Trigger Phrases You Shouldn’t Say to Cats or Kin

Meow Meow No No's

Trigger phrases you shouldn't say to cats or kin

I’m no cat lover. They cause me to sneeze and wheeze. Still, when I saw “5 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Cats,” I was intrigued. Who knew cats were so attuned to language! I thought “If cats react to trigger phrases, isn’t it true that family members do too?” So, non-feline lover me read the article, seeking guidance about how to deal with the non-felines in my life. And now, as a result, I’m amending that original cat-icle to include additional Trigger Phrases You Shouldn’t Say to Kitties, Kids, or Kin.

Number 1. on the Meow Meow No No’s List: “I’m sure you’re fine.”

“Cats express themselves physically and vocally, says the editor at Pure Wow. “Yowling and meowing can mean anything from ‘I’m hungry!’ to ‘My kidneys hurt!’”

If in doubt, take thy pet to the vet, say the experts. Don’t just say, “I’m sure you’re fine.”

While I’m no cat-ologist, I am a noted man-ologist. So, if Handsome Hubby starts yowling and meowing, (or as we humans put it, kvetching and bellyaching), I know I’m in trouble. I mean, I know he’s in trouble. I mean, I know he doesn’t feel good, and saying, “I’m sure you’re fine” is a sure-fire formula for martial mayhem.

Generally, I find sympathy, tea, Tylenol, and fleeing into the other room (me fleeing) and a good night’s sleep (for both of us) solves the problem. But my advice — and of course, I’m no MD — is NEVER tell a man “I’m sure you’re fine.”

A woman in pain suffers in comparative silence. She grits her teeth. She bears pain “like a man” and gets through it. A man — on the other hand — regresses to the age of six and wails and moans. It’s ugly. Still, I repeat, never ever say the obvious, “I’m sure you’re fine.” Just don’t.

Number 2. on the Meow Meow No No’s List: “No!”

Bowser doesn’t like to hear you screech and shout “No.” (Even a non-pet person me knows this. So, it must be a well-established, well-known, and therefore, “true” fact.)

Well, apparently kitty isn’t keen on it either. It’s not the word per se. It’s your tone that’s taboo. Thus, the kind folks at the ASPCA urge cat owners to use “positive” reinforcement. Reward your cat with a treat, a pat on the head, or a kind word when they do something positive.

If, on the other hand, they’re doing something destructive or annoying, try distraction. Toss a ball or a treat. Shouting leads nowhere.

In my 34 years of marriage, I found the above advice works wonders with HH as well. Shout, and you get nowhere except into a shouting match. Scream “No,” and you get nowhere fast. But say something sweet. Offer a sweet treat, and well, the marital rewards are nothing short of swell!

As my mother used to say, “You get more with honey than vinegar.”

So, kudos to the cat mavens. Sound advice on Rule Number 2.

Number 3. on the Meow Meow No No’s List: “Stay out here!”

Cat lovers tell me cats love to hide. Cat experts say forcing a cat to come out and play when they — a la Greta Garbo — want to be alone is bad.

“Staying underneath the bed or tucked away inside a cardboard box gives them a sense of security,” advise the cat sages at Pure Wow magazine. “Forcing your cat to come out into the light of day when they need some alone time is detrimental to their overall sense of security.”

Now, I’m no cat, but on this “I want to be alone” issue, I concur (minus the cardboard box). Occasionally I wish my well-meaning loved ones would respect my need for quiet and not push and prod for quality “Stay Out Here” time.

Sometimes a cat just wants its yarn. Sometimes a gal just wants to read a good yarn.

Non-feline Trigger Phrases

While those are a few of the trigger points covered in the original Pure Wow article, here are a few non-feline trigger phrases I’m offering to avoid saying to your significant other, kids, or kin — unless, of course, you’ve got an itch to get some fur flying!

  1. You didn’t … (take out the trash), (empty the dishwasher), (clear the table), (pick up the cleaning), (________).
  2. Why didn’t you ________?
  3. You never _______.
  4. You always ______.
  5. And another thing, ________.
  6. You are just like your (Mother) (Father).
  7. I am so disappointed in you! (Exclamation mark optional.)

Achoo! And Double Achoo!

I’m going to stop here. Actually, I must. All this catty cat and familial chat have triggered my allergies. I’m sneezing faster than I can type.

🐶 🐶 🐶

Meanwhile, my dear Middle-age Muddlers,

Fess up! What are the trigger phrases that get things going in your household? Come on! Do tell!

1 reply
  1. Andrea Serra
    Andrea Serra says:

    Karen, as a cat owner and lover, this was super informative as I am guilty of at least 2 of these things. I was surprised to learn recently that cats don’t vocalize around each other, that is only how they communicate with humans. I am quite surprised that you have chosen this as your subject this week, knowing your cat aversion. You did a great job hiding this fact and made it funny too. Thanks!


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