Do Cats Have Feelings?

I’ve experienced living with many cats since I was a kid. I do notice that each of them has a different personality. Sometimes, I named them based on that. I’d always imagined them, with their personality how they’ll behave if they were human. Other things that I’ve always asked myself are, do my cats have feelings?

Have you ever questioned that too?

Take the above photo as an example, I actually have mixed feelings when I read it for the first time. It seems like fun at first, I even giggled. But then you will kind of understand the frustration of the cat. He was hungry, asking for food, then been called FAT! I sympathize with him. And look at the face.

Cats can experience emotions such as fear, happiness, contentment, anxiety, affection, and even grief. They may also show physical signs of these emotions, such as purring when they are happy and kneading with their paws when they are content.

I also did my own experiment sometimes, out of curiosity. Read the photo caption, and guess.

I stroke him gently while he was sleeping, then I poked him, and he gave me the look on the right. Can you guess what kind of emotion he’s having in the right picture?

It is important to remember that cats, like humans, are individuals and may experience and express emotions differently. There have been numerous studies that have investigated the emotional lives of cats. While research on cat emotions is still a relatively new area of study, the available evidence suggests that cats do experience a range of emotions.

For example, a study published in the journal Animal Cognition found that cats could distinguish between their owners’ voices and those of strangers, indicating that they may have an emotional attachment to their owners. Another study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that cats experience a positive emotional response when interacting with their owners.

Additionally, a review of the literature on cat behavior and welfare, published in the journal Animals, concluded that cats experience a range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, frustration, and pleasure.

In summary, don’t call them “fat”. Stop body-shaming them. Call them cutie, comel, pretty, handsome, and such.

Below are some of the research & reference regarding this topic. All are interesting reads.

  1. Saito, A. and Shinozuka, K. (2013). Vocal recognition of owners by domestic cats (Felis catus). Animal Cognition, 16(4), pp.685-690.
  2. Ellis, S. L. H., & Wells, D. L. (2010). The influence of visual stimulation on the behaviour of cats housed in a rescue shelter. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 123(1-2), 56-62
  3. Vitale Shreve, K. R., & Udell, M. A. R. (2017). Stress, security, and scent: The influence of chemical signals on the social lives of domestic cats and implications for applied settings. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 187, 69-
  4. Rochlitz, I. (2005). A review of the housing requirements of domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) kept in the home. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 93(1-2), 97-109.

While more research is needed to fully understand cats’ emotional lives, the available evidence suggests that they do experience emotions and that these emotions are important to their well-being.

So, as the Platinum Rules says, with a tweak: Treat your cats the way they want to be treated. This entails learning more in-depth about them and their needs.

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