Speaking to your pets
The first pet my ex and I adopted was Snoopy, a cat that showed up on our doorstep one day and never left.
She was deeply attached to us. When we went on walks, she’d tag along. Neighbors would stop us and ask if we knew we had a cat following us.
“Yes,” we’d reply. “That’s Snoopy. She always comes on our walks.”
We followed a particular route most days. Snoopy knew it by heart. She’d follow us on the way out and lead us on the way home. She walked with purpose in her step. She seemed fearless in her confidence.
When we left on vacation, she was upset. The first time we left for a week our neighbor reported that Snoopy had cried incessantly. We had a friend check on her while we were gone — the friend spent a half hour with her each day, playing with her, giving her food and water and cleaning her box. Didn’t matter, Snoopy still grieved.
The next time we had a vacation, I spent time talking to her before we left. I explained to her that we were going to be gone for a week but we had someone who would come every day to check up on her until we came home. I told her we loved her very much and we would be back.
She seemed to listen to me intently. I have no idea what she picked up on. But she seemed more relaxed.
Since then, I’ve made a practice of doing this with all my pets. My dog Annie was deeply attached to me. Like most of my pets, she was a rescue. She would have separation anxiety whenever I left the house. So I talked to her every time I left. I told her how long I would be gone and promised her I’d be back.
That really did calm her down. She still lay right by the door, but her body language, according to my family, was more relaxed. She seemed to be anticipating my return instead of fearing I wouldn’t be back.
I think it’s a good practice to talk to your pets. I have no scientific evidence to back up my suggestion. But it seems to me that even if they can’t understand what you say, exactly, they will respond to your posture, your tone of voice and your energy. Whatever the reason, it seems to work.