Your Anxiety Could Be Stressing Out Your Cat

There isn’t much doubt about the fact that dogs are capable of sensing dog owners’ feelings. After all, dogs are very expressive animals, meaning that it is a simple matter to draw connections between a dog’s behavior and a dog owner’s behavior. In contrast, there are a lot of jokes about cats not caring one bit about cat owners’ feelings, which might be jocular in nature but nonetheless reflects popular thinking about the matter. However, it is important to note that there is evidence that suggest that cats might indeed be capable of sensing cat owners’ feelings.

In short, a couple of researchers at Oakland University conducted a study in which cats were presented with four separate scenarios. First, cats would be presented to their smiling owners. Second, cats would be presented to their frowning owners. Third, cats would be presented to smiling strangers. Fourth, cats would be presented to frowning strangers. The intent of the study was to examine how the cats would respond in these four scenarios.

As it turned out, the cats’ responses showed a notable difference between smiling owners and frowning owners. To be exact, the cats were much likelier to show positive behaviors such as purring, rubbing, and sitting on laps when their owners were smiling rather than frowning. Moreover, the cats seemed to be much more interested in spending time with smiling owners rather than frowning owners. In contrast, the cats’ behavior showed minimal differences between smiling owners and frowning owners, which was rather interesting to say the least.

After all, this can be seen as evidence that cats are capable of reading human facial expressions. However, it is unclear how much true understanding this implies. It is possible that cats understand what humans are feeling based on their facial expressions, but it is also possible that cats are just acting based on their experiences telling them that behaving in a positive manner when their owners show certain facial expressions increases their chances of getting something good out of the process. Whichever the case, the study was also important because it made it very, very clear that cats are interested in what cat owners do, which wasn’t always believed to be the case.

Naturally, there have been further studies looking into the exact nature of the relationship between cats and cat owners. For instance, there was a recent study at University of Liverpool as well as another recent study at Nottingham Trent University that revealed some strong correlations between cats and cat owners. Essentially, the studies revealed that cat owners have cats who are similar to them. For example, a friendly cat owner was likelier to have a friendly cat. Likewise, a cat owner who showed darker characteristics were likelier to have aggressive, greedy, and impulsive cats. On top of this, it should be mentioned that the studies suggested that people with neuroses had higher chances of having cats with fearful personalities as well as higher chances of becoming overweight and catching stress-related illnesses. As such, some people have interpreted this as a sign that a cat owner’s anxiety could be infectious for their cat, meaning that they need to take care in this regard.

Does This Mean that Your Anxiety Is Causing Your Cat to Become Anxious?

Certainly, a cat owner’s anxiety spreading to a cat is one possible scenario based on the findings of the three studies. However, it is still far from being confirmed as fact. After all, what the studies have established is a number of very interesting correlations that are still no more than correlations. For example, it is possible that cats and cat owners become more similar to one another over time, which would support this line of speculation. However, it is also possible that would-be cat owners choose cats based on their own personalities, which would not support the same line of speculation. As such, if people want to be sure, they will need to wait for the findings of further studies on the subject matter.

With that said, it might not be a bad idea for cat owners with anxiety to work on their issues. It may or may not be beneficial for their cats, but keeping their anxiety at a reasonable level will certainly be beneficial for them in the long run, meaning that it is a course of action that is worth pursuing just for that single fact.

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