I used to consider myself a dog person. Then I ended up with cats. That is when the confusion set in.
According to scientific anthropological speculation, dogs are better at reading the facial expressions of humans, because they have a longer history with humanity. Cats are allegedly more intelligent due to the fact that unlike dogs, who are pack scavengers, cats are lone predators that congregate into colonies when feral. I have read several articles that wild cats rarely vocalize, while our manipulative domestic companions have learned to.
I speak science, some other languages, but mostly science. I can understand dogs, but the language I fail to master is cat. This does not stop the self-proclaimed most intelligent species on the planet at attempting to communicate with clever cats on a daily basis.
Among one of my most miserable failures at translating Feline into English was a rescued Siamese, who looked like a grey alien crossbred with a vampire bat and sounded like the dissonant bag pipe of the cat world. According to those that love the breed, the emission of unearthly wails of despair were the Siamese equivalent of "talking" and did not require emergency exorcisms for demonic possession.
|Random Siamese kitten. Not a Chihuahua.|
My attempts to make first contact with the aliens in my home continue to this day. They blink, I blink back a reassuring I come in peace. Their incessant meows evoke a conditioned repertoire of routine queries: You want food? Here you go. Not this food? You don't want food? You want to play? Want to chase the string or the ball? Neither? You want to be petted. Patted? I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT! Hey, where are you going?
Misunderstood, tail held high, they walk off. Before I question my sanity, I remind myself that many human conversations are equally inconclusive.