Yes more fun and frolics with our furry feline friends. I expect one of my followers to take issue with me. You know who you are.

Let’s lay the ground rules here. Cats are inscrutable. Anybody who claims otherwise is delusional. The only thing that we mere mortals can scrute about cats is their utter disdain for the human race unless we’re feeding them. They’ll occasionally show some ersatz affection when we’re ill, but that’s simply because the cat is worried we won’t be able to get out of bed to feed it.

Hence the researchers at University of Lincoln were on a hiding to nothing from the very outset, since they attempted to understand cats’ facial expressions and interpret them in a way that indicates what emotions are going on beneath the implacable exterior. Frankly, I don’t believe a word of it, apart from one ‘finding.’ The predominant feline emotion is frustration.

You don’t need to be a genius to work that one out, do you? You really don’t need to have filmed 29 rescue cats over 275 occasions. You don’t need to state, ‘Facial actions consistently associated with frustration include hissing, nose licking*, dropping of the jaw, nose wrinkling, blah blah blah…’ Cats have frustration at their owner’s stupidity as a ground state. That’s where they start off. It’s a given.

Then we get into the realms of outright speculation. I’ll paraphrase a bit. Chilled out cats look to the right. Really? Scaredycats look to the left. Really?

Then there’s annoyance. Again, cats are pretty pissed off pretty well all the time, because they’re frustrated all the time. Apparently they make this known by sticking their tongues out. And there was silly old me thinking that meant they were trying to hoik up a furball.

Lastly they looked at how you can see if a cat is angry. If you need a science degree to be able to tell when a mog has got a strop on and is about to enter attack mode, you’ve probably missed your calling.

Incidentally, on just about half of the observational periods, the cats didn’t interact with their human wranglers at all. They treated them with their traditional disregard. This merely confirmed what I posited in Part 7 last week.

*They also do this if you dab a blob of Marmite on their conk. This is a useful ruse to get the idiot but innately cunning cat to swallow a tablet and not stash it in that special pocket in the mouth for later disposal.

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