Skip to Content

Why Do Cats Cry? What Does It Mean When They Do?

Why Do Cats Cry? What Does It Mean When They Do?

Just like humans, cats can also get emotional. When cats suffer from depression and sadness, they can make sounds similar to cries.

Tears will not always be because of sadness. When we see a cat crying is not because of an emotional state, it is because of a medical condition. These conditions can include the following but are not limited to allergies, conjunctivitis, and eye infections that our felines can get.

We need to start with a clear idea of what crying is. The exact definition for crying, according to the dictionary, is “to be shedding in tears.” Another simple meaning is to have your eyes in tears.

Studies of this behavior have shown that we cry when we experience sadness, loneliness, anger, and even happiness. So, with all of these feelings and different reasons why someone could cry, we have basal, emotional, and reflex tears.

Cats also cry when they are hurt or having any physical condition. The desire to get attention is another reason why cats could cry unless they receive the attention they want. Studies have shown that cats send direct sounds to show the humans their needs.

What Does It Mean When A Cat Cries?


Cats make different sounds the same as humans, depending on their mood and emotional state. For example, if we are sad, we want to cry, we would like to scream and laugh if we are happy.

When we refer to cries, we want to refer to different sounds of meow. For example, cats have the following “Meows:

Hi Meow: This is meow cats perform when they see a person. It is their way to say hi. If you put it in comparison, it is the same as when we say: Good morning!

Sad Meow: This is the sound made by cats when they feel lonely and sad. There are a lot of signs of why cats meow or show sadness.

When cats go through a loss of a partner, they can experience sadness or depression. Cats can experience the following behavior.

  • Cats can become depressed and sad.
  • Cats can lose appetite and refuse to eat.
  • Cats may hide or stay in places for an extended period to avoid interactions with their environment.

Studies and researches have shown that when a cat loses a companion, they tend to show a change of their meow. In addition, studies show a decrease between 40-70% in their vocal sounds.

Stress Meow: There is no detailed study of why cats get stressed, but there is something proven. They make sounds when they go through this emotion.

Hungry Meow: This is the typical sound cats make when they are hungry. We can compare this sound to the baby’s cries when they are hungry and need to get food to stop crying.

Cats also cry when they move to a new house, and they feel like complete strangers. This is one of the disorders cats experience during their lifespan. Meows can be translated to: I need to eat, give me food. I need attention, I want to go out, I am trapped in a place, I want to get into the house, or just a simple sound to communicate with other cats in the surroundings.

But something we know for sure is that cats are one of the most intelligent pets we know since humankind has lived on earth.

Is A Cat Crying A Bad Sign?


Crying is something familiar for cats. They usually cry for simple things such as attention and food. Since crying is related to medical conditions, we can say that crying is a bad sign. The reason behind this is because most of the crying reaction symptoms are related to infections and allergies.

  • Crying is not a bad sign unless you notice something recurring more times than usual. This is considered as a trigger to make sure your cat is not sick or has any illness.
  • We also need to take into consideration that if your cat is meowing during the night, it is because they are essentially nightly active animals. They go under hunting mode during the night, and it is hard for them to adapt to a morning schedule.
  • Crying can also be related to kidney disease. Meowing more than usual could be a sign of this ongoing illness.

But our recommended advice is to visit the veterinarian when meowing is more than usual. This is to prevent significant consequences to your cat’s health.

Why Do Cats Cry Like A Baby At Night?

Cats can cry like babies and for the same reason as babies do. Such as food, illness, infections. There are a lot of behaviors similar to babies. We relate their crying to the conduct of feeling the need to eat.

Another reason kittens can cry at night is because of any illness they might be suffering. So if this happens, you should check your kitten’s health.

Something that might be happening as well is that your cat is trying to mate. This is one way to let their feelings out and let the lady cat know they are looking for a partner.

Suppose you don’t like to wake up in the middle of the night due to your cat’s sounds. We recommend you to do the following tips to ensure your cat’s happiness and comfort.

  • You need to make sure your cat has food and water to stay overnight.
  • It would be best if you left the litter box clean for the cats to perform their needs.
  • You can use nightlights to help with the darkness in your house, especially if your cat is not young.
  • Like humans, cats like to have attention, and you can give them some love before going to sleep to help them have a better night.

Do Cats Cry When They Hurt?


Same as other animals, cats also make sounds when they have an illness. But the short answer to if cats cry when hurt is yes. Indeed this is the reason why they cry. Cats usually do not cry due to emotional feelings. It is just based on medical conditions. Cats make a distinctive sound when they are hurt or have any illness that causes them to cry.

Just crying is not a sign of a cat being hurt. We need to take into consideration more factors to know if our cat is hurt, such as:

  • Changing their posture: You will often see your cat in a different posture from what you are accustomed to seeing them.
  • Movement Limitations: You will notice your cat won’t be that physically active, and you might see some movement restrictions.
  • Mood Change: You will notice your cat can get angry really fast for anything. Even for games you used to play before all of these changes started.
  • Eyes: You might notice your cats started to close their eyes more than usual.


Cats usually do not cry due to emotions and sadness. Cats cry due to illness, infections, or allergies. It’s been demonstrated that cats are one of the most fascinating animals based on their similarities with human behavior. A kitten’s crying is the same as a baby’s crying based on their needs for food, attention, and having any illness.

We need to understand that meowing is a form of communication for cats, and it’s been like this for thousands of years. And there is no sign of change to this conduct in the near future.

Keep Reading: