Can Cats Cry
Cats feel a range of emotions including happiness, sadness and grief, but do they sob when they’re sad like humans do? Read on to find out!
Anecdotal evidence from owners suggests that cats do in fact cry when they’re sad. Owners have stories of cats crying after the death of a family member, when they are separated from their children or partner, or simply when the cat is feeling down. However, there is nothing substantial to back up these stories.
While owners may swear their cat was crying because they were sad, it’s impossible to know what the cat was feeling. Current scientific knowledge says that if a cat is crying, it probably just means they have something in their eye.
Cats do tear up, and cat tears look very similar to human tears, but it’s normally a physical reaction to having something caught in the cat’s eye, or an allergic reaction, or possible a physical illness.
Cats do have emotions and they can also read human facial emotions. Cats may not be able to speak, but they express their emotions in other ways.
If a cat is sad, they may become withdrawn, refuse food and spend a lot of time by themselves, while a happy cat will engage with humans and animals and may purr.
Cats communicate with us via noises. They will try and show us what they want or how they feel from the sounds they make, so sad cats may meow, whine, or whimper, while angry cats may hiss, happy cats might purr and a cat may yowl if they’re in pain.
While you can tell a lot about what a cat wants from the sounds they make, it can be hard to determine what your cat is feeling because there could be multiple reasons for the same noise. For example, a cat may yowl if they’re in pain, but they will also do it if they’re in heat or if they’re hungry, bored or just want some attention.
Cats may look like they’re crying when their eyes get water, and tear like liquid may fall from a cat eye, but as far as we know this is because their eyes are irritated or its a result of an allergy or illness rather than the sort of crying humans do. Some owners swear that they’ve seen their cat crying emotional tears, but there is no scientific basis to back up the idea.
Tears may be a result of an infection, allergy, respiratory or tear duct problems, or a scratched eye. Cats have the same tear ducts we have and they may well up if they have something in their eye. If you keep seeing tears falling from your cats’ eyes, it’s time to take them to the vet to rule out any medical problems.
So Cats Do Cry, But Not When They’re Sad?
As far as we know, cats don’t cry in the same way we do. We still don’t really know why humans cry when they’re sad and right now we have no evidence that any other animal cries in the same way.
Cat tears are more likely to be caused by irritation, an allergy, getting something caught in their eye or, more rarely, a physical illness. It’s best to rule out other possibilities before deciding your cat is depressed.
However, just because science doesn’t believe that cats cry when they’re sad doesn’t rule it out. If you’re convinced your cat cries like a human, why not reach out to an expert (like a vet or scientist) to discuss it further?