First off, there’s absolutely no way I want to get into this topic before making a request for theories from you guys.
If you have any thoughts with regards to why cats might do this, I would absolutely love to know what you think because one pet parent trying to figure out a cat behaviour is nothing in comparison to the ability for us to come together and figure out why we think our cats do certain things.
You guys have made me realize the reasons behind so many quirky cat behaviours over time, and even if I have theories of my own to start with, a lot of times you guys come up with even better ones, or help me narrow down the most logical conclusion.
I love it and thank you for taking the time to comment with your opinions!
Okay now into my theories on why cats often stare at us humans when we cry. Honestly, this is a super common behaviour, I think.
It’s probably way more common than cats comforting sick pet owners, which happens often enough, though definitely nowhere near as often as the staring.
I’m pretty sure all my cats have stared at me while I cried at some point. Although some of my cats are far more likely to ignore me than they are to stare, while others are more likely to stare or even ask for cuddles.
I think the cats that most often stare at me in general are typically the ones that would stare at me if I cry. What do you think? Some connection there for you as well?
Either way, let’s jump into my theories, and please be sure to leave a comment below with your own thoughts!
Reasons That May Explain Why Cats Stare at Us When We Cry
1. Crying is likely super weird to cats, and they’re probably confused and curious about what on earth is happening.
Think about it – cats don’t cry for emotional reasons. They totally get it when you slow blink at them, when you fart, heck, even when you hiccup!
I’m pretty sure they understand the vast majority of our behaviours, but this is one I don’t think they understand.
Especially because, cats do cry, but almost never from even feeling the sensation of pain. Usually when something is in their eye, like sand or dust or something along those lines.
And they get leaky eyes when they have allergies, but that’s about it!
Definitely no pain-related crying, and absolutely no sobbing sounds, guttural cries, or even chest heaving or heavy breathing when they cry.
So maybe they are just confused. Maybe they are curious because they don’t understand. That being said…
2. Some cats likely stare because they know something is wrong with you.
How would a cat know that something is wrong with a crying human if the human’s behaviour is so different from a cat’s?
Well the crying to us is the thing that makes “sadness” or “emotional turmoil” or even “physical pain” obvious, but honestly to cats, the heaving and difficulty breathing and all the other physiological things that come along with crying are probably a lot more relatable and eye catching to them than the leaky eyes themselves.
Cats that are panicking or incredible stressed or have something wrong happening to them will often find it hard to breathe, will pant or even heave, and so maybe this is what’s happening.
3. Cats might stare at you because they can smell the anxiety.
I have a theory that, like dogs, cats can smell stress and anxiety through the chemicals we release, and thus, they probably know something is wrong just by smell alone.
They may be staring at you patiently waiting to see if you will get better. Maybe they think that the stress or anxiety is a thing that will pass if they just wait it out, like it usually works for cats.
Most things cats experience are very in the moment and temporary, so they might be almost holding their breath waiting for you to be okay.
Funny Theories That Might Explain Why Cats Sometimes Stare When Humans Cry
Okay I just had to share some of these cause I thought it was hilarious… not to be taken seriously of course, though if you think they’re good ideas, maybe you’d want to!
4. Maybe your cat thinks you have a hairball.
Sometimes when we cry we look like we are heaving? Well cats heave when they get hairballs!
Maybe our cats think we have a hairball and are waiting for our coughing fits to pass or for us to vomit a hairball like they do?
My cats all run over to the cat that’s got a hairball cough and stare intently at them, sometimes sniffing the cat if they think they can get away with it.
Oh and there’s the very similar…
5. Maybe your cat thinks you’re about to throw up.
Sometimes cats throw up because they eat too quickly, or because they have stomach acid issues and they need to vomit bile.
Either way, that pre-throw up part for a cat probably looks a lot like human crying does. So maybe they are just staring assuming we’re going to throw up.
Either way, cats stare a lot at other cats who are sick or ill, so maybe they are behaving the same way when we cry because that’s what they think is going on.
Your Thoughts on Cats Staring When Humans Cry?
Why do you think cats stare when humans cry? Do any of the reasons I gave land with you? Do any seem outrageous?
Can you think of any potential ones I haven’t listed? (No matter how silly, please share them!).
And do your cats ever seem to come for cuddles after staring at you? Either in a sort of oblivious “I guess you’re not busy, cuddle me” way, or even in a trying-to-comfort-you way if you think your cat’s more that style.
I feel like it’s silly to believe that all cats are the same. Some are far more emotionally intuitive than others, at least I feel like that’s quite true.
Let me know your experiences and how you think your cat(s) mean this behaviour, if they ever do, in the comments down below!