Do Cats Cry?

Cats have acquired a reputation for being independent and aloof. Having owned them all my life I believe they are anything but.

They are capable of emotional reactions to certain circumstances but do cats cry? The quick answer is no, but they are capable of displaying sadness without tears. Why do I think this?

Over the years. I’ve heard many cat vocalizations and it’s quite obvious from the circumstances if they are due to happiness or sadness. Though I’ve not seen a cat with tears rolling down its cheeks, I’ve heard pitiful meows from unhappy cats trapped in closets and sharp cries of pain when I’ve accidentally stepped on paws.

Cats do meow pitifully and though they don’t sob floods of tears they can experience the feelings of sadness that drive us to tears. You might not call it crying but cats do respond emotionally to certain circumstances. If you do spot tears in a cat’s eyes, there’s likely a medical condition that requires further investigation.

Do cats cry? Cat crying

There are several things have the potential to make a cat miserable including a change of environments such as moving house, the introduction of a new pet, or feeling unwell. Whatever the underlying reason is that’s causing its distress, cat’s can show signs of unhappiness.

Is it possible for cats to cry?

It is possible for cats to appear as if they are crying but they do not actually produce tears of sadness. If you spot tears in your cat’s eyes they’ll most like be due to an eye condition rather than sorrow.

Look closely for signs of infection, inflammation, damage or foreign objects. Certain household products can irritate a cat’s eyes enough to make them water and allergies can also be the culprit. If you have any concerns at all about your cat’s eye health, seek the help of your vet immediately.

Do cats cry? Eyes shut

Do cats have tear ducts?

Yes, cats have tear ducts and therefore, the ability to produce tears. The tears produced are purely to lubricate and protect a cat’s eyes. A cat’s tears wash out debris and keep the surface of its eyes moist. Find more on this subject at

What can make a cat cry?

Do cats cry? Sad ktten

If your cat is sad it will emit a pitiful meow. Here are some examples of causes:

  • 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.
Do cats cry? Sad cat

What does a cat do when it feels sad?

When a cat is anxious or sad it will act differently. You may find it less willing to play with you. Most cats can be tempted to chase after a piece of string or pounce on something wriggling under a carpet.

If your cat is consistently showing a lack of interest in playing this could be a sign of depression. Other tell-tale signs are spending a lot more time asleep or hiding away. Another indicator that all is not well is a lack of interest in eating.

Depression and other cognitive issues can affect cats. If you are unable to lift your cat’s spirits through giving it attention and enriching its environment you should seek a vets help. If left unchecked, depression in cats can lead to other health issues.

Do cats cry? – Conclusion

Cats cry out at times but they do not shed tears. Cat crying involves a variety of sounds from a woeful meow to a sharp yowl of pain. Cats are definitely capable of experiencing the emotions that drive us to tears.

If your cat looks tearful there are many reasons why but none of them will be because it’s upset! In this case, take a close look at its eyes for infection or injury. If tears persist, don’t take a chance with your cat’s eyes – contact your vet.

One last thing – have you heard of the superstition involving cats that cry at night? Read all about it 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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