Do Cats Cry? What You Need to Know About It

very sad kitten 1

Some people interpret a cat’s watery eyes as crying, but it is more complicated than that. 

The fact is that these animals do not cry as we do, but there is still a lot to learn when it comes to this. Crying behavior has definitely been observed in cats, though it is different than with humans.

How to Recognize Crying in Cats

You have probably noticed your cat crying a lot but don’t even realize it. When these animals cry, they tend to produce a loud whining sound. You’ll also notice a very specific posture from your cat.

Sometimes a cat’s crying will sound like yowling, depending on the cat and the source of their distress. This sound is closely associated with general agitation and frustration. It is something that female cats often do when they are in heat and cannot mate.

Their tail will be standing straight up with and their body will be extremely stiff. While this can suggest other things, it is fairly common with cats that are crying for one reason or another.

Crying vs. Watery Eyes

When a cat’s eyes become watery, they aren’t necessarily crying. There are many reasons this happens, including allergies or an upper respiratory infection. Your cat’s eyes might also water up because they are in pain.

The fact is that when a cat’s eyes water up, it is not because they are getting emotional like with a human. There are some physical stimuli, whether internal or external, that is causing this to happen. While it can be easy to interpret this behavior as much, it would be inaccurate.

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dramatic crying cat

Responding to Your Cat’s Crying

There are certain things that you should make a point of doing if you notice signs that indicate your cat is crying. You do not simply want to ignore this, as it can be a sign that there is something very seriously wrong with your pet.

  • Check the inside of your cat’s mouth to see if there are any cuts or injuries. Make sure that you check their teeth as well.
  • Closely monitor their breathing to confirm that it is normal. Rapid heart rate is a strong indication of a health problem with these animals.
  • Notice the way your cat is walking and take note of any changes in its overall gait.
  • If you see that your cat is walking strangely, you’ll want to make a point of checking their paws. It possible that your cat has something stuck in a paw.
  • Perform a cursory examination of your cat’s ears to check for trauma.

If you notice any physical injuries or problems with your cat from the above list, you should get them to the vet right away. The last thing you want to do is to wait until the problem gets even worse, as it could become life-threatening.

Comforting Your Cat When it Cries

It is important that you do everything possible to comfort your cat when it starts crying, regardless of the cause. This means petting your cat and letting them curl up in your lap if they want. Make sure that you don’t do anything to agitate them when they are crying, as they could lash out with their claws.

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How a Cat’s Crying Changes over time

A cat’s crying can become louder as it gets older. These animals tend to vocalize at a greater volume as they age. This can be due to a decline in overall cognitive function, which is, unfortunately, a fact of life for these animals.

If your cat is slipping into senility, they may start to cry all the time. Depending on the health problems they are experiencing, you might want to consider putting them down. While this is never an easy choice to make, it is still one that you should think about.

crying kitten

What Causes a Cat to Cry?

There are many different things that can lead a cat to start crying, and it is important that you know what some of them are.

1. Physical Pain

A crying cat is usually responding to physical pain or discomfort that it is currently experiencing. This could be due to anything from a broken tooth to a small thorn lodged in one of their paws. It can also be caused by a chronic pain condition like arthritis.

2. Stress or Anxiety

A high level of stress or anxiety can also cause a cat to begin crying. This sometimes occurs when there is a sudden change in a cat’s routine and/or environment. These animals do not typically respond very well to these sudden changes.

If you’ve just brought home a new baby or even a kitten, your cat might start crying to get your attention. This is a sort of stress reaction that you’ll want to be on the lookout for if you make a sudden change to their environment.

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The best thing that you can do is to simply wait for your cat to adjust to any recent changes. If they are having trouble with this, you might need to get an anti-anxiety medication for them from your vet.


  • While cats do cry, it doesn’t manifest in exactly the same way as it does with humans.
  • Just because your cat’s eyes are watery does not mean it is crying. In fact, this isn’t a common sign of feline crying at all.
  • You can tell that your cat is crying if it is making a yowling or high whining sound. Their posture will most likely be stiff with their tail standing straight up.
  • If you notice your cat crying, you should give them a thorough look over to check for trauma and injuries.
  • Check your cat’s mouth, ears, fur, and rectum to see if they have sustained any injuries that could be causing their crying.
  • Try to comfort your cat as much as possible when they are crying, but also do not agitate it at all.
  • Cats usually cry for one of two reasons—physical pain or a stress reaction to something.
  • If you have recently changed something in your cat’s routine or environment, they might get so stressed out they begin crying.