Do Cats Cry?

Our cats may seem like the most aloof creatures, but they do have feelings. In fact, some researchers believe that animals have many of the same emotions that we do, and that makes them a bit easier to understand.

We are always trying to better understand all of our pets' emotions, but sadness may be one of the most important ones. Knowing when our pets are sad helps us to know how to cheer the up. But how exactly do our cats express their sad emotions? We dug into the truth to understand our feline friends' true feelings.

Do cats cry?

Cats don't physically cry like humans do with tears rolling down their face. However, cats crying in the night has been a superstition for many years. At the time, the thinking was it's an omen of death if a cat cries outside a house when someone is sick. That superstition evolved for a reason: Cats do cry, just not in the sense we might think.

Ginger cat on Isolated Black background
credit: Seregraff/iStock/GettyImages

Cats cry vocally, for a wide range of reasons.

While a cat's cry isn't all that different from a meow, you can tell the difference. We're not sure if it's by design or just our interpretation, but a cat's cry sounds more mournful and sad than the playful or demanding meow. It's usually longer and lower in tone than most meows, so you'll certainly know when you hear it.

One of the first reasons your cat might by crying is for illness or pain. If you're cat's not feeling well, it probably doesn't understand what's wrong. If you notice your cat crying constantly, you should probably take it to the vet. Your cat is likely trying to communicate its discomfort to you.

Another main reasons that cats cry is due to stress. Although we may not give them credit for being very emotional, cats have feelings too. They might feel lonely or anxious, and one of a cat's primary methods to communicate those feelings is to cry. Some cats are even known to cry when they lose a companion, either human or animal, or when a new animal is introduced to their domain.

Cats occasionally shed tears for medical reasons.

Dr. Sheri Morris of Willamette Valley Animal Hospital in Oregon explained, that cats crying tears, "would be mostly associated with ocular discomfort. Ocular discharge is associated with viral disease, allergies, and infection."

Thus, if you've noticed that your cat seems to have watering eyes, then it could be cause for concern. Dr. Morris explained, "cats are right at floor level, so different carpet cleaners can cause irritation to the eye. If it's a persistent problem, I think that's more of a concern than if it's a little watery right now." So if you notice a recurring issue with watering eyes, it might be worth a visit to your vet.

Most of all, if your kitty seems a little down, make sure to give them an extra snuggle.

Human and animal Contemplation on Mountain Peak
credit: MaloriMay/iStock/GettyImages

Because if our cats can feel sad, we know they can also feel love and comfort as well.