Do cats laugh?

Cats can certainly make us laugh. In spite of the cat’s poker face, many cat owners believe that their pets have a sense of humor. Of course this fact was never proven by animal behaviorists. Studies have been done on feline behavior but scientists tend to avoid making definite pronouncements as the fact that cats have emotions is as yet to be proven. Some pet owners though swear to the ability of the pet to laugh.

Cheshire cat, the fictional cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was made well known by its distinctive mischievous grin. Smiling and guffawing cats are seen in comedy cat movies. But do cats laugh in real life? Cat owners and anyone that have lived with cats would have different stories how these animals make people laugh. Cats are very playful and humans are always amused by the antics of these animals. A cat that appears to be sleeping would actually have one eye open and watching another cat playing with its ball. When the playing cat turns, the sleeping cat would suddenly snatch the ball, and pretend to sleep again. It can be easily imagined that the cat that has tricked the other cat would smirk and make a soundless laugh. Cats may not even purposely amuse humans… the cat would not know that miscalculating a jump and landing on a pail of water would be a hilarious incident but just the same, the cat’s antics would elicit laughter from the human family.

If cats can make humans laugh, is it possible for humans to make the cat laugh too? Would a male cat guffaw just like human males do? Would the owner of a female cat hear hi hi hi, which is the female cat’s expression of pleasure? Cat owners have the propensity to attribute human-like behaviors to the pet. Cat owners oftentimes believe that the pet can sulk and hold grudges, that the pet can show sadness when a family member leaves or dies. It would not be surprising then if a cat owner would assert that the pet can laugh. Cat owners that would not admit their inclination to anthropomorphize have an explanation for the cat’s behavior. Kittens learn by imitating whatever is seen from the mother cat. Kittens would learn bite inhibition. By watching the hunting strategies of the mother cat, kittens would learn to hunt. Kittens would learn to avoid or to fight predators from the mother cat. Cat owners therefore believe that the cat can laugh. Cats are simply imitating what they usually see from the owners! Therefore, in a family where there is so much laughter, the cat would be more inclined to laugh.

Laughter though is not learned…laughter is instinctive. It would be very hard to fake laughter in the same manner that it would be very difficult to laugh on command. A cat would only be able to laugh if it can understand a funny situation. Cats are intelligent animals. Cats have the capacity to learn and whatever knowledge learned will never be forgotten. However, to be able to laugh, cats have to have emotions. Despite various studies on felines, scientists have never proven that cats have emotions. Cats may have the ability to understand a hilarious situation. Cats may have the ability to laugh but if they really do so, it is highly probable that they are doing the laughing silently as even owners that believe that their pets can laugh have never heard the pet do so.

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