Talking to your pet helps us to bond with them. If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries, you might be familiar with the popular The Cat Who… books by late author Lilian Jackson Braun. Her main character, Jim Qwilleran, has two Siamese cats and, whenever he leaves them, he explains to them where he’s going and when he’ll return. He also reads to them. This is because, he believes, the more you talk to cats, the smarter they become.
We know that cats and dogs do understand some words, especially if we’ve taken the time to do some training with them. What’s even more interesting, though, is that animals can understand tone of voice. According to the American Kennel Club, using a “rising pitch” in our voices captures the animal’s attention and increases arousal. Unscientifically, we also just like to feel we are good, authentic caregivers to our pets.
While pets can’t actually talk to us in return, they will let us know they are listening in other ways: tilting their heads, barking, meowing, or, in the case of certain cats, pointedly ignoring us.
Regardless of what our pets do or don’t understand, talking to them shows that we love and value them.