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Can cats sense someone is dying?

Posted by dcrowex ( on
Thu, Mar 18, 10 at 8:55

My FIL is very ill right now but we are preparing to start treatments. His cat lays with him most of the time anyway but the last week, this cat has stopped eating. She drinks water, but does not eat. We started putting that lubricant on her paws where she licks it off for help in digesting hairballs and constipation. She has not been in any clear discomfort at all. WE took her to the vet Tues and she was checked and tested and there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. She is still not eating, but acts fine and does still drink water and urinates. But when she is done, she climbs back on the bed to lay with him. I have been watching this cat and knowing how ill my FIL is, my internal red flag is starting to go up.....I did a lot of research on the internet about this but only find all the stories about Oscar the cat in the nursing home. Well as this story goes, they pretty much knew these people were dying. This is not the case here....but now I am getting kind of freaked out about this. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
thanks, deb

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can cats sense someone is dying?

I am no expert but this sounds very possible. When I got the flu and stayed in bed for a few days and didn't move much my cat was very concerned and fussed over me. She didn't stop eating, though. :) It is very possible your FIL's cat knows he is very ill, even if the cat doesn't understand he is dying. Animals can smell or sense people who are starting to die in hospices quite a while before they actually die. Other cats and dogs can smell seizures and blood sugar problems. They are amazing little animals.

Best wishes to your FIL and his sensitive cat.

RE: Can cats sense someone is dying?

There is a very well known story of a nursing home. they have a resident cat, who apparently goes to people who are about to cross over.....I can not recall the exact details but Im usre if you were to put some time into researching it you could find the story.

RE: Can cats sense someone is dying?

Yes that is Oscar the cat in the nursing home. I read all about this, in fact, that is about the only info you can find out there on this subject - is about this cat. I have heard cats have a keen sense of smell when it comes to illnesses.
thanks to you both for responding.

RE: Can cats sense someone is dying?

I hope it's not true - my cat started sleeping on my bed in August. He's never slept with me in the 8yrs. I've had him!

RE: Can cats sense someone is dying?

I'm sorry your father-in-law is so ill.

don't know about cats sensing that someone is about to pass away, but I do know they're extraordinarily sensitive.

2 stories:

1. There's a saying, "Your dog wants to sleep next to you because he loves & worships & adores you.
Your cat wants to sleep next to you because it's cold outside."

One hot summer my heart was broken.
can't even remember why any more, but I was at a very low point emotionally.
& it was miserably hot.

The cats had been sleeping in their cat habitat (an outdoor thing similar to an aviary-enclosed on all sides & on the top).

Every day for nearly a week while I was so sad, the cats slept beside me, on my stomach, on my head.

When I got better, they returned to their habitat.

2. One day at the grocery store I ran into an older man who had a beautiful black cat in the top basket of his shopping cart.
The cat was a service animal;
the man was diabetic, & the cat could detect changes in the man's sugar levels.

What I find fascinating about this is not just the cat's ability to detect the changes(maybe he smelled something on the skin or something), but his reaction to the changes.
When the man's sugar levels got too high or too low, the cat would become agitated & distraught, as though he knew that it was a bad thing.


He may just be getting older & wants your warmth!

RE: Can cats sense someone is dying?

It WAS a cold winter. Plus I lost a dog in August and Kitty and Lena were sort of buddies...hmmm...I wonder. Then I lost another dog in February. Perhaps Kitty sensed my grief and misses Lena, too.

RE: Can cats sense someone is dying?

My animals always seem to know when I am in need of a buddy, and generously share their time and my lap/bed space. I think it has more to do with sensing an overall need to give and get comfort than dying. I remember my mother's internist was hell bent for leather to talk her into getting rid of her little companion, a sweet and sensitive bichon who gave her an immense sense of joy, and was her ears as she began going deaf. He felt that since she had a balance problem the dog might trip her. We never did and she never got under my mother's feet. She just "knew". My little mixed breed schnauzer of many years ago also took it upon himself to be the constant guardian of my foster babies. When their parent would come to visit, he would park his little tweed butt between the stranger and 'his' baby and never take his eyes off of them. LOL.

And when my ancient siamese mix cat Satiko's end was near, she was stuck to me like glue. She "knew".

RE: Can cats sense someone is dying?

during the 21 months my husband battled cancer, my female corgi rarely left his side. after he died, she was never the same. i think his death hastened her own illness. being so depressed, her defenses were down and by the time she was diagnosed with nasal cancer, it was too late for treatment of any kind. she's with him now and i only wish i could have seen their reunion!

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