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Do Cats Feel Emotions?

  • Post category:Behavior
  • Post last modified:September 2, 2020
  • Reading time:8 mins read
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Do cats feel emotions? If you’re like most cat owners, you would probably agree that cats do tend to show a variety of emotions from time to time. In opinion, I think cats can be quite moody sometimes. 

Love, sadness, guilt, and anger are just a few of the emotions that us humans tend to feel throughout our lives, but when a cat feels emotions, it makes you wonder if it’s on the same level as our emotions tend to be. 

Do cats feel love the way that we feel love? Do cats get depressed the way we get depressed? Do cats feel guilt or shame after doing something they’re not supposed to do? These are some great questions, and in this article we will dive in for a further look at the science of feline emotions. 

Do Cats Feel Love?

Cats definitely do feel love. In fact, scientists have done research on this very subject and they have found that cats release the same type of love hormones as us. This natural hormone is called Oxytocin.

The hormone, Oxytocin, was originally associated with human uterus contractions and also in rodents that were caring for their offspring. Essentially, it is the hormone that makes living beings care about other living beings. And yes, cats biologically produce this hormone too.

The best part about the fact that cats feel love is that they actually know how to show love to you and their offspring. They do this by purring, kneading, head butting, and showing you their belly, among other things. 

I have a cat who absolutely loves to give me little head butts each and every day. Not a day goes by where I don’t receive at least a few head butts. I also have another cat who does nothing but show me his belly when he wants to show me affection. And this is the only thing he does. 

Your cat might show love in a variety of ways or it may just have one particular way of showing love. Chances are, if your cat is purring and rubbing on your leg or kneading your bedding, they are probably trying to let you know that they love you.

Do Cats Feel Sadness?

Just like the emotion of love, cats can also feel sadness. If your cat is experiencing sadness, they may lose interest in the things that used to bring them joy such as playing with certain toys they loved at one time. Maybe your cat normally loves playing with their crinkle ball, but now it doesn’t seem to interest them at all. This could be a sign of depression or sadness. However, this could also be a sign that they’ve simply outgrown the toy.

You can also tell that a cat is sad by its body language. Just like how humans act when we’re sad, a cat might do the same thing. Their ears may be constantly back or their tail is tucked in between their legs. They may also walk around in a lethargic state. Make sure you rule out any health issues first if your cat looks and acts lethargic. Don’t confuse a sad cat with one that is experiencing pain or discomfort.

Other signs of feline sadness include excessive sleep, poor grooming, and becoming really clingy towards you. They may also meow excessively. It’s important to note that these are also the same signs as pain or sickness, and you should certainly bring them into the vet. In fact, being sick or in pain may actually cause your cat to become depressed in the first place. 

The best way to deal with a depressed cat is to show them that you love them. You can do this by showing more affection towards them and giving them extra petting and treats. Another great way to give attention to your cat is by taking at least 15 minutes out of each day to play with them. There are literally thousands of cat toys that you could both play with together. 

Can Cats Tell If You’re Sad?

If you’ve ever cried in front of your cat, they may have come up to you and seemed to give you a curious stare. Maybe they have even seen you cry and decided to give you head butts or rubbed their fur on your legs. Well, this isn’t a coincidence. Your cat senses your sadness and wants to make you feel better. 

If this happens, do yourself a favor and let them do their thing. Studies have shown that having pets around can actually help you to deal better with sadness, depression, and grief in your life. 

I can tell you from personal experience that my cats have helped me greatly with my depression. Before I got my cats, I used to get so depressed to the point where I didn’t really care about anything. But that all changed when I adopted my cats. If they’re not constantly showing me affection, then at the very least they’re making me laugh. 

Whether you have one cat or many, you probably already know how funny they can be. And if you don’t have cats, all you have to do is go on YouTube to find funny cat videos that will surely snap you out of any depression or funk you may temporarily be in.

Do Cats Feel Guilt?

The research on this emotion is not quite as crystal clear as love and sadness is. In order for a cat to feel guilt, it would have to know that what it did was wrong. 

Most of the time, cats don’t understand right from wrong. If you yell at your cat for being on top of the cupboard and then they run or hide, they are simply reacting to your elevated voice and emotional state. This does not necessarily mean that they know being on the cupboard is wrong. 

Cats are just animals. And animals have instincts that they follow without knowing why. They just do the thing regardless if it’s right or wrong to us. So it’s quite safe to say that, NO, cats probably do not feel guilty about the things they do.