It’s no coincidence that the cats are adorable: we have selectively bred them across generations for maximum cuteness. But this breeding has a downside: Some of our feline friends have left a perpetually grouchy face that can’t show emotion.
In particular, new research was published in December in the journal Frontiers of Veterinary Science, It is suggested that Selective breeding For the “humeral-headed” face or the flat face type – I believe Persians and the Himalayas – this hampered the ability of these cats to accurately express fear, anxiety, or pain. These flat-faced breeds have faces stuck in a grimace that signals pain, even when they feel no pain at all.
“This finding was a real opener for me,” said lead study author Lauren Finka, a postdoctoral researcher at Nottingham Trent University in England. “I didn’t expect to find that humeral-headed faces would have pain-like expressions.”
These constant frowns may mean that cat owners will not be able to tell if their feline companions are really in the pain, Finka told Live Science.
Thanks to the selective breeding of humans, cats have changed faces more than any of their physical features. However, despite the importance of faces for nonverbal communication in animals, little research has examined how this reproduction changed cats’ facial expressions.
To answer this question, Finka and her colleagues used a computer algorithm to analyze facial data from more than 2,000 cat photos and assign a degree from neutral to full frown.
By comparing the neutral facial expressions of different cat breeds with the dreadful facial expressions of domestic shorthair cats recovering from routine surgeries, Finka and her colleagues found that while cats are not terribly expressive at first, flat-faced cats seem to exhibit “pain-like” Facial expressions even when completely relaxed. One particular strain, Scottish Fold, And scored higher on pain-like facial expressions than short-haired cats that were actually in pain.
So why do we prefer cats that seem to be in pain? One theory is that we are raising animals to survive longer in childhood, a process called sustainability. Babies and young people cry a lot. “We likely have an innate preference for pain-like features because they may benefit from our drive to nourish,” Finka said. “We feel sorry for them.”
Our preference for children’s faces may harm our furry companions. Previous research has shown that severe facial alterations in cats come with a range of ailments, from narrowing of the airway to excessive skin folding to problems with breathing and vision. And all because of our fondness for soft faces.
“Unfortunately, what this means for our pets is that we may continue to favor – and even encourage – breeds with serious health problems that may also struggle to communicate with us and with potential other animals,” Finka wrote in his article. Conversation.
True. Crushed faces can interfere, as cute as they may be, with the way cats communicate with their owners, which means that cat owners may miss them when their cats are in fact in pain.
“If you’re buying a cat, be sure to do your research,” said Finka. “It is important that we think about our animals’ ability to communicate.”
Originally published on Live Science.