The issue of domestic cat emotions is a developing one. I think it fair to say that it is only over the past 5-10 years that the ‘experts’ have genuinely discussed feline emotions in the same way we discuss human emotions. There is a discussion, however, on whether cats experience emotions similar to those experienced by humans as can be interpreted by a statement in a study. Below is a summary of that statement:
“Feline emotions are complex and multifaceted. Feline emotions are not exactly the same as human emotions, but rather are motivational-emotional systems that drive instinctual behaviors. Feline emotions can be negative or positive, and may be expressed through various behaviors.”
The statement also indicates that scientists and feline behaviourists are still unsure about feline emotions. It is obvious why. Humans have to guesstimate the emotion experienced through a cat’s facial expression, which is difficult, and their behaviour. Domestic cats are not known for the range of facial expressions! They are there sometimes such as when feeling pain but hard to read.
Feline body language, other behaviour and vocalisations allow us to assess emotions. It is working backwards which is less precise than asking “how do you feel?” 😎.
In the infographic I have be quite bold in my statements. I had to be because there is limited space in an infographic. It is not a medium for a discourse. That said I believe we can say with some confidence that domestic cats have emotions but they feel them in a different way to humans. We just don’t know with accuracy as to how much feline emotions differ from human emotions.
Please tell me what you think. First hand experiences from observant and sensitive cat caregivers are valuable in assessing cat emotions.
Below are some more articles on feline emotions, an evolving topic as I have said.
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