Cats Make You Smile

Get a cat and don’t do Botox!

Here’s an added benefit that your cat brings you and you don’t even know it! Well, some of us do. The modern habit of using Botox to reduce laughter lines reminds me why, in part, I feel better living with a cat.

Cats, particularly kittens and young cats make people smile. My cat, Charlie, is not young, in fact he is positively old, but he still makes me smile. The way he talks to me, his habits and the way he sits and looks up at me, telling me that he is pleased to be comfortable and warm, all bring me joy.

The downside of using Botox to get rid of laughter lines, which I personally love to see on a woman, is that its presence in the face affects the way the person smiles. Botox freezes the muscles of the face. This prevents the smile from forming fully. The best that can be achieved is a weak version of the real thing. As it happens, this undermines happiness.

Cats make us smile. Photo of Aby kittens copyright Peter Hasselbom.

Cats make us smile. Photo of Aby kittens copyright Peter Hasselbom.

A large number of studies have concluded that the act of smiling is not only an outward expression of happiness at that moment, it also reinforces a feeling of well being. In other words the smile reinforces the reason for the smile and makes a person happier.

I have also seen it said that laughing makes you feel better. There are clubs where people stand around producing forced laughter.  I am not sure that works. However, there is no doubt that smiling is good for us as it makes us feel happier.

Apparently a study by Michael Lewis of Cardiff University’s School of Psychology indicated that feelings of unhappiness and depression were 50% higher in Botox recipients.

Changing your facial expression changes how you feel…(Dr Lewis)

The next bit of the argument is easy. Cats of any age, but perhaps more so kittens, make us smile. That smile reinforces the pleasure and joy we received from our cat that produced the smile in the first place. It is a double benefit.

Get a rescue kitten or better still an old black cat. He’ll make you smile and you’ll wonder how you managed without him.

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Cats Make You Smile — 11 Comments

  1. Smile and the world smiles back regardless of whether it makes you happy or not – so you end up having the happy feeling reinforced by people’s reaction to your initial smile. Plus all the internal stuff too I guess. I remember when I used to take the tube in London that it was so incredibly glum and depressing with unhappy looking people trying to get home after work. I had to leave. It’s funny because Switzerland and the Swiss has many special things about it – some of which are quite annoying, like the fact that your neighbours might be bothered if you put your garbage out early, but, people are happy here. At first I found it kind of creepy but now I am hooked. People sit on the train here and they generally look happy. A smail goes a long way for the person who is smiling but also for the people around them.

    My cats make me smile really alot. Molly get suspicious if I smile at her for no reason. She isn’t sure what she did this time which is making me smile. My cats make me happy. I used to break into a jog going home to Red and I’d be smiling.

    I’m not too worried about needing extra smiles or botox 🙂

    • Nice comment. I guess smiling is good whether it is a reinforcer of happiness or not. If people look happy on the train that is good. I agree the tube in London is as you say. Full of isolated, sad individuals.

      How did you find the move to Switzerland? There are enormous obstacles moving to another country and settling in.

      • Today has turned into a bit of a ‘picking on England’ day for me. I moved first to Canada and then to here. There are obstacles. Especially for me because I am addicted to vintage and classic bicycles so as it stands I have a collection of about 150, …80 of which I still need to get shipped over here! I have 20 in Slovenia, a few in London and several in Oklahoma. It’s not normal I know but I love them and want to open a museum. I have bikes that museums would dream of having. So the obstacles of shipping possessions are huge in my case. That’s the main thing. Of course you need to be able to afford some time without a job until you get one unless you already have one before you arrive. Usually these days you then soon need a job to get residency so that’s very important and the reason why Slovenia didn’t work out for me. I couldn’t get a legal contract and the country is so in a hole now I had to leave. I got a few jobs but never a legal one with contract. Language is not an issue in Switzerland. Not even slightly. 50% of the conversations I overhear on the train are in English if you can imagine. It’s basically international here with many English and US – and many people from all over Europe too. Plus Swiss people speak perfect English usually. They have to learn 3 languages in school. The Swiss are thinking about making English the 4th official language here. In Slovenia it’s not the same. People speak English but not so well and not in the workplace.

        It’s basically much better if you know somebody in the country you are moving to. It’s absolutely worth it. I’d encourage anybody to consider living outside of the place they come from. The world feels much bigger and more diverse when you look at it as something you can move around.

        • Thanks for that. I have lived in Paris for 2 years in the late 70s. And I have abroad in other places when younger as well. Switzerland sounds great. For a start it is outside the bl**dy EU.

    • I think Milwaukee people are overall pretty happy. They drink a lot of beer and have fish fry on Fridays. Some of them listen to polka music and almost all of them eat lots of Wisconsin cheese– so what’s not to be happy about? Except our expanding waistlines.

      They might get upset if you put your garbage out too early here in West Allis or if you neglect to bring your can back from the curb– but they probably wouldn’t say anything about it to your face. They might gossip about you behind your back though. I enjoy putting out my blue recycling bags whether it’s the right day for recycling pick up or not and then waiting to see how many other people I got to put theirs out too. Usually it’s just about everybody. I’m sure there is lots of gossiping about me.

      I enjoy the way our neighbor, Dick is very nosy about all the goings on in the neighborhood. My sister observed him once running by our house in the middle of the night in his bathrobe when there were firetrucks pulling up to a house on the next block. But I shouldn’t laugh about Dick, because I’m sure the neighbors get a lot of entertainment watching me supervise Monty in the back yard. The other day he was complaining because he didn’t want to walk through deep snow. So I came back and rescued him, but he got himself stuck again between deep snow and a big puddle. At the same time I had decided I would skip walking in the snow by hoisting myself over the railing of the back deck. Except I had a lot more difficulty than expected hoisting myself up there and then it looked a lot father down onto the deck than I expected. While I’m stuck perched on the porch railing Monty is at the same time meowing loudly and unhappily because he has to walk through snow or a puddle. I had to laugh about that, and just hope that none of my neighbors were looking. I’m sure they also get a kick out of my using my cross country skis in my back yard. Jeff blows all our snow from the driveway into one big pile and I ski down it. When the hill gets big I’m sure I’m clearly visible standing at the height of the fence line with my ski poles.

      The thing is, I don’t think my neighbors really think I’m all that weird. I could never live somewhere where everybody is snobby and you have to act just so. If I have to climb up a tree to rescue Monty (something 44 year old women probably shouldn’t do) I’m going to do it. If I feel it’s helpful to pantomime from the ground how he should put butt first to climb down I will do it and not only not worry about neighbors laughing at me or scorning me for being such a crazy cat lady– they really don’t care. I think where I live people aren’t pretentious. They are very down to earth. I think that people like that smile more.

      • Your comment gave me a nice insight into the life of the inhabitants of a pleasant corner of Milwaukee and it made me smile. People can make me smile too, you know ;). I feel like doing a photo collage of a woman skiing down a mound of snow in her backyard and shooting into the living room at the bottom, while her black cat looks on bemused.

        • There are several photos of my back yard ski hill and a video of me skiing back there posted on my Facebook page. You should check it out. I’m smiling in the video and Monty is in it too, looking very happy. You can just see him in the background starting to climb up a tree at the end. I was sure Jeff got him going all the way up to his favorite perch, but he didn’t. You just see me watching him climb. The hill is still small in the video. By the end of the season it was bigger and very fast. Monty’s in some of the other photos as well and there are short videos of him walking around in the tracks my skis made. Usually I would put him inside while I’d ski, but he’d sit and watch me through the window. Then I’d come in and let him out and watch him from inside.

  2. Our cats make me smile every day from morning to night. Mind you I wasn’t smiling earlier on when Jozef presented me with a dead baby rat shudder shudder and took off leaving me to dispose of it. Hardly had I conducted that funeral when he arrived with another, had his dinner and went off for his siesta.
    If I’m out and see a cat I smile and I look forward to coming home and smiling again when I see our 2 boyz.
    I’ll never need any botox lol

    • I’m like you Ruth, if I am out and about and I see a cat I always smile and usually I stop and say hi. Just yesterday I ran into a young mancat who I remember from last year as a tiny little boy. He looks all big now but not like a full grown up. I think he remembered me because I was friends with his mum and she’d come and say hi and want cuddles and the little ones would just hang out around her and me. He was very sweet and came right on over and said hello and rubbed against me cautiously. He’s very nice looking. I look forward to seeing him again. These things make me smile from ear to ear and like you it makes me look forward to getting home to my cats 🙂

      If I ever end up stuck in a catless place – a desert if you will, then I will have to consider botox due to lack of smiling or facial exercise of any sort 😉

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