Cats have emotions. They have the ability to feel insecure, stressed, worried or sad. Knowing your cat’s temperament and seeing any change in her personality to reflect such negative emotions, is a good gauge to tell if your cat is feeling well. Cats can also feel happy. They respond to this with their own measure of affection, like by being near you, cuddling with you, or purring – which produces a calming response for their owners too.
Not only are cats emotional creatures, they have the ability to mirror human emotion. A cat may come to you looking concerned when you are feeling down. They may gently bite you to ask if you are okay. Slinky did that to me before, when she found me crying one night. She also looked at me with a worried look whenever I was sick or injured. (This was for the first few times she witnessed these situations. As I have a long-term sickness the cats got used to it and have slowed down their responsive care whenever I am unwell). My female cats are more responsive to my emotions, when I am feeling unwell Sayang for instance will come to me to sayang me.
If you have a noisy household, your cats will be used to loud talking. If they come from a quiet household, they will not. If there is constant shouting and arguing among the humans, your cat will eventually get used to it, otherwise they will mirror the anger-emotion within themselves. There was an incident when the father of a family came home and had a huge argument with another member of the family. Their family cat got equally upset, not used to anger in a normally peaceful home, to the point that the cat had a heart attack and died.
Also, if a cat is upset by something, going towards him will not be a healthy response for you – he may see accidentally attack you because he is in a stress-mode, and any onslaught, even from a loving owner, may be at that moment misconstrued as an attack by the cat’s source of stress. It is like how humans may be angry at something, but lash out at someone else when they are feeling pissed off, instead of confronting the source of their anger directly – like catching someone in a bad mood – everyone pisses that person off during such a mood. Better to back off.
Happy cats are usually energetic to some degree, dependent on their inherent personality and their age. So, physical energy is a good gauge to your cat’s happiness as well. When Slinky was previously on a smaller diet she was more emo and used to just sleep in one place all day. When we changed her diet to better suit her size and weight, she became happier and more energetic, running around the house, coming into our room more often to be with us.
Andy also said that as my sickness gets better Slinky seems to become cheerier too. They say that cats know when a person is going to die. Auntie Rose‘s cat Zangot came to tell her when her elderly father had just passed on in his sleep. There are urban legends of cats becoming very affectionate towards dying people, cuddling with them more as their approach the end of their lives.
So, all in all, cats are emotional creatures. They may seem aloof, or anhedonic, but it is not true. They are just less excitable than, say, dogs. But just like dogs, they know how you feel and they are at hearts, empaths. What’s there not to love about pets?