Do cats gravitate to sick people?
Can Siamese Cats Tell If You’re Sick?
Cats and humans have a special bond that goes back centuries. Cats are known for their mysterious abilities, one of which is the ability to tell if someone is sick. Cats can detect illness in people, just as humans can sense when another person is feeling unwell.
But how do cats learn this? This article will uncover the science behind a cat’s ability to detect illness. It will provide insight into why cats might instinctively know when we’re not feeling well.
How Can Siamese Cats Tell When You’re Sick?
1. Cats use their sense of smell
The amazing sense of smell that cats have is one of the most fascinating aspects of their biology. Their olfactory system is 14 times more powerful than ours. Cats can take in far more information through smell than humans ever could. They can even pick up scents too subtle for us to notice.
Cats use their keen sense of smell for many purposes. They use it to mark territories or recognize family members. Research suggests that cats also use their superior sniffing skills to recognize when someone isn’t feeling well.
2. Cats sense emotions
Cats sense certain emotional states besides olfactory cues, such as anxiety or depression. Cats have evolved with humans over thousands of years. They provide companionship during times when people are feeling under the weather. They learn to recognize human facial expressions and body language through this relationship. This is why cats gravitate toward those who aren’t feeling well.
Your cat may become protective and affectionate if you look pale, tired, or listless. Cats may also be more vocal around sick people. They meow or purr louder to show concern for their owner’s health. Some cats will even look after their owners by bringing items from around the house. These include toys or blankets to cheer them up.
3. Cats read body language
Cats can tell if you’re sick, and they show this by picking up on subtle changes in your behavior.
There are some apparent behavioral changes a sick person has that a cat can pick up on. For example, you might be more lethargic than usual or not get up around your normal time. This can send a message to your cat that something’s wrong.
Other signs that cats notice include changes in eating habits (such as not eating enough or skipping meals) or how you interact with them. A cat may notice if you’re too tired to give them the same attention or not play with them as often. All these little things add up to giving your cat clues about your health.
4. Cats recognize physical symptoms
Humans experience physical symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, high temperature, or weight loss when they are ill. These things can be difficult to spot from afar. However, they can be easily picked up by a pet who spends significant time with them.
Cats are experts at noticing even the slightest changes in their environment. They have an incredible capacity to pick up on small details we overlook. They will take note of your heart rate, skin temperature, breathing patterns, and more.
What Illnesses Can Cats Sense?
High blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most common ailments that cats can sense. Studies have shown that cats are attracted to people with high blood pressure. This is due to the increased body temperature associated with this condition. It gives off a distinct scent that cats can pick up on.
Cancer. Cats detect cancer in humans by smelling chemical signals. This helps owners catch the disease early on.
Seizure. Cats sense when their owner is about to have a seizure or another type of neurological issue. A cat will meow, lick, or paw at its owner’s face and attempt to wake him up if he is unconscious during an event.
Diabetes. Diabetes is one of the main illnesses cats can detect. Diabetics’ blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day. This causes a particular scent in their sweat that a cat can pick up on.
A cat senses a change in your body and may start nudging you or meowing until you wake up and take action.
Do Cats Take Care of Sick People?
Cats are helpful when caring for sick people, especially those with special needs such as autism and dementia. They can provide comfort and stress relief. This helps improve the quality of life for individuals who may otherwise struggle to find joy.
Therapy cats are often brought into nursing homes and other facilities. They can help those battling illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Cats are also proving beneficial in aiding autistic children. Autism can sometimes cause children to feel overwhelmed by sensory stimuli, leading to tantrums or aggression episodes. However, having a therapy cat prevents these outbursts by providing a calming influence in stressful environments.
These types of interactions must be supervised by professionals. Cats brought into such an environment must be up-to-date on vaccinations and free from diseases.
Why Does My Cat Lay on Me When I’m Sick?
One of the main reasons cats love laying on top of us when we’re sick is due to our body heat. Cats love warmth, so they are drawn to the heat when someone is sick. This also explains why cats often seek out warm paper or cardboard boxes.
Cats also think they’re helping us get better by keeping us company while we’re sick. It is thought that cats recognize a sign of vulnerability when humans are sick. They respond by providing some extra comfort and companionship.
My Siamese cat, Batman, loves to sleep on me when I have a fever. My body temperature is elevated, and he enjoys the extra heat. He’ll curl up next to me and take a long nap. I actually appreciate his company. He makes me feel better physically and emotionally, and I know he’s trying to help out however he can.
Cats may seem capable of detecting when something isn’t quite right with their human friends. They do this through keen observation of our behavior and their powerful senses of smell.
Further research needs to be done to discover exactly how cats can detect sickness in people. However, it’s safe to say that our furry friends possess an innate ability that provides us with comfort during difficult times.
How to Litter Train Your Cat
Many young cats learn to use litter boxes from their mother, and as the instinct to bury their feces is quite strong, many cats will naturally gravitate towards the litter box to do their business. However, some cats may need a little help learning where to go.
General Litter Box Tips
- How many litter boxes do I need? You should have at least one litter box per cat (often, you may wish to have one more litter box than the number of cats you have, as some cats like to have a choice of places to go). If you have a multi-level home, you should also ensure you have one on each level, to provide easy access for your cat.
- Where should I place the litter box? You should place the litter box in a quiet, secluded area that doesn’t receive too much household traffic, so that your cat feels comfortable and safe using it. Cats like their privacy; a quiet corner is often a good choice. Make sure it’s easy to access and has multiple entry and exit points (i.e. at the ‘dead-end’ of a corridor may not be a good choice, as your cat may feel they have no ‘escape route’). You should also avoid placing it right next to your cat’s food bowl, as cats typically don’t like to go where they eat.
- Can I move my cat’s litter box? It’s important not to suddenly move the litter box, to avoid confusing your cat or discouraging them from using the box. If you need to change its location, do so gradually over a number of days, moving it a small distance at a time.
- What type of litter box is best? Ensure that the sides of the litter box aren’t too high, so that your cat can easily get in and out. For very small kittens or older, arthritic cats, you may consider adding a ramp for easy access. Some cats dislike enclosed litter boxes, as they can feel trapped and don’t feel safe using the box when they can’t see out, so an open litter tray may work better.
- What type of litter should I use? There are lots of different types of litter to choose from, including litter made from clay (some of which are ‘clumping’ types, which forms into solid clumps after your cat has urinated on it, allowing for easy removal), fine wood shavings, recycled paper, silica, or even corn or wheat. While clumping clay is used most often, it really comes down to your cat’s personal preference; some cats simply prefer certain types of litter over another. You may need to try a few types to find your cat’s favorite. Note that if you have a multi-cat family, you may need to use different types of litter for each cat. Some litters are scented to help cover the smell of your cat’s urine and feces, but cats often prefer unscented litters. When bringing your cat home for the first time, you should continue to use the litter they are familiar with, and gradually change it over time if you wish. You should never change your cat’s litter type abruptly, as it may put them off going.
- How much litter should I put in the litter box? It’s important not to over- or underfill the litter box. Cats like to have enough litter to cover up their feces, but too much can spill out of the box. A good rule of thumb is around two inches of litter, ensuring there is enough space at the top of the tray that it won’t overflow when your cat steps across it.
- How often do I need to clean the litter box? Cats are extremely clean creatures and may not use their litter box if it’s dirty, so it’s important to clean it regularly. You should clean it at least every day; ideally, remove any fecal matter after each bowel movement, and scoop out the urine-soaked litter each day. Once a week, you should empty the whole box, clean it with hot water and mild soap, and ensure it’s thoroughly dry before refilling with litter.
- How should I dispose of used litter? Dispose of litter in a securely closed bag, then put it in the trash. Never dispose of litter in the garden or on a compost pile, as it can carry diseases.
How to Encourage Litter Box Use
- Let your cat discover the litter box. When you bring your cat home for the first time, show them where the litter box(es) are located and give them time to sniff the box thoroughly.
- Allow your cat to do their business in private. Never disturb your cat while they’re eliminating, and ensure you’re a good distance away from them so they feel comfortable.
- Use positive reinforcement techniques. Once your cat has finished, reward them for doing their business in the correct place. Give them a high-value treat to reinforce this good behavior, such as a small piece of unseasoned, cooked meat or fish.
- Place them in the litter box at regular intervals. After feeding or after they’ve woken up from a nap, they may need to go. Pick them up gently and place them in the box to remind them where to do their business.
- Keep a watchful eye. If you notice your cat sniffing around or showing any other signs that they need to go, pick them up and place them in the litter box.
When your cat does their business in the correct place, reward them with a high-value treat to reinforce the good behavior.
How to Discourage Your Cat From Going Elsewhere
- Don’t punish or scold your cat for going in the wrong place. They won’t associate the punishment with their action, and will merely be confused and possibly scared. Punishment has been proven to be ineffective and can lead to anxiety or aggression later in your cat’s life.
- Confine their space. If your cat keeps going in the wrong place, you could consider confining their space with baby gates or other items like a playpen. Having their litter box nearby will help them to find it when they need it, and being in a confined space will also help you keep an eye on them, so you can place them in the litter box if they show signs of needing to go.
- Leave a small amount of soiled litter in the box. This may not work for all cats, as many prefer an exceptionally clean litter box, however, for some cats, the scent of their previous eliminations may help to remind them where to go next time.
- Use special cleaning products to remove odors. If your cat has gone in the wrong place, make sure to clean the area thoroughly, using a specially formulated cleaning product to remove odors. This is important, as regular cleaning products may not completely remove the scent, and it may encourage your cat to do their business there again.
- Cover soil around houseplants. Sometimes, a cat may associate the soil around a houseplant with litter, and start doing their business there. If this is the case for your cat, try to move the houseplant to an area they cannot access, or cover up the soil with a piece of aluminum foil so they cannot reach it.
Medical and Psychological Reasons For Not Using the Litter Box
- Medical concerns. If your cat was previously litter box trained and suddenly begins urinating or defecating outside of the box, there may be a medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, diabetes or arthritis. In this situation, you should have a vet examine your cat to check nothing is wrong.
- Stress. Cats dealing with stress or anxiety may regress in their litter training. A new arrival to the home (a new baby, roommate or house guest), changes in routine, moving house or even new furniture can all make your cat anxious. It’s important to make your cat feel secure, provide them with lots of love and affection, and keep working on the tips mentioned above to help them return to their usual litter box habits.
- Urine marking around the home. Cats may mark their territory by urinating on specific items or places around the home. This is more common in un-neutered or unspayed cats, and may occur if the cat feels threatened or upset about something. They may be reacting to a perceived threat (a new household member or pet, or another cat viewed through a window), or trying to target unfamiliar items (such as a new bag or pair of shoes with an unfamiliar smell). If you’re struggling with urine marking, speak to your vet for advice. Spaying/neutering can help to reduce urine marking, and they can also help to deal with the underlying cause of the urine marking. If your pet is stressed or anxious, your vet can provide advice on how to manage this, and may suggest pheromone diffusers such as Feliway, or anti-anxiety medication if suitable.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Cats
Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a fairly common condition among cats. While UTIs are usually relatively easy to diagnose and cure, they can develop into a more serious condition if left untreated. Urinary tract infections can occur in both young and old cats.
Bladder Stones in Cats
Bladder stones, scientifically known as cystoliths or cystic calculi, are a common condition for felines. These stones range in size from microscopic to several millimeters (or even larger!) in diameter, and can have mild to life-threatening side effects in cats. Bladder stones in cats are formed when minerals and other substances clump together, or aggregate. This can lead to mild or serious complications, including irritation of the bladder lining, urinary tract infection, and urethral obstruction. All cat owners, especially owners of male cats, need to understand the signs and risks associated with bladder stones to help reduce the risk of a life-threatening obstruction.
Managing Anxiety in Cats
Anxiety is a very real problem that can not only cause our cats severe emotional distress, but can also exacerbate or cause a number of medical problems, including urinary tract issues. Cats suffering from anxiety may also engage in unwanted behaviors, including urinating outside of the litter box or vomiting. Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of anxiety, and the things you can do to help treat and manage your cat’s anxiety.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a blanket term used to describe several conditions affecting the bladder and urethra of cats. There are a few different underlying causes of FLUTD, many of which exhibit similar symptoms, such as difficulty urinating and urinating outside the litter box.