Sunday, April 6, 2008

all of the subatomic pieces come together

The cats are getting a little out of control these days. In an effort to be "stern" and to convey my sense of disapproval, i often grimace or put on a mean face. I also attempt to "shush" the "meeeooeeehhh's" and "reeeeehhh's" that are meant to convey something to *me*, that i'm too dull or incognizant of.

It got me thinking this morning. Human's have this incredible ability to smile and form a variety of other highly elaborate facial expressions. Cats (and most other animals i'm assuming) do not. I'd like to think my cats are smiling sometimes, or are frowning, but the reality is they lack this ability to convey emotions with their faces (i could be wrong, please let me know if your cat can smile for real). If they're happy or they're sad, its the same face (although their eyes being slightly closed or twitching or whatever may convey something, their mouths/cheeks do not seem to). This begs the question - can cats sense our emotions through our facial expressions?

I think cats can sense emotions, or at least i'd like to believe this. Before i ever had cats, i'd heard they're great at sensing when your down, and spending some quality time snuggling with you. What are they using to determine this? The sad look on your face, or is something deeper? Or is it total nonsense, a coincidence brought on by human's sponge-like emotions willing to accept any gesture as one of love when we sorely needed reinforcement?

I think another scientific cat experiment is in order. The next time i need to be stern, i'm going to do so smiling. If i get a different response, i'll have to conclude that my cats are in fact, cognizant of my facial expression. If not, i'll have to scientifically conclude that they are not, and it will be a great day for science. I likely will fail to mention the results here, you'll have to see the journal of nature for that.

btw, the title is inspired by when you smile by the flaming lips


  1. Bob, you should get a lot of responses to this posting from the myriads of cat bloggers out there. I have a New Agey friend who claims that cats can suffer from illnesses as a result of hanging around people with toxic emotions. I haven't seen the scientific studies on this one...
    But, over on the ESI blog, you can see a cat smiling.
    I'm glad you are showing your cats who's boss. Sounds like they have spring fever.

  2. Oh yes Bob, cats can sense emotions. Once I cried and my cat came over and checked me out and licked one of my tears and then left the room. He NEVER leaves the room.