and baby. (That is, not perfectly.)

Some is verbal. My cats come running when I call them, either to eat or to go out the window onto the balcony (different directions). (And sometimes to come in, if it's cold out there.) Rexie comes running to my tapping on the other window - he thinks that's his room, no sisters allowed.

But much of the communication between us is body language, stance, touch, movements. Reciprocal communication. When a cat is being petted, he/she may push against a hand, or move under a petting hand. She may tilt her head up or sideways under the hand. Or I may tug on the tip of her tail and she turns around very fast and comes back for more.

What Rexie has been doing, for about a year now, is tilting his/her head sideways, so far his forehead is vertical, sideways, one ear right above the other. It means he wants me to rub his forehead.

He does it when he's sitting so close to me, like on my chest,  that the angles I can reach him with are limited. I didn't know if he liked me to rub his forehead or not. So sometimes I did, sometimes not. And he invented a word to tell me when he wants his forehead rubbed.

Sometimes yes, sometimes not.

Oct 2017 Notice who is training who here... 
Dec 5 2017 Recently saw (online) that people can tell what their cats are saying in a recording — if-and-only-if it's their cat. Like I said, we all have our own unique set of codes. (Haven't tracked down a reference yet...)

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