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Oct 09, 2006

Possible new rule of cuteness?!

Meg: Settle down, People, there is a guest cuteologist here for a lecture, and he has some excellent observations to share with the class. Dr. Mike-in-Denver, please, go ahead. [open gesture to crowd]

Mike in Denver: [Clears throat] Um, yes, thank you, Dr. Frost. Let me start by saying that while perusing The Cute I have noticed a phenomenon that I think is worth suggesting for a possible canonization.

[students at edges of seats, hummingbirds buzzing overhead carrying notes]

Namely, sleepy eyes: the droopy lids, the unfocused expression, but mainly the overemphasized lower eyelid region. When prominent, this seems always to = cute (unless it's on, say, Brian Dennehy). I have attached a mashup of some good examples for your class to review.


While this may be a subset of 'eye capsules' (as the two are often interlinked), it seems to function independently. It also seems that kittens, puppies, and other young'uns are best at this, but then, they're best at everything, I suppose.

Anyway, I thought I should go ahead and submit this to the CuteLab for analysis.

[students nod enthusiastically]

Meg: Thank you very much, Dr. Mike-in-Denver. Students, GET ANALYZIN'!

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Intriguing, intriguing. Perhaps a 7th Nobel Prize to an American?

[plucks Right-Center trailer trash looking kitten up and vigorously kisses pinky rubbery nose.]

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 01:54 PM

That first kitten in the middle row could be my kitteh Riley! When he was wee and cute, that is.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 01:54 PM

that's too precious! i nod enthusiastically too! :)

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 01:54 PM

I dunno. Droopy, saggy eyes (unless it's a characteristic of the breed) suggests tiredness/illness to me. And I know I'm not cute when I feel like I've just been run over by a bus.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 01:55 PM

Wouldn't this be categorized as Cute or Sad? Poor sleep deprived snugglies.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 01:59 PM

you have once again read our minds. this is starting to get creepy. the BF and I call this phenomena "leapy eyes" and it is the height of cuteness.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 01:59 PM

Now that I've had a chance to really look at this photo montage, I have a SERIOUS complaint. Why are there only 2 animals on the top row?

How am I supposed to get a tic-tac-toe, when Whoopi Goldberg is missing????

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:12 PM

I don't see it. What overemphasized lower eyelid region?

As a connoisseur of all things adorable, I'm sad that my cute sensors have failed me. Are there exercises I can do to buff up my cute-dar? Thirty minutes of baby hedgehog ogling a day?

Help me, cuteologists! Are there examples of non-emphasized lower eyelid regions you can post as points of comparion? Surely, you understand the seriousness of my predicament.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:14 PM

Some of his examples are perhaps not so much 'sleepy' as dopey.

Even discounting those, I believe this is a quality rule. I know in my house, the puppy never gets as much attention as when he's 'sweepy, I sweepy Mama', and fighting it all the way.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:17 PM

That's known at my home as the "blinky" or "binky" face, because when we come home late at night and wake the cat/turn on lights he staggers up to us "binking" the light away and looking rumpled and sleepy. SO FREAKIN CUTE.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:19 PM

Some further evidence of the cuteness and/or attractiveness of the lower-lid droop:

1) Subject: Don Knotts (seen here in character as Barney Fife)
Note the droopiness.

2) Results: Don Knotts (seen here in character as The Love God)
Note the schmoopiness.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:26 PM

We often remark on one of our cat's tendency to have bags under her eyes. Therefore, we have no chioce but to concur with the Baggy-Eyed Cuteness Theorem postulated in the lecture above. I further propose it be named the The Theory of Sleepativity (or Sweepativity, depending on relative ratio of eye:eye bagginess).

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:27 PM

im sleepy lol does that make me cute ?

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:35 PM

shweepy always makes one cute! *yawnnnn*

chet's momma
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:37 PM

Photos... hypnotic... so... so... tie-tie... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:43 PM

Definitely sad, not cute.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:45 PM

As there is a prolifigation of cute kitty-falling-asleep vids on the interwebs, and any of the pics above could have been either about-to-fall asleep or just-woken-up, and furthermore, everyone says those kitties are cute then therefore, this should be classified as cute.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:49 PM

I am of the opinion that the kitten in the center, the buff colored tabby, personafies (kitten-afies?) that irresistable "sweepy"-ness the best. I may be biased, however, because s/he so closely resembles my dearly departed Lambchop.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:50 PM

Is that a baby Brittany in the top left corner? Soooo cute!

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 02:59 PM

no way, ixnay on the new rule-ay. these poor snugglies belong in the cute or lugubrious category if you ask me...no no no. they all look pouty and parched for some ginger ale and crackers, especially mr. cheepy in the corner!! by the way, where's my cute bunny of the day???

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:00 PM

I would like to postulate that this phenomenon of cute is, in fact, a "Pre-Princess-Di-stare": the eyes begin to droop, but not quite to the full effect of the low look of bashfulness, or "Dianic Effect (TM)", if you will. These little ones seem to be demostrating various stages of practicing instructions from the Dianic Effect Guidebook: "make eyes moist; allow head to droop; a slight sleepiness is adequate, but mustn't develope into full schnooze; expression must include both coyness and needyness of snorgle" and so on and so forth.

I present this to you for your consideration.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:00 PM

I'm not really qualified to provide an unbiased comment, as the little boy in the center is MINE! This picture isn't the best representation of his sleepy/sad eyes, though, being that it was flash-induced. His are very similar to the baby's in the upper right corner.


Jill & Oliver Donovan
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:06 PM

EURKEKA INDEED! A new rule of cute for sure

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:06 PM

Redzilla... "Trailer trash kitten"?! That's horrible (and yet, I giggled.) Poor widdle guy, he didn't choose his upbringin's.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:10 PM

Now I'm sleeeeeeeeepy. Doesn't help I have TK slumbering next to me.

Big news: MomTux and SisTux actually CAME INTO THE HOUSE this morning and had a little nap! (TK and HRT were in other rooms, doors closed) This bodes well for their adoptability.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:18 PM

Oh, to me, the dogue on the lower left looks either sad or hung over.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:19 PM

If I remember the story of the big guy on the bottom left, he's not sleepy but just resigned to his fate (kitten climbing Mt. Mutt, or something to that effect.) All wonderful, no matter why they look droopy.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:21 PM

make it a rule already!!! I've been saying this all along!!!

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:29 PM

I propose that this new Rule of Cuteness should apply only to those breeds of which droopiness is not already a characteristic. The hound, for example, is perpetually droopy, thus clearly making him a cheater.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:29 PM

Is this a democracy? If so, I vote No!

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:35 PM

LurkerT, cool about the tuxers. How old are the kits now?

Boxcar Kitten M continues to be a total lap cat for me, and runs out to meet me when I go there. I'm going to consult some slightly more expert opinions among the cat rescue group and see if they think she's tame enough to take into their adoption stream after she gets spayed this week.

I also scritched one of her gray tux brothers on the chest and under the chin this afternoon.

Photos to come later tonight -- I now have a digital camera and just need to figure out how to download the photos I took this afternoon of Kitten M on my lap.

Laurie C
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:38 PM

Oh, I think this must be a new rule of cuteness - especially for baby animals. All sleepy babies radiate the cutes and this causes all resposible adults nearby to immediately snuggle them soundly and give them a treat to eat and send the wee babies off to bed.

ps Laurie C: has that pregnant cat given birth yet?

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:49 PM

I would say that perhaps yawning mini-smushes are cute, but droopy eyes/eye capsules are border-line. For the record, I am against the eye capsule rule in the first place, and I feel I must vote no on this proposed rule on the same grounds.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:57 PM

w00t, Laurie C! Sounds like Kitten M deserves adoption if she's that people-friendly.

The TuxKits are right at 3 months old... maybe 13 weeks, but no more.

Oh, I agree with Layla about the droopiness caveat.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 03:58 PM

I see where you're coming from, but I have to disagree. Waking-up blinky-face is, indeed, cute beyond words. But working in an animal shelter, and having owned a kitten that died after a week of intensive care, the droopy eyes make me more worried than snorgly. It just looks too much like a sign of serious illness to me.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 04:04 PM

YES!!! That should be a new rule. That is great! I never before noticed it. =)

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 04:04 PM

browngrl, Momcat E started looking much less bulky a few days ago, but her tum is still a bit saggy. So we think she's had them. Today I was there for an hour, though, and she came out and ate and hung about virtually the whole time, not acting like she had to rush back to a nest of kittens, so we're quite not sure what's up with her. When I go around to the front, she hurries off in that direction, though, seeming protective. There's another pregnant one, too, she's due this week-ish. But we hardly ever see her.

Anybody here know if a momcat can spend an hour away from a nest of few-day-old kittens with no ill effect to the kittens?

Laurie C
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 04:25 PM

I vote in favor of this new rule.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 04:38 PM

how can this be sad????? EVERYONE GETS TIRED. it's not like animals that have droopy eyes are all dying of cancer, they's just ti-uhd. when my hamster just wakes up and her eyes are blinky i want to eat her whole. NOT SAD.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 04:47 PM

that orange kitten in the middle is SOOOO BAKED.

you can call them HIGH EYES

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 05:03 PM

Laurie C, it's comletly normal for a momma cat to do that. I was taking care of an outside cat when she had her kittens. She would often leave to go hunting for food.
Or just scout the area. Now if she leaves the nest way longer then that, I'd start to worry.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 05:13 PM

Thanks, Skielar. Good to know.

Laurie C
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 05:20 PM

Oh, and boxcar cat fans, I just erroneously posted a link with a pic of kitten M on my lap on the inchworm thread.

Laurie C
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 05:22 PM

No. This is definitely part of "eye capsules" and not a cute quality all its own. Also, I don't find the hush puppy/bassett hound cute. Sorry.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 05:26 PM

I'm gonna vote against the new rule. Sleepy eyes, yes; eye capsules, yes; wakey-up blinkey-face, yes; eye-corner schmutz, no. Even without the eye-boogers, the eye-bag is a very small piece of the composition. Tiny (or huge) ears, huge (or tiny) eyes, moist nosicles: now THAT's cute.

Gwyndolyn O'Shaughnessy
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 05:36 PM

My two cents:
I think my cat is cutest when she's giving me the sleepy blinks. I say, yes, we've got a new rule of cuteness.

Holly Golightly
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 05:40 PM

Oh, LC, that calico bebeh M NEEDS a nice indoor home with tons of pettin's.

And Momcat E is fine... she's gotta have a few minutes to herself after she stuffs her face. MomTux did this too. I'm sure the kittens are tucked away safely, all sleeeepy.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 05:52 PM

First kitten in the second row looks more like it's about to burst into tears than fall asleep.

It also looks like my cousin, but that's another story.

 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 06:00 PM

"I'm sure the kittens are tucked away safely, all sleeeepy."

Or, all sleppppy, as the case may be.

Here's Kitten M with her face showing:

Laurie C
 |  Oct 09, 2006 at 06:14 PM

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