How do you judge whether one cat is happier than another in an audition in a strange place? I’m not sure that it can be done but I might be wrong. The mobile phone company O2 said that the turnout for their audition was high that the cats were generally merry! Audition judges included the Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding. Sarah is a cat lover. I am pleased to hear that. The results of the audition will be published on 21st May.
So what constitutes the set of characteristics which indicates that a cat is happy? That’s a question I’d like to hand over to visitors to this website but in the meantime I’ll try and answer the question myself.
First you have to ask whether a cat can be happy as opposed to content. I would rather use the word “content” because I believe it is more suitable. The tail-up position when greeting a cat is a sign that he/she is at least relaxed and believes the meeting is non-hostile. The slow blink back to us is definitely a sign that our cat is content and relaxed. However, I don’t think a cat would use this body language at an audition! Although it might happen and if it did perhaps that would be a very positive sign that the individual was at least confident and relaxed under what could be stressful conditions. Perhaps O2 are looking for an outgoing, relaxed cat rather than a happy cat.
The cynics and the cat haters or at least people who dislike domestic cats might say that cats are only really happy when they have finished an episode of genocide of all the wildlife in the area where he or she lives. That is obviously meant to be a bit of a joke but perhaps a cat is happy when he has made a kill because it satisfies his inner drive to hunt and kill for survival.
Apparently, the judges in this audition process including Sarah Harding decided to use straightforward methods which included looking for “how bright their eyes were, how soft fur was, the length of their whiskers and their overall temperament and personality.”
It is the first time that I have read that the softness of a cat’s fur and bright eyes are an indication that a cat is content. It is more about health. I am not exactly sure where that concept comes from. Certainly a soft smooth coat, as mentioned, indicates health and if a cat is healthy he is likely to be more content so perhaps that is the idea behind this criteria for judging contentment.
How would I judge cat contentment at an audition? I think I’d look for a cat who wasn’t anxious or fearful because anxiety is a sign that at least the cat is not happy or content. Timidity in a cat is likely to take away happiness. That is working backwards but it is fairly easy to judge a cat on timidity and confidence.
Therefore, I have decided that what O2 are looking for is a confident, outgoing cat who is able to be trained to a certain extent in order to perform well in a television commercial. Success may bring celebrity. I’ll back a red tabby to win the audition.
Source: Times May 1st.