Do cats have the ability to smile?

Smiling cat a chartreux
Photo copyright Helmi Flick
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This isn’t the first article on PoC of smiling cats. Michael tackled the topic back in July with this article. Today I’d like to introduce you to some smiling cats I’ve photographed, and the story behind the photo.

I’ve done a bit of reading on the subject of cat smiling, and many don’t believe a cat has the ability to produce a smile. I believe the photos of my cats show cats can indeed produce a smile. This isn’t just an accidental positioning of facial muscles-no way!

I would like to say it’s very rare for me to be honored with a smiling cat photo. They’re few and far between, and usually occur when the cat is either asleep or getting away with something they’re not supposed to be doing. Or sometimes a bit of both. It’s difficult, but a necessity to keep my camera within a hands reach. If not, then I may miss a priceless moment.

My cat Furby has always been a lot of fun to photograph. He doesn’t smile for his photos, and it’s rare I get one of him when he doesn’t have a guilty expression on his face. Unless he’s asleep. The same holds true for our boy Sammy, who definitely enjoys his naps, smiling optional.

Henry is a solid white beauty who knows a good thing when he has it. Rescued from being eaten by coyotes, he’s adjusted to life well, and once in a while he honors me with a smiling photo. I doubt he had much to smile about as a stray abandoned by his family.

Cat smiling
Handsome Henry smiling?

Oozy is perhaps the best model I’ve had in my life. He was named after an oozing abscess, and the name just suits him. Oozy is a mischievous little toe biter who thinks he’s king of the castle. He always jumps into the cages after the cats on special diets are fed. He loves getting any leftovers.

Cat smiling
Oozy smiling

Oozy also enjoys a jog from the floor to the trunk to the kitchen bar and across to the sink area where most of the food is prepped. Don’t turn your back on this little guy or dinner will be gone! Oozy even smiled when he was a sick kitten, which is surprising. The one time he doesn’t smile is when he’s very sleepy. He’s almost sad in those photos, making his expression all the more endearing.

I caught one of Oozy’s first smiles when he was napping in a basket with clean laundry. I called his name, he opened his eyes and grinned up at me. He clearly thinks he has the best bed in the house. He’s perfected his heartbreaking expressions over time. For some reason, he believes it will get him more treats. Which it does. He’s the one cat I’d love to take to the bedroom at night, but he knows how to rattle a door harder than Linda Blair in The Exorcist. I don’t know how he learned a very noisy, shaking door would earn him exit from a room, but he has learned it well.

Cat smiling
Mia smiling?

Our cat Lucy was a smiler, but I only managed to catch a few smiles from her. Mia smiled a lot, but she had a soft, kind smile rather than an “I’m up to no good” smile. I miss those cats we’ve had for awhile before they went on to practice this ability on their unsuspecting new families. I hope it earned them lots of treats.

Do any of you have cats who smile? What are the circumstances? Asleep, guilty, proud of whatever it is they’ve accomplished? Please leave a comment, and a photo if you have one.


18 thoughts on “Do cats have the ability to smile?”

  1. I LOVE Walter and Jozef! I try to read everything on them even when I don’t have a chance to comment. I’m thinking of getting voice software to use with the computer so I can get more done. LOL.

  2. hi, i do believe they do as im sure tiger/suckles likes to do that often esp when he want suckling. u can actualy see his lips.. Or with the others when they are enjoying a nice pat or cuddles.


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