What's Really Happening in the Kitten Hugging Video?

The one minute video from last week we called In Mommy's Arms has been watched 18 million times on YouTube! Most folks thought it was adorable, while a few warned us not to anthropomorphize animals. National Geographic asked Dr. Nicholas Dodman, director of the animal behavior clinic at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, whether the behavior of the kitten and the mother cat was really what it appeared to be. Is the kitten dreaming? Is the mother hugging the kitten out of love? And why was the kitten twitching like that?
Humans and cats both have certain muscles that are for precision, as well as what are called larger “anti-gravity muscles” like those that lift your legs. Those larger ones are activated by a neurochemical called serotonin. During REM sleep, the brain’s serotonin system is shut off, which means the anti-gravity muscles are shut off. What’s not switched off are these highly-tuned muscles in things like eyes and extremities—what for us would be fingers and toes, but for them it’s paws and whiskers. This kitten is in the state of sleep some people call “the sleep of the body,” because the body is totally relaxed except for these tips of things twitching, while the brain is active and dreaming.

Dr. Dodman has plenty more to tell us about the cat and kitten, at NatGeo Daily News. Link -Thanks, Marilyn!

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

I have a 4-year-old Maine Coon cat who absolutely loves to hug necks and lick faces. And then he flips himself over so he's in your arms like a baby. That's your cue to rub his belly while he sleeps.

Yep, we both get an endorphin boost from it.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I have seen my mama cats do this time and time again.Even to the point of moving their kittens up on to my bed at night when a storm was going on, pushing them under the cover next to me.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
OK, that's enough. We have a rule against attacking other commenters. I have removed a few comments, and if y'all can't play nice, this thread will be closed.

I have altered the comment thread. Pray I do not alter it further.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
It's kind of like mental onanism you know. You don't care what the object actually is, you just want to consume your own dopamine and use the object as a trigger.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"What's Really Happening in the Kitten Hugging Video?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More