In humans, crying is a universal sign of distress or sadness. Among animals, dogs are also capable of crying, in their own way, moaning. But what about cats?
Cats can’t shed tears…
Unlike humans, cats cannot shed tears of sadness. This feature is exclusively reserved for us. However, cats have, like us, lacrimal glands which allow them to produce tears.
However, these tears are essential to the health of their eyes for the simple and good reason that they help keep their eyes moist and chase away any foreign bodies (such as dust for example).
Therefore, if a cat has occasional runny eyes, there is no need to worry. On the other hand, if it happens on a regular basis, it means that it has an eye problem. It can be a viral illness, an infection or even an injury. In this case, a visit to the vet is in order. Note that watery eyes can also be a sign of an allergy.
But they can be sad!
On the other hand, it is not because a cat cannot cry, in the human sense of the term, that it does not feel anything. Our feline friends are capable, just like us, of feeling a whole variety of complex emotions, including sadness, boredom, anger and even joy.
But the prey past of cats, as well as their discreet nature, do not allow them to express their feelings. Indeed, in nature, if a feline were to show its weaknesses, it would be immediately chased by a predator and would not survive for long. Because of this, cats have learned to hide their emotions, which allows them to never be vulnerable.
How do cats express their sadness?
When they feel sad, unwell or, at the very least, woozy, cats have several ways, more or less subtle, of making their human understand their current state of mind.
Some will be more cuddly than usual, others, on the contrary, more distant. Still others will meow repeatedly, even desperately.
They may also start to sleep more often, show less playfulness, or lose their appetite. Finally, sudden uncleanliness can also appear as well as unusual behavior: aggressiveness, excessive licking, etc.