Guest Blog: Jeannie Stickle on Cat Communication.

I'm back, and after 2 weeks in Florida, I'd like to curl up in a sink, too. It's not Florida. The weather was perfect (To me that means cool to downright cold) and I got to see many of my friends, some of whom I haven't seen in way too long. It's the flying there and back that I HATE.

While I was away, I got this blog post from my friend, Jeannie Stickle. It made me homesick for my coast and my cats. She said I could share with you. Enjoy.

Solomon in the sink

Cat Communication

I had to sneak out of the house today. I slipped on my rubber boots, and trudged through our long grass on the back side of our fence to avoid our cat, Solomon. Well, I didn’t actually have to sneak out but Solomon has developed the habit of following us on our walks to the headlands. I’ve seen enough signs of missing cats in our neighborhood to know I’d rather have him stay safely within our fenced yard. He started this new habit over the holidays when our family took a long walk near the ocean. At the time, he was enjoying all the togetherness and didn’t want to miss out. At first he followed some distance behind but soon he was leading the way.


Solomon enjoying the view

Our cat is approaching 15 years, so he’s rather old for a cat. He’s never been too excited about exercise and he was panting like a dog before we got home. (We tried to carry him back but he would have none of that.) This made me think of how important relationships are to all creatures. Solomon was making a sacrifice to keep the family together. He can’t communicate using words, but he communicated through his actions. And when you think of it, we humans also communicate volumes to the people around us through our actions. Research has long shown that the majority of our communication is nonverbal. That includes body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, eye contact, posture, and proximity to others. Some children, especially those on the autism spectrum, need help with this area of communication so they can develop and grow in their relationships with others. Many adults, as well, need reminders about to use nonverbal cues effectively.

And that brings me back to my excursions through the long grass behind our home.  I wonder what my body language was communicating to the neighbors when they saw me sneaking around the back fence?

Jeanette W. Stickel

I am a licensed speech-language pathologist and have worked in this field for over thirty years. I can’t imagine a better profession – I love this job! For the last twenty years, I’ve been employed in public schools. Previous to that, I worked in speech clinics in California, Alaska and Guam. During my clinical years, I provided in-home speech therapy and parent education to children 0-3 and their families. I authored Talking Time, a book of speech and language activities for young children. Originally published by Speech Bin as a resource for professionals, I recently revised and released a second edition for use by parents, grandparents and other care-givers. I am also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and write stories for children. Currently, I am creating books to encourage pre-reading skills, while giving children practice in pronouncing specific sounds. Thank you for visiting my blog!