Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do Pets Sense Danger?

a lost kitty from the tsunami the other day. =(  I hope that kitty made it through

Did this cat know the tsunami in Japan was coming? It's long been said that animals sense danger before humans are aware of it. He definitely could have seen it coming, according to this National Geographic article; however, no studies (as of back in 2005) have proven animals actually have this sixth sense:

"One of the world's most earthquake-prone countries is Japan, where devastation has taken countless lives and caused enormous damage to property. Researchers there have long studied animals in hopes of discovering what they hear or feel before the earth shakes. They hope that animals may be used as a prediction tool. 
Some U.S. seismologists, on the other hand, are skeptical. There have been documented cases of strange animal behavior prior to earthquakes. But the United States Geological Survey, a government agency that provides scientific information about the Earth, says a reproducible connection between a specific behavior and the occurrence of a quake has never been made."
In this amazing video of the ground moving in Chiba City, Japan on March 11, 2011, you can hear a dog freaking out at the beginning. I wonder if the dog knew something was going to happen before the quake hit? The rest of the video is eerily quiet, however...

Animals may not only sense physical danger to themselves, but also illness or impending death of their beloved humans. The BBC reported in 2007 that a cat had "predicted the deaths of 25 residents in a nursing home in the U.S." The cat, not normally very friendly, would cuddle up next to patients who were soon to pass. The same article mentions dogs detecting breast cancer before anyone else knew about it. Also - and I didn't know this - some "support dogs" have been trained as "seizure alert" dogs to accompany epileptics.

The other day, our 11-month-old had a fever of at least 103 degrees. While we were pondering whether or not to take him to the emergency room (it was 10:00 at night, so doctor's offices or urgent care centers weren't open), one of our cats gently laid down next to him and put a paw on his chest with a concerned look.  I had heard about animals sensing impending doom... so off the the ER we went. Our baby is doing a lot better now, thankfully, with no more scary-high fevers.

kitty and baby bonding a few months ago =)

I'm not sure if I can end without showing this sad video of a cat performing chest compressions on his kitty friend. I wonder if he is acutely aware of his friend's heartbeat (or lack thereof)...

Have any of your pets ever alerted you of danger or illness?


  1. i believe animals have a sixth sense

  2. My dog barks when he see someone strange

  3. Not ALL danger, but I think they can certainly sense an earthquake/tsunami coming before us.