Cool cats ARE harder to read than dogs: Pet owners can recognise more emotions in man’s best friend than in our feline pals, study finds
From wagging tails to whining and puppy eyes, dogs have a certain knack for expressing their emotions.
But cats – who are known for being a bit more aloof – are really harder to read, according to their owners.
One study asked 438 pet owners to indicate whether their dog or cat displayed a list of 22 emotions, from joy and sadness to frustration and disappointment. Compared to cat owners, people with dogs believed they recognized a much higher number of emotions in their pet.
On average, 65 percent of dog owners versus 58 percent of cat owners believed their pets could express a certain emotion.
Dogs seemed more likely to express subtle feelings such as empathy and guilt. But if cats are generally closed books, they excel at expressing one particular emotion: anger, which about 85 percent said their cat could express, compared to less than 60 percent of dog owners.
Cats – known for being a bit more aloof – are really harder to read than dogs, according to their owners (file photo)
Compared to cat owners, people with dogs believed they recognized a much higher number of emotions in their pet (file photo)
The study’s authors say “semi-solitary” cats might get away with being inscrutable because they haven’t had to interact with humans as much as they do with dogs, which were traditionally used for hunting and herding.
Cats also watch their owners less often than dogs, which can make it harder to know what they’re thinking.
People may still want to try reading their feline minds if they want to reduce the risk of claws.
Professor Daniel Mills, co-author of the study from the University of Lincoln, said: ‘If cats turn on their owners and they scratch, it may be because owners are missing subtle cues that suggest it’s time to stop handling them. touch or stroke.
“So it’s important to understand our pets, but these results suggest that we may not be as attuned to cats as we are to dogs.”
This may be because dogs may have been bred to have more expressive faces than cats.
“Unfortunately, we still don’t know if cats and dogs really show different emotions, or if people project more emotions on dogs than on cats, because we often work more closely with dogs and so need better communication.”
The research, published in the journal Animals, surveyed people who had lived with their pets for at least two years, so knew them really well.
They answered whether they had seen six primary animal emotions in their pet – anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise – and how they were expressed, for example through facial expression, head posture and eye contact.
The volunteers were then asked if they had ever seen 16 less obvious emotions.
Among these, fear, boredom, confusion, envy, frustration, guilt or shame, pain, and positive anticipation were more recognized in dogs than in cats.
Of a subgroup of 68 people in the study who owned both dogs and cats, about a third said they recognized guilt or shame in their dog.
A study asked 438 pet owners to indicate whether their dog or cat displayed a list of 22 emotions, from joy and sadness to frustration and disappointment (file photo)
Dogs seemed more likely to express subtle feelings like empathy and guilt, but if cats are generally closed books, they excel at expressing one particular emotion: anger (file photo)
But no one in this group ever thought their cat looked guilty.
Interestingly, the group of people who owned both cats and dogs reported even more emotion in their dogs.
However, the authors suggest that people may have simply convinced ourselves that we know what dogs or cats are thinking in certain situations.
On average, 65 percent of dog owners, compared to only 58 percent of cat owners, believed their pets could express a certain emotion.
But previous evidence suggests that cat owners are less likely to see their pet as one of the family than dog owners, so they may have less of a bond, meaning they don’t believe they can read the cat’s emotions in the same way.
Even if we struggle with some of their emotions, cats may not be indifferent and indifferent, since the number of cat and dog owners who claim their pet expressed love and affection did not differ significantly.