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Re: Partly-scientific answer to question about cats
> 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.
I would not call it squinting. In domestic cats, a round-eyed stare
signifies hostility or excitement while a relaxed eye, with lids partially
closed, signifies friendliness or calm. Cats have a "slow blink" which I
have always interpreted as a friendly hello.
This week's NATURE on PBS is "Why We Love Cats and Dogs" (or something
like that). It contains a couple small nuggets of insight into feline and
canine behavior, especially on the owner/pet front.
But speaking of eyes -- and dinosaurs -- in the JURASSIC PARK franchise,
the T. rex reduces its pupils to pinpoints as it hones in on its natural
prey, Hollywood stars. I've noticed other movies apparently copying this.
The effect is certainly creepy/frightening/exciting for theater-goers but
isn't it backward? The pupils of my cats dilate rather than constrict when
they've spotted prey.
-- Donna Braginetz