Only recently, scientists discovered that cats have and are able to express emotions, and a new study now gives the proof that they are also able to discern human emotional gestures. Cats do, I think know when you're sad. All cats are aware of human emotions; some will react to them and offer support if you are feeling blue, while others won’t care as much. Depending on the results, other tests may be recommended. ... You will know if the cat recognizes a previous owner. What Does It Mean When You Dream About Cats: Messages... How to Draw Cat Paws: The Cuteness on a Piece of Paper. They often misbehave, over-groom, or vocalize their displeasure. The same behavior is observed in people; some grieve where others aren’t affected by the loss, and no one ever suggested that they aren’t capable of feeling and expressing emotions. This may seem selfish, but we do the same every day—reading the moods of family members to figure out how they impact our needs. If you are concerned about your pet's emotions, look for other signs such as lethargy, withdrawal, or disinterest in food. Now, new research suggests that dogs really do respond uniquely to tears. The clinical signs we see tend to be loss of appetite, avoidance behavior, less active, and abnormal behavior, like his… Still, during this phase, cats showed the same behavior as with their owners and were more inclined to show the same amount of positive behavior with smiling strangers as compared to those who frowned. Medical problems such as kidney disease or GI cancer can cause nausea and decreased appetite that mimic depression. “On occasion, stressors can cause depressive-like signs,” says Hendrix. In fact, … It can also be hard figuring out what a cat is feeling at any given moment since their only means of communication with us is via body language. They can even guess what their human’s emotion will be when they see the hole in the backyard (cue the guilty look). They researched 12 cats and their owners and realized that cats behaved differently when their owner was smiling compared to frowning. They often can sense when you're ready to leave and go on vacation. Regardless of the cause, a cat showing signs of depression can benefit greatly from a prompt evaluation by a veterinarian. Share your story with us in the comments section below. Certainly cats can exhibit depressed behavior, but the general consensus is that they do not experience the same emotional changes associated with clinical depression in humans. The screen was the only way out of that room, and cats looking at it show that they were contemplating ways on how to escape from the fan. This study clearly shows that cats can understand our feelings and can adjust their behavior according to it. However, one thing is clear: cats are more like us than we give them credit for, and because of these similarities, they can sense our moods. Cats and their owners often have remarkable bonds. As the World Small Animal Association’s Global Pain Council puts it: Pain is a complex multi-dimensional experience involving sensory and affective (emotional) components. But what does it mean if your cat is acting depressed? That does not mean a cat could not show sadness, it is just different and shows in its behavior. Do your emotions affect your kitty in any way? It will come around eventually. Do you think your mood changes have any effect on her? According to Hendrix, pain is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in cats, seniors in particular, and is one of the leading causes of clinical signs of depression. Do Dogs Know When you are Sad? Changes due solely to stress and anxiety can be difficult to differentiate from medical conditions, so it is often a process of elimination to reach a diagnosis in cats. Chronic stress can have an impact on a pet’s emotional, and even physical, health. They'll learn your patterns of behaviour: Where you sit, when you eat, how much you eat, how often you leave the house, how often you do housework or move around. If there have been changes in the location of a favorite nap spot this can also indicate sadness. One theory suggests that dogs were domesticated long before cats, and had more time to learn how to react to our emotional gestures and offer affection and comfort when needed, leaving cats in a disadvantage at reading emotions. Hendrix encourages those owners to consider medical causes instead. How can you tell? Excessive sleep: Cats normally sleep a lot but sad or depressed cats sleep even more. If you have ever thought your dog knows when to give you a comforting lick or knowing snuggle, you are probably on to something. A few studies that have been conducted so far have started to portray cats in a different light. It is normal for these animals to meow, purr or make sounds when they are happy and content, so if your … Cats are similar to people in more ways than we know, and thanks to their superior senses of smell and sight, they are able to know what we are feeling. Genetics, as well as cat depression, can also play a role in feline separation anxiety. Depression can be situational, caused by a stressful situation, or medical, due to chemical imbalances in the brain. To confirm their suspicions after the first phase, instead of owners, the cats were introduced to strangers who were also divided into smiling and frowning groups. Cats can express emotions like joy, anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, excitement, and pleasure, but they aren’t able to analyze them because they require abstract thought. “Most of the time, there is pain or physical disease causing a cat to act ‘depressed’,” she says. Can cats sense pregnancy? All cats can sense when their owners are sad, happy, or anxious, but not all of them will show the same amount of consideration. Coffee Names for Cats: For that Strong and Energetic... How To Get Your Cat To Sleep With You: 9 Easy Steps. For a cat, the system is mostly the same as humans but it is more for the practical reasons (cleaning and lubricating the eyes of the cat) than for an emotional response. … This isn’t true at all. Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise that cats can feel and sense the emotions of people around them, just like us. This means that our emotions affect our cats more than we realize, and your anxiety or stress can also get transferred to your cat without you realizing. More quiet cats can become clingy or demanding and the fear of strangers that all cats seem to share can become heightened when a cat is sad. The cats were put in a room with a screen at one end that also served as an exit and an electric fan that had green ribbons attached to it. Do cats even suffer from depression? These findings show that we need to learn how to read the subtle body language our cats are using to communicate with us to find out how they react to us and our emotions. For more severe cases, veterinarians can prescribe a cat anxiety medication, which has been known to help with anxiety in some cats. cats are … Cats are intelligent and intuitive creatures. A true gem of a cat. These issues can also be a sign of illness. DIY Outdoor Cat House for Winter: Making a Difference... DIY Cat Tunnel: The Benefits, Proper Usage, and Design... Why Did Egyptians Worship Cats: Unravelling the... Can Cats Have Strokes: How to Recognize It and Treat... What Does It Mean When You Dream About Cats:... How to Draw Cat Paws: The Cuteness on a Piece of... DIY Outdoor Cat House for Winter: Making a... Mixed Breed Cats: Jack of All Trades, Master of... Can Cats Have Strokes: How to Recognize It and... Asian Cat Names: Exotic and Unique Names for Your Pet. According to BBC Earth, the short answer is yes, cats can sense our emotions by recognizing facial gestures, like smiling and frowning. A cat’s limbic system which is responsible for connecting emotions with a thought process works in a similar way with ours. It has many functions including emotion, memory, instincts, and motivation. A depressed cat can sleep a lot (even for a cat… What we’d like you to do if you do bring her with you is to monitor her for signs of depression. Siouxsie: Yes, April, we cats absolutely can tell when our people are sad! he died a few months ago. I'm lonely and down too. Cats get depressed because they’re not getting enough interaction Some people think that cats are solitary beings who don’t need or want a lot of human interaction. Cat = CIA operative. Veterinarians will begin the evaluation by taking a full history of the symptoms and performing a complete physical examination. These animals can be associated with “emotional support” animals (or dubbed ESA’s). Cats from the negative group were observed to spare more glances between the exit screen and the fan than the cats in the positive group. As a hospice and palliative care veterinarian, Hendrix is able to address those specific symptoms and help cats feel much more comfortable, even during the end of life process. Plenty of pet owners are comforted by a pair of puppy-dog eyes or a swipe of the tongue when their dog catches them crying. A cat that feels exposed and doesn’t have a place to hide, for example, may respond to more covered furniture or additional vertical spaces in the house so he or she feels more in control of the environment. Cats can feel, react, and get affected by our emotions, but they don’t express those emotions the same way humans or dogs do. While it is true that cats are connected to their owners and show concern, in some occasions, it isn’t clear if they do it purely for interest or if they are genuinely worried for their human roommates. Some cats will try to cheer their owners by purring or jumping in his/her lap for a petting session, while others will remain unaffected and wonder if dinner will be on time. As another environmental modification, some cats respond to cat calming products, like pheromone diffusers such as Feliway, which can have a calming effect. A happy kitty’s tail moves like a … Infections, tumors, and inflammatory diseases of the nervous system can result in significant behavioral changes in cats. “The clinical signs we see tend to be loss of appetite, avoidance behavior, less active, and abnormal behavior, like hissing,” says Hendrix. Some cats may show changes in cat litter box usage, while others have disturbed sleep patterns. You may notice a grieving cat meowing more than usual, and some grieving cats lose interest in their surroundings. Two scientists, Moriah Galvin and Jennifer Vonk, wanted to see if cats can read human emotional gestures and how they react to them. Since we can’t ask cats exactly what they are feeling, whether they’re sad or angry or anxious or joyous, we must rely on the clues they give us through their behavior and daily activities and make our assessments based on that. Do cats even suffer from depression? People are more likely to spoil a cat when they are in a good mood Before this, only one other study has been done on the ability of cats to perceive human emotional expressions. The diagnosis is based on self-reported symptoms, says Hendrix, meaning that the symptoms can be expressed verbally to the doctor or psychologist. Although cats tend to be independent and resilient, they can suffer from anxiety due to changes in routine, feeling threatened, or the addition or loss of family members. His Maine Coon Stephan, as you might guess, is always well-fed. yes, i had a cat that did the same thing. While it is certain that dogs can sense human emotions and offer support to their owners in times of need, cats are perceived as aloof and unconcerned about human affairs. Many people perceive cats as cold-hearted, selfish, and uncaring. A few felines will greet their owners at the front door, and even though you can only expect a quick purr or leg rubbing before they head back out to the kitchen to demand their meal, this doesn’t mean that your cat isn’t glad to see you or that she doesn’t understand how happy you are to see her. Their personality and other character traits keep them from reacting like a dog would—wagging his tail and licking his owner’s face to cheer him/her up in times of need—but when you think about it, humans express themselves in different ways too. Most cat owners and animal specialists will say they can, even though there’s no reliable scientific proof to back this up. Well, yes and no. Share your story with us in the comments section below. Firstly take the cat to the vets to rule out medical reasons as many signs of stressed or sad cats are the same signs for cats with medical problems, such as being in pain. He is the author of many nutritional strategies for different breeds and a member of some Pet Food development teams. Depression in Cats: Treatment. In some cases, owners who were considering euthanasia actually postponed their decision due to the improvement in their pet’s temperament once proper treatment was instituted. Furthermore, cats from the negative group started to move earlier than their counterparts from the positive group, which suggests that they started searching for an exit sooner. How your cat is going to react to your emotions is completely dependent on her personality and the bond between the two of you. YES, cats do in fact help with depression and anxiety. Even though cats cannot verbalize that they are happy or sad, astute pet owners interpret their pets’ emotions based on behavior. That will tell you she may be lonely. There’s nothing you can do to change the genetics. So, while your cat may not exactly understand your mood, it does understand the nuances of your behavior while you’re exhibiting a certain emotion. In a negative group, owners were instructed to act fearful of the fan with matching expressions and tone of voice. In another research that was conducted by Isabella Merola at the University of Milan in Italy, 24 cats were studied to see if they use emotional information provided by their owners to guide their behavior. My cats come close to me when I'm down, please will you email me Kate. But we express emotion in similar ways. Self-inflicted hair loss, aggression, or changes in litterbox usage are often traced back to anxiety. “In general, depression in humans is considered a multifactorial disease,” says Dr. Lynn Hendrix, the owner of Beloved Pet Mobile Vet in Davis, California and a palliative care expert. he wasn't a lap kitty, he liked to sit beside you but if someone was crying, he would get in their lap. Those diagnostic criteria are not available to veterinarians. They also observed that cats were more inclined to spending time with a smiling owner compared to one that was frowning. Cats have similar neurological, genetic, and hormonal structure as we do. Steve Corelli is a Pet Nutrition Expert from Allentown, Pennsylvania. If you’d like your cat to relate with you more, you should check out our article on, Why are Cats Scared of Cucumbers: The Legend of the Danger Noodle, Why is Chocolate Bad for Cats: Understanding Feline Theobromine Poisoning, What Does It Mean When Cats Wag Their Tail. You’re probably familiar with Grumpy Cat, the little feline whose frown has made her famous across the internet. All cats can sense when their owners are sad, happy, or anxious, but not all of them will show the same amount of consideration. Depression can be situational, caused by a stressful situation, or medical, due to chemical imbalances in the brain. Over time, the cat may learn that your sad mood comes with plenty of petting a scratching, which will make them more prone to seeking you out when you’re exhibiting signs of sadness. “Their terminal illness [is] making them feel sick, nauseous, painful.”. We’re sure that everyone who has ever lived with cats is already aware of how sensitive cats are to human emotions even without the backup of scientific studies. Looking for Signs of Depression Monitor your cat's sleeping habits. Sharing a living space with a cat gives her an opportunity to observe our behavior and how it impacts her livelihood. They concluded that when a cat is faced with a smiling owner, she was more likely to perform positive behaviors like purring, cuddling in the owner’s lap, or head rubbing. For your feline companion, a snub may be in order. If we resist applying the human definitions of mood disorders to our feline friends and instead evaluate them strictly from a cat-friendly perspective, there is often much we can do to make our beloved kitties happier and healthier! My email address is laura.lewis6@btinternet.com please email me. Thank you for asking! How Do I Know If My Cat Is in Pain? An upset cat has a major tell: Its tail. 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