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Can Cats See Ghosts?
By Beatrix Potter
If you are a cat owner, or have ever spent any time around cats, you may have noticed them acting in strange ways. They sometimes stare at absolutely nothing, gazing intensely without breaking their gaze for extensive periods of time. Other times they react with surprise, anger, or fear out of nowhere, with no obvious trigger. This may leave you wondering what they are seeing that you aren't - while some people choose to believe cats are able to detect spirits, there is some scientific reasoning that may also offer an explanation for this odd behaviour.
Is Your Cat Seeing Something That You Can't?
Technically, yes - cats can see more than humans. They have enhanced eyesight which allows them to see ultraviolet light, like many other mammals such as dogs. This may explain why our pets sometimes appear to react to something we can't actually see. Cats can see considerably better than humans at night, picking up higher detail in lower light environments, and have a wider visual field than humans, thanks to their elliptical eye shape.
Cats Have Incredible Senses
Cats also are able to use their whiskers (a.k.a. vibrissae) to essentially create a three-dimensional map of their surroundings. They can even sense air movements around them, so they are undoubtedly able to detect certain things that we cannot.
"Cats also have better hearing abilities than we do: they have mobile ears, which means they can turn their ears to point them directly at the sound and thus determine the origin of the sound," says Diana Fills, a pet blogger at Write My Essay and Paper Fellows. They can pick up on very high-pitched, high-frequency, and ultraviolet sounds. Their ears are also designed to aid in the incredible sense of balance cats are gifted with, along with the counterbalancing of their tails.
Picking Up on Pheromones and Scents
However, this doesn't even begin to explain some of the strange, seemingly paranormal behaviours of our pets - especially cats. Cases of cats appearing to predict the deaths of their owners or patients at nursing homes are not uncommon, though this doesn't necessarily mean there is something spooky going on. Cats and dogs have the ability to pick up on scents and pheromones than humans can't detect. This may mean they are able to tell when there are changes in our body chemistry before we know what's happening.
"But there are some occasions where your cat may be acting in a way you can't explain with science. People the world over have reported seeing their pet cats suddenly startle, hissing or meowing at seemingly random things, hiding from nothing, following something invisible with their eyes, investigating the same spot repeatedly, pawing at the air, staring transfixed at nothing for a long time without breaking their gaze, or acting in any other kind of unusual or inexplicable manner," explains Daniel Ollis, a spiritual writer at Assignment Service and State Of Writing. Obviously, different people sit on different places along the spectrum from non-believers to die-hard believers.
Cats Have Fantastic Instincts
Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, it is repeatedly clear to pet owners that their cats are able to sense things that humans are generally more insensitive towards. Cats are great at reading people and picking up on the energy of a situation. They protect those to whom they are loyal, and they are quick to take to people or avoid them if they dislike them.
Associations and Stereotypes
There has always been a strong association between cats and the spirit world, seen in their common partnering with witches, supposedly cursed black cats, and frequent appearance around Halloween. Though it is common knowledge that such stereotypes are often exaggerated, they are also frequently based in truth. So, why shouldn't it follow that cats do (or at least, did) have some connection to the spiritual world.
So... What Does This All Mean?
It is possible that cats can detect things that exist on a plane that humans are not even capable of picking up on. Perhaps they are simply hearing or seeing very normal things that we just can't tell are there, though it is just as feasible for them to be seeing spirits and energies that humans can't see. Whatever it may be, there's no way for us to know at this point in time whether out cats' strange behaviours are a result of their ability to detect and communicate with the spiritual plane, or simply their advanced hearing and vision attributes picking up on fluctuations in light and sound that we cannot see or hear.
Beatrix Potter is an environmental advocate and animal lover, who has volunteered in shelters as a foster for two years. Beatrix has worked in eco journalism for four years, where she writes primarily at Professional Essay Writing Service and UKWritings. She is also a freelance HR rep at the EssayRoo portal.