As all cat owners know, every cat talks. Even the “silent” breeds such as the Chartreux voice their opinion with small noises. Most cats talk when you come home, when you head to the kitchen, when you’re trying to go to sleep and when you don’t want to wake up at 5:00 am.
Cats have their own language and are thought to emit over 100 different sounds. Cats meow, trill and howl. They are vocal when they’re hungry, frustrated, needy, and when in distress. Many cats speak just to speak and seem to have some sort of idea that we enjoy a constant mewing. But some cats have crossed the language barrier and are known for their ability to speak human languages. Some even -gasp- swear. From cartoon cats to Internet cats, here are some of our favorite loquacious felines:
These are the talking cats you or your children have grown up with on TV or the big screen. Cartoon cats have all the fun because they get to speak, sing, dance and wear cool hats.
1. Garfield – This curmudgeony cat has entertained us since 1978 when he started in the comics. He graduated to TV and and his internal dialogue isn’t heard by his owner but the reader gets to hear all his wry observations.
2. The Aristocats – These lovable cats let us into the world of fancy cats in this Disney movie in 1970. Rumor has it they’re planning a sequel.
3. Si and Am – The Siamese breed saw a raise in popularity after Lady and the Tramp in 1955. Si and Am played themselves as the quintessential clever, selfish, slightly-evil cat but they were really just a couple of softies.
4. Puss-in-Boots – This talking cat liked to have fun and word has it that he was the practical joker on the set. Puss-in-Boots in Shrek 2 2004, proved that a cartoon cat can play a more complex character.
Visions of all sorts of cats dance in the heads of cat-loving readers – little kittens with lost mittens, the mighty Aslan, and cats who solve mysteries. Cats can say anything in a book and they often do.
5. The Cat in the Hat – Dr. Seuss was known for memorable, outrageous characters and his cat in the hat lived up to it. This cat really showed the mischievous side of the feline and reminds us how much trouble, and fun, cats can be.
6. Hobbes – There could not have been a Calvin without a Hobbes. The sensible Hobbes seemed more like a pal than a cat but then he was a Tiger and who knows what being stuffed does to one’s instincts.
7. The Cheshire Cat – Alice in Wonderland has many creative characters but the Cheshire Cat rises above them all – literally and figuratively. His crafty and sly demeanor captured our cats’ personalities very well but we’ll probably never know what he was smoking.
8. Moppet – Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Tom Kitten” has, of course, a kitten named Tom. But it’s his sister, Moppet, who does all the talking.
9. Morris – The famous cat of the Nine Lives commercials is still a pop icon today. Morris is thought by many to also still be the most famous cat ever. His deep voice appealed to both humans and cats alike.
10. The Cat from Outer Space – This movie, released in 1978, featured an alien feline (a Ruddy Abyssinian, our readers tell us) who could talk.
11. Salem – The cat on T.V.’s “Sabrina” always seemed to have a crick in his neck and a wise crack for Sabrina.
12. Bagpuss – Bagpuss is a new phenomenon on British T.V. Said to be the best children’s show ever, Bagpuss demurs and likes to give credit to the hand that holds him up.
These real cats speak words (or semblances of them) on their own, no dubbing. If they are legit, that is. Keep in mind that many videos of “talking” cats are faked.
13. Gypsy – She was perhaps the first talking cat on T.V. in Turkey in 1993.
14. Oh Long Johnson – This rather angry-looking feline speaks several phrases including his name.
15. Zola – This “famous” talking cat is all over the web but her actual talent is elusive. She’s famous but what has she said?
Memorable mentions – Krazy Kat; Felix, the first talking cartoon; and the roaring MGM lion.
Update: Catster reader Coco K. tells us we need to mention Klaatu42’s cats, who have their own fabulous YouTube Channel. Hit the feedback button below to suggest other memorable felines!
Is it possible to teach a cat to “talk” in our language? Some talking cat owners say that their feline just figured it out for herself. Others say it is just a matter of repetition – first, teach your cat to meow on command using treats, then say the word to her over and over, rewarding her when she speaks a sound close to it. Many would say it is just a waste of time but those who are diligent just may have the next famous talking cat!