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What Emotions Are Cats Capable of Feeling?

by Brittany
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As humans, we experience a rather wide range of emotions. Joy and excitement are generally welcome while sadness and anger are emotions that aren’t always quite so welcome. Sometimes, we humans can cycle through all these emotions—and more—in just one day. But what about our cats? Do cats have similar emotions, or are they emotionless?

Anyone who lives with a cat or two likely will tell you cats definitely have emotions! It turns out that cats are somewhere in between: they probably don’t have quite the range of emotions we humans have, though they are not void of emotions, either. As with many things, cats are somewhere in the middle of this spectrum and it depends a bit on each individual cat.

what emotions can cats experience?

Emotions and Cats

If you’ve ever wondered what emotions cats are capable of feeling, you’ll want to start by understanding that it’s complicated. We know our cats aren’t able to speak up and tell us how they’re feeling (actually, some humans refuse to do this too, but that’s another article!). So ultimately, the observation of emotions in felines is going to be rather subjective.

Dog Versus Cat Emotions

As Psychology Today notes, a lot more research exists on the emotions that dogs have been shown to experience. Many experts in this industry tend to agree that dogs are capable of feeling the emotions that most human toddlers are capable of before they turn three. Those emotions include, “anger, happiness, fear, surprise, disgust, and sadness” as reported by Psychology Today.

Cats and Emotions

Interestingly enough, much less research has been done on determining the emotions of cats. However, another Psychology Today article mentions some interesting cat-related emotional research from the Behavioral Processes journal. As with most research on pets’ emotions, this study relied on the cats’ human guardians to answer a few questions about whether they thought their cat experienced emotions. There seemed to be agreement that cats and dogs were capable of those six basic emotions noted above.

Do Cats Get Depressed?

We know cats are capable of at least a few emotions, but can they get sad or depressed? Anecdotal research seems to show that cats are capable of feeling sad. It seems to follow then that cats can get depressed, right? Not necessarily. PetMD notes that while a cat’s behavior may suggest she is depressed, it isn’t quite the same as it is for us humans.

what emotions can cats feel?

You Know Your Cat Best

Despite what research shows or what experts state, we as cat guardians know when something is ‘off’ with our feline friends. Cats may show their displeasure with your being gone for a weekend trip by destroying furniture or coughing up a hairball in your shoe. They might also withdraw and sleep much more than they used to.

As your cat’s guardian, you know his personality quite well. No matter what research says, it’s important to pay attention to your cat’s behavior as a clue to his overall health. That includes physical health as well as emotional wellbeing. While research hasn’t exactly proven what emotions cats are capable of feeling, we’re pretty sure they’ve got the six basics down. And, depending on your cat, he or she may be more capable of more emotions as well. 

We know that cats can sense incredible things—and their masters of detecting changes in our own moods. For some more incredible things that cats can sense, check out this article here on cattitudedaily.com.

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