How the Adorable Faces of Kittens Activate the Oxytocin-Laden Caregiver Hormone in Humans

In a fascinating video for the scientific site Inverse, neuroscientist Shannon O’Dell explains why the sight of a kitten can makes one’s heart figuratively melt with joy. This response specifically has to do with the caregiving hormone oxytocin that gets activated as soon asd the infantile large head, round face and big eyes of the baby schema is recognized.

According to your brain, a kitten is an adorable tiny little ball of joy. On a chemical level, it can’t accurately distinguish a human baby from a kitten, so they trojan horse their way into your hearts with a little thing called ‘baby schema.’