Sunday Cats: A Cat Fluent In Sign Language?

A Reddit post with almost 30,000 upvotes claims a cat took it upon himself to learn sign language after realizing his human is deaf.

You don’t need me to tell you it’s nonsense, do you? It’s interesting how we’re willing to believe a cat can endeavor to learn sign language, but we — the supposedly more intelligent species — can’t be bothered to watch for emotions conveyed by the curl of a tail or a twitch of the whiskers.

Cats are incredibly smart little furballs, but just like the people who claim their cats are meaningfully communicating via talking boards with 100 buttons, this is just social media fodder for the credulous.

Unfortunately the credulous are numerous, although a few Redditors had a good time at their expense. One user complimented the addition of a VHS-like filter over the video clip, giving it a vintage quality.

“Not a filter. It’s been around for a while,” another Redditor responded. “The cat now knows ASL, English, French, Spanish, and is working on its doctoral thesis.”

A cat in a backpack? No, a cat backpack

In a reminder that the Japanese have an endless appetite for all things cat-related, the newest hot item among the Land of the Rising Sun’s neko-infatuated is a bespoke cat backpack hand-sewn by a housewife in Fukui prefecture.

The bags don’t come cheap. It takes Miho Katsumi between one and three months to make each one, and they’ll set you back about $1,000 each via Katsumi’s site. Check out her Instagram for more images.

How quickly do you think Bud would murder me if I came home with one of these in his image one day? 🙂

12 thoughts on “Sunday Cats: A Cat Fluent In Sign Language?”

  1. Bella uses sign language, it’s very simple – claw or paw, meaning yes or no. I am therefore in no doubt as to what she is saying

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t mean to be rude and disparage Miho Katsumi’s work, the items are obviously well made and very pretty. But they are also a bit creepy, esp. the ones where there’s just a cat’s head stuck to the bag … just my humble opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whenever I observe anxiety in the facial expression of my aging mother, I can also witness how that stress suddenly drains and is replaced with joyful adoration upon her cat entering the room. “Hi, sweetheart,” she’ll say. Countless other seniors, and non-seniors, with a cat(s) also experience its emotional benefits.

    Still, there’s a tragic human-nature propensity to perceive the value of life (sometimes even human life in regularly war-torn or overpopulated famine-stricken global regions) in relation to the conditions enjoyed or suffered by that life. With the mindset of feline disposability, it might be: ‘Oh, there’s a lot more whence they came’.

    Also, with their vertical slit pupils and Hollywood-cliché fanged hiss when confronted, in a world mostly hostile toward snakes (including me), cats may have a permanent PR problem with much of humankind, despite their Internet adorable-pet dominance. [Frankly, I have long believed that along with human intelligence comes the seemingly proportional reprehensible potential for malice for malice’s sake.]
    Yet, these mammals’ qualities, especially their non-humanly innocence, make losing them such a great heart break for their owners.

    Beautiful yet often misunderstood, prejudged and unjustly despised animals, cats are. And only when overpopulations of unwanted cats are greatly reduced in number by responsible owners consistently spaying/neutering their felines might these beautiful animals’ presence be truly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know he was doing it for laughs, but in one of Bill Burr’s sets he was talking about shooting some animal species (I think it was a bird), waving it off and saying “There’s plenty of ’em!”

      That is unfortunately how some people think. They don’t consider animals individuals with their own minds and points of view, and often they’ll get angry if someone points out to them that decades of scientific studies show without a doubt that animals are thinking, feeling and fully conscious.

      But once you recognize reality of animal sentience and cognition, it leads to a whole set of other inconvenient questions about eating meat, industrial farming, etc.

      I think you’re right about intelligence correlating with capacity for malice and cruelty. It’s not an accident that chimpanzees, our closest relatives, go to war with other chimp troops, murder each other over arguments and inflict injury or death out of spite.

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      1. While I do not believe that God required blood and pain ‘payment’ from Jesus or anyone else, I do factually know that the creator’s animals have had their blood literally shed and bodies eaten in mindboggling quantities by Man. And maybe the figurative forbidden fruit of Eden eaten by Adam and Eve was actually God’s four-legged creation.

        I, a believer in Christ’s unmistakable miracles, can see that really angering the Almighty — a lot more than the couple’s eating non-sentient, non-living, non-bloodied fruit. Mainstream Christianity doesn’t speak up much at all about what we, collectively, have done to animals for so long. … And maybe eating meat is bad for the consumer on a personal spiritual level, as well as on the physical self.

        P.S. To clarify, I’m not vegetarian. Though I seldom eat mammal meat, I do enjoy eating prawns or shrimp pretty much on a weekly basis. … Also, as for high human intellect and capacity for doing evil, one can notice how genuinely nice are people with, for example, Down Syndrome.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Have you read the papal encyclical “Laudato Si” from 2015? It’s the most explicit defense of animals in any mainstream religious proclamation I’m aware of, it chastises humanity for treating animals like “resources to be ruthlessly exploited,” recognizes animals as individuals with their own minds, and argues that animals have souls.

        I think it’s incredibly important, because a lot of people like to point to that one line in the Old Testament that says God put animals on the Earth for the use of humans. People have justified horrific treatment of animals for centuries based on that.

        Among eastern religions, Jainism is the most dedicated to protecting animals and avoiding anything that would do harm to them, sometimes almost to the point of absurdity. But the story of Lord Neminath, the ascetic who began the tradition of respect for animals in Jainism, is interesting, as is the theology.

        Liked by 1 person

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