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 Post subject: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:57 pm 
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My two cats, when excited, especially by game, do a very odd clicking with their jaw. Anyone know why?

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:59 pm 
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What kind of game is it?

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:03 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
What kind of game is it?

Perhaps birds or a squirrel. Nothing seems to come of it as they much prefer tuna.

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:20 pm 
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Michael w6 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
What kind of game is it?

Perhaps birds or a squirrel. Nothing seems to come of it as they much prefer tuna.

Oh, I see. I thought you meant a video game, not prey. My last cat was actually prone to watch what was going on on a screen; he understood that things on the TV weren't "real", but some images excited him all the same. He was fascinated by human hands, and if there were birds (as there often were, for I like nature programs), sometimes he just couldn't help himself and would jump at the screen. A word to you flat screen designers out there: When it comes to stability, do take excitable cats into account, would you?

The cat before him didn't watch the tube much, but the first time she saw a rhinoceros on it, her eyes bugged out.

But back to your question: What you describe isn't unusual. Not all cats do it, but the trait is pretty widespread: Upon seeing something that puts them in an instinctual hunting mode, they'll make this rapid "Kekekekek" noise. It's a vocalization, not a jaw click, although that assumption would be understandable. Most often I've seen this when there's a window separating the cat from the object of its attention, and I'd always taken it as a noise of frustration at not being able to get at it. But last year I saw it when a cat was approaching its intended quarry outdoors, so I can't assume that any more. It probably is simple excitement. It also ensures that the cat will give itself away long before it has the chance to pounce. One wonders how natural selection comes into this one; I take it as a by-product of domestication, because such a cat couldn't survive in the wild if it had to live off of hunting.

My last cat was a consummate hunter, and he didn't make this noise under any circumstances. The only way you'd know he was excited by his quarry was when his low-held tail would shiver. But he was genetically less domesticated in a lot of ways, although he was also highly sociable. When it comes to domestic cats, you get a really mixed grab-bag of traits.

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:12 pm 
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Oh, I see. I thought you meant a video game, not prey.

I've never known my cat to pray. He usually sleeps through the canonical hours. And the worldly hours as well. As to games, I had hoped to have him learn backgammon but without opposable thumbs this was in vain.

This question of clicking was talked about at work today. One person brought up the thought you express about this noise being a poor hunting stagey as you did. I had not considered this.

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:19 pm 
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Michael w6 wrote:
As to games, I had hoped to have him learn backgammon but without opposable thumbs this was in vain.

But surely he could push the pieces around. You'd still have to throw the dice for him, though. Oh, wait - then there's that divider to get past. Yep: shot that theory all to hell.

Everything was a game to my last cat, but he was half Abyssinian, and if you know anything about Abbies, that explains everything. There was this one time when rather than pushing his way through the unlatched door as usual, he decided instead to use the situation for a new game: I was doing whatever when I got this feeling of being watched, so I turned and looked, and sure enough there was this beady little eye spying on me through the crack in the door. I laughed, and told him to knock it off and just come on in, but no; rather than the jig being up as you might think, that one eye just kept peering at me. It was unnerving, and you could almost hear him giggling. At this point, my repeated urging and his implacable spying became a war of wills, for he was determined to win - and Abbies are famously stubborn - so eventually I had to capitulate (just this once! :wink: ) and go to him so I could fulfill my assigned role in the game. That one spooky little peering eye was still on me as I got to the door, which I dutifully opened to officially reveal the spy. He looked up at me and meowed a happy greeting as I knuckled his head; game now over, he came in satisfied, and went off to find his dish. That game had been a particularly good one.

He also liked to playfully bat at my palm when he accompanied me from point A to point B. My part in that game was to make like a Venus Flytrap and try to catch his paw as soon as I felt it. Sometimes I even succeeded, too. He was quite the mischievous clowner, and quite the pal.

Michel w6 wrote:
This question of clicking was talked about at work today. One person brought up the thought you express about this noise being a poor hunting stagey as you did. I had not considered this.

The noise is commonly called "chittering" (also "chattering" or "twittering", but I find those less satisfactory). Since it's an ingrained trait, I personally wouldn't apply the word "strategy" to it. But maybe that's being overly pedantic. Nevertheless, if a chittery cat were able to suppress its chittering when hunting (and I don't expect they can), that would be strategy. Or tactics. Whatever. Sometimes the distinction isn't always so clear to me.

Speaking of strategy, have you ever read the Book of Five Rings?

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:18 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
The noise is commonly called "chittering" (also "chattering" or "twittering", but I find those less satisfactory).


Nah, "twittering" would be something different.

@DiscipleofBastet:
Human never gives tuna. Ought to be beheaded but then who would scoop box and dispense pettings? If you're reading, please send fish.

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:38 pm 
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Katharine wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
The noise is commonly called "chittering" (also "chattering" or "twittering", but I find those less satisfactory).

Nah, "twittering" would be something different.

Okay, I'll bite: What is "twittering" for you, then? I've never used the word myself when it comes to any cat noises, so I have no dog in that fight. Although I might have a different word for what you have in mind, whatever it is.

Katharine wrote:
@DiscipleofBastet:
Human never gives tuna. Ought to be beheaded but then who would scoop box and dispense pettings? If you're reading, please send fish.

Eldritch.

Maybe it was the beheading part, but somehow it sort of brings to mind my last cat, who wasn't content to sit well-behaved for tossed treats, but came at you like a barracuda. That was a force of nature.

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:36 pm 
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Something like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66iN3vzM98U

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:01 pm 
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My Himalayan cat used to do that when he spotted a bird through the window. None of my current cats chatter, though. Shame, as I find it rather amusing.

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:38 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:

Yep, that's it.

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:50 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Katharine wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
The noise is commonly called "chittering" (also "chattering" or "twittering", but I find those less satisfactory).

Nah, "twittering" would be something different.

Okay, I'll bite: What is "twittering" for you, then? I've never used the word myself when it comes to any cat noises, so I have no dog in that fight. Although I might have a different word for what you have in mind, whatever it is.

Katharine wrote:
@DiscipleofBastet:
Human never gives tuna. Ought to be beheaded but then who would scoop box and dispense pettings? If you're reading, please send fish.

Eldritch.

Maybe it was the beheading part, but somehow it sort of brings to mind my last cat, who wasn't content to sit well-behaved for tossed treats, but came at you like a barracuda. That was a force of nature.


I was making a joke about cats using Twitter. Twittering.

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:03 am 
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I was making a joke about cats using Twitter. Twittering.

Would they use lol Cat Speak?

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 Post subject: Re: CAT CLICKS
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:14 pm 
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Katharine wrote:
I was making a joke about cats using Twitter. Twittering.

Whoosh. Right over my head, it went.

And yes, it's because I don't do Twitter. Or that Faceboak thing, either; Nano lives under a rock in Lameville, with C&F as the extent of his Internet presence. Seriously. So anyway - I'm hazarding that the @ should have been my first clue, right? I suppose if I spoke Twittish this embarrassing foulup wouldn't have happened, and I wouldn't come off looking like a mouth-breathing yokel. Good joke, though, now that I can see it. :)

Michael w6 wrote:
I was making a joke about cats using Twitter. Twittering.

Would they use lol Cat Speak?

Since you're inconsistent about using the quote function, Michael, when you don't, how about putting quotemarks or <> (whatever they're called) around what you're quoting, then? You know, as a courtesy.

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