Yes, cats can read on the face of their humans

If you smile at all your teeth to your cat, it will not behave the same way as if you display a scowl when returning to the House. Our cats, reveals a recent study published by Animal Cognition , detect and understand our emotions. They capture them much more than we can imagine.

Researchers at Oakland University in California, Morgan Galvan and Jennifer Vonk wanted to know whether, like dogs, cats were able to recognize certain signals from the human communication. They then studied the behavior of twelve cats, accompanied by their owners.

In a first test, humans had to smile. In the second, they had to pout. And according to the expressions of their masters, cats have adopted quite different reactions.

Are cats empathic?

When their humans were happy, cats began to purr with pleasure, to rub the legs of their owners or try to climb on their knees. On the other hand, faced with the disgruntled face of their humans, cats have been more distant and less affectionate.

However, researchers have noted that regardless of whether they know the human face, reactions of cats are the same. What should we conclude?

The authors of the study stress the importance of not falling into anthropomorphism. According to them, cats understand that the dose of attention and affection they receive depends on the mood of their human and that a smile is a good sign! The reactions of our felines in front of our facial expressions would thus depend much more of an associative learning than of a form of empathy.