For nearly a decade, I’ve been told that a cat will look at a person she likes and slowly close her eyes half-way. Some have called this a kitty kiss. I had seen cats do this when calm and relaxed, towards humans they had a good relationship with. So, it always seemed like a good hypothesis. But there wasn’t any science to back this up until October 2020, when a team researched this eye movement.
What did this research team conclude that a slow blink means?
While one research project cannot conclude anything, the results do indicate that the slow blink is a positive signal from the cat. To be conclusive, multiple studies must have the same results.
How did they study what a slow blink means?
Good question! And one you should always ask when analyzing any research. They studied this in two ways. In the first study, the researchers filmed each of 18 cats, while the owner slow blinked at his cat. In the second study, 18 cats were filmed as a researcher slow blinked at them. In both studies, this was done when the cats were in their own home.
The film was reviewed. The cat’s facial muscles were measured, and compared to the cat’s facial muscle movements when no one was slow blinking at them.
What were the results?
Cats in the first experiment were more likely to slow blink after their owner slow blinked at them. And for male cats, this was much more likely. In the second experiment cats were also more likely to slow blink back after a researcher slow blinked at them. But this time, it was the same for the male and female cats.
You can read the entire study using this link.
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Patience Fisher owns Patience for Cats LLC, a cat behavior business based in Pittsburgh, PA. She is Associate Certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She holds a Bachelor’s in Biology, a Diploma of Feline Behavior Science Technology, and is a certified veterinary assistant. Check out her humorous YouTube video at her Patience for Cats channel. Visit her on Facebook at Patience for Cats.