Cats are entertaining and expressive creatures. While some are even-tempered, almost all cats have complicated emotions. The real trick for cat owners is to learn how to read the signs that their beloved pets exhibit to understand how they’re feeling. While most cats express their emotions very well, some can’t seem to get their point across. Cats with smooshed faces have a hard time making us understand what they’re feeling. A recent study suggests that the problem is all our fault.
The dilemma with flat-faced cats
Information shared in the Frontiers of Veterinary Science journal suggests some cat breeds are handicapped when showing their emotions. The problem is caused by the physical features of their faces. Himalayan and Perian breeds have flattened facial features that make it hard for them to register the emotions of pain, fear, or anxiety with any recognizable efficiency. These animals appear to have a perpetual frown on their faces. This can be confusing for pet owners because it can hide the emotions that they’re experiencing. It creates a lack of effective communication between these kitties and their owners. The results of the study blame the flat face syndrome on selective breeding. Humans are to blame for giving cats a flat face. They look like they’re angry or in pain even when they’re not, according to Live Science.
The tragedy behind this dilemma is that whether a cat has a flat face or a regular appearance, they still feel the same emotions as other cats. They just can’t make us see what they are. We all learn at an early age to observe visual cues. This is what communicates what a person or a pet is feeling. When you take away the ability to communicate in this way, there is a gap in how we understand our pets. It can also create issues in the relationship that you have with your pet.
How to solve the problem
There’s nothing you can do about your cat’s permanent grimace, but there are other ways of understanding what he is trying to tell you. According to the Humane Society, felines are big communicators. They reveal their emotions in a variety of ways. They send a variety of signals that tell us as much or more than any expression on the face can. If we’re aware of this, we can become even better at communicating with them and understanding how they’re feeling.
What is your cat trying to tell you?
Whether you realize it or not, your cat is constantly communicating with you, or at least trying to. Some of the most important clues to your cats’ emotions are things you can see in his eyes and the one of his voice. Nevermind the furrowed brow, just realize it’s how he looks. We can discern pain in the eyes of animals and humans. When your cat meows, it contains a plethora of cues. Purring is generally a sign that your cat is happy or feeling content. If everything else is in order a purr is a good sign. If your cat shows other signs of anxiety, he may purr if he’s uncomfortable, sick, or in pain as a form of self-soothing. Howling or yowling in a loud meow that is drawn out is an indication of distress. He may either be in pain or he could be stressed out. Another reason why a cat howls is if he is exhibiting mating behavior. Trills and chirps are a way of conversing with other cats or if it’s directed at you, it means he needs food and water or wants something else from you. It’s a request for assistance. Hissing, spitting, or growling indicates aggression, anger, annoyance, or fear. It’s best to give a cat doing this a wide berth. If your cat sounds like he is crying, he is likely in pain or some kind of emotional discomfort. With a little practice, you will come to understand what your cat means even if his face is flat.
Other signs of emotions
Animal Friends adds that there are other physical cues that cats use to communicate their emotions. If your cat rotates his ears backward, he is probably feeling irritated. If his tail is switching that confirms the emotion. When his ears are pinned flat against his head he is either so ticked that he’s about to go insane, or he feels threatened or terribly afraid. Cats who open their eyes halfway are feeling content and happy. When their eyes are wide open and if the pupils do some fast dilation, it is a sign that he is going into his predator mode. He’s getting ready to pounce whether it’s in fun or anger. It’s best to avoid a wide-eyed cat so you don’t catch a claw, even in otherwise well-behaved cats. They do have their moments.
Regardless of the expression on your cat’s face, there are still a lot of very good ways to read his emotional state. Cats are generally good at communicating what they’re feeling, but it’s up to us to know what the cues that they’re giving us mean. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to become familiar with the habits of your furry friend. When it comes to flat-faced cats, the old saying is true, that appearance can be deceiving. Since we’re the ones that perpetuated this emotion masking trait in some breeds, it’s our responsibility to make the extra effort to find better ways of understanding what our cats are trying to tell us and how they are feeling. Cats are emotional creatures and because of their complex natures and personalities, it takes a little more effort and patience on the part of their pet parents. The situation isn’t hopeless.