Anyone who has owned a cat will notice that your pet may pay more attention to you if you’re down and even seems concerned if you cry. While many like to think an animal doesn’t care about its human owner’s feelings, most experts agree they do.
Do cats care if you cry? Yes, according to veterinarian Dr. Sara Ochoa, all pets understand when you are sad and cats will try to comfort you during those times. She said your feline friend may lay close to you or on you and lick your hands or face.
Read further to find how just how much animals related to their humans’ emotions.
How Cats Sense Your Mood?
A study of 12 cats proved that felines can sense mood shifts but they may not deliberately try to comfort us. In other words, comforting us is more of a learned response than an emotional decision. Even so, they do understand moods.
Cats read all the cues of their human’s moods in a very similar way humans observe hints of a cat’s mood. Cats associate our expressions with our moods. That figure out, over time, that smiles mean fun for them while crying can mean less attention.
A cat will also pick up on your behavior when you’re sad and that can lead them to also behave a certain way. They are highly observant and remember well so they can easily pick up on your habits. Cats then associate those habits with your responses to their own behavior during those times.
They use this knowledge to their benefit. These are learned responses more than actual sympathy from your cat.
For instance, if you are crying and not getting up out of bed, your cat may read this as a signal to sleep next to you. They know you will pet them and give them attention as well as a warm spot to sleep.
Those who eat when they get upset may also give their cat some of what they’re eating. Cats remember this and will be sure to offer their sympathies to get some extra goodies.
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A cat going through learned behavior doesn’t mean they have no emotions. As aloof as some cats can be, they do have emotions. However, a cat’s emotions are different from what humans experience and cats relate to emotion differently.
Humans can be sad and rebound quickly from it. We confront our feelings and work through them. Cats don’t have that type of thinking or depth of emotion.
Cats go to extremes on their emotions and a sad cat can be depressed for weeks or months. They are lethargic and are hard to encourage to eat, drink, play or do anything they typically do.
This type of depression is typically tied to a cat being ill or some type of trauma the animal experiences like an owner’s death, the death of a companion pet, or maybe even a move or rehoming.
Cats don’t become sad because you’re sad. They are sad because something is wrong with their lifestyle and most need some type of intervention to recover.
Read: Why You Shouldn’t Own a Bengal Cat?
How Do Cats Show Love?
Science and research show that cats do bond with their humans and develop strong emotional connections to them beyond learned responses. They are loyal, protective and like to be near their humans.
Cats have been known to stay close to someone feeling blue and some may even try to lick and get them up. Sure, they may need to be fed or want attention, but a cat also knows what it takes to get humans out of their sour moods too. After all, they have noticed it worked before!
Cases are on record of a cat sticking close by the side of a sick family member. Hospitals and senior centers use cats as service animals too!
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A team led by Paul J. Zak, a Claremont Graduate University professional, discovered that cats release oxytocin when they interact with both humans and each other. Oxytocin is called the “love hormone” because it’s a brain chemical released when a new mother is with her baby. It creates intense feelings of love.
The idea is that cats also experience feelings of love toward other cats and humans since they also release the hormone whenever they have positive interactions with both.
Do cats know what it means when you cry?
Cats may not specifically understand crying but sense it is related to their human being sad or ill. They will react the same way they would if another cat is injured by sitting next to you or maybe lying in their lap and purring.
How do you know when a cat is experiencing different emotions?
Their behavior will show what emotion a cat is feeling. Happy cats want to play, be petted, and will purr while depressed cats won’t eat, withdraw and lose energy. Angry or scared cats will be defensive, arching their backs, hissing, growling, and even swatting.
Read: Is My Bengal Cat Depressed?
Do cats cry tears?
Yes, cats can cry tears. That happens when they are in pain, and particularly when it’s a sudden, severe pain. You will know when it happens because they will howl or a loud cry. This is a sign to take them to the vet immediately.
Why do cats cry like a baby at night?
Cats can scream like babies to show they need something like food or water. They may also need attention. Female cats will scream when they are in heat. Some cat breeds, like Siamese cats, are more vocal than others. Felines can also change their voice tones and make them longer or shorter to better communicate their needs.
Will my cat come when I cry?
Most of the time, yes. It depends on what you’re behavior has been in the past. Those who pet their cat when it offers comfort will find their cat will come whenever you cry. Those who are verbally or physically unkind to a cat trying to comfort them will find the cat will hide during that time.
Typically, cats interpret a cry as being hurt so they will come to you to see what’s wrong. They will pull away if they think they are causing of the pain, like if you get hurt while playing with them.