Letter ‘s’ sounds like swearing to a cat?

For me, this is a little far-fetched but it is an interesting idea proposed by PDSA vet nurse Gemma Renwick. She thinks that cats might be perturbed when a person vocalises words containing the letter ‘s’ as the sound hints at the feline hiss which is a defensive sound to warn hostiles that they will be attacked unless they back off.

When cat owners say the letter 's' it sounds like swearing to their cat as it hints at the feline hiss
When cat owners say the letter ‘s’ it sounds like swearing to their cat as it hints at the feline hiss
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

For Gemma the feline hiss is a kind of swearing in human terms. Something like, “F off or I’ll hit you!”

In her words Gemma Renwick says that: “Cats pick up on certain sounds and tend to prefer fewer ‘s’ sounds. The ‘s’ noise is similar to a cat hissing, which is almost like swearing at them every time you want their attention.

She believes that cat caregivers should consider dropping words containing ‘s’ and use meows instead. Personally, I don’t think humans meowing at their cats works. They don’ get it.

It has been found that baby talk works but only because it is a friendly sound made by a friendly person (their good caregiver). Sounds made by humans directed at cats should be melodious and calm. Cats are sensitive to loud sounds and hate yelling.

For Emma a classic mistake would be to use the phrase, “Here puss” when calling their cat as it is “like swearing at them”.

Personally, I have never observed my cat disturbed by words containing the letter ‘s’ but I respect her views.

And that said it is very thoughtful of her to think about cat welfare to this extent. She’s must be a very good vet nurse.

And I’m not criticising her. She is thoughtful and caring. Excellent qualities.

Some more on talking to your cat

Cats are all about nonverbal communication, so while you can chat with your feline friend, the most important thing is understanding their body language and using yours in return. Here are some tips:

  • Tone it Up: Cats pay attention to the pitch and tone of your voice more than the actual words. Use a high-pitched, happy voice when praising or interacting positively with your cat. If you need to tell them “no,” use a low, firm tone.
  • Body Language is Key: Match your gestures to your words. Wave a toy with an excited voice, or extend a closed hand for a sniff when introducing yourself. Be mindful of eye contact – prolonged staring can be seen as a threat, but slow blinks are a sign of affection.
  • Less Meow, More Purr: Adult cats don’t really meow to each other, so meowing back at your cat might not be the best way to connect. Instead, try imitating their sounds with chirps and trills, especially when they’re chatty.
  • The Blink of Trust: Slow blinks are a sign of affection in cats. If your cat slow blinks at you, blink back slowly to show you return the fondness.
  • Be a Head Bumper: Cats show affection with head and nose bumps. Mimic this behavior by gently extending a finger for them to sniff or nudge.

Remember, cats are individuals. Pay attention to your cat’s cues and what gets a positive response. With a little practice, you’ll be conversing with your cat in no time.

Sources for part 2: Google Gemini which searched the internet.

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