Cats can detect illness in their owners thanks to their heightened sense of smell which allows them to detect hormonal changes in a human that can lead to sickness. In addition, cats pick up on many of our body language signals and will understand that a grimace or wince means that we’re experiencing pain.
Continue reading to find out how cats sense sickness in humans and how they react when they know their owner is ill.
Do Cats Sense Sickness In Humans?
Cats can sense some illnesses in humans thanks to their acute sense of smell picking up hormonal and chemical changes in the body.
Applied Animal Behavior Science states that cats use their sense of smell for stress reduction. Recognizing familiar scents around them can help them feel secure in their environment. So when they smell something that they don’t recognize, they become intrigued about what the smell is.
If you are ill, your cat will detect a scent change in your body due to the hormonal fluctuations, and they will deduce that something is “off.”
Why Can Cats Sense Illness?
Cats sense illness because of the unique scents we give off in hormonal fluctuation. This skill aids their survival in the wild; when cats greet each other, they rub together, dispersing some of their scents.
If the other cat exudes a different scent that suggests their sickness, they will know to avoid this particular cat to prevent the passing of diseases.
Thus, the olfactory sense of a cat helps it stay healthy and avoid illnesses. When applied to the human world, this skill transfers to their owners, and they can sense that something might be off with us.
Can Cats Sense Pain In Humans?
Pain may be one of the easiest afflictions for a cat to recognize, thanks to the fact that we exude so many physical and psychological cues when we experience pain.
Cats will use your facial expressions, such as wincing, to deduce your state and understand that what you are experiencing is pain.
They use these same clues to detect afflictions such as broken bones. Cats may not possess x-ray vision to see that you have broken a bone, but they are excellent observers who can link the sight of a cast on your arm to the wincing expression on your face.
Can Cats Sense Mental Illnesses Such As Depression Or Anxiety?
Cats don’t carry the same emotional attunement as dogs when it comes to humans. However, they can pick up on a range of basic emotional cues. In addition, many mental illnesses are caused by hormonal imbalances in the brain. As you give off a slightly different scent, your cat will realize that something is out of balance.
When a person experiences depression, common symptoms include low energy levels, lethargy, and social exclusion. Your cat may pick up on the fact that you have withdrawn from many of your usual activities, but they could also pick up on a change in their relationship with you.
If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, you may spend less time nurturing your relationship with your cat than you usually would. For example, you may not have the energy to play the games you would usually play with them, or you might feed them at different times of the day than usual.
Though cats are often portrayed as aloof, they form meaningful bonds with their owners, and your low mood can transfer to them. Cats experience sympathy and may begin to mirror your behavior as a symbol that they care.
The problem is that this can lead to them also becoming withdrawn or changing eating and sleeping patterns. These changes can negatively affect your cat’s health and weaken its immune system, so where possible, you’ll still want to provide your cat with a good level of physical and mental stimulation.
If you feel like this is too much for you during an illness, it may be better to let a close friend or relative “cat-sit” for you so that your feline does not succumb to the same low mood and withdrawal.
Can Cats Detect Cancer In Humans?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that cats can detect humans. But, some anecdotal research suggests that cancer could possess a detectable smell to your feline.
When a person has cancer, their body experiences an increase in the number of polyamines, a type of organic compound with a pungent scent. This, combined with the fact that some owners report that their cats could “smell” a tumor before they were diagnosed, leads some professionals to believe that cats could possess the ability to detect cancer in humans.
Can Cats Sense Death In Humans?
It may sound silly or morbid to think that your feline could sense impending death, but it’s true. When you think about it, your body goes through many changes before succumbing to the end of its journey, and it’s relatively easy for your cat to pick these up through their sense of smell.
Don’t worry if your cat is extra affectionate with you one day – it doesn’t mean you’re seriously ill. There are many reasons why cats can become clingy with their owners. But, if a cat smells the “death scent,” they are likely to try and comfort you in your final hours.
Why Do Cats Get Clingy When We’re Sick?
Cats get clingy when we’re sick because they care about us. Cats may have a reputation for being distant, but it’s not the case; they form just as affectionate bonds with their owners as other pets.
Suppose they smell “sickness” in you or notice subtle bodily cues that suggest you are ill. In that case, they will demonstrate empathy towards you, which may involve extra attention or even mimicking your behavior.
Cats can sense illness in humans thanks to their acute sense of smell and attentiveness to human behaviors. They may not understand the concept of several human ailments such as depression or strokes, but they will notice the changes in your body chemistry and physical disposition.