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Narrowing your eyes can help build a bond with your cat, study suggests

Scientists have discovered narrowing your eyes is the best way to build a rapport with cats. In a study by the universities of Portsmouth and Sussex, researchers found that the technique mimics

Scientists have discovered narrowing your eyes is the best way to build a rapport with cats.

In a study by the universities of Portsmouth and Sussex, researchers found that the technique mimics what is known as a cat smile – referred to as a ‘slow blink’ – and it appears to make the human more attractive to the cat.

Professor Karen McComb, from the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, who supervised the work, said: “As someone who has both studied animal behaviour 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.

“This study is the first to experimentally investigate the role of slow blinking in cat–human communication. And it is something you can try yourself with your own cat at home, or with cats you meet in the street. It’s a great way of enhancing the bond you have with cats.

“Try narrowing your eyes at them as you would in a relaxed smile, followed by closing your eyes for a couple of seconds. You’ll find they respond in the same way themselves and you can start a sort of conversation.”

The research team, led by Dr Tasmin Humphrey and Professor Karen McComb, animal behaviour scientists at the University of Sussex, undertook two experiments for the study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

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