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Do any animals smile? And what about cats? And do our house cats one day start noticing our smiles and understanding them or associating them with positive feelings?

I think I saw Prince start smiling when I started petting him the other day. His closed mouth line (lips?) seemed to widen and the ends tipped upwards a tiny bit. I think. Then again, it could be my imagination or the fact that, when relaxed, his mouth relaxes and the line widens. But what's interesting is that my intuition receives a message that says that "Prince is smiling" in that moment. This may be an anthropomorphizing reflex in me. Or maybe something else...?

One thing is for sure: smiling is not a technological advancement but an animal instinct we humans have. So if we have it, surely other animals have it too?
 

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:grin:

I think my cats have contented looks sometimes. Cali looks like she's smiling in my avatar. Sometimes I think it might scare them when we smile, though, because showing teeth in the animal world doesn't mean happiness.
 

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Yes, Cali's mouth line in your avatar is exactly what I meant I saw in Prince.

And I know that snakes smile too, if we judge by my ex. :)
 

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There are some very valuable old threads in catforum, pity it's not allowed to link to them for the enrichment of us all !
 

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It's better to start new threads than post links to 5-year old outdated threads.
 

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I think you have to notice how your cat's face expresses mood to determine what they may be looking for on a human's face. cat's change the position of their ears, squint or widen they eyelids, stick out the tip of their tongue, roll their head or angle it up or down, show their teeth, not to mention the various different noises they may make. so a human may need to be mindful on how they use facial expressions within the context of a cat's experience. for example - when I smile at my cat I try not to expose my teeth as it might confuse them into thinking it's an aggressive expression. a smile to a cat may actually involve sticking the tip of your tongue out a bit and closing your eyes more, and have nothing to do with how you curve your lips and cheeks into a human smile.
 

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Yes, when I smile at my kitties, I close my eyes until they're like slits and then I don't expose my teeth. However, you got a point there with sticking the top of your tongue out a bit. I never saw my cats do that, but it's probably more closer to a cat smile than a human smile.
 

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My meowmmy today suddenly started making all these very funny faces, like closing her eyes and sticking her tongue out... I wonder what the problem is with her, I much preferred when she used to smile at me... - Prince

Just kidding. Now seriously: I was wondering (apart from ex husbands) which animals smile the way that humans do? Apes? Only apes?
 

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I think cats that have been very well socialized from birth don't react to smiling as an aggressive or threatening gesture. Just think of all the people they meet that are smiling and oohing and ahhing over their kitten cuteness. In fact I think they come to recognize it is the opposite. What I do notice is when I smile or laugh my cats will deliberately do crazy stuff that they know makes me smile even more. I think they do it because they know it amuses me, and I guess it amuses them!
 

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I think cats that have been very well socialized from birth don't react to smiling as an aggressive or threatening gesture. Just think of all the people they meet that are smiling and oohing and ahhing over their kitten cuteness. In fact I think they come to recognize it is the opposite. What I do notice is when I smile or laugh my cats will deliberately do crazy stuff that they know makes me smile even more. I think they do it because they know it amuses me, and I guess it amuses them!
I agree with this! A well socialized cat knows that just because a human smiles doesn't mean they are angry. They will have had studied their person to know when we are happy and going to dote on them (just as we do with them), so a socialized kitty probably knows that when we smile at them cuddles are coming and reacts accordingly.

Perhaps our cats see our smiles and think "There goes my crazy, conflicted human again, happy as a clam but running around with that angry scowl on their face." lol.
 

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I used to have a dog who would smile like a human. She would show her teeth and it startled people the first time they would see it. One of my relatives has a dog who also smiles like that. I'd love to have a smiling dog again.

I also used to have a dog who would try to communicate with us and got pretty good at saying hello. People didn't believe us when we told them. They thought maybe he was making a sound that we wanted to believe was hello. But then they'd hear it themselves and understand that's really what it was. What's so strange about that? He heard us making a certain sound and he just tried to mimic it.

My cats smile all the time. I love a cat smile.
 
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