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Do Cats Cry Tears When They Are Sad?

By The Daily Cat experts

Do Cats Cry Tears When They Are Sad?

Countless animals, including cats, shed tears. The question, as you point out, is whether or not these tears are emotional. Even for humans, the reasons behind crying are still somewhat of a mystery. Why did we evolve this ability? It could be because we sometimes cry when we are in pain, so the tears function as a visual signal that others may respond to. Unless the individual is a great actor, tears are also usually honest, meaning we cannot fake them as easily as cracking a pseudo smile or feigning surprise.

According to Margaret H. Bonham and Caroline Coile, authors of the book Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop: More Than 200 Feline Facts, Fallacies and Foibles Revealed, cats don’t tear up in response to emotions. Instead, cats may shed tears in response to eye irritations, allergies and clogged tear ducts, and for other eye-maintenance reasons. There is no evidence demonstrating that cats cry emotional tears of joy, sadness, pain, grief and more.

However, there are many anecdotal reports of cats crying tears in response to some traumatic happening. The emotional lives of cats are rich -- certainly more so than was suspected decades ago -- but I’m not sure cats would benefit from releasing feeling-based tears in the way that we do.

Tags: cat behavior


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Posted on January 13, 2012

Ponytailjones says: Though I've never seen 'tears' I have noticed that when my cat is in a lovable mood his eyes are usually a little wetter looking

Posted on February 19, 2012

i think they cry out of emotion says: I had a cat that was given to me through a family on craigslist who had it since it was young... and it did shed tears once they left (as well as curling up in a corner, facing a wall...) so, i think that cats can and do cry in intense sadness (you would too if your family since you were young abandoned you.)

Posted on February 22, 2012

Surreyduo says: I disagree with a cat shedding tears in emotions. We has 2 cats (brothers) when one of them was run over by a car in our front yard, the other cat would jump up to the window ledge in the kitchen with tears in his eyes as he watched his brother dye, We would wisk him down and he would jump right back up meowing and with tears in his eyes. He did have emotions and he expressed his sorrow over the event with his constant meowing and tears. YES! cats do have emotions and do express them by tears!

Posted on February 23, 2012

Some guy. says: It seems a bit of a silly notion that cats or any other mammal might not have emotions that we would instantly recognize as being like our own. Given how functional they are not just in terms of social interaction, bonding etc, but even in isolation - emotions are profoundly effective motivators.

Posted on March 16, 2012

KittyCat says: I disagree, as my cat is an indoor cat and becomes terrified when he has to leave the house for trip to go some where. Last time he had tears running down his face the entire trip. He was very happy to get back in the house.

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