We already know that cats are emotional creatures. They purr when they’re happy, hiss when they’re scared, and they yowl when they’re concerned. We know they feel grief when a loved one dies and pain when they’re injured. Cats can feel many of the same emotions as humans, and in a lot of those cases, they express their feelings in similar ways. But what about sadness? Humans can’t help but cry when we’re sad. You might hear your cat make plaintive meows that you call “cries,” but do they actually shed tears?
How Cats Express Sadness
The scientific answer is that cats are not capable of crying tears related to their emotions. They instead express their feelings in different ways, including vocalizations and body language. If you know your cat well, you should be able to pick up on their subtle changes of behavior that indicate they’re feeling sad.
Cats show sadness in a number of ways, including:
- Excessive vocalizations
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased energy, sleeping more than usual
- Lack of self grooming
Just like people, cats can experience sadness for a number of reasons. They could be mourning the death of a loved one or simply missing you when you leave the house. They could be sad because they’re bored or because they’re worried about a change in the household. Whatever the cause, sadness is a completely normal emotions for cats. You can do your best to make them feel better, but occasionally being sad is, unfortunately, part of life.
Reasons For Cat Tears
If you’ve ever seen tears in your cat’s eyes, the explanation is physical, not emotional. Cats have tear ducts, and their purpose is to keep the eye moist and help flush out foreign invaders that could cause harm. So, when a cat “cries,” there’s most likely something going on either in or around their eye. Thankfully, most of these issues are minor. The tears themselves might solve the problem, or the irritation could go away on its own.
Here are a few reasons why a cat might have watery eyes:
- There’s something in their eye, like dust or dirt
- Their eye is mildly scratched
- Tears were triggered by an allergic reaction
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Clogged tear duct
- Some kind of infection
When you notice tears in your cat’s eyes, there’s no reason to panic. You can carefully inspect their eyes to see if there are visible signs of irritation, like redness, swelling, or something behind the eyelid. Unless you notice an obvious and severe problem, there’s a good chance your cat is perfectly fine.
You should be concerned, however, if your cat has watery eyes for either several days in a row or if the issue goes away but keeps coming back. At that point, your cat is most likely experiencing some kind of discomfort. It’s possible that their tears are a symptom of something potentially serious. It’s best to visit the vet to determine what the real problem is.