My Cat Likes To Hear French

By Michele Vernet

I make sure my 2 cats are in at night. So, usually, I have to go hunting for them with my flash light and pick them up.

One evening 3 months ago, I could not find Seymour and became worried. I started singing a French lullaby and immediately Seymour showed up and seemed totally enchanted to hear French.

I am a French native but never speak french, only rarely, when I run into my French friends in Garland.

Seymour loves for me to speak french to him and I find that funny and wonder what to think of it. Was he a French nobleman in another life? A wealthy courtesan?

Anyway, all was going well until DD, my husband’s brother’s beagle visited and stayed home 2 or 3 days and we had to keep our kitties outside much to my chagrin and puzzled kitties. Now, they are not easily brought inside and Seymour does not respond to my French lullaby or niceties.


Salut Michele, bonjour, comment ça va?

Thanks for visiting and sharing. I think Seymour likes the sound of your voice when you speak French because the sound is more melodious and soft. Cats like soft voices, gentle sounds as they indicate friendliness and cats live in a world of giants. For what it is worth, that is my theory. Or, as you say he was a Frenchman in a past life 😉

I think Seymour will come around to your French niceties again. Perhaps he is just a little bit upset about the whole affair and is yet to settle down to his previous style of living. Try American English is a sexy soft voice 😉

Moral: cats love routine. It is also reassuring.


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My Cat Likes To Hear French — 15 Comments

  1. Poor Seymour and his brother, no wonder they were puzzled and Seymour reluctant to come in since that dog invaded their home, their territory. I wouldn’t ever let a dog take priority over your cats again Michelle, dogs are not welcome in our cats home, even families dogs.
    I hope they are soon over their trauma of being shut outside and I think it’s a lovely idea that Seymour may have been a French nobleman but I think it’s more likely he decided to trust you that the dog had really gone and his home was safe and welcoming for both your cats again.

    • I agree with what you say Ruth. I guess they feel violated and they have lost a bit of trust because the one who cares for them rejected them. I’ll bet they are unsure what to think actually. Will it happen again – or do they feel safe in a place where they might be treated like they were when the dog came. If I was a cat I would have lost trust. It might take a long time to regain it. I think it’s important that never happen again or they may just become outdoor cats given the insecurities of indoors.

      It’s a bit of a tangent. Actually I am French and I was born in France and I sometimes talk to my cats in French for fun and it certainly makes them look at me twice. Also the lady who looks after them when I am away speaks german so I guess they are used to humans making different sounds by now.

  2. I don’t understand why you allowed your cats had to be denied entry to their own home because a dog was staying,this is a classic case of cats being second class citizens.
    Of course, they have since been wary about coming in their home smelling of a strange dog can you blame them.They don’t know if that dog will be there again and they will be shut out again.

    If I was you I’d make sure anyone with a dog understood it would have to be confined to a room where the cats don’t go,not take precedence over the cats in their own home.
    I hope Seymour will eventually get over his trauma,he needs lots of tlc and reassurance from you now whether in French or whatever.

  3. I agree with both Rose and Kattaddorra, it was a mistake to prioritise a dog, no matter how nice a dog he was, over the cats for the main reason that the cats were removed from their home. Why wasn’t the Beagle kept outside or in a separate room and the cats allowed to remain in their home? Just a question. It would have been fairer.

    Better still don’t bring the dog in the first place. Find an alternative way.

    It seems the cats were treated as second class family members compared to the dog as Rose writes.

    • Ironically the cats are in the home more than even the humans. My home is inhabited first and foremost by my cats and then me. They should be the first ones to be considered in any kind of change to the usual environment or routine. I work all day so I don’t need my home to be rightly set up for me as much as my cats need it. They spend on average nearly twice as much time as me there so it has to be right for them.

      That might seem over the top but it’s not, it’s just logical. We humans can travel and go to different places. Cats are territorial by nature and need to stay put and feel familiar and comfortable in their homes – it’s some much a part of how they function so uprooting that comfort and familiarity is not really acceptable in most or all cases – a dog being about the worst punishment they could possibly be given.

      Michele did say “much to her chagrin” – I’m sure if she knew the extent to how that could affect the cats then she would have put her foot down. The main thing now is to be really nice and caring and hopefully win back their trust. Sounds like they are prone to becoming outdoor cats but to be fair, it’s summertime, and cats stay out longer.

      • Spot on. I agree that the value and meaning of the word “home” carries more weight for a cat that it does a human because humans are more mobile and less connected to territory. Also we are more able to rationalize disruption and a change of home and place.

        With respect to Michele, I think she could (ideally) have argued for her cats a bit more. This is hard for a woman because men run the home but this is case where putting her foot down would have been the right thing to do. It is an interesting example of how human relationships affect the cat. This happens all the time in countless millions of households in a myriad of different ways. We don’t know how much influence the husband has over the cat’s environment when dictating his desires to his wife.

        • Yes – it does sound like Michele was either a little or alot pushed into it. Without detail on that we don’t know how possible it is for the brother to visit without the dog or with the dog under a set of rules. If the husband and brother are against Michele that could be hard depending on how understanding they are but all of this is subject to how important the cats are thought to be by all involved. Often men with dogs probably won’t understand the importance of the cat’s well being. Second class citizen describes it well. But maybe to Michele they aren’t second class, although of that we are not certain either.

          It is still interesting about Seymour responding to French. Maybe it’s just so unusual coming from his caretaker he has to go and check it out even though he’s trying not to go inside for the night.

          I think it’s important to remember it’s summer now and hot weather will make a cat feel like staying out all night.

          • I agree we can’t be unreasonably critical of Michele. There are lot of different pressures etc. and circumstances that we are unaware of.

            However, I tend to favor Rose’s argument. Cats do tend to be pushed to the back because they are independent, accepting, live a parallel life almost. Whereas dogs are more in your face.

            I wish cats were more demanding. It would cause chaos in the cat world because it would so upset the status quo.

            I think the French thing is a nice friendly sound to Seymour. Michele presents herself as friendly when speaking French. That indicates some other issues.

            • It did strike me as a bit odd that she uses a flashlight and scoops up the cats. My cat comes in when I call him, “Shrimptaro, it’s bedtime…” He comes gracefully up the walk. Usually he’s not outside without me, but once in awhile, he likes to hang out with two of his feline companions from next door. Her cats were certainly traumatized. Understandably so.

      • Shrimp is my only cat that I allow outside with me. The neighbors’ cats are allowed in our home, and they actually spend a considerable amount of time here. (I do let them out whenever they desire.) Marc, your comment about their needs, especially routine, is so true. Disturbances in their safe zone implies that the human is not being as sensitive as he or she should be. I think we ailurophiles respect this intuitively.

        • To us it would be like a strange person being in our home while we were shut outside but at least we could ask why.Cats can’t ask why and I can’t bear to think of the hurt and bewilderment of those two cats not being allowed into their own home and then when they finally were it smelled of dog.
          No wonder they are reluctant to go in now their home supposed to be a safe sanctuary has been violated by that dog.

  4. It’s days of womens lib and women should not let their menfolk dictate what happens in the home and if any man pressured me to shutting my cats outside for the sake of a dog I’d have told him where to go, family or not.
    We have to stand up for cats rights they have as much right to consideration as dogs have especially visiting dogs.
    I rehomed my last rescue dog fairly recently as it came to me how unfair it was taking in rescue cats who might be afraid of dogs even gentle dogs.
    Let’s hear it for cats rights tan tan terrrraaaaaaaaaaaa

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