Skip to content

The role of cat eye narrowing movements in cat-human communication

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Domestic animals are sensitive to human cues that facilitate inter-specific communication, including cues to emotional state. The eyes are important in signalling emotions, with the act of narrowing the eyes appearing to be associated with positive emotional communication in a range of species. This study examines the communicatory significance of a widely reported cat behaviour that involves eye narrowing, referred to as the slow blink sequence. Slow blink sequences typically involve a series of half-blinks followed by either a prolonged eye narrow or an eye closure. Our first experiment revealed that cat half-blinks and eye narrowing occurred more frequently in response to owners’ slow blink stimuli towards their cats (compared to no owner-cat interaction). In a second experiment, this time where an experimenter provided the slow blink stimulus, cats had a higher propensity to approach the experimenter after a slow blink interaction than when they had adopted a neutral expression. Collectively, our results suggest that slow blink sequences may function as a form of positive emotional communication between cats and humans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 8 Sep 2020

Documents

  • The role of cat eye narrowing movements in cat-human communication Post-print

    Rights statement: The embargo end date of 2050 is a temporary measure until we know the publication date. Once we know the publication date the full text of this article will be able to view shortly afterwards.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 376 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 10/01/50

    Licence: CC BY

Related information

Relations Get citation (various referencing formats)

ID: 22632228