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I have also noticed, on numerous occasions, that people, in my environment, were convinced that animals are fundamentally selfish (in the human sense of the word) and that they only try to communicate with us in order to get immediate satisfaction of their current wishes.

To me, this opinion is totally erroneous as I do not believe that Jicky is different from other cats. To state an example: Jicky adores the flowers and tends to stay close to me whenever I put them in a vase.

In the garden, we have a big clump of gladioli that starts flowering in July. One morning, as I was crouching in front of the raspberry canes (my favourite fruit) for early picking, Jicky came along leisurely (he never hurries) and rubbed against my leg, a sign that usually means "Look at me, I have something to tell you". I gave him the answer that he was waiting for: "What do you want, Jicky?"  (in the meantime looking straight at each other, chin forward).

Turning his head, he indicated towards a direction. I translate: "This way". So, I got up while he started walking away, looking back from time to time, which means: "Follow me". I obliged while he took me to the clump of gladioli. He then stopped there, sat on his bottom and started staring at one of the stems. "Look, this is what I wanted to show you." Sure enough, I noticed that the first gladiolus flower of the summer was opening out. I thanked him and he enjoyed my cuddles. I cupped the flower in my hand for a while, to let him know that he had been understood, after which he got up and left without turning his head once. I have expanded on this example, which in itself has nothing exceptional, partly because it happened recently, partly because it is typical of the kind of conversations that can occur between cats and humans.

My conclusion is that Jicky has developed a non-selfish behavior (he does not eat the flowers!). My big companion (he weighs more than twenty pounds and is over three feet long) would never have behaved the way he did if our way of communicating was not working well. May I just recommend the following to cats-parents: Dedicate a maximum amount of time on communication, as soon as it is feasible. I knew the wife of a french farmer, who used to carry her favourite kitten in the pocket of her apron so that it could get used to her body smell. In return for your time, you will be provided with the extreme pleasure of being with your companion, as opposed to simply living next to each other.

The following pages are a compilation of a "cat-human" dictionary that deals with five main themes: Current messages - Feelings - Code of Politeness - Games - Welcoming guests.

YOUR CAT SPEAKS TO YOU.


All animals communicate.


Talking to feline friend.


Investing in communication.


Facial language.


CAT-HUMAN DICTIONARY.

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