Looking at Cute Cats Triggers Changes in the Brain That Lower Stress, Say Scientists

There are few things more delightful than observing cute cats and fluffy kittens. These feline companions offer entertainment and comfort. Even if you’re not really a cat person, there’s no denying that these four-legged furballs are pretty adorable. But, where does their charm come from?

Cute Cats Improve Human Health

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers found that the faces of cats have a similar effect on humans as the faces of babies.

Observing Cute Cats Triggers Brain Changes and Makes Humans Happy
Cute Cats Improve Human Health

Interestingly, their faces trigger the brain to produce more oxytocin, which is also known as the “love hormone.”

Cats Resemble Human Babies

Oxytocin regulates emotional responses that enhance happiness, trust, and openness toward others.

The specific features of a cat’s face resemble those of an infant’s — a rounded face with large eyes, and a petite nose and mouth. These characteristics engage the nurturing and protective instincts of humans.


In addition to their endearing appearance, their behavior holds a lot of meaning. Cats are known for rubbing around their owner’s ankles when they’re hungry, but many cats will randomly headbutt their humans. These head butts carry profound meaning. Headbutting signifies an act of claiming their owners and marking them with their scent. This gesture represents affection, trust, and bonding. Adult cats may also knead their paws when they’re content.

Over thousands of years of living alongside humans, cats have recognized that humans respond to their meows. These sounds, somewhat reminiscent of a baby’s cry, are strategically utilized to capture human attention and affection. The act of cuddling with adorable cats contributes to improved health and well-being. In fact, petting a cat can release serotonin and dopamine, commonly known as the feel-good hormone. Remarkably, even the sound of a cat’s purring possesses potential healing properties due to a frequency that promotes tissue regeneration.