New Study: Cats Display Nearly 300 Facial Expressions

November 8, 2023

Cat communication is much more complex than we’ve previously assumed.

Lyon College psychology professor Brittany Florkiewicz discussing her research that found cats display nearly 300 facial expressions. The study suggests that cats can be more affectionate and more articulate than previously assumed.

Why It Matters: Researchers recorded 150 hours of cat interactions and spent four months carefully reviewing the facial expressions of the documented cats. They pinned 276 facial expressions – around 46% of which indicated friendliness, almost 37% indicated aggressiveness, and about 17% of expressions showed more ambiguous forms of communication.

Florkiewicz explained that as someone who “fell prey to the stereotype of, ‘Oh, cats are aloof, they don’t really express themselves as much as dogs,’ the study was very enlightening.

Did You Know? Based on 2022 data, 29% of U.S. households own cats while about 45% of U.S. households own dogs.

Read More:

Think cats are aloof? They make nearly 300 facial expressions, study says. (The Washington Post)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas