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RE: Partly-scientific answer to question about cats
Quoting Janet m vandenburgh <email@example.com>:
> I guess you have never been treated to a Borzoi smile.
> When they smile, there is no way to confuse that with a snarl - their whole
> being radiates happiness or embarrassment - they grin for both emotions.
> This is usually accompanied by head nodding, bowing, silly antics - and
> direct eye contact with the person they're addressing; lip flaps raised so
> high they practically touch on top of their muzzle - and showing every tooth
> in their head!!!!.
> Some other breeds can do the Borzoi smile & the odd individual dog.
> It's a real experience to see or be party to. :-)
Yes - but their 'smile' isn't just an upturned mouth. It's a combination of
facial expressions (mainly the
eyes and ears) and body stance. You can tell a dog is happy even if it doesn't
open it's mouth slightly
to mimic a smiling human mouth, just by looking at the eyes alone. Dogs have
eyes (hence the eyebrow-like markings in several species). Body posture also
important clues to their mood.
Again, it depends on what you consider a 'smile'. Clearly an upturned mouth
alone isn't enough to
convey happiness, but has to be taken within the context of other facial
expressions and general body
posture. When dogs 'smile' it's usually a whole-body affair, and can be
accomplished without any
upturn of the corners of the mouth. Even breeds with downturned mouths (like
bulldogs) can convey
Cats, on the other hand, tend to 'smile' by narrowing their eyes, which is
unfortunate because in
humans such an expression usually signifies the opposite of happiness. If a cat
squints at you
menacingly, it probably means it likes you. The difference in how cats and dogs
convey mood may well
be the main factor determining whether you're a 'dog person' or a 'cat person'.
Dogs are much easier
to read even if you've never spent much time around them, whereas you need
experience with cats to
interpret their moods. Their lack of easily interpetable facial expression can
give them an air of
aloofness that isn't entirely deserved.
GIS / Archaeologist http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia http://heretichides.soffiles.com