Even though science can’t yet confirm that pets empathize with humans, every pet owner knows how soothing their presence can be. Whether your pet is a dog or a cat, they both seem to understand the difference between positive and negative emotions. A majority of them cheer up when they see a happy face of their owner. On the other hand, many of them try to comfort their owner when feeling sad. To find out whether your pet can sense your emotions, veterinarians from Eastshore Vet, Madison veterinary hospital, offer the following explanation.
Canine experts believe that dogs are more empathetic than cats. They explain that a difference in domestication period represents a key element. Domestication of dogs had begun 30,000 years ago, while cats had lived with humans approximately 10,000 years. This gap has created a huge difference in behavior between these two animals. At the same time, this time difference gave dogs advantage to better adapt and get to know their pet parents better.
DogsWhen it comes to positive and negative emotions, experiments have shown that dogs are simply great at picking up the cues. Biology Letters, a journal of the Royal Society, describes a study where dogs easily differ positive and negative emotions. Studies also point at dogs’ ability to empathize with sad people. Whenever they heard crying or feel that a person feels unhappy, they try to approach and comfort them.
How Do Dogs Do That?Not only that dogs are good at reading facial expressions, which is a cognitive skill per se, they can also sense a person’s emotional state by reading their body language. That is no wonder because speech represents only 10 percent of communication. When it comes to body language, dogs are far better in deciphering it. Their observing skills are not hindered by vocal expressions and thought processes. Additionally, their sense of smell can’t compare with ones of their human cohabitants. It enables them to get as much information about their environment and even on their owner’s emotions.
Cats The same is true for cats, with one exception—their motifs for comforting differ from dogs’. While you can indulge their soothing presence and head butts when feeling blue, scientists believe they comfort you for their own sake. They think that cats find your sad mood as an opportunity to cuddle in your close proximity and get your full attention. By doing that cats feel rewarded. Whatever the reason for their comforting behavior is, enjoy your bonding sessions with your precious furry friend.