Looks like a cat smile to me

This looks like a cat smile. Cats don’t really smile or if they do it is amazingly subtle. In fact the whole topic of cats smiling is deeply philosophical! Do they smile at all or it is a quirk of their anatomy? Do cats feel ebulliently happy enough to smile? I don’t know. I don’t recall any of my cats smiling and it was not because they were unhappy. They were and are extremely content and well cared for. But smiling, now there’s a tricky topic.

Cat smile

Cat smile. Photo: Reddit.

Pain can be seen in a cat’s facial expression:

You know, the experts don’t like to venture into the area of whether or whether not domestic cats smile. They steer clear of it because there’s not much to discuss. In truth, we don’t see cats smile in the conventional sense. We can tell when they are content and perhaps sad or depressed but even these fundamental emotions can be hard to detect sometimes in domestic cats. They are good at hiding their emotions for a good reason, I guess, because it would make them vulnerable if they were wildcats.

Sometimes cats have a permanent expression of smiling or sadness (or as we all know grumpiness). This is just a fixed anatomy which gives the impression that the cat is feeling and emotion as signified by their expression but they are not feeling these emotions. The expression is false. Of course, humans do try and read expressions in their cats because we are used to doing it with other people. Sometimes we project our emotions onto our cat. We want our cat to feel emotions because we treat them as little people but be careful about that because domestic cat emotions is a tricky subject.

We are learning about it. It is work in progress. And the smile is the projection of the emotion of happiness. Actually it is not even that in the human world because a lot of people smile a lot of the time when they are unhappy because they want to present an image to other people. Cats don’t get involved with that sort of game playing which is why we like them. Like I said, it is a complicated subject. All I know is that this cat gives the impression that he or she is smiling but I don’t know what is going on in the brain and nor does anyone else truthfully.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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