Do cats and dogs feel what we are feeling?

Having one person’s emotions trigger similar emotions in others (emotional contagion) is a building block of empathy. The study of cross species emotional contagion is an emerging field with companion animals proving the most useful and relevant species for inquiry. Promising work in dogs and horses has suggested these species may exhibit this basic aspect of empathy, but so far research into cats is limited.  

This study aims to experimentally test cats and dogs to see if they are affected by their owner’s emotions. The experiments take place in the animal’s home and data is collected by static video cameras (set up by an experimenter).  

Paws of cat and dog together isolated on


This study is on hold due to COVID, however if you are within a 45minute drive of Brighton and would like to take part in the future please get in touch.


Study approved by the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board (AWERB) ARG/17/03

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