Talking buttons are taking elevating cat-to-human communication. This technology was first used by humans with problems communicating. Today, these buttons can be used by cats and dogs as well and it allows our furry friends to tell us what they want in a way we can understand, with words!
To me, the best talking buttons are the ones by FluentPet. They are a little expensive but they are worth every penny. The only characteristic that I believe has some room for improvement is the "possibility" of the buttons. For a small cat, it can be hard to press the button, particularly at the beginning, when they are learning what the buttons are and what the buttons do.
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There are 3 things to take into account when choosing the best talking buttons:
- Easiness to press the button
- Ability to organize (and keep it that way)
- Quality of the sound
Let's review them in-depth:
Easy to Press Talking Button (Pressability)
Cats are lighter than most dogs also, a lot less clumsy (no hate). When a cat touches the button, unless very intentional, it can be hard for the button to get pressed and display the sound that had been recorded.
Dogs would just let their paw fall on top of the button and that weight and energy are more than enough for the button to trigger. In the case of cats, they will play with the side of the button, try to claw it, and for the button to get pressed, it can take a while.
Dogs' clumsiness and weight make it easier for them to press the buttons, cats need to be more intentional
When choosing the buttons for your cat, try to take this into account and select some that are easy to press, at least for the beginning, when the cat is learning what the buttons are.
Once the cat becomes more intentional, it won't have any problem pressing the talking buttons, this is a problem just at the very beginning.
When looking at press ability only, the #1 buttons are the ones from "My Dog Talks". They look very similar to the FluentPet ones but are slightly easier to press.
Easy to Organize Talking Buttons
While the easiness to press the button is important at the beginning of the training, the ability to distribute the buttons and remember what they are becomes crucial as we teach our cats new words.
There are 3 main ways buttons can get organized for us and our cats to remember:
- Stickers: Adding the word or an icon for what every button means makes it easier for us (humans) to remember what each button is.
- Colors: With not many words, colors are also a good way to remember what each button means. As more buttons join the talking boards, the more difficult it will be to find different buttons and, thus, they become not a good option for anyone trying to take this training for
- Tiles: Muscle memory and distribution are our best friends when looking to teach our cats several words.
The best brand when it comes to button distribution is FluentPet:
I remember those streets in Barcelona, they all look the same. The problem with square boards is that it's easy to mess up one tile with another. FluentPet has designed a hexagon distribution system that makes the board asymmetric and easier to remember.
What I like about their system is that the buttons get snug into a slot, so even with the cat pawing at it and running over it, the board won't get disorganized.
They also come with stickers for those of us with a little less memory :)
Quality of The Sound
This one is important only at the very end of the learning journey. If you and your cat become good at this, having a distinct recording is the only way that you'll be good at understanding them. Otherwise, you'll have to be in front of the board trying to see what buttons your cat is pressing.
All and all, despite the price tag, being a little higher than for the other boards, I believe that FluentPet has been the brand that has worked the hardest in making these buttons great for both cats and dogs and I am sticking with them going forward.
How to Teach a Cat to Use Talking Buttons
3 elements are key to teaching a cat to use talking buttons:
- Choose 1 or 2 words that your cat already knows
- Model, model, and model
- Be Consistent
Pick words that your cat understands and is triggered by, like play, outdoors, outside, or food. Push the when engaging in those activities and repeat verbally the word that your cat is familiar with, to help create the association. Do it often.
Now you can walk the talk and not only talk the walk. Stay Wild, Stay Safe, See You Outdoors!
Albert & Mia