Ever since humans have kept cats as pets, the question as to whether they can see ghosts in our homes has been raised. The varying different behaviouristic traits are relatively still a puzzle, and even though we are able to learn and understand more and more about our furry companions, we question their spiritual understanding. And the CLAIRE BARRAND asks the big question – can cats see ghosts?
Can cats see ghosts?
Throughout history, cats have been associated with the supernatural, and the ancients believed they had unique connections with the spirit world. In Ireland and Scotland, it was once thought that the Cat Sidhe or Cat Sith would steal a person soul before it was claimed by the gods after burial. Folk would perform watches called Feill Fadalach over the corpse night and day to keep Cat Sith away and use methods of distraction like using catnip. They also would not light fires near a corpse as they believed the warmth would attract the Cat Sidhe.
From a scientific point of view, we know that cats have sharper senses than we do. A cats’ eyesight is better than humans, and recent research suggests cats see ultraviolet light which humans cannot. Cats view things in just two colours, yellow and blue. We also know that cats can see in the dark, like a night vision camera. Their pupils allow more light in than ours do. Acting like little motion detectors as well our cats eyes have an inbuilt ability that picks up small movements invisible to the human eye.
Cats can also hear frequencies that are 4 or 5 times higher than the ones we hear. They pick up on ultrasounds that we cannot. As well as this, cats can detect where a sound is coming from to within 5 degrees – which is what makes them such good hunters. It is not difficult to see how these amazing creatures actually have the most advanced ability to detect paranormal activity, if only they could talk!
So what signs would our pet show if they were to sense a ghost in its presence? How would we know they were detecting a spirit and not just hearing a mouse? It is important to know your pet’s behaviour well because that understanding is vital to differentiate between what is “normal” behaviour for your pet and what isn’t, before assuming it is the spirit of Great Uncle Frederick.
Growling and Hissing
If there is “nothing there” and you see your pet displaying this type of behaviour it would indicate they are frightened of something, and its unlikely to be just a simple “critter.” Look at the external factors around you. Is your pet hearing a stranger approaching? Has another animal encroached onto its territory perhaps another cat a dog or a fox? Check around out for hedgehogs and rats which are quite large and can make strange noises.
Maybe your cat sometimes just sits and stare at “nothing” and you are wondering what it is they ae looking at? Well if your cat is relaxed they are probably just listening to something, if your cats’ ears swivel round like satellite dishes, then it is trying to pick up the direction of where a sound might be coming from, they are not necessarily looking at anything at this moment.
Consider the weather? In 2004 there were many reports of domestic animals behaving oddly just before the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster struck. Experts believe they picked up on the earth vibrational changes on land. We don’t get Tsunamis in the UK, but we do get earth tremors, and quite extreme windy conditions, as well as thunderstorms all of which do affect a cats behaviour. Are they sniffing around an area excessively? Are their hackles up? Reassure your pet with your voice and check the area out.
Finally, if your pet starts to display odd behaviour always check with a vet that there isn’t a physical problem before assuming there is a supernatural one. Cats that have issues with their eyesight, for example, may suddenly appear more cautious when approaching objects just as we would if everything looked fuzzy! Fleas can make your cat very jumpy and nervous and irritable as can many other conditions, so always get this checked out.
Once we have ascertained that there could be no possible logical explanation for our pets odd behaviour, what then? Many of us believe firmly that our animals have a strong sixth sense and there are countless stories of the bond between humans and their pets being so high that even death cannot part them. There is undoubtedly a connection between us and the pets we love that also scientists cannot explain. Many times, owners have reported that a cat will remain sleeping in a favourite chair or bed where a deceased loved one once always sat as if they sense their presence. The Blue Cross ran a recent survey, and it was revealed that 29% of UK pet owners believe their pet has seen a ghost or spirit.
If a spirit is familiar to your cat, and not seen as a threat, then there it is probably safe to assume that little would indicate that they have seen that person. However it can be reassuring to hear a cat purr when curled up in a favoured spot of the loved one, and you may also sense that they are close by. Your cat might suddenly look up as if that person has entered the room, it may get up and walk over to an area and start to purr or rub its body on the furniture just as it would when you arrive home. But if that person lived there with the cat and did that regularly once, then this would not be unusual to the cat even though the person is in spirit, as we could assume the energy of the person will be the same.
The most significant indicator that your house is haunted and your cat has seen a ghost would be a display of fear. If he or she suddenly arches his back and puffs up his fur, his eyes dilate, and he begins to hiss wildly, yet you can’t see anything, then this would be quite a big giveaway that something spectral is there.
Do you sense something yourself? Perhaps you heard something move or a strange sound, or suddenly felt a presence in the room and a cold chill? Do the hairs on the back of your neck rise, at the same time you notice your cat’s behaviour shift? If puss starts to growl or hiss, at the same time as other unusual activity in your home, then this would be something to take note of, and it may indeed be time to call in the professionals!