Uni Grant For Feline Facial Recognition Research

Ever wondered what that pussy in the corner is thinking? And get your mind out of the gutter there.

A cat charity has donated £400,000 to the research of catty facial expressions, in an effort to better tell when they are in pain.

Feline Friends are seeking to dispel the eternal problem of owners not being able to read the expressions of cats. They traditionally have that stoic allure, yet a spokesperson for the Sunderland charity said “We owe it to our cats to achieve this.”

As a nation of pet lovers it seems we are now willing to go to other extremes in order to tell when Fluffy has an aching paw. This new research aims to help owners better realise when their pets are in pain using computerised facial recognition software.

Professor Daniel Mills, the leading veterinary behaviourist at Lincoln University who is to be the prime researcher believes, “Cats are quite independent and they haven’t evolved sophisticated facial communication – so we don’t often realise they’re ill, or in a lot of pain.

“The project is about focusing on the emotional impact of suffering for cats”

Animal welfare charities are praising the project, with PETA saying it hopes this will raise awareness in the fact that pets feel pain too, no matter how subtly they show it.

Some owners have written off the plans as another reason for Mr Tibbles to realise he is onto a good thing and manipulate more milk and biscuits from gullible sympathetic owners.

Words by Gemma Clark