Do cats have a sixth sense?

Apart from the legendary nine lives, cats are also associated with otherworldly occurrences. Cats are identified to be the familiar of witches. Black cats and witches’ hats are typical symbols of Halloween. Cats are linked with the devil and occultism. Many cat owners believe that their pets have extra sensory powers. Do cats really have a sixth sense? Cat owners that have been exposed to the remarkable and extraordinary intuitive abilities of the pet would answer in the affirmative. Skeptics would immediately say no. Scientists and cat experts though associate the cats’ odd behavior to its excellent sensory abilities.

Cats have excellent senses. The incredible vision enables cats to see very well even in dim light. Cats’ hearing is much keener to that of the dog. The sense of smell is not as sensitive as that of dog’s but it is way much better than what humans have. Sense of taste is not well developed but this is well compensated by the cat’s ultrasensitive sense of touch. The whiskers and other tactile hairs over the eyes, on the chin and on the legs allow cats to feel air currents and the body heat of other animals. As if these ultrasensitive senses are not enough, myths abound about the cats’ supernatural powers. Do cats really have a sixth sense? Is the cat’s touted mysterious ability to predict events, the excellent way finding abilities and the intuitive powers the reason why some cat owners are intimidated if the pet intently stares at them for hours?

Cat owners would recount how the pet displays their supernatural abilities. Oscar, a cat in a nursing home became famous because of its ability to predict death. The cat would sit by the bed of a patient that would die after a few hours. Caregivers that have noticed the cat’s mysterious abilities would immediately notify the family of the patient once the cat stationed itself by the patient’s bed. Cats are believed to have amazing predictive abilities. Cats would rush to higher and safer grounds, often bringing the kittens with them before earthquakes, flash floods and other natural calamities strike. How many times have we heard about a cat’s feat of traveling thousands of miles to find its owners? Cats do have the ability to know if its favorite person is about to arrive. The cat would be very excited several minutes before the person arrives. What is more amazing is that these pets appear to have the ability foretell events. An owner has recounted how the pet cat tried to prevent her kid from going out. The plaintively meowing cat stood unmoving on the doorway. The family was amused at the cat’s antics. If only they have listened to what the cat is trying to say…the kid was hit by a rushing car and died right in front of the gate.

These anecdotal evidences of a cat’s sixth sense are not supported by scientific proofs. While some scientists would believe that cats possess one additional sense, majority of the scientists attribute these amazing abilities to the ultrasensitive regular five senses of the cat. In the case of Oscar, it is possible that the sensitive nose of the cat has smelled the shutting down of the systems of the dying patient. These acute senses also allow cats to “predict” the occurrence of natural calamities. The ability of the cat to travel over large distances to return home is not due to supernatural powers but due to its finely tuned senses.

True, cats have ultrasensitive senses but surely, the senses are not the reasons why the cat wanted to stop the kid from going out. The keen senses are not the reasons why the usually aloof cat would want to offer comfort by rubbing its body against the legs of the lonely owner.