Are Cats Out to Get You? (ft. Amy Shira Teitel, Vanessa Hill of BrainCraft, + Julian Huguet)


Hey there, everybody. Welcome to Uno Dos of
Trace. I am Trace, and I have a cat and I love her. Last week, a viral video of a paste
filter showed cats reacting to their owners cat face. It definitely made me lol So I did
it with my cat. Maybe you did with your cat to let me know if you did. I was already working
on a video at that time about cat facial expressions. And so here I am recording it. So this is
actually perfect timing, because a new study found that some of us are cat whisperer. Is
that cool? Yeah, it’s cool. Some of us can read the facial expressions of cats. If cats
are so inscrutable. Why is this so funny? Two out of three households in the US have
some kind of a pet. It could be a bird or a durable it could be a dog, a guinea pig,
a cat, even a horse. two out of every three that’s 71 million households, which is up
40% since 1988, when this pet survey was first done. What do you think though is the number
one pet in the United States by the numbers Actually fish. Fish are the most popular pet
there are 172 million fish in US ohms followed by 94 million cats and 80 million dogs. Although
dogs when if you look at households overall, and also media attention, cats are the most
numerous social animal living with us United States. Ian’s in our homes, and yet, they’re
not really understood. Cats are sort of inscrutable, right? You can’t read them. Who knows what
they’re thinking? They don’t even like people. That’s actually not true at all. Because cats
aren’t inscrutable, says science. Instead, we just have to know where to look. Hey, everyone, Trace here. Thank you so much
for tuning in. I’m sorry, I missed you the last couple of weeks. I was in Brazil and
Japan and everywhere else, but now I’m back. So let’s talk about cats. We have this thing
on our fridge that the ASPCA gave us when we adopted carmella It’s a cat behavior guide.
Do you think we would need this if we had a dog like probably not right? They wouldn’t
give you a chart that says this is how your dog feels happy. It’s sort of mind blowing. That we have more cats in our houses than
any other fuzzy pet in this country. And yet we need a chart to understand them. Without
this chart, would you know what your cat is saying to you with its facial expressions.
This is so compelling, because we invite these animals into our homes. And yet, we don’t
always know what they’re thinking and feeling while they’re here. Some people believe that
every cat is like out to get them it’s going to like kill them in their sleep or something
or eat them after they die. Not true. Well not true with any more likelihood than any
other pet. And some other people believe that cats are just there to be a cuddle, buddy,
but they don’t really like you. And some want silent and separate companions in their house.
They don’t feel so lonely and cats can do all of those things and fulfill all of those
roles. But new research from the University of Guelph finds that 87% of humans have no
idea what their cat is thinking based only on their face. They found this out by giving
over 6000 people from 85 countries a quiz. And this is it. Only 13% of humans scored
75% For better on this quiz, most failed. They
made the quiz using the internet’s greatest resource. cat videos. Remember all those hours
you sat and watched cats on the internet? It turns out all those videos have done the
scientific community a solid. Good job, internet. Pat yourselves on your collective backs. Just
for fun. I gave this quiz to my friends and their pets. I got Pete to help me with the
quiz. Can you just change the tab on the iPad? Hey, Kitty. Good kitty. All right, get out
of here. Let’s take it together to get a better idea of how this works. I’ll put the poll
answers in the cards here. So click that to participate. So what do you think this cat
is feeling? Is it positive? Is it negative? Or do you not know? Take a good long look.
Click on the card this cat is feeling he looks chill. Seems like a positive cat.
It’s hard to see when you can only see the face. Oh, that’s a snuggling cat. That’s positive. That’s definitely a snuggling
kitty. This orange tabby boy was getting his pets juice. So happy. How about this little button? positive
negative? Don’t know that cat looks a little bit shifty doesn’t
look super happy unlike you right now my little lovey that. That cat does not look happy to
me. I’m gonna say Mona doesn’t want a picture. That’s how much she doesn’t know. Okay, I
think it’s positive try this sport youngster was on a treadmill being
exercised. Oh poor guy. I can relate to that for sure wedding diet. Oh, okay, last one
positive negative. Don’t know. I think this cat’s curious. Like he’s seeing
like a toy fly around. That’s a very attentive cat. And I think that was one of the positive
traits that we observed earlier. Looks like he’s following a toy or something. I would
say positive because it looks he looks engaged by it. So how’d you do? Have a cat whisperer?
I got 100% turned out that being a cat lover made no difference. Prince in how people performed on this quiz
hundred percent. Women tend to score slightly higher than men.
Although it was super close, he scored six out of eight, so it’s fine. We’re not cat
whispers which is pretty obvious just fine. Look at us. Look at us. The researchers that did this quiz hope that
we can learn how the cat Whisperer is learned to read the cat faces. So we can train more
people to do that not just giving people charts in the fridge and hoping for the best. This
isn’t the first time we’ve tried to understand exactly what cats are thinking in the 1950s
and 70s Paul lakehouse and published a book about cat behavior in which there are different
charts to help us understand what Lieutenant Commander fuzzy Fanny is actually thinking.
The charts are great. As you can see, it’s pretty rudimentary cat communication still
very elusive. And generally speaking, facial expressions are powerful nonverbal cues that
signal others what we’re thinking and if we don’t understand facial freshens, there’s a lot of communication last,
if I make this face, or this, or this, or this, you know exactly what’s happening right?
According to research from Ohio State humans have 21 different facial expressions way more
than the handful of emotions portrayed in that documentary inside out. Generally speaking,
we know exactly what face another person is pulling without having to really be coded
right. Humans use eyebrow raises and furrowed brows and mouth shapes like smiles or frowns
to determine facial expressions. We read our dog pets to mimic these expressions in us,
but cats don’t do that in the same way. Instead, cats communicate with vocalizations and with
body language, cats rarely meet each other. They mainly me out humans, which is a sign
of adaptation to their domestication. They PR which can be an indicator of happiness,
but it can also indicate hunger or stress and anxiety. Sadly, we don’t have a lot of
research on our little Patrick Stewart Most is dominated by quote, you know, man’s
best friend. And this makes a lot of sense because dogs are easier to read. They’re more,
let’s say food motivated that makes them easier to study and I always wondered why my dog
loving cat eating friends thought that cats were out to murder them, but they probably
just couldn’t get a read on what the little footballs were thinking, which makes people
uncomfortable. And I get and I’m here to say, be your cat or your friends cat is not out
to kill you. And in fact quite the opposite. Like any pet, a socialized cat loves its owner
and is bonded with it. And in fact, research shows cats love people like a lot, even more
than they love toys and food. This is based on behavioral research at the Oregon State
University from 2017. They found that cats are bonded to humans as strongly as dogs or
infants are in another study, they found that both pet and shelter cats would express more
initial interest in a human in a room, then food toys are an interesting set. I don’t want to start a fight in the comments,
but show me a dog that goes to a human before food. And I’d be quite shocked. They tested
this by putting cats or kittens with their owners in an unfamiliar room. The owner would
leave the room for two minutes, and the idea was to see what the cat did when the owner
came back. If the cat ignored the human that would indicate the cat didn’t really care
about it. It wasn’t fun. But if it went to the human bond, the percentage of cats that
showed they were bonded to their human 66% similar to dogs and infants. Other studies
showed the cats maintain this bond over time, dogs were kind of like children, but cats
they’re more like friends, they do their own thing, but they really like you just aren’t
always there waiting for your attention. Cats might be thought of as solitary. But it turns
out social bonds are extremely important. It’s interesting because the more we research
our little Luke sky whiskers The more we debunk the idea that cats aren’t that into us. And
in fact, we’ve found that cats adjust their behavior to match the amount of attention
they’re getting from their humans. You want to social cat socialize it you want
to present but inscrutable companion, treat your cat that way it will ignore you as well.
Researchers found that cats are sensitive to our moods and to our emotions, and that
they even know their own names. Yes, you can behaviorally train a cat, you just have to
figure out what motivates it. And I love this research. Anytime that we can understand our
little shapers better. We should try. I love watching my friends take this quiz too. So
make sure you give it to your friends. Both dog and cat people are fun to watch, because
cats are frickin fun. There’s a reason that cat videos are everywhere on the internet.
We’re fascinated by them. Maybe part of that is because we don’t always understand what
they’re thinking. Did you ever think of that? Full disclosure, I’ve had cats my whole life
and I currently have a beautiful little rescue sweetie named Carmela you may have seen on
my Insta. And also earlier, I got 100% on the short version of the quiz. So I’m a cat
whisperer, I guess according to their short version, and I didn’t do as well on the advanced
version, but no cat communication should be considered in isolation. Cats use body language Eyes, ears, faces and tails to give insight
into what they are thinking. And this is not unlike humans, our face could be laughing.
But if our shoulders are slumped and our eyebrows and eyes are down, even if we’re smiling,
we’re probably not happy. Just like studies with dogs and tiny humans, studies with cats
are showing that they are more empathetic, more nuanced, and definitely more social than
some people previously believed. So if you’re a cat person, rejoice. Perhaps this new research
could help us understand our fuzzy animal friends a bit more. I want to say since we’re
near the end of the video dogs are incredible as well. We got dogs by selectively breeding
wolves, and we only kept the cute ones. So what happened to the non cute ones? Exactly what you think we didn’t do this with
cats. They domesticated different. We didn’t read only the ones that communicated with
us. Maybe in 1000 years, some cats will adapt and grow facial muscles to make facial expressions
that we like. But for now, we should just learn to communicate as best we can get them
all in love and attention that we have. It’s not only Like having a bird or a turtle or a horse,
or whatever other pet you like. Just because it’s more effort doesn’t mean it’s not valuable
because they are perfect, just the way they are. Thank you so much for watching everyone.
I really hope you loved this video, share it with your friends. If you did, make sure
you go down into the description click the link if you want to shoot me over an idea
for a future story. Make sure you check out the quiz. Let me know how you did either here
or on Twitter or wherever. You can find the social medias for all the BFF who took the
quiz, and also for my patreon if you want to support the show. I’m hoping that you learned
something from this. I know I did while I was researching it. I’ll see you in the future
and Happy Holidays!

31 thoughts on “Are Cats Out to Get You? (ft. Amy Shira Teitel, Vanessa Hill of BrainCraft, + Julian Huguet)

  1. Love you Trace…take this from a parasocial friend..the hair is a bold choice. I don't hate it, but it's looking a bit too "Adam ruins everything" for my taste.

    But I'm a 34 year old with male pattern baldness. You do you HairBoi

  2. I've had all kinds of pet critters during my life.. chickens.. they would sit on my shoulder and coo and kiss me while I stroked their feathers… guineas.. the bird variety are the best guard dogs.. a pig.. yes.. a pig.. dogs, cats, fish.. adore fish.. they're far more intelligent than people give credit… Every animal knows to show up at my house to be fed.. deer, possums, raccoons, one red fox, groundhogs, birds and everyone else's pet in the neighborhood including the feral cat population..

  3. Totally unrelated but…. Is there a Japan 2 coming out or something? There has been A LOT of documentaries on TV lately of various celebrities traveling the length of the country. Now I hear you too have been on your travels there.

  4. Is this quiz really hard for some people? o_o I mean, I'm not exactly a fan of cats and I scored 100% correct answers without ever hesitating. I'm surprised that this should be hard for some people…

  5. I've got a cat (13.5) that is so attached to me that I actually wish for space at times. He loves all people except the vet, but the vet is astonished by how sweet he is.

  6. I do wonder why people are wasting their time trying to read cat moods by only studying cats' faces.
    That's like trying to read a human's mood by only studying their knees.

  7. Hey!! Trace, (smiles) you got a haircut and you look good!! : ) happy kitty purrrr-fect : ) I love carmella!! + trace : )

  8. I have had cats on and off through my life and they are wonderful but now I let the world take care of them and I visit making their owners wonder what my secret is or how I get cats to go crazy over me, I think it has a lot to do with winking at cats and dogs, use non verbal cues and simply putting your hand where they can move to benefit from it if they choose. Cats are not kittens, they like it a bit rough and they like to feel your nails on their skin, dig deep and massage their muscles in a logical way tenderizing along the muscle filaments . Soon you will have cats lining up for their turn.

  9. When we bred dogs to respond to human emotional cues, were they already similar to us, or did we radically change the way dogs emote? I wonder if humans can read the emotions of wild dogs or wolves with the same facility as we read domesicated dogs?
    Also, looking good Trace!

  10. I will say this, while it's not intentional, cats definitely want to kill me. I have some pretty rough allergies, and while I love cats, and would love to snuggle with them, my lungs disagree. I feel bad for all the cats that have wanted to hang out with me and I've had to shoo them away in order to keep breathing. DO THEY KNOW I LOVE THEM AND IT HURTS ME AS MUCH AS THEM!?

  11. You need to be with cats for a while before you can read their moods, and I expect that owners can read their own cats better than others. The problem isn't understanding them, its consistency of behaviour across the whole gamut. A particular look from one cat won't necessarily match up in another.

  12. I not only got 100% on the quiz, but I accurately empathized with what they were reacting to. I did grow up around cats, and I had one cat who could actually articulate the word "catnip."

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