Do you understand your cats?
Many cat owners and feline lovers guess that “meow” translates to “feed me” in English, and many experts agree, noting that their chattiness is a trick to get their human’s attention.
But their language do not end there. Kitties also show send signals through hissing, purring, and facial expressions.
“Anyone who writes cats off as sort of moody or distant is probably underestimating them,” Georgia Mason, a veterinary researcher and author of a study analyzing human’s ability to understand cats, told Vice in an interview.
“The point is, they are signaling. It’s just subtle, and you need expertise – and maybe intuition – to see it,” she said as her work was published last month in the journal Animal Welfare.
In their study, Mason and her colleagues asked more than 6,000 participants to watch 20 context-free cat clips, and decide whether the felines in the video were experiencing a negative or positive emotion.
The average number of correct responses was a failing mark of 11.85 out of 20. Even cat owners did not have any advantage over the average person.
Mason concluded that animal companions’ brows are unique that a pet parent may not perfect reading their own fur-baby’s own face and understand them. Researchers noted that the data showed cat owners are less bonded to their felines than dog owners, which could have resulted to the disappointing outcome.
Compared to dogs, cats are more likely neglected, abandoned or passed over for adoption.
“We’re hoping [to conduct] more research to develop tools to help people read their cat better,” Mason added. “That would make living with a cat more rewarding.”
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