Cats can detect illness in fellow felines through scent and behavior. This suggests that cats may also be able to detect sickness in humans by utilizing the exact same techniques.
As cats have a superior sense of smell, they can detect ill health in humans by picking up on hormonal changes. Cats also understand facial expressions, so a grimace of pain will not go unnoticed. The cat may try to draw your attention to particular body parts through sniffing, pawing, and kneading.
How a cat reacts to human illness varies based on the cat in question. Most of the time, the cat will grow clingy and attentive Any change in feline behavior merits investigation.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Do Cats Know When You’re Sick?
- 1.1 Can Cats Sense High Blood Pressure?
- 1.2 Can Cats Detect Cancer in Humans?
- 1.3 Can Cats Sense Seizures in Humans?
- 1.4 Can Cats Sense Diabetes?
- 1.5 Can Cats Sense Headaches and Migraines?
- 1.6 Can Cats Detect Colds and Flu?
- 1.7 Can Cats Sense Heart Attacks?
- 1.8 Can Cats Sense Pregnancy?
- 1.9 Can Cats Sense Depression?
- 2 Do Cats Know When You Are Dying?
Do Cats Know When You’re Sick?
It can sometimes be tricky to know what cats understand. Felines are inscrutable animals, behaving erratically for a range of reasons. There are a handful of things that we do know, though.
Despite misguided consensus, felines do forge affectionate bonds with owners. Cell confirms that the bond between cat and owner is comparable to that of a dog. Just because cats are not as fulsome with their emotions, it doesn’t make them unfeeling.
What’s more, cats have outstanding senses. Applied Animal Behavior Science confirms that a cat’s excellent sense of smell plays a sizable role in feline comfort. Cats draw solace from familiar scents and are typically intrigued by an unrecognized aroma.
We should consider that cats watch us closely. This is so the cat can observe our every movement, mood, and habit. This way, it can understand us better. When unwell, or during the precursor to illness, the behavior will likely change. Cats will notice this.
Human illness leads to changes in scent, behavior, and demeanor. All of these issues will be spotted. This all suggests that an interested cat will be able to sense illness in people. Evidence is circumstantial rather than scientific, but it’s an interesting consideration.
Can Cats Sense High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, have a range of symptoms that cats will recognize. These could be behavioral or medical in nature.
Hypertension often causes humans to behave erratically, as though confused. Cats will watch this with interest. Your pet will be used to your routine, wondering why you are deviating from standard patterns.
In addition, an obvious symptom of high blood pressure is an elevated heart rate. If your cat is affectionate, this will be impossible to ignore. A cat that enjoys being held and petted will hear your heart thumping.
Cats pay attention to human heart rates and breathing. It’s how they judge when we’ll wake up, hence why cats seemingly watch us sleep.
If your cat appears fascinated by your heart rate, check your blood pressure. There will be a reason that your cat wants to keep listening to this. The behavior suggests that something has changed within your body.
Be aware, high blood pressure could end one of two ways. Some cats will attempt to calm you down with purring and kneading. Other felines will assume that your heart is racing through fear. A skittish cat will react in kind, fleeing whatever is causing you consternation.
Can Cats Detect Cancer in Humans?
Legends abound about pets sniffing out a body part where a cancerous tumor is later discovered. It has never been proved beyond doubt that cats can ‘detect’ cancer with their nose. It appears likely, though. Annals of Internal Medicine confirms that cancer has a scent.
This is because cancer increases the number of polyamines in the body. These are positively charged polycations targeted during chemotherapy treatment. As per PLoS Biology, polyamines have a pungent scent your cat will acknowledge.
If your cat is suddenly sniffing particular body parts, pay attention. Consider giving these areas a once-over for lumps and bumps. Try not to panic – cats act strange for a variety of reasons. Your cat may be picking up on a unique aroma that merits investigation, though.
This is especially likely if the cat stares at you with its mouth open. This suggests the cat is utilizing its flehmen response. The cat has picked up an unfamiliar smell and is processing it. After living with your cat for a while, it should be used to all your scents. Be mindful of this.
Can Cats Sense Seizures in Humans?
Seizures are another area where owners have claimed their cats have saved their life. It is believed that cats can tell when a human is set to experience a seizure. Most cats proceed to protect their prone human until they recover.
It is unlikely that the cat understands the act of a seizure. It will recognize the behaviors that precede such an incident, though. Remember, cats watch us closely to understand human behavior. A cat will quickly learn that a human experiencing a seizure is in trouble.
Cats can detect seizures due to the wide array of changes the body undertakes ahead of time. Most seizures will involve a major shift in hormones within the body. In addition, the brain undertakes a form of ‘electrical storm’. Cats pick up on these shifts in energy.
Cats will also spot the physical symptoms of a seizure. Oftentimes, a seizure is precluded by eyes rolling in the head and tics and twitches. Consciousness may also be lost. Cats learn to look out for these warning signs. They may need to quickly move out of the way to avoid being crushed.
Cats can be great addition to the home of epileptics, or anybody with similar concerns. Anecdotal evidence suggests that felines can offer invaluable help. Even if this is just alerting others to an issue.
Can Cats Sense Diabetes?
Diabetes, like cancer, is accompanied by a distinct scent. Excessive glucose generates a sickly-sweet smell. This is most prevalent in the urine. A cat will also pick up signs of high glucose through sweat.
The cat will not find this aroma appealing. In fact. your cat may be actively perturbed. It will likely sniff and flee. Alternatively, the cat may start digging and clawing at your clothing. It is attempting to get to root of this strange smell and dispose of it.
If you have any reason to suspect that you are pre-diabetic, or worse, watch your cat’s behavior. Book in for tests with a doctor if necessary. Your cat may be providing an invaluable early warning to a problem.
The cat may also learn to recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar. This will be through deed as much as scent. You may appear tired, uncoordinated or unsteady on your feet. In such instances, the cat will know what is coming next.
The cat may bring you a gift, attempting to convince you to eat. You are not expected to eat a mouse or bird corpse. Do pay attention to your cat’s actions, though. It’s reminding you that you need nourishment. It brought you food as it worried you are too weak to hunt.
Can Cats Sense Headaches and Migraines?
There is no reason to believe cats sense the onset of a headache or migraine. These issues rarely come with warning signs. One possible exception is a raised body temperature or fluctuating hormones. Some cats may pick up on this and approach accordingly.
During the event, many cats are understanding of their human’s ailment. If you have a migraine, you will likely need to lay motionless in a dark room. Many cats will respect this and keep your company. Felines, it appears, respect the sanctity of a migraine.
Some cats will even seek to offer comfort. Owners report that their cats attempt to massage their heads while suffering a migraine. This could be an act of empathy. Your cat loves you and wishes to alleviate your discomfort through petting.
If you’re lucky enough to have a cat that cares, embrace this experience. Resting alongside a cat can be soothing during a deeply unpleasant health episode. The calm, rhythmic sound of a cat’s purring and breathing relaxes the human heart and brain.
Can Cats Detect Colds and Flu?
A human head cold is unmistakable for a cat. These conditions are invariably accompanied by a fever, which will leave your body temperature running higher. The cat will notice this, possibly even before you do.
Some cats will want to curl up with your while you’re running a fever. At first, this seems like an act of affection. Your cat seems to be trying to cheer you up. This may be true, but it’s equally likely that your cat is stealing your body heat. It’s enjoying the warmth you project.
Cats are not devoid of empathy. You will likely notice that your cat is relaxed around you during this time. Your cat will pick up on your lethargy. It is unlikely to demand food or attention, at least for a while. Ask somebody else to meet your cat’s needs to maintain this.
Cats cannot catch human colds, so you do not need to worry about sharing infection. Cats have species-specific respiratory infections, such as Feline Herpesvirus or Feline Calicivirus, that resemble flu. This means you are welcome to accept any comfort offered by your cat.
All the same, be mindful of your symptoms around your cat. If you are sneezing a lot, the noise may startle your cat. Coughing can also play havoc with the nerves of a skittish cat. If in doubt, it’s best to keep yourself separate from your pet.
Can Cats Sense Heart Attacks?
A heart attack is one of the most frightening things anybody can experience. They tend to arise suddenly, and it’s not always clear what is transpiring. A cat may be able to warn of these signs ahead of time. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cats have saved lives this way.
It is important to note that a cat will not understand the concept of a heart attack. It will notice changes in owner behavior, though. Shortness of breath will always capture a cat’s attention. In addition, temperature will drastically alter during a cardiac episode.
Cats are also in tune with human facial expressions. Animal Cognition explains how cats are likelier to approach a human that smiles than one that frowns. If an owner is grimacing in pain, it will not go unnoticed by a cat.
There is little that a cat can do in this instance, other than alert others. This may be enough to save somebody’s life, though. If a cat acknowledges the risk of a heart attack early, paramedics can be called in good time.
It should also be noted that cat ownership allegedly reduces the risk of heart problems. Circulation discusses a statement from the American Heart Association linking pet ownership to heart health. Cats cannot heal pre-existing heart issues, but feline companionship is statistically beneficial.
Can Cats Sense Pregnancy?
Obviously, pregnancy is not an illness. Cats can easily detect a pregnant woman due to hormones, though. Estrogen, chorionic gonadotropin, and progesterone have distinctive smells to a feline. Cats will automatically have their curiosity piqued by pregnant women.
Cats recognize the concept of pregnancy, even if it differs from their own experience. Expect a cat to become increasingly clingy during this time. This is because the cat is being protective. It understands that something small and vulnerable is growing inside an owner.
As pregnancy advances, the cat will not just smell hormones. It will also actively hear a baby’s heartbeat. At this stage, the cat will be even more attached to a pregnant woman. This time together should be enjoyed and used to bond as much as possible.
When the baby arrives, a cat will grow insecure and anxious about routine changes. It will be easier to reassure a cat that trusts you implicitly. You are likelier to be forgiven for lapses while busy, such as being late with dinner.
Can Cats Sense Depression?
Cats are not believed to be as finely tuned to human emotions as dogs. Felines can pick up on the basics, though. Your cat knows if you are smiling or frowning. It will also surely detect low moods through your actions. This means that cats will recognize depression.
As depression saps from pleasure everyday life, this will be reflected in interactions with your cat. No matter how hard you try to mask your problem, your cat will notice. This could be through facial expressions, behavior or a lack of enthusiasm during play.
Most cats will be sympathetic to depression. Unfortunately, this sympathy can become excessively empathetic. Your cat will likely imitate your behavior and mood. The cat will become increasingly withdrawn and depressed itself.
This can be dangerous. A depressed cat will lose its appetite and experience lowered immunity. Try to manage your moods around a cat, even though this is easier said than done. If necessary, ask a friend to care for your cat for a short while as your recover.
Do Cats Know When You Are Dying?
When somebody nears the end of their life, the human body undergoes an array of changes. These are unmistakable to a cat. The range of contrasting scents and hormone shifts will be impossible to ignore.
Cats that live in retirement homes or similar surroundings will be used to this. The cat may actively seek out the scent of death. This is not a display of morbidity. The cat knows what comes next and seeks to offer comfort to a preferred human.
As with all matters pertaining to cats and sickness, this is not an exact science. If your cat has suddenly taking to sniffing and following you, do not be perturbed. You may just smell of food or another animal.
It is safe to assume that cats have some understanding of the human life cycle, though. Cats have no choice but to pick on the impact impending death has on the body. Their superior senses would not have it any other way.
How Do Cats React to Human Illness?
This varies, depending on a range of factors. Your cat’s persona, the bond you share and the ailment in question all play a part. Be vigilant about acknowledging changes in your cat’s behavior. If you’re concerned about your health, the situations may be related.
If you carry on regardless of your health problem, your cat may seem not to notice. It will likely watch you a little more carefully and may become more affectionate. The cat’s primary concern is routine, though. If this is upheld, the cat will remain comfortable.
If you are actively feeling unwell, your cat will likely mirror your actions. Cats are born imitators, taking behavioral cues from owners. If you are confined to bed or the sofa, the cat will notice this. It will likely calm down and keep you company, at least for a day or two.
My Cat is Avoiding Me
If your cat keeps its distance from you, do not be offended. Your cat is not worried about contagion. It is possible that your scent has changed beyond recognition, though. This is making the cat wary.
It is advisable to make some effort to combat this. Apply a distinctive perfume or cologne or light a familiar scented candle. The intention is to bring a little familiarity back into your cat’s life.
You should also speak to your cat more. Your pet recognizes you through your voice. Just be mindful that your voice may change through sickness. If your vocals become croaky or deeper than usual, the cat will be perturbed.
One thing to be mindful of is a cat growing overtly aggressive. If a dominant cat senses weakness, it may attempt to claim your territory. In this case, that means the entire home. Do not let a poorly behaved cat add to your woes.
Cats can detect human illness, due to changes in behavior, hormones, and scent. Obviously, a cat is no substitute for a doctor. Do pay attention if your cat is acting odd around you, though. It may know something that you don’t.