Can Cats Cry – Do Cats Cry?
Do cats cry? This is a question that provokes debate. Can cats cry in a way that sheds tears, and if they do, is it really for emotional reasons?
Let’s first look at the physical act of crying; can cats actually cry tears?
Do cats Cry – The Physical Response
Any cat owner will no that the answer to this is yes, cats can shed tears from the eye ducts, however the long standing scientific belief is that cats cry in this way for medical reasons, not emotional.
Just as humans eyes will water due to a contaminant, so too will a cats. Eye irritation from a speck of dust, a scratch from another cat, or the onset of an allergy, will make your cat cry, but only in the physicals sense. The tear ducts will water to try to rid the eyes of the irritation.
Cats can also cry, ie experience ocular discharge if they have a viral disease or other types of upper respiratory infections. Watery eyes are a normal physical response to a whole series of ailments.
Do Cats Cry – The Emotional Response
As we touched on above, the belief is that cats do cry but it is not for emotional reasons.
However, that is not to say that cats do not feel emotions such as sadness or even joy, it is just that the former would not be expressed by crying.
Sadness and pain are communicated by cats, but not via their tear deducts. A sad cat may seem lethargic or show symptoms more closely associated to human depression, (lack of energy, low appetite, little engagement and not wanting to play).
In some extreme cases a cat may meow in a long and sad way – we have all heard this type of meow and wonder if it is connected to an emotion. Many believe that it can be. A cat will meow if sad, whether they cry too is not so readily accepted. The fact is, what purpose would it serve?
From a Darwinian perspective it is hard to explain why humans cry in response to an emotion. Some theories make the claim that it is because we are an empathetic species, by demonstrating an emotion through tears, we are giving others a physical cue to our internal pain.
As we evolved, crying would have aided communication, and encouraged corporation between humans
Cats are far less empathetic creatures than humans, meaning to shed tears in order to communicate emotion was a less relevant survival mechanism.
Do Cats Cry – What to do if your is crying?
We will cover cat’s excessive meowing in another post, as that is different to the crying we have been discussing here.
However, if your cat seems to be experiencing ocular discharge on a regular basis, or seems to be shedding tears more often than usual, t could be time to take them to the vet.
In all likelihood your cat has picked up a seasonal allergy and once diagnosed, your vet will be able to recommend a suitable form of treatment.
Similarly, you cat may be crying due to eye infection and your vet can subscribe cat eye drops to resolve the issue.
Very rarely is crying in cats a sign of a serious health issue.
Do Cats Cry – The Bottom Line
As we have covered, cats can cry, however it is only for physical reasons rather than emotional.
Any cat owner will insist that cats do feel emotion, and I am in no way disputing that – however sadness in cats is expressed in very different ways, just not through the tear ducts.
If your cat cries a lot, it could well be time to take them to the vets.