3

Cats are known to blink as a form of smiling.

I believe I have also noticed that the dogs and cows here often look and blink at me when they are upto something.

E.g.1: when one of the dogs is play fighting and dominating the other dog, it looks at me and blinks, as if to communicate that it is all good fun.

E.g.2: there was a rambunctious puppy once who insisted on playing with the cows. One of the dominant cows decided to play with it. She repeatedly - but very gently each time, toppled the puppy over with her horns. The puppy would give a little yelp and go right back at the cow. While the puppy was fully engrossed with the cow, the cow looked at me from time to time and kept blinking with a funny expression on her face. I had to assume the cow was playing with the puppy and this was her way of laughing.

Has anyone noticed anything similar, or am I making things too anthropomorphic?

Edit/update: I found a very interesting paper which concludes that spontaneous eye-blinks have acquired a role in social communication, similar to grooming, to adapt to complex social living during primate evolution.

If this applies to primates, I wonder if it might also apply to other social animals. Especially because voluntary blinking is a very basic, and could possibly form a basis of proto-communication.

The paper I mentioned above makes a reference to another paper which states the interblink interval was prolonged in dairy cows during feeding and neck licking, in pre-ruminating bison, and in wolves watching birds. Based on these results, Blount concluded that these blinks have a central rather than peripheral origin.

  • 2
    Dogs, to the best of my knowledge, pant to smile. They look into human's eyes uninterrupted, constantly trying to understanding what the human wants him to do. Cats however, feel no obligation to satisfy their human's wishes so they don't have to look into human's eyes. Even more, cats find direct eye contact challenging, while dogs look for other signs for aggression in humans. I am not well qualified to answer this, but I believe lazy blink doesn't apply to dogs. I have no idea about farm animals. – C.Koca Sep 28 '20 at 8:15
  • 1
    Adding references for questions is not required, it's the job of the people answering the question to find all the needed references, but it's really nice of you that you did this, if you compose and post an answer to your own question then people will be able to reward you for this effort. – lila Sep 28 '20 at 20:06
  • 1
    @lila Thanks but I have limited experience with dogs and no experience with cows and other farm animals. I believe the OP is more knowledgeable than me and I don't want to produce extra traffic with a low quality answer :) – C.Koca Sep 28 '20 at 21:24
  • 1
    @StephenS I disagree. Cats reciprocate you when you lazy blink them. Humans don't really say "I don't fear you" in a reciprocal way, and smiling is more of a human construct. – C.Koca Sep 28 '20 at 21:44
  • 1
    @C.Koca Haha but my comment was for the OP :D it just cuts out the @ nickname part if you comment for question's author. And I proposed this because OP expanded the question and included some references, that's interesting and actually halfway of making an actual answer, maybe OP wants to be rewarded for taking the time to research that. But thanks for response ^.^ – lila Sep 28 '20 at 21:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.