Many people think that you can’t train a cat. The truth is that cats can learn anything a dog can do, but cats figure they don’t have to listen to anyone but themselves. So when Kim Silva retired from teaching at the American School for the Deaf, she decided to start teaching sign language to her cats.
Surprisingly, the cats learned rather quickly. Among the words they now know are: “come,” “more,” “sit,” “stay,” “shake,” “high five,” “sleep,” “circle,” “shrimp,’ “play,” “canned food,” “finish” and “dance”. They also know “off,” which Silva must spell out, letter by letter.
“Cats become much more interactive with people because they want to communicate,” Silva says. “Bobcat was a ‘pillow that ate’ before he learned sign. He interacted with other cats, but ignored people. After he learned sign at age 7 years, he became the extroverted show cat! My cats will also do tricks with other people who sign with them.”