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Can Cats Cry? Feline Basic Anatomy and Emotions Explored

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

grey cat sad

Maybe you’ve noticed a discharge around your cat’s eyes and are wondering if they’ve been crying. The truth is that cats can’t shed tears the way that we do. That means if they have a wet discharge around their eyes, something else is going on, and you need to check it out.

But what could that be? Also, if cats can’t cry, how can they let you know that they’re upset? The simple answer is no, they don’t cry. At least not like we do. Keep reading as we explore cat crying and more here.

Why Does My Cat Cry Tears?

While your cat can’t cry tears, that doesn’t mean there can’t be wet streaks coming from their eyes. There are a few potential causes of wet stains around your cat’s eyes.

First, it could be debris, a scratch on their eye, or another eye problem. Second, eye seepage can be a sign of respiratory infection in your cat. If you notice that the area around their eye is wet, carefully check for debris.

If the wetness doesn’t go away, you might need to seek out a vet. If you’re unsure, check out the possible causes as given by PetMD.

close up cat teary eyes
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Can Cats Understand Human Crying?

While a cat can pick up on your emotions, they don’t recognize crying for what it is. Your cat can tell that you’re upset, but not because you’re crying.

Pets pick up on your emotions in other ways, and a cat is no different. They can tell simply by your body language compared to how we usually behave. Just as we can tell when our family members are upset by their body language, cats can do the same thing.

While they might not actively seek you out to cheer you up, if you tend to give them extra attention when you’re upset, they might start to come to you more often when you’re having a rough day. But if they pick up that you’re pushing them away or want to be left alone, chances are that they’ll do that too.

How Do Cats Show That They’re Upset?

While cats can’t cry like a human, that doesn’t mean they don’t have emotions or can’t display them. Your cat can display their emotions in various ways, and unless you’re paying attention, you might not even realize what’s going on.

The most common way that a cat displays sadness is by getting unusually quiet or calm. They also can cower, hiss, or flee anytime that you get close.

Other potential signs include:

The truth is that any behavior outside of how they usually act is a cause for concern. So, just get to know your cat, and if they start acting strange, then investigate further!

sad lonely cat
Photo credit: medveda, Shutterstock

Do Cats Get Sad When You Leave?

While it’s common for dogs to suffer from separation anxiety, the truth is that cats can have the same problems. While separation anxiety isn’t nearly as common for cats, it is something that you need to keep an eye out for, especially if they’re the only pet in the house.

Indoor cats that are only cats typically form stronger bonds with their owners, which means that they also take it harder when they’re left alone.

Signs of separation anxiety in your cat include:

  • Excessive crying, moaning, or meowing
  • Not using the litter box
  • Vomiting
  • Destructive behavior
  • Giving you tons of attention when you get home

If you’re worried about your cat suffering from separation anxiety, there are a few things that you can do. First, you could get another cat. While this might not be an ideal option, it’s often a great way to eliminate separation anxiety altogether.

From there, you can:

  • Ensure that they can see outside.
  • Give them plenty of toys.
  • Leave a TV or radio on.

While none of these activities are fool-proof cures to separation anxiety, they can all help your cat feel a little more comfortable when you head out.

blue point siamese cat lying by the window
Photo Credit: Lucie K, Shutterstock

Can Cats Be Mad at You?

While cats are notorious for holding grudges, how much of it is a common misconception between species? As it turns out, not much — your cat actually can get mad at you.

They’ll leave the area that you just entered or stare at you from across the room. It’s not just your feelings getting hurt when your cat does this; it’s often a legitimate sign that your cat is upset with you.

Final Thoughts

While cats can’t cry, that doesn’t mean they don’t feel emotions. They still get happy and sad, just like humans, and they have plenty of ways to display these emotions.

That’s why it’s crucial to get to know your cat so you can tell when they’re having a down day. If you pick up on it, you can go out of your way to cheer them up, just like you would want them to do for you.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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