Can different animal species communicate with each other?

Your pets learn to read each other’s different signals, says an animal expert.

The question in the title is probably meant to refer to domestic cats and dogs primarily, as shown in the photo. And initially, it did get me thinking for a short while until I realised that the answer must be a big Yes because humans are a type of animal species, the human animal (some would disagree but they’d be wrong in my view – sorry) and we communicate just fine with our cats and dogs. Therefore it is pretty obvious that cats can communicate with dogs and vice versa. Anyway, millions of pet owners can testify to good communication between cat and dog through simple observation.

Our cats learn to respond to our signals and subtly transmitted messages through body language and vocalisations. Some communication skills are inherited. They are in the cat and dog’s DNA.

“Communication” covers all manner methods. It is the transmission of information. It does not have to be solely verbal. Considering that obvious point it is easier to see how cats and dogs communicate.

I am sure people who are both cat and dog guardians will find it almost incredulous to ask the question whether different animal species can communicate because they would have seen their cat and dog communicating all the time in a subtle and instinctive way.

I suspect a lot of the communication is down to routines. Cats and dogs will instinctively know what the other is doing or wants to do through force of habit and routines. It is a learned process.

Often when cats and dogs form strong relationships it is because they were raised together and are very close emotionally. Good communication between these species under these circumstances is effortless and instinctive.

As for wild animals, they too communicate; communication through behavioural patterns, body language and vocalisations. The communication is relatively limited and perhaps confined to survival issues.

Do you have an opinion on this?

Source: Can different animal species communicate with each other? |

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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3 Responses

  1. Susan Gort says:

    Of course cats can communicate with other animals. Many years ago we had rabbits, ferrrets, cats and dogs all communicating with each other and with us by sound and actions. When my daughters let our goats in the house, they, too joined in the communication. At the time I was a wildlife rehabilitator and at one time I had fawns that needed 24 hour care. They were also in the house and the “domestic” family took care of them and they, too communicated with all of us. our
    Ridgeback was Mr. Mom to the fawns and they thrived.

    • Michael Broad says:

      I am impressed with your experiences with animals. Thanks for sharing that. For people like us it is obvious that animals of different species can communicate with each other but for some (strangely) it isn’t so obvious. The question is one asked on the internet using Google.

  2. M E King says:

    My cats definitely communicate non food needs to me. need for attention, bringing toys to play and the insistence that I move their small cat perch to the front door every morning for front street viewing.
    My cats and horses had quite the thing going. And our yard chickens and the toss out cats from our seedy neighbors seemed to have some form of communication. The chickens trained the cats to wait until they had gotten the choice morsels they wanted our of kitchen scraps and then would allow the cats to move in and eat with them. Obvious guarding behavior over the food and then the one boss hen would sort of signal the cats.
    At that time I was spending almost all daylight and dusk outside.
    I also spent time with field glasses observing the true wild cats ,they were wild beyond feral, who lived in the back of the property. This was pre idiot neighbors throwing their unwanted housecats out. I learned a great deal about and learned to love cats watching them.

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