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Scientists aim to learn how cats communicate their feelings

Posted by: Joe Elvin  Date: 21/10/2013   Category: Latest News

Scientists in Lincoln are embarking on a project that aims to help them learn more about how cats communicate their feelings.

The £400,000 project, funded by Feline Friends, will use technology to monitor a cat’s facial expression so that owners can realise when they are in pain. It is hoped that the researchers will be able to discover what other feline facial expressions mean as well.

Speaking to itv.com, the study’s lead author, Daniel Mills, explained: “This is a rare opportunity to systematically explore the emotional aspects of suffering in animals in new ways, with a view to developing more efficient early detection mechanisms.

“Cats are often quite independent and they haven’t evolved sophisticated facial communication – so we don’t often realise they’re ill, or in a lot of pain. The project will be about focusing on the emotional impact of suffering for cats.”

Professor Mills has been developed the technology being used to detect cat’s facial expressions for some time. He predicted that all different breeds of cat would make similar facial expressions when in pain.

In an interview with independent.co.uk, he explained that most cats are very subtle about any pain they are experiencing, which can leave owners unaware about their anguish.