Are cats psychic or just empathetic?

I’m sure there are many of you who read the title and either scoffed or laughed.
After all, there are many memes around that laud the ability of a cat to snub their noses at the world. I believe words such as ‘opportunist’ and ‘narcissistic’ have been used to describe the more negative aspects of our pets.
There is no doubt that cats have a very different outlook on life than we do. However….
I’ve read the stories about cats who appear to have knowledge of something about to happen.
Take the story of Oscar, the cat who lived with residents of a hospice in Rhode Island. When someone was about to die, Oscar would take up residence in their room and nestle beside them on the bed. With 28 recorded occurrences of this happening in 2008, it appears that the lure of a warm place to sleep can be ruled out. Maybe there is a scientific reasoning behind this. I don’t know. But Oscar had a great track record!
I’ve also heard the story of a cat whose owner was diabetic. One night before bed, the cat began behaving out of character. When his owner started taking a mental stocktake of everything that had occurred prior to them settling in for the night to see if there could be a reason for his odd behaviour, she recalled that she hadn’t taken her medication. If she had gone to bed without it, she may have fallen into a diabetic coma through the night. Was her pet warning her? I don’t know. It’s a bit of an odd story for sure.
For a final story, I watched a video on Facebook last night with a cat welcoming home the ashes of her canine friend. The ashes were in a wooden box inside a cardboard box. The cat was rubbing around the cardboard box and nudging the flaps with her head. The cynic in me said “My cat does that too. She loves cardboard boxes”. Then the cat leaned in and began licking the wooden box containing the ashes. I changed my cynical views.

Of course, there is no explaining cat behaviour sometimes. I know that people such as Jackson Galaxy think they have felines figured out but I’m not so sure. I’m pretty sure that our furry friends march to the beat of their own drums.
Although events of the past couple of weeks have me questioning my very own Diva and wondering about her capabilities.
I’ve mentioned before that this puss believes she is descended from royalty and has the attitude to match. She expects her dinner on time every night. She doesn’t like it if I am even a day late in changing her litter. She can be a real diva.
She also doesn’t like company much. When we have anyone staying with us, she will make herself scarce. (I’m just going to let her be surprised that the grandkids are coming to stay over part of Easter lol).
My cat is not a cuddly cat. She likes to be around us, and will lay on the floor nearby, but she isn’t a lap cat. She only likes to be patted on her terms.
This is why her behaviour of late has been interesting.

I have a couple of ladies who have come to visit. Smudge has been coming over to them and rubbing against their legs. She even allows them to pat her. This is extremely out of character. Is there something about these ladies that has got her attention or can she sense that they are gentle and love animals?

I mentioned this to the Garden Gnome and we began discussing some of the other things she has been doing.
Such as:

One day a week or so ago, I was quite upset. I sat on my sofa in the spare room where I meditate each morning and sobbed. The Diva pushed open the door (that’s not unusual as she joins me each morning anyway) and jumped up beside me. She nuzzled my hand and then jumped onto the back of the sofa where she proceeded to nuzzle into my neck. I patted her and let my hand drop. She reached out a paw and batted the side of my cheek to get my attention and began rubbing her face against my cheek when I turned toward her. She kept this up until my tears stopped.
Later that morning, the Garden Gnome came in. He was also visibly upset. The Diva jumped off her position on the top of the cat tree, came over and sat on his feet. She then followed him into the lounge room and sat beside him on the couch. She stayed with him until she deemed he was okay.

As we were discussing this, the Garden Gnome remembered another time when he hadn’t been feeling the best and his depression was extremely bad. He lay on the couch and the cat jumped up and lay on his chest for some time. Behaviour like this is extremely out of character for her usual disdainful attitude toward life.

I purchased Smudge from a pet shop a couple of months after we lost our beautiful dog Bundy. Bundy had a habit of ‘snuffling’. He would snuffle up and down the hallway and then go into our ensuite bathroom and jump in the shower to drink the water laying on the floor. As he did so, the registration tag on his collar would click on the tiles. The night that we brought Smudge home, she began snuffling up and down the hallway and then went into the ensuite, jumped in the shower and began licking the floor. She only ever did this a few times and then stopped but it made us wonder if she was acknowledged Bundy (or even if he was there and showing her the ropes).

I must admit that my thoughts about cats are somewhat mixed on this.
I’m not totally certain whether cats are psychic or even empathetic. But when things like this occur, you have to wonder right.
So, does anyone else have any stories to share? What do you think? Are cats capable of empathy? I’d love to hear your stories.


34 thoughts on “Are cats psychic or just empathetic?

  1. Beautiful post, Suze. I’ve had experiences with animals that have noticed my mood and given me attention or quiet company when usually they have little interest in me. They pick up on our behaviour or smell somehow. However they do it, it’s comforting. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  2. She is a fine looking specimen. there is no doubt in my mind that some animals have a keen sense if something is wrong. I do know that some dogs have been trained to sniff out cancers that are otherwise undetectable (early or hidden).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not going to tell her that you paid her a compliment Paul because it will go straight to her head and she will act like a bigger diva! lol
      I think its amazing how dogs can be trained to sniff out diseases. It makes you wonder just how poorly trained our own noses are really.


  3. Oscar, my unwelcome alarm cat adored my wife and she could do virtually anything with him or to him. I on the other hand could never please him and suffered more than one swipe if I tried to stroke him. There seemed to be real ambivalence between us yet on a couple of occasions when I was really down in the dumps he cam to sit with me and managed to get his head underneath my hand for a stroke- without swiping me.I really don’t know if it meant anything.
    xxx Massive Hugs Suz xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You are right – I do believe they are psychic, as are dogs but they’re not so showy with it. I have had dogs all my life and they sense when I am upset or disturbed and have always been there. When I was ill I had my dog curl up nesxt to me and only left when he had to. It is the most amazing feeling.
    I think the photo si beutiful too. πŸ™‚

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  5. I’ve got a story for you. The first time I went to Japan, I stayed in a hotel waaay up a mountain from the town. It was expensive to use a taxi so I decided to walk down the hill. The stairs weaved down, around houses (sometimes I was walking inches from people’s windows) and for the most part I could see my destination so I had a good idea of which way to go. Of course, since there were houses along the way there were also different routes to take. At one point I took a right turn and I ended up walking parallel to the bottom of the hill … I wasn’t going down any more. I’d taken a few turns and I was completely lost. There was no one to ask… until I found a cat. It sat on the wall beside the path and stared at me.
    So I did what any sane human being would do. I told the cat I was lost… yes, even though it probably only spoke Japanese. To my surprise it started walking back the way I’d come. So I followed it.
    It paused a few times when it chose a path… I could have gone the other way but it waited for me, so I continued to follow it.When it finally came to a fork in the road in which one way was up and the other was down, it sat. We stared at each other for a while and then I thanked it and continued down the hill in the right direction. True story.
    So yes, I believe cats (and dogs and horses) are psychic.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I really loved reading about all of the cats in your life. I believe your furry felines reflect your loving devotion to every quirky aspect of their little furry beings………..just as they too, understand the waves and changes that come over their human friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My Catticus could be described as fitting your Diva’s behavior. I would not say he is empathetic to all of us, but he is to Moo. When Moo is ill or upset, he never leaves her side. She is his person. He knows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny how cats act toward us really.
      Smudge (the diva) is my cat but she has a soft spot for the GG as well. Although when the Teen is sick, she will often curl up beside her. But predominantly, she is my cat.


  8. I totally believe the empathy suggestion. Our dog Zeus does this same thing. When I am really down or have had tears, he comes to me, sits on my feet or will lay next to me, licking me. It’s like there is a person in there somewhere, capable of deep thought and advanced emotional behaviors. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mine are always right by me or on me. As far as psychic, I know that they freaked out an scattered right before an earthquake we had. I love my cats, whether they are empathetic or not, they sure are comforting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, I love this post, Suz. I have no experience with cats and no stories like yours about the dogs I have had or have. All I know is that there’s something special about having a furry friend to hold or cuddle with when you’re needing a bit of love, for whatever reason! ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I was a kid, we had a not-very-affectionate Siamese named Bambi (we didn’t name her, promise!). She would only ever come to me when I was crying. Since then, I’ve mostly had male cats because I have found them more affectionate all the time – seriously they don’t leave us alone unless there is a patch of sunshine to lie in! Dogs… I had one “intact” male dog and it was just me and him. He didn’t like men in general but when I was trying internet dating at first, he once physically got in between me and a fella by crawling under a low table – he was a big big dog! But when he met the man who is now my husband, he never growled or barked or gave any indication of a problem. Oh, and my bengal cat, Spot (who is still around) jumped from the floor into his arms within 10 minutes of him coming into my apartment for the first time, too. I trusted my boys’ opinion!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I must admit that there is a certain irony in naming a Siamese cat ‘Bambi’ lol
      I love your story about your animals. Our dog used to growl at my father every time he came over, yet my father loves dogs. I think it must have been the pitch of his voice.


  12. I have 2 cats and they are very healing for me. My asthma doctor recommends that I not have them and if I have to have them they should not sleep on my bed, but I need them. Our big guy, Winzton weighs almost 16 pounds and when my migraines are bad he comes and lays over my head on my pillow. Our little cat curls up around my feet. I call them my parenthetical cats. I believe they are the reason the lesions in my brain have been stable since they have lived with me. And even if they aren’t my medical interventions, they certainly demonstrate heaps of empathy and I love them.

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