The specific categories of natural senses for humans and cats include the following: 

  • Sight
  • Smell
  • Hearing,
  • Taste
  • Touch

Cats have a sixth sense, called sensitivity. The difference between your cat and you is that, while you may think you may be sensitive to those around you, your cat is extremely sensitive, especially to those humans who are the closest to them. Perhaps, unknown to you, your cat or dog knows first-hand if you have an illness or even a terminal diagnosis before you or your doctor. Some pet owners say that their cat or dog was so persistent at focusing on a part of their body that they paid a visit to their doctor and found out they had cancer before the doctor gave them a definitive diagnosis. 

I believe that because a cat’s sense of smell and discernment is naturally heightened, the cat knows before anyone else that something is not right with its owner’s health. Their owner has a particular order of illness. Your body’s chemical makeup changes when you become ill, and your cat can detect these changes through its heightened ability to smell.  

If you can remember to do so, watch your cat for behavior and mood changes next time you are ill. Each time you are sick may be due to different reasons, so your cat may not react the same time each time you become sick. Watch your cat and see if they start to respond to you differently.

Do Cats Know If You Are Sick, and How Do They Know?

I have read several reports of cat owners who were ill. These cat owners said that their cats started to do things and act outside of their typical character. Many of these cat owners state that they knew their cat was aware that they were ill due to strange actions that were not typically seen in their cat. Some individuals also report that cats are very aware that their owner has a terminal diagnosis and does not have long to live. Cats also know when their owner has gotten word that a loved one has died. Read later about how my cat reacted when my husband received word that his father had died.  

Cats are highly sensitive to their owner’s feelings. If you are sad, anxious, happy, upset, angry, and more, your cat picks up on these feelings with their heightened sensitive nature. Health, wellness, and sickness are part of a human or cat’s life. Your cat does not know the problem; however, your cat can tell when you are sick or when something is not right with you. Your cat may also contribute to a more speedy healing process when you are ill. 

Experts who study the behaviors of cats and reports by many pet owners say that your cat knows when you are ill because of the physical, emotional, and chemical changes taking place in your body. These specific chemical changes cause changes in your natural scent with which your cat is familiar. For example, if you have a temperature of 104 degrees, your skin is warmer than usual, and the temperature causes you to smell differently to your cat. A cat quickly picks up on this change. 

The Supernatural Power of Cats?

Never assume that your cat has some spectacular supernatural ability to foresee your health in the future. This possible magical ability in a cat is a false myth in which some cat owners fall victim to when their cats discover they are ill before they know it themselves. Cats do not possess supernatural tendencies. Cats use their God-given ability to have heightened senses and smell. 

These physical changes you experience when you are sick strongly affect how you act towards those around you, including your cat. Your cat picks up on these behavioral, emotional, and chemical changes in your body, and it can tell that something is very wrong with you. Your feelings, behavior, actions, and voice tone cause your cat to react differently. Your cat does not possess supernatural powers or abilities.

Can Cats Sense If You Are In Pain?

If you are experiencing increased pain and discomfort, your cat can detect emotional as well as physical pain. A cat can do this because it can focus on your mood and know when it changes. Your attitude is different when you are not experiencing pain. A cat’s antennas go up when you undergo physical changes related to pain. Cat behavior specialists say that your cat notices your facial expressions. Your cat can see you grimace or see you wince, and it knows you are hurting. You are probably too ill to notice when you are sick and possibly in pain that your cat keeps its eyes on you. If your cat does not usually sit on your lap or lay at your side, you may see them do these things to remain closer to you and possibly cling to you so they can keep a watchful eye.   

Some pet owners report that their cat is always with them except when they become ill or are in pain; they notice that their cat keeps a safe distance. This action is not because your cat is afraid of picking up your germs and getting sick. Your cat picks up on significant changes in your behavior, mood, and the chemical changes in your body that sickness brings. Another reason is that you may have to apply some ointment or other chemicals as a pain treatment, and your cat does not like the smell. If you are ill and your cat prefers to keep its distance, it is not something to cause you to worry. Your cat will likely go back to its regular routine once you recover.

Does My Cat Know If I Am Dying? 

Cats may not know that your life on earth is drawing to a close. But, what a cat does know is the significant changes taking place in your body. Your cat’s heightened sense of smell tells them that things are not going well with their human. Cats can detect these changes through your body temperature, behavior, and mood. Cats can sense the stages of death because each step, such as a specific vital organ shut-down, brings chemical changes they can smell. 

Do Cats Get Clingy When You Are Sick? 

Some cat owners report that their cat will not leave their side except to eat, drink, or potty. Your cat may not know what is wrong with you; however, your cat knows that something is wrong. Your cat, no doubt, wants to stay close to you because it is watching you. Your cat wants to make sure you are OK. 

I have had instances where I needed to go to the hospital. When this happened, and I had to pack an overnight bag, one of my cats would come and sit in the bag. When I move my cat to fill what I need, my cat is back in the bag. 

Q. Does my cat want to go with me? 

A. Perhaps, although I don’t think my cat feels this way. I believe that my cat knows something will change soon and wants to figure it out. Once I am away, my husband has said that my cat wanders from room to room. I believe my cat is undoubtedly looking for me. 

This tactic may seem a bit foolish to some people, but it has worked for me and may work for you if you have a clingy cat. When I am away for any reason, and I know that my cat Mia is looking for me, I ask to speak to her on the phone. This tactic does seem to help her when she hears my voice. I am told Mia looks all around the room, and her eyes get big and wide. She looks at the phone as though wondering how I got there. Please know that we are talking about a cat that enjoys watching cat videos on my Kindle. She has set for up to an hour observing before she becomes bored and walks away. All cats are different.

Your cat has adapted to your particular scent. Your scent is now unfamiliar to your cat when you become ill. Stop to think, are you taking cough medicine or rubbing your neck or nose with Vicks, or applying some other over-the-counter remedy that has a strong smell? These odors are foreign to your cat. Thus, your cat may not come too close to you during this time. Once you get better and these foreign odors disappear, your cat will come to you again.

My Story of a Family Death and a Very Sensitive Cat

It had been going on five years since I had cats in our house, so I was still learning new and exciting things about these critters. In 1995, I had a cat about two years of age, and he enjoyed lying on our kitchen desk by our telephone. Everything with us, our children, and our cat family were OK. My husband received a telephone call on this particular day that his dad had passed away in the hospital from pneumonia. 

As the caller was still speaking with my husband and had not said a word to the caller, our cat Pudge Bear started reacting. I was perplexed about the call due to my husband’s facial expression and knew something had happened. I looked down at our cat, Pappa Pudge Bear, and he was crying. Pudge’s tears were falling onto the desk. I looked at my husband and motioned towards Pudge. We were both in awe of what had happened and perplexed. How could that cat know that we had a death in our family? I took Pudge in my arms and kept gently reassuring him that everything would be OK. 

This cat knew that the news was not good. Now, Pudge may or may not have known that someone close to us had died, but this cat certainly knew that something terrible had happened, and the sensitivity in this cat read my husband’s sadness. Being a new cat owner, I had no clue that cats carry such a heightened sensitivity to their surroundings and the people they love. 

When cat owners are ill, or they have a terminal diagnosis, for example, cancer, the cat can pick up on this illness, not only because of their God-given sensitivity, but also due to their heightened ability to smell the sickness. Some disease processes have a definitive smell that we or those around us do not notice, but our cat can. 

What Do Cats Do When You Are Sick? 

What your cat does when you become sick depends wholly on your cat. I wish mine would do the laundry and clean the bathroom, but they refuse. As human beings, each cat is different. Each cat reacts differently to its owner’s sickness or death. Your cat can stick to you like crazy glue because they know something is wrong with you. Your cat knows that they must keep a watchful eye on you.  

Your cat could also disappear or refuse to come near you because you do not smell like you are supposed to smell. Sickness and death bring chemical changes in the body that humans cannot smell, but your cat can smell these changes. However, sometimes people can smell an odor of infection and death depending on the circumstances of the illness. 

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.