Why Are Cats So Cute?

Cute gray kitten on carpet on floor at homeThe question at hand may sound silly, but there must be a reason why we find cats so dang cute. Why do cats populate such a large percentage of the internet? Why do we take these feral, fur-covered, fang and claw-wielding creatures into our homes? To understand why we find cats so cute, there are a few factors that we must examine.

1. Biological inclination: When we find something to be “cute,” what do we really mean? Why is a baby otter cute, and an adult snake terrifying? The explanation has everything to do with proportion and evolution. The goal of all animals is to reproduce and carry on the species. This means that it would make sense for us to be attracted to our offspring so that we love them and take care of them. When you look at a cute little baby, you may notice that their proportions are totally different than that of an adult. Human babies have big heads, big eyes, and small bodies. This makes us think “cute, I want to cuddle with and take care of that.”

When it comes to cats, they are naturally “cute” animals. Their big eyes and tiny features provide for a scientifically-proven cute little animal. We find them beautiful for their magnificent coats and their attractive demeanor, and this attraction is no coincidence. Animals naturally evolve for their situation, and cats realized many years ago that cohabiting with humans was a good move. This would make natural selection inclined to favor more “cute” cats, as they would more likely be invited into a home with a more secure supply of food and comfort.

cat dandelion2. We made them cute: Another reason why we find many animals cute is that they are designed by humans to be cute; that is, they’ve been bred for specific traits over time. Animal breeders breed for different traits, but if you look at many common intentional cat breeds, you’ll notice that their cute looks tend to be similar. For example, a Scottish Fold is known for its large eyes and tiny floppy ears, two very kitten-like traits that stay with the breed throughout their life.

This doesn’t account for all cats, since most cats aren’t purposefully bred, but the practice of breeding for traits would contribute to an overall cuter population of cats. You can even see the effects of intentional breeding over regions. For example, the American Shorthair posessess all of the Western traits that we find so attractive; big eyes, round faces, etc. However, if you look at the Oriental Shorthair, more common in Eastern regions, you can see how different their traits are. Longer faces and smaller eyes are valued in this breed and are ideal traits of “cuteness” in the region.

3. Behavior: We’ve established that humans are inclined towards those that physically resemble baby humans. However, one of the reasons that we love cats so much is that they actually behave in an infantile way. For example, we love their playfulness, their curiosity, and their dependence on us. Cats act like they need us, and in turn, we respond with tender love and care. When a cat cries, it is natural to respond with baby-like coos, soft voices, and high-pitched tones of affection.

Cats seem to have caught on to our love of babies and learned to use it to their advantage. Many cat owners that have young babies have noticed their cats changing the intonation of their meows. This is because they are imitating the baby, since they’ve learned that the cry leads to attention as demonstrated each and every time the baby cries. Cats trigger our parental instincts naturally by the way that they look and act.

Child Hand Stroking Head Of White Cat.4. Their comforting presence: We may love cats for their cuteness and their infant-like behavior, but their cuteness is so much more. Having a cat at home ensures that cat owners will never be in their home without a warm presence, and the more time that we spend with these furballs, the more that we love them. While being a comforting presence, cats also tend to “perform” for their owners. Cats tend to take on some hilarious personality traits that vary from cat to cat, and we love our furbabies for these unique behaviors.

For example, some cats will lay on their back and peer out from an upside-down position. Some cats sit like humans on their rumps. Other cats like to watch out the window, or watch their owners cook. They purr when they’re happy, they meow when they’re hungry, and seem to exude some human-like qualities each day. Cats tend to take on some of the demeanor of their owners, from their energy levels to the way that they meow.

From biological reasons to psychological ones, cats surely have a monopoly on cuteness when it comes to humans. Their fluffy, rotund bodies offer a baby-like presence for years, and can offer many health benefits by just being there. Having a cat boosts happy feelings, and simply being around something so irresistibly cute can make anyone’s day better.