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Do cats have a sixth sense?

Five Incredible Things Cats Can Sense

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05/04/2023 07:04 pm GMT

Our cats have some pretty amazing qualities. Their reflexes are astounding, their senses—excluding vision—are far superior to our own, and it seems that there’s a strange sixth sense that cats seem to possess that we sometimes cannot explain. While dogs and other animals sometimes seem to have superpowers in which we cannot fully comprehend, our feline friends are probably most profound in their ability to sense things in which we can’t. Here’s my list of five incredible things that cats can sense.

Cats can sense bad weather—and even natural disasters!

Your cat’s whiskers are their twitchy mood receptors on either side of their face. They have the ability to detect even the slightest of movements with ease. So, how is it that cats seem to predict bad weather? Well, I’d bargain that a lot of it has to do with the changes in air pressure that they can sense. It’s also been predicted that your cat’s ears can sense the changes in atmospheric pressure as well, or that they can even smell the changes in the air.

things cats can sense

Cats can sense who need them most.

I’ve always personally believed that cats have a strange gift for knowing the people who need them most in life. I adopted my cat Tom when I was at a very low point in my life, dealing with the impending diagnosis for my son who is nonverbal and autistic. Tom was once a street cat that had been trapped and sat waiting to be adopted, consistently passed over for his skittish nature. The two of us have a bond like I have never had with a cat, as he knows when I need him most.

Many cats are this same way for their owners, too. And there are many times in which cats have simply showed up and chosen their humans. Call it fate or destiny or whatever you’d like, but I believe that cats have a sixth sense for knowing who needs them most in life—and making themselves a part of that person’s life for good.

Cats can sense things like death, spirits, and ghosts.

This one might be a hot topic for those who like to argue that spirits and ghosts are not real. And that’s fine. But I know for a fact that cats can sense impending death, because a cat in Rhode Island named Oscar had an entire book written about the incredible acts he did.

Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat details one ordinary cat who possessed a truly extraordinary capability: the ability to know when a person at the nursing home in which he lived was set to make their passage to the other side. And it’s not like Oscar just did this once or twice. He did it over 50 times. And just as cats have been recorded as predicting death, some have forecasted new life, too, by predicting pregnancy.

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Cats can sense danger

There have been many stories of dogs saving the day—but cats have certainly served as heroes, too. Joey, a cat in Canada, woke up out of nowhere and alerted his family of a fire in the kitchen. And another cat in South America even saved a baby from tumbling down a flight of stairs.

My own cat Tom chased my then-two-year-old son down the driveway as he was running out to the street, preventing him from running in front of a moving vehicle as I chased after them. There are a great many stories of cats becoming heroes, and it just goes to show you that the love and loyalty of a cat is something that should never, ever be taken for granted. Because it serves as the very definition of “who rescued whom” in profound ways.

things cats can sense

See also

Why Are Cats So Curious?

Cats have detected cancer in humans.

In defense of canines, there have been plenty of dogs who have miraculously informed their masters of cancer. And regardless of whether it’s a cat or a dog that has done this, it’s truly an incredible act in my opinion. I’ve read and heard many stories of pets alerting their owners that something could be seriously wrong with their health. My own mother-in-law had a giant brown tabby named Tigger when I first met her, which she credited for alerting of her cancer.

Tigger started acting very strangely, a usually aloof cat that was more of a lingerer and not much for cuddling or kneading. Then, shortly before I had met her, she told me that he would jump up on her lap when she was on the sofa watching TV and begin pawing fiercely at her stomach.

She didn’t know why he was doing this, as this sort of behavior was completely out of the norm for him. After he kept repeating the behavior day after day, she thought maybe she should go and get checked out because she was feeling tired out of the blue. Well, thankfully she did, because she was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. And she was able to beat it with chemotherapy treatments since it was not further advanced. And not long after, Tigger crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But not after saving his human’s life first.

Do you have an amazing story of your own of something a cat in your life has sensed? Share with me in the comments section, I’d love to hear it.

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Seven fascinating senses of cats

Have you ever wondered if your cat can see in color? Or if they could balance on a beam better than you? While we know our cats have the traditional five senses of hearing, taste, smell, touch and sight, we wanted to explore any other curiously sensing abilities they may have. Let’s discover what cats are really capable of with their seven fascinating senses.

Close up of cat

Sense of hearing

It has long been debated that dogs have the best hearing of all domesticated pets. But is that true? We hate to burst your puppy bubble, but this fact is actually false. In a room full of noises undetected by humans, cats can actually detect higher frequencies than dogs. Most cat breeds have upright ears, making responding to sound easy.

A cat’s extremely wide bandwidth coupled with its high sensitivity to sounds allows it to listen from a much greater distance than both humans and dogs. There are 27 muscles that connect the outer ear of a cat allowing for 180-degree rotation of their ears to scan the environment and determine the precise location of a sound. They can even rotate their ears independently from one another – kind of like mini satellites on their head.

Although a cat’s sense of hearing is an important part of their lives, as a cat owner, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if your cat is deaf. A cat that is partially, or even completely deaf, can actually live a life very similar to a cat with full hearing, simply relying on its other senses.

Sense of taste

While almost all of a cat’s senses are extremely fine-tuned, their sense of taste is actually the weakest in comparison to all the other senses. In fact, a cat’s ability to taste is far less strong than that of both humans and dogs.

For example, humans have approximately 9,000 taste buds with which to experience the tasty flavors of food. Cats, however, only have about 480 taste buds with which to distinguish between flavors. Every flavor except sweet, that is! Yes, it’s true – cats are the only mammals that do not have taste receptors for sweetness.

But don’t feel bad for your carnivorous cat – it’s actually been revealed that cats have taste receptors that can detect chemicals and bacteria in meat. This means cats have a built-in ability to protect themselves from potential food poisoning. So the next time you fill up your cat’s food bowl , make sure it is with something savory, not sweet.

Close up of cat licking lips

Sense of smell

In a cat’s world, smell is perhaps the most crucial sense of all. It’s through the almost 200 million odor senses in their nostrils that they identify the people, things and objects in their life. In fact, cats can even use their sense of smell to identify the emotional state of other animals as well as the chemicals produced by human sweat.

Have you ever wondered why your cat was rubbing its face or tail on scratching posts or toys? It’s not because they have an itch. Cats actually have seven scent glands across their body and they use these unique points to mark their territories of things and humans.

Scientists believe that cats have a smell sense capability of up to 150 feet, which means they could literally smell their food across a football field! But that amazing sense of smell is not just for dinner time – it also helps protect them. For indoor cats, gaining access to the outside world, exploring new scents other than in the home, is an important part of their brain/body development. Consider adding a safe cat enclosure outside, such as the Catio designed by Omlet. And if you live in an apartment, this safe cat enclosure is a perfect way for your cat to still use that vital sense of smell.

Sense of touch

One of a cat’s many superpowers is its ability to feel something without touching it. How can they do that? The power is in their whiskers. While whiskers are no doubt the signature feature of any cat , they are undoubtedly the secret weapon that gives them a highly enhanced sense of touch.

Located on not just their face but their nose and ears too, cat whiskers allow a cat to explore objects and understand texture without the danger of having to touch it with their skin. In essence, you could say whiskers are a cat’s safeguard against life’s obstacles.

In addition to their whiskers, cats can also feel and touch with the pads of their paws. These pads contain multiple receptors that allow them to feel pressure and vibrations of their environment, which explains why cats are such good hunters.

Sense of sight

To truly understand a cat’s sense of sight, look no further than their wild animal cousins, lions and tigers. Big cats in the wild do the majority of their hunting of prey at night in low light conditions, like moonlight. Why? The most significant reason is simply because cats have fantastic night vision. Compared to humans, cats can see six to eight times better in the dark.

So does that mean my domesticated pet cat can only see well at night? Not at all! Cats still have good vision during the day. But their slightly wider field of vision means they can keep an eye on their territory from one spot. That’s why they can see the subtle and quick movements of a cat toy and pounce so quickly.

As for colors, cats are not completely color blind. They have fewer cones in their eyes which means colors like green and red appear to look gray to them. Brighter colors, such as blue and yellow, are far more appealing to cats as they can see those hues better!

Sixth sense of balance

Have you ever watched your cat jump off a shelf onto the ground? They make it look so graceful and easy, don’t they? There’s a reason felines can fall with such style. Because of the extra vertebrae in their bodies (more than humans!), cats have extremely flexible backbones and a fine-tuned sense of balance.

In fact, their ability to twist and contort their bodies mid-air to right themselves around, allowing a soft landing on their feet has a scientific name. It’s called the “righting reflex”. A cat’s balance, fast reflexes and unique physiology combine harmoniously as early as four weeks old, giving them the ability to innately protect themselves from a fall.

But this balancing act isn’t just for protection. Cats instinctively love to jump because of it. So if you have a cat, make sure you also have many options for them to jump on and from so they can let their inner balance sense shine. The Freestyle Cat Tree designed by Omlet is a perfect option to allow your cat the freedom to explore and be happy!

Seventh sense of time

If you’ve ever been woken up by a cat paw to the face right before the alarm goes off, it’s not because your cat is a genius and can suddenly read time. Just like humans, cats have a highly intuitive internal clock that ensures they know when it’s time to nap in a cozy bed , play with toys or hunt their favorite smells.

The same way your body gives you signals and clues that it’s time for lunch or close to bedtime, your cat feels this sense too. Studies have shown that cats start producing digestive chemicals shortly before meal time, signaling to their brain that it’s time to eat. Or maybe they really are furry little geniuses who have figured out how to make you adhere to their every need!

When it comes to senses, cats have them all and more. Not only are the seven senses they possess fascinating, but they are the tools by which cats navigate the people, places and things around them. So next time you are with your cat, use your own sense of sight to view how your cat senses the world around them.

At Omlet, we are always asking how we can get closer to the curious cats we all love. Understanding their needs and senses allows us to create essential products like the Catio , Maya Donut Bed , and Freestyle Cat Tree . After all, our fascinating feline friends deserve these fascinating creations.

Two cats curled up on Omlet Maya Donut Cat Bed

This entry was posted in Cats

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