Categories: character

Don’t Judge a Cat by Her Appearance

This is about “Pearl”, an angry looking but sweet cat. We know that people and, yes, domestic cats can have an appearance which gives us a completely false impression about their personality.

Meet, a shelter cat (who is now adopted) who had a face which gave the impression that she was totally fed up, miserable, angry and desperately in need of being adopted and removed from the cages of a shelter to a loving home.

Pearl an angry looking sweet cat

For this reason this cat was adopted because the people adopting her wanted to do the right thing and adopt a cat who was being overlooked for whatever reason. The people adopting her, Will Highsmith and his girlfriend wanted to adopt an older cat who really needed a new home.

Pearl an angry looking sweet cat

What they found was that the six-year-old cat that they adopted and named “Pearl” had a fixed disgruntled, angry appearance but that her character was not reflected in her facial appearance: she is sweet with a fine character.

“She’s really sweet and cuddly, constantly rubbing up against everyone,” he said. “She’s constantly following us around the house wanting to be petted.”

They expected Pearl’s facial expression to brighten up once at their home and settled in – to see her face become more relaxed and contented but no. Pearl has her same old angry, shelter face.

Pearl an angry looking sweet cat

The point is this: her facial expression is due to the anatomy of her face and we as humans interpret it as being angry. Other cats would not interpret it in this way. It is, if we are honest, anthropomorphising the domestic cat at a basic level.

If you analysed what makes a human face look angry in terms of placement and shape of mouth and eyes you’d find that Pearl has these features but they are not a refection of how she fells. It is pure anatomy.

This is nice reminder of the maxim: don’t judge a book by its cover.

The most famous version of a character/facial expression mismatch is Grumpy Cat. She is not grumpy at all but highly placid by nature.

Unsurprisingly Higsmith and his girlfriend have set up a Facebook and Instagram page for Pearl. She should acquire a bit celebrity from this.

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Source: Instagram via the Dodo.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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