Anyone who has a cat knows that they're pretty independent animals. Sometimes a bit too independent. Most of them prefer their own company to snuggling up with you on the sofa and frankly, the reject hurts sometimes. But ever wondered how to make your cat love you?
A new study has revealed exactly how we can strengthen our bonds with our cats, so that we actually feel loved by them.
How to make your cat love you
Psychologists from the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have teamed up to work out how exactly we can win the affection of our feline friends and apparently, all you'll need is your eyes.
Yep, that's right, the group found that narrowing your eyes is the best way to build a strong bond with your cat. The research, which was published in the Nature Journal Scientific Reports (opens in new tab), suggests that cats respond best when human's slowly blink and mimic what is known as the 'cat smile' as this creates positive communication between the two.
So, all you have to do is face your cat while you narrow your eyes as you would when smiling softly, then close your eyes for a couple of seconds and open them again. The research states that this should prompt a similar reaction from your cat, who will ultimately be more receptive to you in the moment.
The researchers came to the conclusion of undertaking two studies. In the first one, they discovered that cats are more likely to slowly blink at their owners after they have slowly blinked at them first. Meanwhile in the second one, the psychologists found that cats were more likely to approach the participants when they outstretched their hand after they'd slow blinked at them.
"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," said Professor Karen McComb (opens in new tab), of the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex.
"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."
Time to put it to the test!
Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty. She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.
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