Emotions and feelings in cats: what do they feel?

Does your cat experience emotions and feelings ? Scientific advances make it possible to affirm that cats feel many emotions. This allows them to survive and adapt to their environment. Conversely, it is difficult to prove that cats have feelings! But how to differentiate these two notions? Discover the answer to this question, and learn to recognize your cat’s emotions in order to optimize their well-being !  

What are the differences between emotions and feelings in cats? 

It is common to say that the cat has feelings like love or hate. However, scientists tend to agree that if the cat does feel emotions, it is not fair to say that it has feelings. How do we distinguish emotions from feelings? 

– Emotions: this is an intense response to an event. An emotion lasts only a short time, but it induces a behavioral or physiological change (such as flight, increased heart rate, or sweating). 

Sad Cat

– Feelings: this is a complex affective state that lasts longer. Feelings are built through emotions and experiences . Some of the feelings include hate, love, happiness, insecurity, jealousy, resentment, susceptibility, etc. According to specialists, cats do not have such deep feelings.

What do cats feel? 

Cats therefore feel emotions such as fear , joy or sadness . They can be negative (fear) or positive (joy), and they can have more or less important consequences (behavioral or physiological). 

How are emotions manifested in cats? 

Since Cat As Emotional Support Animal– it induce behavioral or physiological change , there are indicators to understand your cat’s emotional state. Here are some examples of behavioral manifestations: 

  • Fear: in cats it is manifested by postures such as ears facing backwards and flattened. He may also arch his back , have bristly hair , crouch on the ground, or run away . 
  • Joy: the cat blinks very slowly , it shows a calm , relaxed attitude and can purr . 

Your cat ‘s vocalizations or noises are also important clues to gauge her emotional state. The growl indicates, for example, a negative emotion, while the purr is rather a positive vocalization.

Good to know

It is important to recognize the behavioral consequences of animal emotions. Indeed, these are valuable indicators for judging the well-being of your animal, all species combined! For example, there are indicators allowing you to judge whether your cat is unhappy or sad . If he neglects himself or changes his behavior suddenly, in particular, this can be a symptom of a depressive state.  

A good knowledge of behavioral and physiological indicators will allow you to assess the state of his health! If you suspect a medical problem, consult your veterinarian. And to better protect it, consider cat health insurance to cover certain costs in the event of minor health concerns.

A cats words are an understanding of my cats emotions

At the same time a true Zen master, and because he is incredibly sensitive, the cat will never forget that he is a beast and prey, which makes him vulnerable to daily stress.

Expressions that are often discreet

The cat is in fact a fake calm who knows how to hide his emotions so as not to give clues or be too vulnerable. Unlike dogs and some humans, who are very expressive, most cats seem to be deadpan.

To be understood in their emotions, they ask to be known, in order to decipher the finest signs of the movements of their ears, the frown of their lips, even the movements of their mustaches.

Regular observation of your cat can often tell you if he is simply listening to noise (only one of his ears moves and orients towards the sound) or if he is alert (both ears have symmetrical movements and positions).

Of course, when he is truly frightened, he can adopt the caricatural position of the big back, which seeks to intimidate but also betrays his own fear which he cannot hide. His vocal repertoire has all the variations of his emotions, from happiness to anger, threat, and even insults when he spits.

The joy of being understood

If repeated unpleasant noises, cries, unpleasant odors disturb him, on a daily basis unsuitable facilities and lifestyles are a source of stress to be identified.


Thus, not being able to eat at their own pace (in small quantities, very often!), having their bowls in an unsecured place (place of passage, where any other animal in the house can come) are sources of stress for the cat. Not having hiding places where he can go to isolate himself when he wants to, also compromises his well-being.  On the other hand, when he appreciates the security of life that you offer him, you will see him on his back, offering his belly to your view: not for hugs, just to show the happiness of being confident with and at home!

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