What’s Up Cat App
by Harry Pope
There is a new app called MeowTalk that has a specific function. It converts the noises that cats make into human comprehension. To put it simply, people have recorded their moggies, giving the tapes to someone called Javier Sanchez. This person used to work with Alexa, the notorious voice of Amazon’s device.
Strange career moves some people have, but bear with me, this gets more ‘interesting’. Mr. Sanchez is now an app developer, so with these noises he related them to thirteen meanings. The first was ‘feed me.’ Now come on, that look is on a cat’s face all the time. And it purrs, rubs itself against your legs, as you are preparing the food at the kitchen counter, so it’s hardly the most difficult emotion to guess. Even I could have told him that one. ‘Leave me alone’ is another identified. Okay, let’s take this one to another scenario. Supposing kitty is asleep, you want to play with it. You wake it up, playfully of course, but hey, it’s still drowsy, and likely still dog tired (pun intended). It sticks its claws out, drawing blood from your unprotected skin. Leave me alone is a pretty mild facial expression compared with sticking five claws into yielding flesh at the back of your hand. You pretty near deserve it.
The third one quoted is ‘I’m in love.’ No, I would have said the expression is more like ‘I’m going out that cat flap tonight looking for a pussy.’ I am confused how a random look can relate to love, an emotion not usually credited with the majority of the feline population. They are more likely to be in love with their owners, who provide them with comfort, succour, a warm bed, even warmer milk, and continuous supplies of kitty food. Presupposing the cat doesn’t get adopted by another family, gaining double doses of love, affection, and food.
Cats don’t wag their tails for the same reason as dogs. I learned that the hard way when, as a child, playing with Mischief (my older sister’s naming, nothing to do with me), he was enthusiastically swishing it about. Ah, thought the innocent Harry, cat wants to play. Chucking under the chin, I was rewarded with a fitful of claws in my hand. Ouch, that hurt. My watching father pointed out that dogs wag their tails when they are happy, wanting to be played with. Cats have a reverse message, leave me alone. But why couldn’t dad have told me that BEFORE the bloody moggie dipped his claws into my unsuspecting hand. I never asked him that question, now it’s too late. On the contrary, a relaxed easy sway of the tail, no violent movement, means the cat is content. Such a lot to learn through a cat’s tail. Also, if the tail is held high, then Mischief is a happy pet. Tail down between its legs equals insecure. Never saw that with my cat, as far as I can remember. The best tail emotion is if its wrapped around your legs, that is a sign of contentment, usually when its feeding time.
Look out for the ears. If they are flat, pussy is unsure. If they are twitchy, then it’s looking for prey, as it’s listening intently. Erect ears can mean a couple of things, so study this one carefully. It could mean content, but the other meaning is curiosity, so out could come the claws – yet again. Then there’s the voice. Until researching this article, I had no idea that cats only mew to adults, not themselves. Of course they hiss if they want to fight, but the mewing sound is only for us humans. This must have evolved with domesticity. Each cat has its own distinct mew, unique to the feline.
With the app, you get close to your cat with your phone, then use the app you have previously downloaded. It then captures the noise it makes.