Categories: cat emotions

Why don’t cats cry?

I’m referring to domestic cats and why they don’t cry tears as an emotional response. I believe that that is what the question is about. And, sadly, I have to report that we don’t know the answer! We don’t even know for sure why humans cry tears of emotion, either in sadness or joy.

American Curl cries at vets. Is it pain or due to emotion or for some other more functional reason?

We do, however, know that there is a neural connection between the tear duct and areas of the human brain involved with emotion. I’m trying to answer the question in the title by working backwards by which I mean trying to find out why humans cry tears in response to emotion and then relating that to domestic cats. But, as mentioned, we don’t know for sure why humans cry as an emotional response.

We don’t know enough about the domestic cat, to be perfectly frank, in respect of many areas including emotions to be able to answer the question. We know that domestic cats do create tears. This is quite obvious because most of us have seen it. They may be produced because of a foreign object in the eye or in the case of a male cat that I cared for some years ago it was due to a tumour behind the eye.

But these are straightforward functional reasons for the production of tears (or was it in the case of my male cat?). The question is about the connection between emotions and the production of tears. Theoretically there should be one of two reasons why cats don’t cry, which is either/or (a) there is no connection between emotions and the production of tears and (b) cats don’t become sufficiently upset emotionally to produce tears in response.

One aspect of this question may be the well-known feline characteristic that they are conditioned to hide outward signs of emotion and indeed pain in the interests of survival. Tears are a sign of emotional upset which may be one reason why they exist in humans. Accordingly, the answer may be something to do with signals and body language.

There is even a wider question namely whether tears of emotion are only produced in humans. It’s been reported that elephants cry when mourning the loss of a companion or offspring so tears of emotion may not only be a human characteristic.

I have checked the best reference sources and found nothing on this subject so I am compelled to write an essentially negative answer.

We’ll have to wait for more research to find out the answer. Sorry about that. If anybody can be kind enough to provide further useful information it would be most welcome.

Video of cat crying at vets

This crying is probably due to something unconnected with the injury he sustained and the pain suffered but we are unsure. Incidentally the cat is an America Curl, a fairly rare purebred cat. Videos sometimes disappear for various reasons and if that is the case, I am sorry.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Well, I believe that cats do cry, whether for pain or for emotional reasons. I believe I have seen my now Angel Nikki cry real tears. 😥😥😥

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