Scientific research has found a sure way to befriend a cat. The secret is in a very simple movement that anyone can follow.
The study, carried out by psychologists from the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth, in the United Kingdom, showed that it is possible to establish a good relationship with a cat through the use of an eye-narrowing technique.
The action of squinting, in a kind of slow blink, is the feline equivalent of the human smile and makes people look more cat-friendly, Phys.org detailed.
As part of the research, the scientists carried out two experiments. In the first of them, cats and their respective owners participated, while in the second unknown people interacted with the animals.
It was found that the eye narrowing technique can provide a positive form of communication between pets and humans. Cats tend to blink slowly more often when their owners do too. Also, felines are more likely to approach a stranger’s outstretched hand after that person slowly blinks at the animal.
“As someone who has both studied animal behavior and is a cat owner, it’s great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this way. It’s something that many cat owners had already suspected, so it’s exciting to have found evidence for it,” said Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex School of Psychology, who oversaw the research.
For Tasmin Humphrey, lead author of the study, understanding the positive ways in which cats and humans interact can help people better understand these pets and provide us with more information about the socio-cognitive abilities of this little-studied species.
“Our findings could potentially be used to assess the welfare of cats in a variety of settings, including veterinary practices and shelters,” the scientist concluded.