Rescue Cat Using 'Sign Language' to Tell Owner He's Hungry Melts Hearts

A rescue cat using "sign language" when hungry has taken over TikTok.

In a clip shared by user @ohcharliecat on January 24, a ginger tabby called Charlie can be seen putting his paws together and waving them in the air.

Dubbed the "squat and beg" motion by his owners, Charlie can be seen shaking his paws everywhere from the dinner table to on top of an exercise ball.

Tabby receiving food from owner's hand
A stock photo of a ginger tabby cat receiving food from its owner's hand. Charlie uses the "squat and beg" motion when it's food time. Nail Galiev/iStock/Getty Images Plus

According to his owner, Charlie begs every day, often from the dining table and from near his food cabinet every morning, and has a particular love of chicken.

TikTok users compared the adorable action to "sign language," with the footage receiving 8.6 million views and 1.8 million likes.

Can Cats Learn Sign Language?

Although research into feline intelligence is scarce compared to the number of studies on canine intelligence, what is available suggests that cats are actually pretty clever.

Like dogs and toddlers, cats pass the "pointing test" (basically, they will walk over to objects when their owner tells them to, and in some cases, even follow their owner's gaze), and like dogs, can tune in to their owner's emotional state.

But are cats smart enough to learn sign language? According to cat behavior expert Stephen Quandt, the answer is a definite yes.

"Cats are always trying to figure out how to get rewards. They listen to our voices, body language and physical signals. You can use your hand (and treats) to teach a cat how to high-five you," he told Newsweek.

Quandt said that some hearing-impaired owners have taught their cats simple hand signals. Like most forms of animal training, it's about pairing the gesture with a reward to get results.

"For indoor cats who wave their paws, the most likely meaning is the cat has learned that this behavior creates an irresistible response from their cat parent," he said.

"It's so darn cute that their humans respond and the cat has learned that their behavior creates an immediate response—attention. Now, it's the cat that has learned to use sign language [on its human]."

'Give That Baby Whatever He Wants'

On their website, @ohcharliecat explained that Charlie was found in a field with his siblings, after their mother was attacked by a hawk.

The now 3-year-old tabby has been doing his squat and beg motion since he was a kitten, and his owners have no idea where he learned it.

"Charlie stood up on the window sill and begged at us! It was a mix of cute + bizarre + funny," they said.

TikTokers couldn't get enough of Charlie and his cute quirk, with user Salmon fish calling him "the sweetest baby."

"Cats using sign language is always adorable," agreed nickysmith343.

"Someone is hungry," said Luck Luck.

"He's directing a orchestra," joked Abbie.

"It kinda looks like he's saying thank you," wrote sunflxwer.bellaa.

While kt commented: "Give that baby whatever he wants."

Charlie isn't the only pet to wow the internet with his communication skills. A dog using speech buttons to tell its owner it has a "bad belly" received over 75,000 likes on TikTok, while a rescue dog who knows sign language was recently named our Pet of the Week.

Newsweek has reached out to @ohcharliecat for comment.

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? We want to see the best ones! Send them in to and they could appear on our site.

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