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How do cats know where you are?

Do Cats Know When You’re Sad?

It is always a sweet gesture if your pet comforts you whenever you feel bad. Sometimes we wonder if our pets can understand how we feel. Whenever we feel alone, we hope that we can converse with someone without having to feel any biases. But fortunately, pet cats do. If you ever wonder if your cat knows if you are sad, read below to find answers.

Cats have the power to sense their owner’s emotions. So, cats have the ability to feel whenever their owner is sad. Beyond sadness, domestic cats are also able to feel whenever their owner has switched moods and emotions. Studies show that cats are conscious of the emotions and sensations of the people with whom they are close or in constant contact.

How can cats sense human emotions?

For animals that live in social groups, the capacity to sense the emotions of others is crucial. Cats engage in social interactions with people (heterospecifics field) as well as other members of their own species (conspecific field).

Some researches show that cats are perceptive to both conspecific and human emotional cues, but it hasn’t been thoroughly explored how these species’ emotions are perceived by cats. It is discovered that to enhance the quality of human-cat and cat-human interactions, and to promote the welfare of cats in the domestic setting, it is essential to comprehend cats’ socio-cognitive capacities to recognize the emotions of their intimate companions. Furthermore, felines have their own specific categories of mental accordance. Unlike humans, cats see humans in their own specific cat way and not how humans see humans. This means, that cats use their own feline point of view which proves that they also have their own mental representation of humans according to their perceptions. These abilities help them to interpret emotional signals that are imposed by their human owners.

But aside from these manners of recognizing human emotions, they are likely to base on the human’s changes in facial expressions and dispositions. This means, that cats have cross-modal interpretations of their owner’s emotions and sadness. Moreover, it is also said that cats get their owner’s normal behaviors and abilities which makes it easy for them to analyze and notice some unfamiliar and unconventional changes and comparisons if their owners act differently.

Your scent?

Though scents are a wide range of information for cats and they do recognize us by scent, it is not a signal for them in the owner’s bad mood situation. Cats observe through their senses but smelling you for understanding your emotions is not the basic way how they can determine this aspect.

Your face?

These animals, when domesticated have skills that are inclined to use their visual and auditory senses in discerning human emotions through behavioral responses to routines. Cats make up their own assumptions of what they see and observe. They base their assumptions on facial expressions but they still find more profound ways where they can empathize.

Your voice?

To relate and connect to their owners’ energies, they have essentially evolved their “social skills”, perhaps as a survival technique. If they hear something unusual, they empathize with it so they can fully understand your emotions according to the feline point of view.

Do our emotions affect cats?

Beyond identifying human emotions, cats are also able to reflect or mirror their emotions to those that they sense and perceive from their social connections — humans or cats alike. More than sensing it, they are also sensitive to the expressions to the extent that they also feel it to themselves. As cats absorb the energies of their closest humans, cats can also feel sad or depressed when they feel so.

These sweet fury dear friends care when you are sad especially when you have established a strong bond and connection. Most likely, they stare in silence and observe what you are doing and how you look. Through these instances, they get information about what they hear and see. Thus, after what they have gathered from their observations, they adjust their feelings and behavior accordingly. This phenomenon makes them understand and get influenced by their owners’ perceived and shown emotions.


Cats normally attend to normal behaviors and emotions as they are observant and have the capacity to absorb energy. So if cat owners are going through something specific, cats can sense the change.

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Do Cats Know When You Are Sad? Get the Facts Here!



People generally know cats to be aloof creatures, but in reality, there is more to cats than their infamous cold demeanor. So, do cats know when you are sad?

Cats are highly attuned to your usual responses and behaviors, so if they find that you aren’t acting like you usually are, they’ll figure something’s wrong. So, cats know when you’re sad and can even respond to your sadness!

Table of Contents

  • How Cats Know When You’re ‘Sad.’
    • 1. Cats sense changes in your behavior
    • 2. How cats can detect your sadness

    How Cats Know When You’re ‘Sad.’


    1. Cats sense changes in your behavior

    Since cats are attentive to how you usually act according to your mood and mannerisms, they’ll immediately notice any change. It’s shown in research that cats sense human emotions based on visual and auditory changes.

    So, cats sense when you’re sad, and it’s all because of the change in your behavior. When you’re sad, you start displaying different behavioral cues compared to your usual self. Once cats detect this, they’ll understand there’s something wrong.

    A cat’s ability to accustom itself to its human is all thanks to thousands of years of domestication. After living with humans, your cat’s instincts have also changed to notice these little changes to better communicate with you.

    2. How cats can detect your sadness

    Of course, cats don’t have the same complexity as humans regarding emotional comprehension, but their senses make up for this and allow them to understand their surroundings.

    Here is how cats detect sadness:

    • Cats can tell emotions depending on the differences in your breathing.
    • Cats will memorize what your voice usually sounds. Cats will categorize your specific speech patterns into different ‘emotions.’
    • Cats can use pheromones or ‘scents’ to identify their human. Although, it’s still unsettled whether cats can tell our emotions based on the pheromones we release or not.
    • Cats pay attention to the things you look at, or in other words, your gaze. They observe the direction of your eyes’ focus and use it to deduct your intentions. When accustomed, you might even communicate with them through blinks.

    So, when cats detect any changes to their human behavior, something they’re not accustomed to, they’ll become alert. After all, cats strive for a consistent environment that will give them comfort.

    The more time you spend with your cat, the better they understand your emotional state. Only then can cats sense sadness.

    How Cats Respond to Your ‘Sadness.’

    Cats have specific responses when they detect your sadness. To better understand their little gestures, you should first pay attention to how they behave.

    Sometimes your cat may not be responding to your emotions at all. However, if you notice that they display the same behavior every time you’re not happy, then it’s most likely their conditioned response towards your unhappiness.

    • Your cat will likely come near you when you’re crying or acting down. Once they become aware of the shift in your mood, they’ll go around you and try to figure it out.
    • Cats will learn what responses you will have based on their actions, and once they find out that cuddling near you will make your behavior ‘irregular’ behavior, they’ll start doing it often.
    • Some cats lick the tears of their humans in response to their crying. However, this doesn’t mean cats know when their owner is sad. After all, they don’t have the emotional complexity to understand what humans consider sad.

    A cat may even adjust their responses according to its human’s emotions or behavior. Over years of domestication, they’ve tuned themselves to add human compatibility to their survival skills.

    You can see many cat-owners on Reddit share similar experiences with their cats.



    Can cats sense depression and anxiety?

    Cats can sense the depression and anxiety displayed by their owners. Only when you’ve spent enough time with them can cats tell when you’re stressed or happy. Once cats have grown accustomed to your emotional cues, they can tell when you are in a good mood, or depressed and anxious.

    Sometimes when you’ve reached a certain level of anxiety, your cat can even get stressed along with you. At times like this, cats most likely won’t comfort you because they resonate with your emotions.

    When they send that their owner is feeling these negative emotions, cats may even start purring and rubbing more against you. Of course, it depends on the cat’s personality and how accustomed they’ve gotten to you.

    Do cats try to cheer you up?

    When cats form a strong bond of trust and comfort with their human, they may display acts that may resemble cheering you up whenever you’re feeling down, when you love them and spend enough time with your cat.

    Cats depend on their human emotions to make sense of the world around them. When you are sick, they’ll understand something ‘wrong’ with you and become alert.

    When a cat’s human starts showing signs of ‘sadness’ or ‘stress,’ they’ll begin coming near you often. They’ll look for you, stare at you, sit beside you, rub against you, and purr in response to your irregular behavior.

    Humans positively respond to their cat’s ‘cheering up’ behavior, which is one of the reasons therapy pets are effective.

    Will my cat comfort me when I cry?

    Cats understand human crying not as ‘sadness’ but as something ‘wrong.’ An irregularity. If they’re not accustomed to seeing you behave this way, they’ll most likely try to understand by catching your attention through affection.

    Cats have a different understanding of emotions than humans since their complexity is not at the same level. However, to cats, emotions are simply different behavioral patterns displayed by humans.

    They can’t understand it simply as actions and not emotions. Cats themselves don’t do actions like crying, so cats tell when you’re sad simply on how you act. If they do display any response to your tears, that’s because of your actions and voice.

    Once they understand that you’re not feeling your usual ‘happiness,’ cats might even get affected by your mood and become anxious. They’ll stick closer to you to bring comfort and show more affection.

    However, the older your cat ages, the less they show this behavior. Their understanding of your emotions will become blurred, and their responses more dulled. Their lack of affection during their later stages is normal due to old age.


    Because cats have undergone thousands of years of domestication, their survival instincts have gifted them the ability to comprehend human emotions. Such an achievement is only possible when you strengthen your bond with love and attention!

    So, to answer the question ‘do cats know when you are sad?’ yes! Cats comprehend your actions and behavior into what we understand as emotions and understand when you feel sad through them.

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