Do Cats Cry?

There are many things that could potentially make a cat sad, albeit briefly. Perhaps a change of environment when you’re moving house, an introduction of another pet that it doesn’t get along with or maybe it doesn’t feel well. Whatever the underlying reason is that’s causing the distress, cat’s can show signs of unhappiness, if you know what to look for.

However, we often look for emotions in cats that are similar to our own and to this extent you may be wondering if a cat can cry? Well, let me tell you.

Do cats cry? No, cats do not and cannot cry. Although it may appear they are crying this is always down to other reasons. There are other ways to tell when a cat is sad though!

Is It Possible For Cats To Cry?

It is possible for cats to appear as if they are crying but they do not actually cry! It’s easy to forget but we must sometimes remind ourselves that cats, as well as other pets, have a totally different emotional response system to us. They don’t feel things in the same way as us and their response systems ensure that they behave in a way that is appropriate for their species.

Do Cats Cry?
A cat that is not about to cry

So, if your cat has experienced something sad then although you will probably be aware of it, particularly if you’ve had the cat for some time so have fully bonded and now understand all their little mannerisms. It will have a different way of dealing with these events and I will go into this later.

Do cats have tear ducts?

Yes, a cat does have tear ducts so you may think it is perfectly possible for a cat to cry and technically you might be right. That doesn’t mean that’s the case though. The tear ducts are used in a feline purely to lubricate the eyes and assist with the removal of small debris. Further, more technical, information about their purpose can be found here.

What Can Make A Cat Sad?

If your cat is sad it won’t be crying – but it will be acting differently. I touched on this in the introduction to this article but what things are likely to actually upset your cat? Well, as it happens there are quite a few things, for instance:

Do Cats Cry?
A cat that has definitely just stopped crying but is okay now. Or maybe it was just laughing.
  • Changes to their routine – when thing’s matter to a cat, like their dinner time, they usually happen at pretty much fixed times. Your little cat will get used to what part of the day these things usually happen and when they don’t – they can become anxious.
  • Diet change – like their dinner-time routing, if what they are actually eating changes then this is another factor that can increase anxiety and stress. You may think you’re doing them a favor by changing their food and your intentions are solid. It’s fine to do it, just don’t do it every day!
  • Environmental Changes – A change to the place where they spend most of their time can have a detrimental effect on them. This can include the obvious one – moving house. You may also notice their behavior change when you move furniture around.
  • Introducing a new pet – Whether it’s another cat or something else, depending on their personality this may impact them quite a lot. They may perceive this new animal as a threat and if they are not dominant you may find them spending a lot less time with you than before.
  • Children and/or babies – Cat’s don’t tend to like things that are unpredictable and there’s arguably nothing more unpredictable than children and babies! The problem with kids is that they don’t always know how they should act around animals – they need to be shown. If they are not then all too often they can treat them as one of their toys – often being too rough in the process.

…amongst others!

Do Cats Cry?
A potentially sad cat, but not a tearful one

What Does A Cat Do When It Is Sad?

When a cat is anxious or sad it will act differently to usual. You may find it less willing to play with you. Most cats, throughout their lives, can be tempted to chase after a bit of string on occasions or jump on something wriggling under a carpet. If they consistently show a lack of interest in this then it could be a sign that something isn’t quite right. Other tell-tale signs are that it might be spending a lot more of its time asleep or hiding away from us.

Another indicator that all is not well is that they may be off their food. Of course, at some point, you need to identify that the behavior is unusual and determine whether contacting your vet is the best course of action. I think when it comes to the problem manifesting in this way (i.e. not wanting to eat) – that would be a cue to contact them.

Why Are My Cat’s Eyes Watering?

Your cat’s eyes will be watering for many reasons but none of them will be because they are upset! Actually, they might be upset – but that won’t be the reason why they’re crying. It will probably be short-lived but if the symptoms continue for more than a day or if you think the problems are causing problems with its vision then don’t delay – contact your vet. This article isn’t the place to get a diagnosis of feline eye-related problems and actually, nor should any place be online unless you absolutely know you can trust them! The best advice I can give is to tell you what you’re probably thinking of doing anyway, and that’s to contact your vet!


It should, hopefully, be quite clear that cats do not cry! They may indeed be physically able to but psychologically speaking, they are not like us and they are not constructed the same as us, mentally, which would allow them to release emotions by crying tears.

That doesn’t mean they don’t ever get upset though and as you’ve read, when you know what signs to look for, they are easy to spot. The problems usually come when you’re not able to find the root cause of their sadness. With a bit of time and patience though these problems can be usually quickly rectified and things will be back to normal before you know it!

One last thing, if you’ve heard of the superstition about cats that cry at night – read all about it in my article here!


I'm Matt Pettitt, joint founder of the Pets Knowledge Base alongside my wife, Jane. Since I was just 2 years of age I've had pets in my life - which I don't mind admitting is 47 years! I strongly believe that when you introduce a pet into your family you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. I've learned a lot during the past (almost) five decades and this blog gives me a medium to share everything I have learned ( both good and bad) about pets. If you'd like to know more about us, and how to contact us - take a look at our About page here!

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