What Makes Cats so Cute?

Cats are some of the cutest animals on the planet. With their large round heads, big eyes, fluffy bodies, and soft voices, cats are considered the best companion by most people. However, the question arises why do humans find cats so cute? The answer lies in the very description of a cat in the previous sentence. Science theories a biological formula called ‘baby schema’. According to this evolutionary process, humans are biologically hardwired to find big eyes and large, round faces bigger than the body cute and endearing, ensuring the survival of our species as we find ourselves being drawn to and caring for babies even when they are cranky and smelly. Cats have similar features to babies hence, we find the animal cute as well, causing us to keep them as pets and care for them. Like babies, the small noses and big eyes of cats trigger the ‘baby schema effect’ within humans. Cats and babies also trigger another similar response within humans, the ‘cute aggression’, where the brain becomes overwhelmed by positive emotions which may activate aggressive responses like squeezing or hugging too tightly without the intent of harm.

Another reason is that besides sharing similar physical features, cats and babies also share similar social characteristics and personality traits. Both babies and cats show playfulness, curiosity, clumsiness, frustration, and anger, further triggering the ‘baby schema effect’ within the human brain. A study conducted in 2016 also suggested that cats who showed affection, mewed, and rubbed against the buyers’ legs were more likely to be adopted instead of simply based on cute physical features. Cats also have a lot of muscles in their faces, with 32 muscles in their ears alone! This allows them to display a multitude of facial expressions and move their ears in various directions to trigger emotions in humans.