Cats have the reputation of being antisocial and aloof critters. There are many videos of cats and their humans reuniting where the cat seems that it couldn’t care less, that it would have been fine anywhere. However, studies from the last few years show that cats can pick up on human emotions more than we even noticed before.
Anger and happiness are two of the strongest human emotions. When demonstrating each of those emotions, humans tend to use different facial expressions and gestures that cats seem to learn. For example, when we are happy, we smile and have open body language. Cats have shown that they understand that smiling is a good thing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that cats know we are happy, though. People tend to be more loving and may give more treats when they’re happy, so cats take advantage of that!
When humans are angry, their tone of voice and even their posture can change. Our voices become harsher and lower. Our movements become sharper, and admit it, we have all slammed a few doors. Anger is very easy for cats to pick up on because they can sense the change in our body language and in our tone of voice. Have you ever noticed that when you’re upset, your cat disappears? This reaction doesn’t mean your cat is afraid of you, but it does want to avoid uncomfortable spaces where there is a lot of tension. Cats will naturally seek a more calm place like under the bed or behind a couch.
Cats can also mirror your anxiety. People who are consistently anxious tend to stress-eat and have mood swings because of frustration or nerves. Cats with anxious owners are often overweight and often have medical conditions. These kitties are also prone to lashing out at their cat siblings out of aggression or even fear. Conversely, if their humans are happy and not stressed, cats will change their behavior to match as well.
Though cats have been labeled as selfish and uncaring, they are deeply affected by the way their owners react around them. They can be affectionate when we’re happy. They can hide when we’re upset or angry. Because cats can mirror these emotions and moods, it’s important to be as calm and happy around your pet, so they, too, can be as happy and calm as possible.