Can Cats See Ghosts? We Asked a Vet and a Behavior Expert

It’s not unusual to hear people inquire about whether cats are able to see ghosts. It’s one of the numerous myths and legends about fascinating felines throughout history. Oxford Languages defines the supernatural as “attributed to a force that is beyond the comprehension of science or the nature of the laws,” and this force and the stories about cats are certainly interspersed. Consider:

  • The ancient Egyptians weren’t the only ones to revere cats They instead believed cats to be full of divine energy, particularly the energy from Bastet (or Bast), the cat-headed goddess.
  • Shrewd sailors all over the world never left port without seeing a few Polydactyl (extra-toed) cats scurrying around through the decks in order to make sure they are safe to travel.
  • In addition, an ancient English wives’ legend claims that cats of black are given to wedding guests as gifts are lucky, Scottish and Irish folklore ramblings about The cattish which is a dark cat who searches the countryside for souls to take.

This is a good question to ask What do you think? Do people believe you can see ghosts? According to a 2019 YouGov survey about 45 percent of respondents believe in ghosts. How could your fur ball be acting to make you believe that cats can see ghosts as well? Some people praise their felines for warning them of cancer or yelling incessantly to aid rescuers in finding their lost guardians.

However, are there mice in the walls, or another thing that cats can detect that we aren’t able to? Our brains are so attracted to humanizing their behavior to help us understand their behavior more effectively! We consulted a veterinarian along with an animal behavior expert for further information about cats’ amazing capabilities.

How Cat’s “Senses” differ from Humans’

One possible reason why we think that cats are able to see ghosts is because of their natural ability to see ghosts. Bonnie Bragdon, DVM, is co-founder and president of the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association and was a board member of the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics. The senses of cats are sharper than human ones. Since they are predators as well as prey species, felines have sharp eyes to capture prey and avoid predators.

How are their abilities to sense improved?


Although most of us think of cats as nocturnal creatures, they’re actually crepuscular–low-light hunters most active at dawn and dusk. If they’re mooing in late at night this is a sign of something totally different. “Cats perceive up to six times more clearly in the dim light than humans do,” Bragdon says. The ability to see in incredible clarity in dim light allows them to track and identify prey, and also determine distance and speed with great precision.

Additionally, they have two distinct structures that are unique to humans and help improve the eyesight of the person and vision: The lucid tapetum along with the nictitating membrane. Bragdon explains:

  • The tapetum lucidum is the tissue located at the rear of the cat’s eye that reflects light back toward the optic nerve. This, in turn, enhances the cat’s ability to perceive in dim light. The tissue at the root of that green light appears when light bounces off the eyes of a cat in the darkness. The eye of the cat is reflecting light towards the optic nerve in order to improve nighttime vision.
  • The third eyelid or the nictitating membrane is visible in the inner corner of the cat’s eyes and is raised to protect and cover the eye. “It’s similar to an internal bandage,” she adds.

One reason people may believe that cats are ghosts Bragdon claims is simply because they can detect shifts in the light spectrum that we can’t. “Cats can sense flickering, which is caused by fluorescent light but humans aren’t likely to be able to discern any change.” Humans, however, can concentrate on images more effectively which is necessary to read.

Another thing that differentiates cat vision is that, while they’re not colorblind but they do not perceive colors with the same intensity as humans do. Let’s suppose you see that there is an animal scurrying around. Bragdon states that your cat will be able to see it, recognize the mouse and jump to catch the mouse without hesitation before you know that there’s a mouse present in the room!

“However when you first see your mouse it’s likely that you will appreciate the shades and details of its whiskers and fur in more detail than your feline,” Bragdon says. “Think about the benefits of every species’ strengths. While the cat might be able to capture mice for dinner We can see more of the colors and specifics that can assist in determining the best fruit, vegetables, and nuts to consume.”

The author Amy Shojai, CABC, is a certified animal behavior expert and the founder and president of the Cat Writers Association. According to some research she claims that cats also see in the ultraviolet spectrum which means they often see things that we cannot.

hearing and Smell

Cats listen at frequencies that are higher than and below our abilities, about 1.5 times higher. Bragdon says that a lot of devices that we consider to be an ordinary and silent aspect of our lives actually generate an audio signal that cats can hear.

Although their perception of scent isn’t at all as effective as canines’, it’s still 9-16 times more powerful than humans. There’s also a second organ for collecting scents known as the Jacobson’s vomiting organ that allows them to detect smells that we don’t. You’ll see them using it when their mouth is partly open, with their lips curled up, also known as the “flehmen’s reaction”.


Although these wavy adornments appear gorgeous with dust bunnies framed around them, however, they also provide sensory benefits to kitties. Bragdon states that the whiskers of cats detect tiny changes in the air’s currents, can determine the dimensions of an enclosed area, and help cats detect the position of their prey in the event that it is too close to be seen.

“Given these increased senses are you surprised that our cats respond differently to stimuli from the environment as humans?” she asks. Re-examining all of these capabilities highlights how incredible our feline companions truly are.

Do cats really see ghosts or spirits?

Honestly? This is where anecdotal evidence and empirical evidence come together. Here’s an excellent illustration.

Many cat owners believe that their pets are able to anticipate subtle vibrational signals that could lead to things such as volcanic eruptions. However, research by the United States Geological Survey states that “interpretations of unusual animal behavior are heavily influenced by the human interpretation. Since we can’t speak directly to animals, we are unable to determine whether the behavior that is observed to be abnormal of a specific animal is the result of an earthquake that is coming or another external factor.”

Shojai observes that cats sense shifts in the barometric pressure which means they’re sensitive to fluctuations in the weather. “Our pets are attentive to the small details of the world surrounding them, spotting small changes, and then reacting to them,” she says. Animals, unlike humans, don’t have a reason for the things they react to. It’s a simple combination of abilities and instincts.

“We all know that cats behave in ways that are completely unreal to us. They stare at the sky for hours at a time, or track an invisible object around the space,” Shojai says. “The cat who reacts to fear, or sees the ghost move around the room could be able to track the scent, sound, or even the appearance of bugs on your wall.”

If we aren’t able to sense this doesn’t mean that a clever pet isn’t aware of something. Could this be a sign that your cat is in the process of preparing to take on an esotericist? There’s no way to tell.

Do they have the ability to misread the situation? Absolutely, exactly like we do. “Think about the most recent time you were shocked by something that you saw out from the corner of your eyes or you were unable to discern a sound or smell that you heard,” Bragdon says. “Now imagine that you’re a cat that has heightened perception and reaction time–you’ll likely also see ghosts! Although we might view our pets as insane or crazy I’m wondering whether our felines think like us. ‘Crazy humans just sitting in a chair, why can’t they hear or see what they are seeing or hearing?”

Why Should You Be Worried about the reactions of a cat?

When taking all of this into account Bragdon says that although it’s acceptable for Fluffy to experience strange reactions to stimuli that you don’t see, it’s not normal to see her react in this way repeatedly.

“This hyper-reactivity could be an indicator that there is external stress that must be assessed to eliminate or lessen the cause and minimize the negative impact on health,” She says. “Just as you wouldn’t be able to tolerate the loud music that plays throughout the day and at night it is possible that your cat is experiencing stimulation that is uncomfortable or anxious. Reactions are not always atypical. Repetition and continuous reactions are not.”

“We do not know if pets can sense ghosts. If their behavior causes further issues such as fear reactions and property damages, you should consult the help of a professional in behavioral issues,” Shojai adds. “But so long as the behavior doesn’t affect your pets or your family and is calming for you it’s fine being a believer that Great Aunt Ethel is back to see Muffy, she dearly loved Muffy.”

Another Question Do Ghosts Fear Cats?

Of obviously there’s no way of knowing this either. However, anything else than watching cats at full zoomies mode may consider avoiding the area!


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