Todd is a 5-year-old neutered male cat. He was adopted from a shelter when he was 12 weeks old. Todd lives with his hooman mom and dad as well as two other kitties adopted from the same shelter over the years, Glamour (age 14) and Paulie (age 10). Right from the start Todd was very bonded with his dad, he was very expressive for a kitten and found ways of telling me what he wanted. I knew when he wanted to play, although I might not know what game or with what toy. I knew when he wanted attention although I didn’t know if it was pets, belly rubs, or brushes.
Spoiled, Photogenic, and popular
Todd was also very photogenic and like any proud cat-dad I started sharing pictures of him on my Facebook page. After a few weeks, I had two of my friends tell me, on the same day, that Todd needed his own Facebook page. The idea of it struck me as funny so I did it more as a joke. I created the Facebook page The Chronicles of Todd and it didn’t take long before Todd had more Facebook friends than I did. People kept finding him and the next thing I knew Todd had thousands of friends from all over the world. Todd’s followers continue to grow and we are so grateful for all his friends and their love and support.
One day while watching YouTube videos I saw a thumbnail for a video with a cat standing next to an array of buttons laid out on the floor. The picture intrigued me so I clicked on it. It was a cat named Billi and I was amazed that she was able to tell her hooman exactly what she wanted and how she felt. As I watched more of her videos I was even more impressed that she understood and could express more subtle things like morning, afternoon, night, before, and time (now, soon is less than 15 minutes, and later is more than 15 minutes). The more I watched the more fascinated I became and started to wonder if my cats could learn this. I loved the idea of being able to communicate with them on that level.
“Bird Toy”, “Bird Toy”…
After about 6 months of watching Billi’s videos, reading up on what is involved, and observing Todd, I decided I was going to give it a try. I ordered the buttons from Fluent Pet. When they came I set up his soundboard and decided to give him 3 words to start, Todd, Play, and Bird Toy. Todd was very curious about what I was doing, the other cats not so much. Todd came over and I showed him the button of his favorite game/toy. I lightly touched it a couple of times telling him “Button”. He looked at it and touched it with his paw. I was very excited about this as getting your learner to touch the buttons is a major step. I praised him and then showed him what the button could do, I pressed it and it said “Bird Toy”.
His eyes got big so I pressed it again and it said “Bird Toy” which I repeated then got the toy and played with him. I was so excited about him touching the button as soon as I set it up I went to my computer to pull the video of it. While I was doing that I here “Bird Toy”, I look over and Todd had pushed the button. I jumped up and praised him, got the toy, and played with him for a short time, dropped the toy and rushed downstairs to tell my wife he had already pushed a button on his own.
After that, I came back upstairs to pull that video and I saw Todd was not done playing yet, when I went downstairs he went back to the button and was hammering away at it “Bird Toy”, “Bird Toy”, “Bird Toy”, “Bird Toy”, “Bird Toy”. Lol. The rest they say is history. Todd is currently up to 29 words and growing. I set up a YouTube page dedicated to our journey of learning to communicate with each other called Todd Talks