Cats Translate Human Phrases

"Get off the counter," "Can I have some pillow room?" and "Jump into my lap!" Cats interpret these simple phrases in their own ways.

"Get off the counter," "Can I have some pillow room?" and "Jump into my lap!" Cats interpret these simple phrases in their own ways.


Normally, I’d be sharing a weekly Fanglish cat slang lesson with you. This week, we’re going to cover a variation of it. In case you aren’t aware, Fanglish is the top-secret feline language cats use when humans aren’t listening or watching them. My informant, a kitty who’s willing to exchange slang for treats, told me he has something special for us. It’s a translation guide!

We humans have a pretty set collection of phrases we use when communicating with cats. We know what we mean when we say these words; however, cats hear something altogether different. This explains why they react the way they do when we deliver these phrases to them. Interesting, huh?

My informant offered these typical phrases, along with their translations. Like with the regular Fanglish delivery, he’s bringing this information to us underneath the radar. The cat community at large would not be cool with his sharing the details of their behind-the-scenes activities. I assured him we would never speak a word of this to our cats. So please keep that in mind as you read the following human phrases, as translated by cats.

“Come here, kitty! Jump in my lap!”
The human clearly wants to snuggle with the kitty.

Cat’s translation:
“Stare at me like you have no idea what I’m talking about, and then look away and ignore me!”

“Eat your own food!”

The human discourages the cat from eating another cat’s food.

Cat’s translation:
“There’s no way the other cat can eat all her food. You better jump in there and help her finish her dinner!”

“In or out?”
The human wants the cat to choose one side of a door.

Cat’s translation:
“Doors are hard. Take your time – I know it’s a difficult decision.”

“Do you want a treat?”

The human offers the cat one – or a couple of – treats.

Cat’s translation:
“I have this entire bag of treats that’s not gonna eat itself! Dig in!”

“Get off the counter!”
The human wants the cat to remove himself from the kitchen counter.

Cat’s translation:
“Having fun up there? I think I saw a stick of butter by the coffee pot. Help yourself!

“Roll over and let me scratch your belly!”

The human desires to rub the cat’s abdominal area.

Cat’s translation:
“Roll over, kitty — my hand hasn’t bled in a while. It’s about time!”

“Time to get into the carrier!”
The human wants the cat to settle into the carrier in preparation of an outing.

Cat’s translation:
“Time to climb inside the torture chamber!”

“Look outside! Squirrels!”
The human sees something outside she thinks the cat would enjoy.

Cat’s translation:
“Go ahead and keep staring at the wall. Ignore me – really, it’s OK!”

“Come meet the new neighbor!”
The human wants the cat to interact with the neighbor.

Cat’s translation:
“Quick – run under the bed!”

“Please give me a little pillow room.”
The human needs more than a small triangle of pillow space.

Cat’s translation:
“This pillow is so comfy! Please, make yourself comfortable!”

I hope you enjoyed this week’s selection. See you next week for another look into the secret world of cats!

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