Cats are very sensitive creatures and can create a strong bond with their owners up to the point where they can detect and adjust to their mood changes. Their super abilities and incredible sense of smell make many people wonder whether cats can sense when their owner is sick.
Cats have extremely sensitive olfactory receptors which allow them to deduce that a person is ill by recognizing their hormonal changes, and possibly their instinct can pick up on that person's change of daily habits.
Moreover, cats can interpret body language and facial expressions. For example, they associate wincing and grimacing with pain and unwellness.
It is even believed that house felines can spot an illness or allergies that their owner isn't aware of. They become more clingy, empathetic, and caring towards their owner when they suspect a health problem. So if you notice such a change of behavior in your kitty, it's high time for booking an appointment with the doctor.
But, is there any proof that cats can pick up on signs of illness and serious problems?
Do Cats Know When You Are Sick? (in short)
Felines can tell when their owner is sick due to their outstanding sense of smell. It helps them detect chemical and hormonal changes within their owner's body.
When people get sick, their hormonal background suffers changes and their body acquires new scents.
Cats can identify these new scents and understand that something goes wrong with their human companion.
Aside from sensing illness-related smells, cats can pick up on behavioural changes, even seizures, in humans.
For example, if you become apathetic and/or wince often, it will cement your cat's suspicion that you are sick.
Do Cats Sense Depression and Stress?
Due to their ability to spot behavioral and emotional changes and interpret them, cats do pretty well at telling if someone is depressed or anxious.
That is, if your kitty sees you smiling, it will consider it a positive emotion and conclude that you feel well.
A sad and frowning face will suggest that you are unhappy with something. It will motivate your cat to comfort you and cheer you up by grooming you, rubbing against you, and headbutting. In cats' opinion, this should offer you relief and lift your mood, although some people find it annoying.
Besides facial expressions, cats are aware of behavioral changes.
They notice the lack of enthusiasm in their owner as he or she refuses to play with them, pet them, and do household chores.
They feel when their owner gets socially cold and irritable. All these make cats suppose that their human friend suffers from depression or anxiety.
The worst part is that cats tend to mimic their owner's behavior. They become passive and depressed which might make them lose appetite.
This quickly leads to a weaker immune system and higher vulnerability to diseases. That's why provide your kitty with a plentiful diet and give it food supplements.
Keep an eye on obvious signs of weight loss, or even weight gain. Don't be afraid to ask a family member to take care of your pet's health until you fight off depression.
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Can Cats Detect Mental Illness
Mental illness is accompanied by a hormonal change within the body. Cats can detect unfamiliar chemical scents using their highly-sensitive olfactory receptors.
In this way, they find out about their owner's illness.
They also capture and precisely interpret changes in mood and behavior.
So if you become socially detached, irritable, display low energy levels, and have frequent mood swings, your furry companion will notice these symptoms and associate them with a mental disorder.
Can Cats Tell if a Person is in Pain?
Cats can pick up on people's facial expressions and behavior. They can tell that a person is in pain by analyzing his or her emotional and physical cues.
They include wincing, grimacing, moaning, limping, increased breathing, frequent tossing, and turning on the bed. Lethargy is also a sign suggesting to your pet that you feel unwell.
Do Cats Recognize Death Signs in Humans?
When a human is about to meet their death, their body releases typical scents caused by chemical and hormonal changes.
Cats recognize these scents and start to behave highly empathetic towards that person. However, if your cat becomes excessively clingy and caring towards you, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are about to pass away.
Cats always try to comfort people suffering from an illness, experiencing depression, or just struggling with negative emotions after a hard day.
The stronger the bond between them and the ailing person, the more clingy and concerned they become.
Can Cats Detect Broken Bones?
Cats can understand that a person got their leg or arm broken by following their emotions and physiological changes. For example, they may notice that you walk with difficulty or have a cast on your arm.
This signals them that your limb is in trouble and they'd better refrain from pouncing on it, rubbing against it, or climbing on it.
Your kitty also pays attention to your facial expressions. Frowning, grimacing, or even crying will make it understand how much the broken leg hurts. This will make your cat show more empathy, affection, and care to you.
Can Cats Detect High Blood Pressure?
There are some signs of heightened blood pressure that people and even cats can identify.
People with high blood pressure tend to be inconsistent inactions, have difficulty breathing, and become irritable. Cats may notice these symptoms and understand that their favorite human feels unwell.
Hypertension is also characterized by an increased heartbeat rate. So your kitty can sense the fast heart rate when planting itself on your chest or stomach.
Once it figures out that you feel bad, it will avoid laying on you so that it doesn't cause you additional discomfort.
Can Cats Detect Cancer?
There is no clear scientific evidence that felines can spot cancer in humans. However, there are anecdotal stories of cats sniffing the body parts affected by cancer.
There might be an explanation as to why they choose this part.
They might feel the smell of a compound that is produced in high amounts as cancer develops, called polyamines.
They have a sharp smell that can be sensed by the cat's olfactory receptors.
You may also wonder whether cats can spot brain tumors. Brain tumors are also accompanied by a spike in polyamines production.
Hence, felines may grow concerned after sniffing this part of the body.
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Can Cats Detect Heart Attacks?
Cats don't have a clear understanding of what a heart attack is. But, they can pick up on signs of an approaching heart attack by analyzing the physical cues and facial expressions.
Shortness of breath will make the feline curious, as well as the changes in body temperature.
Furthermore, facial expressions like wincing and grimacing will let the cat know that the person is struggling with pain.
Can Cats Detect Diabetes?
Diabetes is characterized by a distinct sweet smell due to increased glucose. This smell is present in a person's discharges which includes urine, sweat, and bad breath.
Cats don't like this scent and may be disturbed while sensing it.
So when your kitty sniffs you and turns its head in disgust or flees to another room, it should signal you that something's wrong. Cats are usually very attracted to their owner's scent, even if it's sweat.
So when they out of nowhere feel disgusted about it, it should ring alarm bells for you.
If you suspect having kidney disease or diabetes, watch your cat's behavior. If it avoids doing things it did before, such as laying on you, playing with you, rubbing against you, sniffing your feet, and licking you, you should consult a doctor.
Cats can understand that your blood sugar is low by your behavior. They will grow concerned when you get pale, passive, weak, and erratic.
Can Cats Detect Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is an ailment characterized by low blood sugar levels.
A person suffering from this condition experiences the following symptoms: excess sweating, pale skin, dizziness, body shaking, fast heart rate, irritability, and frequent hunger.
While your cat has no idea what hypoglycemia is, it can recognize most of the symptoms. For example, by sniffing your body they'll notice excess sweating, and by laying on your chest they'll feel your heart pounding faster than usual and body shaking.
Cats are also good at picking up on mood changes so they'll easily sense your irritability and anxiety.
Do Cats Become Clingy When Their Owners Are Sick?
Cats create a strong emotional bond with their owners. So when the latter get sick, their furry friends tend to become more clingy and caring towards them.
Such behavior in cats is expressed by spending more time with their owners, grooming them, rubbing against their body as a sign of affection, and trying to entertain them.
While some cat owners find this clingy attitude annoying, for others it's big support that helps them go through the disease easier.
Unfortunately, cats are so attached to their ailing owners that they start to mirror their behavior over time. If you get depressed, apathetic, and socially distant, your feline might become the same.
This is why many sick cat owners pretend to feel good in the cat's presence. If you feel very bad and illness signs are too visible, ask a family member to look after the cat until you recover fully.
Do not hesitate to take your kitty to the veterinarians if they seem a bit down in the dumps.