No, You’re Not a Crazy Cat Person, You Can Bond With Your Cat by Blinkingadmin
New research confirms what many cat owners have long believed – “you can bond with your cat by sending them a slow blink,” Rachel Funnell writes. “By narrowing your eyes, you can generate the equivalent of a smile for a cat, which according to the authors [of the study recently published in Scientific Reports] makes the owner more attractive to their pet.”
The study found:
- Cats were more likely to slow blink at their owners if their owners had slow blinked at them, compared to when the owner was present in the room but not delivering a slow blink stimulus.
- Cats were more likely to slow blink when an unfamiliar experimenter slow blinked at them, compared to when they had maintained a neutral expression.
- Cats preferred to approach an experimenter after they had slow blinked at the cat than if they had maintained a neutral expression.
“As someone who has both studied animal behaviour and is a cat owner, it’s great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this way. It’s something that many cat owners had already suspected, so it’s exciting to have found evidence for it,” Professor Karen McComb, from the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, who supervised the work, said in a statement. “This study is the first to experimentally investigate the role of slow blinking in cat-human communication. And it is something you can try yourself with your own cat at home, or with cats you meet in the street. It’s a great way of enhancing the bond you have with cats. Try narrowing your eyes at them as you would in a relaxed smile, following by closing your eyes for a couple of seconds. You’ll find they respond in the same way themselves and you can start a sort of conversation.”
The psychology of cats hasn’t been studied as extensively as dogs, which makes this insight particularly interesting.