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In Russian when we want to call up a cat we say ks-ks-ks. What is the usual way to call it up in English?

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Are you trying to find out whether your cat speaks English? Or did you buy a British or American cat that won't come when it's called in Russian? My advice is, forget language altogether. Just open a can of cat food. Your cat will come. – Robusto Mar 20 '11 at 15:10
You are right, I've got a British cat and I want to speak to it in its language :) But I'm really interested in how you call up cats. – Edwin Ross Mar 20 '11 at 15:13
I usually call a cat by its name. I know what you are going to ask: and if you didn't give a name to the cat? – kiamlaluno Mar 20 '11 at 15:39
I think you are wasting your time. The cat will come as soon as it pleases, and not before. – Brian Hooper Mar 20 '11 at 18:44
@Brian Hooper, let me assure you that you are wrong. – Edwin Ross Mar 20 '11 at 18:52
up vote 11 down vote accepted

A high-pitched here kitty-kitty is very common.

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There’s another way that’s fairly common (at least in parts of the UK): a sound made by sucking in air through pursed lips. I don’t know of any common name for it, though, or way to transcribe it in writing. I’ve also heard it used, more rarely, to attract small birds (in the wild). – PLL Mar 20 '11 at 16:03
Thank you Callithumpian and PLL, it is really interesting. – Edwin Ross Mar 20 '11 at 16:07
@PLL Is it a kind of whistling sound? (As a somewhat random point of reference, when I learn to whistle as child (as in "whistle a tune"), I first learned to do so by sucking in air as opposed to blowing it out.) But it is very easy to produce bird-like sounds this way. – jbelacqua Mar 20 '11 at 19:28
"Here kitty, kitty" is the one I know. – Mari-Lou A Sep 14 '15 at 11:01
The "here" is of longer duration, while each "kitty" is shorter. There "here" is about the duration of a half note and each syllable of both "kitty" utterances is about an eighth note. The interval is a minor third down from "here" to "kit". If you're so inclined, please do an internet search for "prosody minor third." – rajah9 Jun 28 at 15:17

(reprise...) I know at least one person who attracts his cat by making the sound we generally write as tsk-tsk or tut-tut. That's the clicking sound made by pressing tip of tongue to roof of mouth, then releasing it sharply to draw air inwards (again, with throat closed). Drifting slightly off-topic, I've long been fascinated by the corresponding "non-vocalised" sound made using the side of the tongue, which has particularly strong associations with horses (i.e. - it means "giddy-up, horse!")

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Thank you, I did not even think there could be so many variants of calling up a cat. I will try them all ^..^____? – Edwin Ross Mar 20 '11 at 18:54
Horse, lateral click; cat, palatal click; girlfriend, something like a bilabial click. (Mwah!) – Jon Purdy Mar 20 '11 at 21:10
I think this is called a dental click: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_clicks – Mitch Mar 20 '11 at 22:42

Puss-puss (or other variations, e.g. here puss, etc) is also common in some parts.

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In keeping with @Robusto's comment on opening a can of cat food, the most reliable way to get our recalcitrant kitteh to return to the house is to say the cat's name (or a familiar diminutive thereof), followed with "cheese!" in a high-pitched voice. Kitties seem to love high-pitched voices mentioning food. The "cheese" vocalization is in fact an offer of food -- sometimes literally a tiny piece of cheese, sometimes actual "cat food". Imagine a trained dolphin receiving a fish after performing a trick, and you will have imagined a situation which is not completely unlike this one. This trick also works for our other cat who was not brought up with cheese as either an offer or a reward. I think it's the high-pitched voice, with the likely reward of food that does it.

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Whilst it's not uncommon, I think here kitty kitty is a bit twee & self-concious. The most common sound I hear people making is a sort of "squeak" produced by placing the bottom lip loosely against top teeth and drawing air inwards across the gap by moving the tongue backwards (with throat closed). I know at least a couple of people who call this non-vocalised sound a "tweet".

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Around our house we holler "Supper Time!" or "Kitty Bribes!" in a high pitched voice. The high pitch seems to be necessary.

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In Russian when we want to call up a cat we say ks-ks-ks.

The sound I've always heard and used (In Scotland, but coming from a North of England family) is ch-ch-ch-ch. where the 'ch' is the slightly explosive sound that you get at the start of 'chase' of 'chat'. Or I might also describe the sound as tch-tch-tch-tch, where the 'tch' is the same as the sound at the start of teuchter.

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protected by Rathony Jun 19 at 21:41

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