In a recent study, psychologists at the University of Sussex and Portsmouth discovered that there is a secret to building rapport with your cat. The new study which is titled ‘The role of cat-eye narrowing movements in cat-human communication’ revealed that it is possible to develop rapport with a cat by simply using eye narrowing movements.
The eye narrowing movement of humans brings out something referred to as a cat smile. This appears to make the human much more attractive to the cat. Eye narrowing action in cats brings out a genuine smile in cats. Dr. Tasmin Humphrey and Professor Karen McComb led the team and carried out two experiments.
The first experiment revealed that felines tend to slow blink at their owners after slow blinking at them. The second experiment carried out by the psychologists revealed that cats tend to approach the outstretched hand of the experimenter after slow blinking at the cat.
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The study finally revealed that this narrowing eye movement can result in a form of positive communication between humans and cats. This study adds to the existing studies’ findings that cats are believed to attract and manipulate the attention of humans effectively via ‘solicitation purring.’ They also revealed that felines can differentiate their name from other words.
As someone who has both studied animal behavior 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