How emotionally sensitive are domestic cats?

by Michael

In these forums, we discuss, quite a lot, the emotions of cats. We are never completely sure how cats feel. I’d like your thoughts on something that became apparent to me recently regarding what appears to be a cat’s feelings.

About 4 months ago I locked out a stray cat, Timmy, who we had been feeding for some time and caring for too (vet’s visits). He had been pestering my old lady cat and I had had enough of that. I only locked him out (locked the cat flap) for one day but he never came back. I missed him. Did he get a message that I hadn’t intended to send? Did he decide that he wasn’t wanted and went elsewhere? Or, coincidentally, did he suffer an accident and was fatally injured? He traveled across London’s roads to get here so there is a good chance he was hit.

Very recently I decided to close my bedroom door at night. I won’t go into the reasons but it was not in any way connected to Charlie my three legged cat.

Until then he would regularly sleep on the bed and/or come in, in the morning for a wash and a comb.

The door was closed at night for a short period, say about 5 days. But Charlie didn’t come in again.

In fact when I brought him in and put him on the bed, he promptly jumped off and left the room to sleep in what seems to be an alternative but uncomfortable area in human terms.

As I type this, I now have him on the bed having brought him back in again and given him a ton of tender loving care.

Perhaps he will now come in of his own accord? Is there something going on in the minds of domestic cats that we are not sensitive to?

Do cats feel rejected if we shut them out? Or am I anthropomorphizing Charlie? I’d welcome your input.


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How emotionally sensitive are domestic cats?

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Dec 20, 2011
They all know, some don’t care!
by: Anonymous

I have just come out of a major depressive episode which lasted 6 months. On the worst days my little girl would curl up beside me on the sofa and not leave my side for hours on end. She would also lick my hands and try to hold my hands between her wee paws. I have 4 cats and the others didn’t care, but somehow Coco knew and tried to make it better…and she did.

Oct 11, 2011
yes they are
by: Kathy W

Of course cats are emotional, very much so. OUr cat Mariel is very attached to Jeff. When he gets ready to go out somewhere, she gets very upset and starts crying and bothering him. When he comes home she runs to the door and greets him like a dog. She runs and jumps on him and meows and is so happy hes back. She loves him so much she cocks her head when he talks to her and she talks back to him.

Sep 26, 2011
VERY emotionally sensitive
by: Ruth

I believe that cats are very emotionally sensitive and that they have feelings of rejection just like we do.
Scientists like experimenting on cats brains because they are so very similar to humans brains, so in that case they must feel similar emotions.
They talk a different language to us that’s all, but you can learn to talk to your cat and know what he replies.
Cats plan ahead ! Our Jozef in particular will gaze at the place he intends to go to next, he’s a very open personality. Walter is more impetuous and unpredictable but we can always tell when he’s in the mood for a bit of fun, like coming to the window and when someone gets up to let him in, running away ! He gets a certain look in his eyes and we know he will do that lol
Cats are family and deserve to be treated with consideration like the rest of the family are.
Talk to them, tell them why you are doing something like shutting them out of a certain room. They DO understand much more than a lot of people think they do.
To make amends you need to get down on the floor close to them and 9 times out of 10 they will come and give you a butt and forgive you for whatever you’ve done to upset them.
Of course cats never forget so they never forgive anyone physically abusing them.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Sep 26, 2011
very much so
by: Barbara

I’m quite convinced that cats are highly sensitive to our moods and intentions, they also get offended and don’t forgive easily. So Michael you may have some grovelling to do with Charlie to convinvce him that you weren’t rejecting him. As for Timmy, perhaps it’s better not to know what fate befell him.

Sep 26, 2011
Cat Empapthy
by: Grahame

I have commented previously in these fora on this very question. I am in no doubt whatever that domestic cats empathise and sympathise with humans and can anticipate their vicissitudes, especially their griefs, their joys, and their emotional tenor.

I am extremely closely bonded with the cats who kindly share their lives and home with me. I have anecdotes too very numerous for telling in this space which entail the empathy of these cats. Suffice it for now, one small example: my cats sense my moods and emotional tenor. Many a time I will find my cats coming to my side, often from another room, when I awake in the middle of a night feeling sad, unsettled, or overtly depressed. I do not think that they are clued by any restless activity from me, no tossing and turning and that sort of thing. They seem to tune in to my emotions, and I cherish this in them. They are, so to speak, my most kindly nurses, and I endeavour to reciprocate in my turn.

Sep 26, 2011
by: Anonymous

I am convinced that one of my cats (sadly, no longer with us) could sense how I was feeling. If I was feeling low, he would sit much closer to me and spend more time near me.

2 thoughts on “How emotionally sensitive are domestic cats?”

  1. My Russian Blue cat seems emotionally vulnerable. Once or twice we have yelled at her for trying to run into the garage, or standing on the kitchen table. She shouldn’t do either but I swear that cat was about to cry. Also, she smiles when you pet her. You have to look from the side to see it but she has expressions. She’s the most emotional and expressive cat I’ve ever seen.


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