Cats can smell your emotions

Many studies have been done about dogs, and most people are aware of dogs’ amazing olfactory senses and how they use them in many scenarios. Although we are aware that cats also have a great sense of smell, not many studies have been done on cats and their noses.

Cats are sensitive creatures, and it shouldn’t surprise us that they can smell our emotions. Cat owners have known for years that cats know when we’re stressed or not feeling great. Yet the results of a recent study, Relationship between asymmetric nostril use and human emotional odours in cats, interested and even surprised many people.


Curious about cats

With so many studies having been done on dogs and interest growing in cats’ social cognition, it makes sense to find out how cats ‘know’ things. Other studies have revealed how cats are capable of recognising our verbal and body language clues to find food, for instance. When a cat owner points at food, cats understand where the food is and then enjoy it.

Another recent study found that a cat owner’s personality can influence the cat’s behaviour. In a nutshell, cats who live in aggressive households tend to be more aggressive themselves.

There have even been studies done on how cats can smell diseases, similar to how dogs can. The study states that recent evidence shows that cats follow human emotional cues and respond to them. For instance, cats watch the facial expressions of their owners, and when their owners show signs of happiness, they engage more frequently with their owners and are modestly affected by their owners’ emotions. But the fact that cats can detect somebody’s emotions using their olfactory senses has been a mystery, and that is why this study was conducted.


The study

The researchers of the study presented the cats with human odours, which they collected from people who participated in the study. These odours were collected while the participants showed different emotions, like fear, happiness, physical stress and being in a neutral state of mind. They then evaluated the way that the cats responded to the smells and recorded all their findings.

Would you like to read the rest of this interesting article? Get Winter edition #346 of Animaltalk magazine from retailers or order a digital or printed copy from



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