Do cats understand no? Cats owners would swear their cats have a “selective hearing,” meaning they decide to understand only what they like and pretend to ignore the rest. Cats do that. Cats also respond to commands and could sometimes understand their owner’s directions. But why are cats do lunatic about it?

Cats understand the word NO and can be trained to its meaning, although some cats are more challenging to train than others, and some cats will not obey at all times. In addition, cats have a short attention span, making it difficult and more prolonged to train them, but it is still possible.

Let’s see how to teach our cats to understand the word “no” and follow our instructions.

Do cats understand no?


Cats understand commands if trained or used to associate certain words with specific actions. For example, cats owners can teach cats a small vocabulary of words by introducing them to certain things when a word is pronounced.

For example, in my experience, it was possible to train my cats to come to me, respond to their names, understand the word ‘NO”, and in some cases even not to run away if I opened the front door.

Cats are not easy to train. Unlike dogs, they like to maintain their independence and “the freedom of choice.” Meaning cats can also decide not to do what you say and pretend they did not hear you. Some things go beyond verbal communication.

Once you bond with a cat, they learn to understand you based on your mood, body posture, tone of voice, and even on a spiritual level. After all, cats are living beings. But, of course, some cats are more trainable than others, so if you have a cat that doesn’t listen to you, don’t worry.

It can happen. But in general, you can teach a cat specific commands.


Yes, cats understand “No,” especially if you have spent some time educating them or by the fact that you moved threateningly toward them saying now too many times. But, after a while, they learn that “NO” can only result in an angry owner and to no good in general.

Cats can also understand that you want them to stop in their track by your tone of voice. Conversely, a loud and threatening voice will scare them away.

Will they follow your instructions all the time?

Not really. It depends on their personalities and how you educate them. A cat can also stop momentarily what they are doing, only returning a bit later to continue their misdeeds.

Cats do not really understand human words but can learn to associate the sounds of human words with objects or actions. It is like humans connecting the sound of the meow of their cats with what they want.

Sometimes cats understand that you say “NO,” but they look at you, testing if they can continue anyway. Sometimes they like to challenge their owners to see how far they can go ignoring directions. They are very smart!

In summary:

  • Cats understand words you trained them on
  • It is better to train them to associate a word with something
  • Cats can still decide to now follow or respond to those words
  • Cats are not domesticated like dogs but are still smart pets
  • Cats understand humans through other means as well ( mood, tone of voice, body motion, etc)
  • Cats personalities can modify how well you can train a cat


Cats understand humans by understanding the typical words their humans communicate to them in association with their actions. Still, also cats can figure out what their owners are up to based on what they are doing and their daily routines.

Sometimes, it is not essential what a cat owner says; hearing their voice is enough for cats to go into action, which could mean asking for food, cuddles, following them just for companionship, and more.

In general, cats are very smart, they know when their owner is calling them, but being still pretty much-undomesticated creatures, cats decides to listen when they want. But, you can see they heard you, by the fact that they moved their heard or hears when you called them.

Some cats breeds, such as the Maine Coon, are dog-like cats; you could treat them like dogs, play fetch with them, or do other things dogs do without any problem. Maine Coons are brilliant cats, but other cats’ breeds are likewise intelligent.


Emotion travel on a wavelength; living being can pick up on it, so do cats. In addition, studies show that cats’ sensitivity to emotion is not only restricted to their immediate family but also strangers.

Cats have the ability to interpret emotional signals from humans, such as tone of voice, body motions, facial expression, and more. In the same study, it appears that cats have a pre-existing mental representation of human emotion, even without previous contact with them.

In other words, it is an innate ability for cats to recognize emotions. They can integrate acoustic and visual emotional signals allowing them to understand things such as happiness, fear, anger, or others.

After leaving with cats for a while, you can agree that cats are susceptible to your moods, and if you are sad, they can recognize it and come close to try to help you out. But, on the contrary, if you are happy, they enjoy some playtime with you.


Do cats understand human meows?

Cats do not understand human meows. They may know from your tone of voice if you mean danger or not. Cats use meow mainly to let humans know what they want. Human meowing is just a random sound.

Why do cats not understand personal space?

Cats do not understand persona space because they are felines and follow their instincts. If you observe cats, they tend to sleep close to each other for warmth, affection, and other reasons. You are part of their family. So, naturally, they have to stay in your space. It is how they show love.

Do cats like being talked to?

Cats feel comforted to hear their owner’s voice, and thus they like to be talked to. But the talking has to be done in a calm, friendly, and loving way. So they can feel the vibration from your voice and understand you love them.

Should you hiss back at your cat?

You should not hiss back at your cat because hissing is a sign of aggression in a cat universe. In addition, hissing can scare a cat, and it should be avoided.

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