Do Cats Have Feelings? What Emotions Do They Feel?

Felines are quite famous for their curiosity and their mischievous ways. It’s only natural to ask ourselves, can cats have feelings and emotions like humans?

Cats can indeed feel a variety of emotions. Take the diverse types of affection they show towards their pet parents.

We know cats have basic feelings, such as being tired, playful, or hungry.

But what about real emotions like fear, anger, happiness, or grief? Truth be told, feline furballs have larger emotional capacities than you might think.

Common Feelings For Cats – What Emotions Kitties Feel

Even though feline furballs of all breeds and ages can experience emotions, there are several feelings that all cats can feel in a given situation. Mind you, unless you’re paying close attention, the cat won’t necessarily show that it’s being overwhelmed.

Fear and Aggression

Fear is among the most primal of emotions all living organisms can experience.

The same goes for cats. Felines can easily be startled or frightened even by something as harmless as your phone’s ringtone. The vacuum cleaner and the laundry machine are two everyday household objects that scare cats.

Aggression in cats may be triggered either by fear or by something invading the kitty’s personal space and its territory. This behavior also surfaces due to jealousy, which can affect even the most laidback cat.

Aggressive behavior often results in hissing, yowling, biting, scratching, and other types of “verbal” or physical attack. Feline furballs aren’t toys, and they don’t like being treated as emotionless objects without needs.

Thus, aggression can even be triggered by something as simple as you teasing your pet with its favorite toy while not allowing it to play along.

Affection and Attachment

When cats feel safe, happy, and satisfied with their pet parents, they get easily attached to them. Your kitty won’t experience the same love you have for it, but it will most definitely feel attached and devoted to you.

Some cats purr. Others just follow you around even when you go to the bathroom. Then there’s also the lap-cat type, which can spend all day long napping on your lap. Each kitty is unique. And as such, each cat will express its affection in different ways.

Sadness and Grief

Cats can definitely feel grief. Kittens often suffer from detachment issues and the fear of abandonment. Adult and elder cats grieve for a lost toy, a lost companion, or even their previous surroundings in a case when they’ve recently moved into a new home.

Any pet can feel lonely and can become depressed without enough social interaction.

If you’re one of those cat owners who have to leave their pets home alone over long periods, you can get your kitty a pet camera. The best ones come with interactive laser-chaser games and can play recordings of your voice to your furball.

What To Do When Your Cat Is Overwhelmed With Feelings?

Cats of any breed, age, or gender can get overwhelmed by their emotions. They can become severely depressed, over-excited, hyper anxious, or taken over by aggression.

If you can’t calm down your pet, there are relaxants and mild sedatives that can ease your kitty. In extreme cases, you should seek your vet’s help.

There are many ways to understand your pet’s feelings by monitoring its body language.

The tail position indicates how a cat perceives its surroundings and what it’s feeling at a given moment. Moreover, the kitty’s sleeping position also gives away some of the cat’s feelings. It can indicate fear, alertness, the feeling of being safe, and so forth.

Undiagnosed health problems can also make your pet act out in various ways. Don’t ever neglect your feline pal’s health or emotions. If you suspect something’s wrong with your precious furball, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!