Many Lives, Many Looks
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In the “Shrek” series of movies, Puss in Boots opens his eyes big and round, and wields a mighty weapon with this mesmerizing, pleading stare.
That’s a look you might recognize in your feline. It’s just one of hundreds of expressions cats use, Live Science reported.
In fact, researchers observing cats for a year at a cat café in Los Angeles ‘collected’ 276 different facial expressions employed by 50 felines, according to a new study. These ranged from playful to aggressive and everything in between.
The team noted that each individual expression combined around four of 26 unique facial movements, including parted lips, dilated or constricted pupils, nose licks and different ear positions.
Their findings showed that around 45 percent of the facial expressions were friendly, while 37 percent showed aggression. Another 18 percent were ambiguous or fell into both categories.
The researchers also found that various facial expressions are similar across a number of species, including humans, dogs, and monkeys. This also includes what they referred to as “a common play face,” which involves the mouth’s corners pulled back and the jaw dropped to create a laughing-like appearance.
Although more research is needed to understand what the animals are “saying” to one another, the study is the first to do a deep dive into the ways felines communicate beyond the obvious purring and meowing.