Do Cats Understand When You Cry


Do cats understand when you cry? Cats seem very detached at times, and if you do not pay close attention to them, it could look like they are not interested in humans besides when it is time to eat or want something. But the dress does not make the priest.

Cats understand when you are crying, and they can detect a change in your mood. Over time, as they get to know you more, they can relate different expressions to different feelings. Felines have a fantastic ability to read our body language and understand emotions.

Let’s see how cats sense if you cry and what they do.

Do cats understand when you cry?


While cats don’t specifically have the emotional knowledge or capacity to recognize that you are crying or what crying means, they can still figure out that something is wrong with you, and they will try to cheer you up.

You may have noticed that a few minutes after you start crying, your cat comes and cuddles up next to you.

Is this coincidence, or are they actually trying to comfort you?

A specific study was conducted to investigate the ability of cats to recognize human emotions. The result of the investigation showed beyond any doubt that cats could recognize human emotions using visual and auditory signals.

Cats can match emotional faces with related sounds and vocalizations. They can make a mental representation of the emotion of their social partner (humans or other pets) and understand what they are all about.


Many studies have proven that cats care about their owners much as dogs. How they express this, however, may be different. Unfortunately, cats just don’t have the same emotional capacity as humans, so they can’t directly understand what crying is.

Your cat lying next to you as you cry is likely to be a reaction of learned behavior rather than to make you stop crying. If your cat associates sad facial expressions, specific body language, or habits with getting extra strokes/attention, they will naturally migrate towards you. 

Cats will make the same associations with happy expressions, such as smiling. They will separate them into positive signals and negative signals. This is purely done by matching rewarding things with less rewarding things. Cats tend to want to spend more time with their owners when they are signaling positivity. 


Cats are compassionate and intuitive creatures with an extraordinary ability to detect diseases and illnesses. However, you may also have noticed that your cat acts differently when you feel depressed compared to when you are happy. 

This is because cats read our facial expressions and body language. So, for example, when you’re upset, the tone of your voice may change. Cats will pick up on this and see it as an indicator that they may get more attention. 

The chemical changes cats can feel during human sickness are different from the chemical changes for emotions. So to say that felines directly understand when you are sad would be a stretch. Nonetheless, they will be able to notice that you are acting differently.


Cats are incredibly perceptive. Your feline friend will be picking up on behaviors that perhaps you aren’t even aware of yourself. They will mainly be reading your behavior when you are emotional.

Thanks to their lengthy memory, your cat will observe you and note your behavior patterns in their head. Cats learn from the humans around them. This can be demonstrated by much simpler matters, such as remembering where their food and water bowls are kept. 

A cat’s reaction to human emotions is more subtle than a dog’s. For example, if you prefer your cat to be nearby when you’re upset and shower them with affection, they will associate sad expressions with something that benefits them.

To conclude, cats do not technically empathize with human emotions. Instead, they are simply doing what they know how to do by relating expressions to actions.


Cats will cuddle with you and even purr to make you feel better. The proof is that some cats are used as therapy pets in hospitals or with children.

Cats have different personalities, and not all of them are the cuddly type. But almost all cats will come to investigate what is going on if you start crying and making an unusual sound.

They will also sniff your tears, and if they feel you are sad or feel bad, some cats will lay next to you or on you until they can figure out you are well. In my experience, my cat came to me when I was crying and kept staring at me until I stopped.

Cats can comfort humans by:

  1. Cuddling with humans
  2. Their presence near a humans
  3. Their funny and goofy interactions with humans
  4. Displaying affections such as kisses, purring, grooming humans


Do cats know when you love them?

Cats know when you love them or when you don’t care about their well-being. Your love reflects on how you treat your cat, if you take care of their needs and if you make them feel secure.

Do cats sense depression?

Cats can sense depression through the signals they receive through their eyes, ears, and even their sense of smell, which allows them to feel changes in the hormone levels of a human and detect if something is wrong.

What do cats think when you’re crying?

When you are crying, cats think that there is something wrong with you, and they have to react accordingly, making you feel better. Cats use their instinct to act when they sense something amiss. Usually, they tend to comfort humans.

Can cats sense depression and anxiety?

Cats can sense depression and anxiety by using all their senses, such as vision, hearing, and the sense of smell. Cats are so good with this that some cats are even used as therapy cats.

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