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We love our pets, but it makes us so sad that they can't understand us. Or can they?
A new study has revealed there may be a way to communicate with our cats, and it couldn't be easier to try.
Published in Scientific Reports, new research by scientists at the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth claims cats respond to what is known as the 'Duchenne Smile'.
It's the most authentic type of facial expression, defined as a smile that reaches your eyes and makes the corners wrinkle with crow's feet.
Apparently, pull one of these cheesy grins at your cat, while blinking your eyes very slowly, and your furry pal will likely respond in a very friendly manner.
FYI, it doesn't work on a dog sadly (tried it and failed).
While investigating the response, the researchers first looked at 21 cats from 14 different homes. While being recorded on video, owners were instructed to sit one metre away from their cats and slow blink in their direction.
They found that the kitties responded positively to their owners when they slow blinked, in comparison to when they simply stared at them from a distance.
Meanwhile, in the second experiment, researchers looked at 24 cats aged between one and 17. And amazingly, the kitties were more likely to approach even a stranger after they had slow blinked.
This time, it was the researchers who did the blinking, as well as holding out an extended hand. The kitties were both more likely to blink in response and approach the stranger's hand.
"Taken together, the study shows that this slow blinking technique can provide a form of positive communication between cats and humans," the researchers wrote.
Meanwhile, supervisor of the study, Karen McComb, told The Times: "It's great to be able to show that cats and humans can communicate in this way.
"It's something that many cat owners had already suspected, so it's exciting to have found evidence for it. This study is the first to experimentally investigate the role of slow blinking in cat-human communication.
"And it is something you can try yourself with your own cat at home, or with cats you meet in the street."
We can't wait to befriend all the cats on our road!
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