Can Cats See Ghosts? Here’s What the Science Says · The Wildest

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Can Cats See Ghosts?

They do love to stare at absolutely nothing.

by Savannah Admire
March 28, 2024
Scared black cat standing on couch.
PeopleImages / iStock

Since ancient times, humans have seen cats as a little spiritual. Ancient Egyptians believed that felines were full of divine energy, and sailors used to always keep cats on their ships to ensure a safe voyage. But can a cat see ghosts? And is a hovering spirit what your cat is so fixated on when they’re staring at that empty corner?

While your cat may not use language to communicate, they do have a connection with other cats and the world around them. But whether that connection has a supernatural side is uncertain. If you’re one of the approximately 41 percent of people who believe in ghosts, you may ascribe an eerie meaning to your cats’ odd behaviors. But can cats see ghosts or spirits, or are we just hopeful about a connection to “the other side?”

Cats’ enhanced senses versus humans’

Cats have evolved to sense things that humans simply can’t. They can see much better in dim light, allowing them to spot prey that our eyes would miss. And cats can even hear six to eight times better than humans, as well as use their whiskers to detect temperature and air current changes. Some cats have even been known to sense illness or danger before their human parents were aware.

While cats may not see colors as richly as humans, thanks to their sharper vision, they can detect changes in light, such as the subtle flickering or fluorescent bulbs, as well as more accurately judge distance. And while your home may sound quiet to you, your kitty can hear the faint noises of devices, capturing frequencies both above and below the human range of hearing. 

Unique cat detection

It’s not just your cat’s five senses that enable them to pick up on hidden stimuli. They can also sense changes in the atmosphere, seismic vibrations, and even electromagnetic fields. Unfortunately, we don’t fully understand how cats’ brains work, and we can’t simply ask them what they’re seeing or smelling. In most cases, your cat is likely startled by a change in the world around them and trying to determine if it’s safe — or time to run for the hills. 

Real-life cat ghost encounters

You may have noticed your cat staring at a particular spot, like a wall or stairway (or even you), and gotten a little spooked, especially if the two of you are home alone at night. But can cats see ghosts or demons?

Before you call an exorcist, keep in mind that cats act in ways that often make little sense to the humans who care for them. Whether it’s staring into space for minutes a time, hissing at seemingly nothing, or hiding without cause, you’ve probably asked your cat out loud, “What are you doing?” But just because we can’t see what’s causing a cat to act strange doesn’t mean that nothing is there. And like humans, cats can entirely misread a situation and respond with fear when there’s nothing to worry about.

Cat breeds thought to be psychic

Black and tortoiseshell cats are often associated with the spiritual in folklore, but can black cats see ghosts? While science hasn’t proven that any cat has supernatural abilities, some breeds tend to be more aware of their surroundings and are likely to notice anything unusual. Here are just a few cat breeds that are considered some of the smartest:

  • Abyssinian

  • Siamese

  • Burmese

  • Bengal

  • Cornish Rex

  • Scottish Fold

What science says about ghosts and cats

Science is up in the air on whether ghosts exist — and whether cats can see them. However, research has found that cats can detect changes in barometric pressure. This sensitivity to changes in the weather can help them “predict” storms and other natural occurrences. 

Cats pay close attention to the world around them and notice even the subtlest changes that humans may not pick up on. And unlike people, cats react instinctively, without any ulterior motive, so their response to stimuli may seem abrupt or even startling at times (just like the way their eyes glow in the dark).  

Pet cats also have the ability to sense their human parents’ emotions. Like dogs, our feline companions have evolved to read non-verbal communication from the humans in their lives and can even tell when you’re stressed

Do any animals see ghosts? 

So, can cats and dogs see ghosts? Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure. When we spend a lot of time with our pets, we tend to anthropomorphize their behaviors. So, if you believe in ghosts, you may project that belief onto your cat to add meaning to their actions, like when they stare fixedly at the wall. 

Animals do have keener senses than humans and may react to things we simply can’t catch with our more limited senses. For example, both dogs and cats have stronger senses of healing and smell and may react to things in their environment, like pheromones, that have no impact on us.  

FAQs (People also ask):

Can cats see ghosts of other cats?

Currently, science is out on whether ghosts even exist, much less whether cats can perceive them. However, cats do have more heightened senses than humans, so they’re more likely to pick up on subtle stimuli that we can’t see. 

What can cats sense that humans can’t?

With their heightened vision, cats can see certain kinds of light, such as ultraviolet (UV) light, that humans can’t. Unfortunately, we can’t talk to our cats to figure out exactly what captures their attention!

Can cats really see ghosts?

Cats may or may not be able to see ghosts, but they can sense many things we can’t, like animals or even bugs moving inside the walls of a house. 

Can cats sense evil in a person? 

Cats may be able to sense negative feelings or perceive danger more quickly and easily than humans can. 


Savannah Admire

Savannah Admire is a writer, editor, and pet parent to two dogs and a cat. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing Animal Crossing, or being an obnoxious nerd about her favorite movies and TV shows. She lives in Maryland, where she constantly debates whether or not to get a third dog.

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