Tuesday 15 August 2023

Can a cat yawn cause a contagious yawn in a dog?

Here is a video of a cat yawn leading to their dog companion yawning due to the contagious nature of this form of behaviour. Yawning contagion crosses the species barrier.

Cat yawn is contagious to their dog buddy
Cat yawn is contagious to their dog buddy. Screenshot.

RELATED: Is yawning contagious to cats?

Cats can cause a dog to yawn when they yawn. It's called contagious yawning and it is likely that you have heard about it. And, interestingly, contagious yawning also affects dogs when their owner yawns. The point probably is that if the dog is in a close relationship with a sentient being - normally another dog or a cat or a human - who yawns, then they are likely to yawn as well.

The University of Tokyo did a study and they found that just over half the dogs monitored yawned after watching their owners yawn. When the dogs watched a stranger yawning the contagion from those people to the dog was about half as powerful and they yawned about half is frequently.

And in the video below, we see a cat and dog who are very good friends. They are on Instagram (link). The dog is said to be a bit nervous and the cat is said to help calm the dog down. They are good buddies and the contagion effect is going to be much stronger from cat to dog under those circumstances.

Separately, in another study from the University of Portugal, they found that 12 of 29 dogs yawned when they heard a recording of their owners yawning. Powerful stuff.

You will find other studies on this topic. They've all come to the same conclusion that human yawning is contagious to dogs. I have extrapolated that information to strongly argue that cat yawning is also contagious to dogs if there is a close relationship between the two.

And the video on this page confirms it. I know that there is a possibility that the dog is simply yawning but it looks very much like contagious yawning to me.

Did you know that when lions wake up, they yawn to coordinate their movements?

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