Rocco is a sweet little fellow with plenty of reasons to feel sad. The family who cared for him all his life decided they didn’t want him anymore and dropped him off last week at West Side Cats shelter in Youngstown, Ohio.
“For whatever reasons, he SOMETIMES peed in the house,” explains a blogger and volunteer for the shelter, who clearly thinks Rocco should not have been discarded for occasional lapses in litter box etiquette. The four-year-old tiger kitty is “very passive” and “loves to be petted,” the blogger explains. “He was scared when he first came in but he is adjusting as much as possible. To my knowledge he has been using the litter box just fine.”
But Rocco is showing signs of being depressed. And then came the tears. “The other day when I took these photos another volunteer was with me and we noticed that Rocco was actually crying. Some say cats and dogs don’t cry. We saw and felt it for ourselves and felt so bad for Rocco!”
In general, cat experts agree that animals feel and express a range of emotions and can shed tears. Most maintain that clogged tear ducts, eye irritations or other types of physiological distress are the real cause, like this injured cat who moved her caregivers when she shed tears on an examining table after being rescued and taken to be examined by a vet.
The larger truth is that we humans have long underestimated the ability of cats and other sensitive and social animals to experience emotions such as attachment, sympathy, affection and even compassion. All animals need love to thrive. We hope Rocco’s sadness is temporary, and that he finds a loving home where he can be truly content and happy. In the meantime, we are grateful to volunteers like the ones at West Side Cats who care enough about their kitties to share their stories.