Can Cats Sense Impending Labor? The Surprising Answer

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Yes, many people believe that cats can sense when a human is going into labor and will communicate this to their owner by meowing or purring. These felines know just when you’re about to give birth, thanks to their observational skills and powerful sense of smell.


Continue reading to explore how cats sense impending labor and what their reaction will be to this news.


Can Cats Sense Impending Labor In Humans?


Yes, many cats can sense impending labor in humans. There is a lack of scientific evidence to support this hypothesis, though many women claim that their cats knew they were going into labor before they did.


And it’s not the only claim made by cat owners. Many people have stated that their cat has been able to detect an oncoming seizure or cancer. We know that cats can smell the chemical changes in the body caused by various health issues, so it makes sense that they could predict upcoming labor too.


How Do Cats Sense Impending Labor?


Much like how cats sniff out diseases, they use their extraordinary sense of smell to predict impending labor. As a human body prepares for birth, it begins to secrete colostrum as well as a small amount of vaginal discharge.


While the human sense of smell is not strong enough to pick up on these small changes, a cat’s sense of smell is.


How Good Is A Cat’s Sense Of Smell?


For many humans, sight is our primary method of experiencing the world around us. We tend to recognize people by the way they look rather than how they smell or sound. But for cats, it’s very different; the smell is the primary sense for how they understand the world around them.


While humans possess around 5 million odor sensors, cats have more than 200 million, making their sense of smell 14 times more powerful than ours.


In addition, cats have a kind of “second nose” in the roof of their mouth, called the vomeronasal organ. This secondary scent mechanism allows a cat to detect pheromone signatures and other irregular scents that the average nose does not pick up.


Can My Cat Tell That I’m Having A Baby?


Many signals alert your cat to the fact that you are having a baby. These aren’t limited to scents alone but also environmental changes.


If you’re having a baby, you’ve no doubt purchased new clothes, furniture, and accessories; you may even have redecorated a room ahead of their arrival. All of these clues signal that something new is happening. 


In addition, your cat will have seen your belly grow as your baby develops inside it. Combine this with the chemical changes and the pheromones you are emitting, and you see that there are many signs for your cat to understand that you’re having a baby.


How Will My Cat Act Before I Go Into Labor?


Your cat may act a little strangely as you go into labor. They are likely to sniff you more (particularly around the crotch area) as your body chemistry changes in preparation for the birth. A cat’s sense of smell is acute enough to detect pregnancy-related hormones – they may even be able to smell the placenta.


And these changes can cause your feline to become quite anxious. You may notice that they start engaging in odd behaviors such as peeing on the wall. This behavior occurs when your kitty is feeling nervous or excited, and with the arrival of a new baby on the horizon, they’re probably feeling both.


Plus, your cat is likely to vocalize more than it usually would. Meowing and purring are two common ways to communicate with you; they may also whine. This is their way of telling you that your baby is coming.


Will My Cat Feel Like A Baby is replacing it?


While some cats will be excited about the arrival of a new baby into the home, others will be less jubilant.


As you’re heading into labor, excited cats will often engage in extra vocalization and a few erratic behaviors caused by their mix of anticipation and eagerness. But, other cats may do the opposite and start to ignore you.


These cats most likely fear that the unborn baby will replace them. They’re likely to sense a shift in a human’s stress and intonation, leading them to believe that your relationship with them is changing. It really depends on the cat.


Will My Cat Get Clingy Before I Go Into Labor?


In general, yes, many cats get clingy before you go into labor. If you notice that your cat is following you around more than usual, it’s a good sign that you’re about to give birth.


One of the reasons for this is that despite their aloof reputation, cats actually care for their owners a great deal. They understand that pregnancy and childbirth are a big deal, and they want to be there for you.


In addition, if they sense elevated stress levels in their owner, they will worry for you and try to console you as best they can.


The other reason cats might get clingy before you go into labor is that they fear the baby will replace them. This may be their way of trying to cement their relationship with you and establish a sense of love and care in your relationship.


Final Thoughts.


When a human approaches labor, their body goes through various chemical changes. The human nose is not strong enough to detect these scents, but a cat’s nose (which is 14 times more powerful) can. 


Cats combine these sensory signals with environmental changes to understand what’s happening. Likely, they will alert you to the fact that you’re about to go into labor with a purr or meow. And they may engage in some slightly odd behavior as they celebrate this news with you.


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