Can cats sense when something is wrong?

Table of Contents

Most humans love to have pets in their homes. However, preference may differ from one individual to the other, even within the same house. Some may go for dogs, rabbits, and even dare to keep a wild beast. In the United States, cats are the most common pets after dogs. These furry creatures add fun and beauty to our homes.


CLICK HERE to get your  free ebook: For the Love of Pets

can cats sense when something is wrong

Cats and humans have lived together for a very long time. The earliest record of cats was more than 6000 years ago when a buried cat was found in a mummified cemetery. Ancient Egypt believed that cats could ward off evil spirits and should be buried together with their owners. According to the current biological, genetic analysis, whether European wild cats, African wild cats, Asian wild cats, South African wild cats, and Chinese wild cats;  all cats evolved from African wild cats.

Does your indoor cat need something more nutritious?  Click this affiliate link.

Domestication of cats

Humans have been accompanied by cats for thousands of years. Nowadays, cats have become indispensible pets around our partners and us in curing many ailments in people, such as depression. We like cats and respect their nature.

Cats are the type of animal that we prefer to keep in the family. You can also see free-moving cats outdoors. We often call them wild cats. Many cats just don’t need the owner’s company to come out and play by themselves. 

Cats are not like dogs, which are totally dependent on us when they are domesticated. Cats are more independent and can go and hunt for food on their own. Many times they only use our home as their resting base. When an owner comes back home, cats will not jump on them like man’s best friend (dogs). In the eyes of cats, it is natural for humans to treat them well, and they deserve it.

Many historians now believe that the cooperation between cats and humans could have started when humans planted crops on a large scale. The purpose of raising cats was to let them catch mice. 

However, some people are willing to believe that cats were not domesticated by  humans, but actively found humans. Unlike other pets, even though cats have lived with us for thousands of years, they still run away from home if they don’t agree with each other. This is related to the living habits of cats. Whether it is a dog, our sheep, or cattle, they are all social animals.

One characteristic of social animals is that they have a distinct hierarchical structure. In this group, there will be an order of superiority and inferiority. This superiority determines who drinks first, eats first, charges at a threat, and so on. When humans domesticated these social animals, they began to see humans as their leaders, thus creating trust and obedience. But cats are different. They have a symbiotic relationship with humans. The reason why humans need cats is that they catch mice. Therefore, in the previous living environment, there was no need for cats to depend on people.

Dark Age of Human Relationship With Cats

Cats have grown up with us humans. In the process, there will inevitably be myths and blackened history. During the Middle Ages, in Europe, people linked cats with death for a long time, especially black cats. In that era of hunger and plague, people believed that cats were affected by the devil. They were either slaves of the devil or the devil himself.

Now we all know that the Black Death caused the plague in the Middle Ages, and the culprits were the rats that ran around everywhere. Cats are the savior of humanity, but people didn’t know it at the time. The plague in the Middle Ages killed nearly two-thirds of people in Europe. Many places even burned women and children in hopes of eliminating the disaster caused by this demon from hell, so innocent cats were also victims. In Paris in the 1830s, people frantically caught any cats they saw and even rushed to their homes to kill those pet cats.

Does your indoor cat need something more nutritious?  Click this affiliate link.

Can cats sense Depression and Anxiety?

Due to their behavior around humans, people get confused and end up asking questions like can cats sense emotions? And can cats sense human anxiety?

Recent research has found evidence that cats are sensitive to human emotions and gestures. Scientists from the University of Auckland in Rochester, Michigan, studied 12 cats and their owners. They found that cats had a different behavior when their owner was smiling, compared to gloomy.

When cats encountered a smile from the owner, they showed more positive behavior: purring, begging for hands. The cats tried to spend more time with the owner when he was smiling rather than when frowning.

The picture was quite different when the cats were left with total strangers rather than with their owners. They behaved equally positively, regardless of whether the person frowned or smiled.

The result suggested that cats can understand human facial expressions, and they develop this ability over time.

Before this, a study was conducted to find out whether cats can perceive human emotions or not. It was published in January 2015, and its results were mixed. However, scientists now claim that cats are much more in harmony with human emotions than everyone had known about before now. Nevertheless, this does not mean that cats are capable of showing compassion. They just learned to associate their owner’s smile with the reward. 

However, even if cats don’t understand human emotions as other humans do, they can parse the nuances of our gestures. It also implies something more fundamental: they are interested in us.

People wonder if cats understand us and pay attention to their owners. Research by scientists shows that cats are not completely indifferent about how we feel.

Perhaps the intelligence of cats is so difficult to detect because their reaction to us is very ambiguous. If purring and friction are positive actions, it has also been found that when cats are satisfied, their body, ears, and tail move in a certain way.

Cats may be a common pet, but humans yet know little about them. Scientists still can’t explain why they purr. However, a recent study has taken the first step toward restoring cats’ reputations. It turns out they are not indifferent towards us.

Does your indoor cat need something more nutritious?  Click this affiliate link.

Can Cats Sense Danger?

In addition to the main emotions – joy, playfulness, anger, irritability, calm, etc. Cats, like humans, experience many other more complex emotions. For example, they feel when someone makes jest of them, and they express their dissatisfaction. A smart cat can tell when she is being praised, scolded, or used as an object of ridicule. Of course, animals do not understand human words but can respond to our intonation, volume, familiar phrases (pet name, familiar commands, etc.) and respond differently to each scenario. 

Compared to dogs who we have tagged as man’s best friend due to their loyalty, cats seem to be very indifferent to our affairs. But it turns out our cats pay more attention to us than we think. It looks like they can tell if we are happy.

It has long been known that dogs can recognize human facial expressions well. But for the first time, evidence has been obtained that cats have the same abilities.

Is your cat a fussy eater?  Click this affiliate link to order savor sensation food that won’t go to waste.

Can Cats Sense Illness in a Person?

Ассоrdіng tо recent scientific discoveries, it was observed that cats are unіquе аnіmаls thаt соuld bе соmраrеd tо sophisticated energy detectors. For some time, it has been known that cats can help detect and sometimes heal their owner’s ailments. They lie next to their owner, purr, and warm him or her with their bodies. In more severe cases, the cat may stay with the human in this position for hours. Statistics claim that cat lovers resort to medical services five times less often than those who do not have a cat.

From its behavior towards a person, one can predict what disease the person is dealing with. Some examples include:

● Іf the cat lіes оn а реrѕоn ‘ѕ hеаd , the person could probably be рrоnе tо hеаdасhеѕ оr hіgh blооd рrеѕѕurе.

● Іf the cat lіes оn a person’s ѕhоuldеrѕ the lеft ѕhоuldеr particularly, it may іndісаtе that the person is prone to саrdіоvаѕсulаr disease.

● Іf the cat lіеѕ оn the person’s bасk, thеn the person could be prone to kіdnеу ailments.

● Іf а саt lіеѕ mоѕt оftеn оn а реrѕоn ‘ѕ fееt , іt іѕ mоѕt lіkеlу thаt hе is prone to lоw blооd рrеѕѕurе оr tеndѕ tо саtсh а соld оftеn.

Six Ways that Owning a cat can Improve Your life.

  1. Scientific research has shown that cats can help those with cardiovascular diseases as petting can regularize the heart rate and normalize blood pressure.
  2. Petting a cat can also help those with gastrointestinal issues as it aids the digestion of food in humans.
  3. In the case of stress and fatigue, Cats can help humans relieve fatigue, stress, migraines and lower blood pressure. 
  4. Scientists suggest that purring is similar to ultrasound treatment, which accelerates wound healing and strengthens bones. Persian cats can treat joint pain. Listening to a cat purr is great for immunity.
  5. There is an Increased life expectancy rate in people who have had cats all their lives by over 10.3 years to those who do not. 
  6. Cats are also great acupuncturists. When a cat lies down starts “touching” you, it releases its nails, which goes on to stimulate your reflexogenic zones just like in any acupuncture session.  

Cats can improve our lives, but how can we improve theirs?  If we have an indoor cat it might be a good idea to introduce some items to the household that make for better cat habitat such as a cat scratching board or a special cat basket.

Can Cats

Sense the Death of a Person?

In 2007, David Dossa, a professor of medicine at Brown University in the United States, wrote a paper where he recorded a cat named Oscar that predicted 25 deaths in a few years. By 2010, there were 50 cases. Oscar was a cat living in the hospital where Prof Dossa (an expert in geriatrics)works.

The staff of the hospital noticed that Oscar could predict death. In his usual manner, Oscar liked to drop in between the wards every day to play with the patients, but when he stayed next to a patient for a long time and lay down, then the patient would die in the next few hours. Oscar’s degree of accuracy exceeded that of doctors in the hospital.

So the doctors in the hospital deliberately asked a patient who was about to die to test Oscar. When people took Oscar to the patient, Oscar left. Everyone believed that Oscar’s prediction of death was self-defeating. But a few hours later, Oscar came back again and lay next to the patient. After another two hours, the doctor announced the death of the patient.

Due to this level of precision, the hospital formed the culture of notifying the family members of any patients whenever Oscar laid next to them for a long time. This was so that they could at least get to see their relative for the last time. 

Is your cat a fussy eater?  Click this affiliate link to order savor sensation food that won’t go to waste.

Can cats sense Cancer?

It may not be impossible for cats to sense cancer and other terminal diseases. Some scientists have posited that when a person is about to die, their body will emit a smell that humans are not aware of, but cats can smell. The smell comes as a result of vital organs shutting down. Oscar, in the story above, only happens to be a cat with a very sharp sense of smell. It is possible that there is such a smell coming from the cancerous cells.

How Cats Express Emotions

Cats are mysterious and very restrained pets. Most times, it’s hard to understand what these four-legged friends have in mind, but sometimes they demonstrate their intentions. However, an attentive owner can read the mood of the pet. He only needs to learn to understand what emotions they feel and how they express them.

Pets communicate through their body language as well as sounds and smells. Adopting certain postures and reinforcing them with sounds is how cats communicate.  But there are subtleties. 

For example, if a cat wags its tail, it is impossible to say unequivocally that it is dissatisfied. Depending on the amplitude of movements, body position, and other details, the wobble should be interpreted differently:

● When the tail is lowered or placed horizontally, the cat is tense, the ears are pressed or sharply pointed, the lips are compressed, can make threatening sounds – anger, rage, irritation.

● When the tail is raised, slightly trembling, and the cat is collected, the ears are directed forward, the eyes are wide open – concentration, interest, participation, basically – a positive mood;

● When the tail is slightly swaying, the movements are smooth; the cat is relaxed, the eyes are closed – the pet is resting, but ready to switch to another activity;

● When the tail is tense, motionless, or nervously twitching, strongly fluffy, the cat is very concentrated; the ears are pointed or set back – fright, tension, a sense of danger, severe discomfort.

It is very important to note the position of the ears. 

● If the ears are directed forward – the cat is focused, interested in something. It is also an indicator of confidence. 

● If the Ears are pressed, it depicts anger, conflict. 

● If the ears are set back, but not pressed – uncertainty, confusion, some confusion.

The eyes will reflect the condition of the four-legged friend. Curiosity, fear, irritation, joy – all these emotions can be read in the eyes of a cat, especially if the owner has already learned the nature of the pet. 

● If the cat winks – then she is comfortable, and she morally supports the owner.

Also, emotions can be read by paying attention to the expression of the snout of a four-legged friend. Pets have developed facial muscles that are involved in the demonstration of mood.

You can try  an experiment: catch the cat’s eye, blink at her and turn away a little. Often pets are in a hurry to approach after such treatment, as this combination of looks and gestures means an invitation to cats.

With sound, recognition is easier. Sounds like howling and hissing cannot be confused with a gentle, benevolent purr or demanding meow. Some breeds of cats (Oriental, Siamese, etc.) are particularly talkative. They can talk around the clock in different ways, often interfering with the owner. 

Is your cat a fussy eater?  Click this affiliate link to order savor sensation food that won’t go to waste.

How to Understand cat Behavior

It happens that the behavior of a pet is difficult to interpret, although certain situations are common. For example, if a cat rubs its head against an object, that does not mean that it itches. 

In their mouths, some glands produce an odor, but a human cannot detect this odor. For cats, these signs carry important information. If the cat rubs its owner intensely with its snout, it is also marked that the pet considers the owner to be important. If the cat moves about the legs of its owner, it is an obvious sign of attention, love, and affection. 

Sometimes you can see that the cat goes about minding its business, then suddenly stops abruptly, and begins to lick and bite for no apparent reason. Excluding skin problems  such as itching, irritation etc. Such things are explained by the fact that the pet has not yet finally decided where to go and what to do, or on its way, there was a sudden obstacle – someone closed the door, there was a noise, etc. And while it waits to make a decision, it performs that act. 

Often, cats may lay near the owner, but turn in a direction away from him. If the cat turns its back to the owner – it does not mean that the cat is offended. Rather, the cat is demonstrating confidence. So, the cat is calm and comfortable next to the person.  The cat knows that it is safe and makes it clear to the owner. A similar situation is when a cat lies on its back, revealing its stomach.


No doubt, from the foregoing, we can see how much these little four-legged creatures are unique and how we can benefit from the symbiotic relationship between us. Apart from helping us eat up the mice terrorizing our homes, their ability to be an energy detector could help us predict events before they happen. With a proper understanding of their body language, we will better understand them.


Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.