Yes, is the common sense answer. We know with some certainty that cats feel at least the basic emotions of contentment and sadness (a lack of contentment). A domestic cat will miss his or her cat caretaker if abandoned. Life with suddenly be harsh and precarious. The cat will be stressed. Stress leads to a loss of contentment and unhappiness.
I don’t believe that cats ask themselves how they can alleviate their sadness or measure it against previous times. They accept it and live in the present which makes it more acceptable.
I think that is a fair assessment. People are only just being to seriously assess how domestic cats feel emotions. The range of feline emotions are being assessed. It is not clear that cats feel higher emotions. I have discussed whether cats feel jealousy and grief for example.
The title to this post comes from Quora. The answer to the question on Quora is a very nice story, nicely written of an abandoned cat over the road.
An old lady opposite passed away. Her neighbour believed that a friend of the deceased living adjacent to her had adopted the deceased’s cat. Two and a half years passed and she suddenly realised that the cat had not been adopted and was still at the property surviving under the most precarious circumstances scrounging for food and hunting.
The neighbour was shocked to find this out and adopted the cat who she named Spike. It took her six months to encourage him to join her.
She says that he had sad eyes and a sad demeanour. She nurtured him and he spent most of the time alone upstairs.
After a long time (I am not sure how long) Spike decided to come downstairs and lie on the sofa. When he was joined by the lady’s two other cats he stayed and did not run off as before. He was at home at last. He was accepted and his eyes sparkled again.