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Have you ever been innocently petting a cat when all of a sudden — WAP — they get you with their claws? What was that all about? You think as you dab the blood with a tissue. With their impassive faces and ability to hide pain, cats are famously hard to read, unlike dogs who are pretty transparent. When’s the last time you wondered if a dog was happy, sad or scared? Probably never.
Cats do not have expressive faces like dogs, and it all comes down to the fact that they don’t have eyebrows. Like humans, dogs use eyebrows as a communication device. Call a dog’s name and up go their eyebrows. Call a cat’s name and they look at you as if to say, “Ugh, what do you want?” They aren’t really thinking this (we hope) it’s just that their faces don’t demonstrate emotion.
It is theorized that cats have a small capacity for facial recognition, meaning they don’t really read our expressions. So while we can’t read their faces, they can’t read ours, either.
Want to know what your cat is thinking? Zero in on their eyes, specifically their pupils. Here’s how to read them:
Dilated (large) pupils often indicate an excited cat. It can also be a display of surprise or fear, depending on the situation. It is not unusual for a cat’s pupils to fully dilate when they are really excited.
Constricted pupils can indicate your cat is agitated or angry. If your cat’s eyes are big and round and their pupils are the size of pinpricks, watch out!
Squinted or Half-Closed Eyes
Squinted or half-closed eyes are a sign of affection, relaxation and trust. If a cat looks like they’re about to fall asleep, they’re relaxed and they trust you. Also, they’re probably about to fall asleep.
Fun fact: Cats also use their eyes to establish the pecking order. A dominant cat will stare into his opponents eyes while a more submissive cat will look away.
Another fun fact: Cats also have a third eyelid that is scientifically called the “nictating membrane.” If necessary, this third eyelid can cover and protect the whole eye. It is usually no more visible than a small white or pink sliver in the inner corner of the cat’s eyes. If you can see more than a sliver of the third eyelid this can be an indication that your cat is dehydrated or ill and may need to see the vet.
While humans and cats can’t communicate using our faces, we can communicate through our eyes. Try blinking your eyes at a cat. If they blink back, it means they trust you. See? You’re not invisible after all. So while they might ignore your voice, or sometimes your presence in general, they will respond to your eyes.
You can also try bonding with your cat with a LICKI brush. These brushes allow you to groom your kitty just like a mama cat.
Try blinking at your cat today. Follow us on Facebook and let us know how your cat responded!