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Can cats sense illness?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This might sound weird but its been something on my mind for the past couple days. I've been home sick with the flu and I've noticed my cat's behavior has been a bit odd. She's normally very loving toward me (cuddling and pouncing on things to get my attention when she wants to play) but these past two (going on three) days she's been a little off. She comes near me but sort of shys away when I pet her, then curls up down toward the edge of the bed instead of next to me. She's also been a bit quieter around the house (or she has been when I've been awake, at least).

Otherwise, she's her normal self so I don't think there is anything wrong with her; she just seems to be reacting to me a bit differently. I was wondering if this is a reaction to my being under the weather. Has anyone else noticed anything like this before?
post #2 of 9
Our cats respond in the opposite way. When we're sick or sad, they're even more affectionate and in our laps than normal.
post #3 of 9
I think cats can tune in to our feelings and they certainly know how to predict what we're going to do by watching our every move. Our last cat, Neeko, would get very affectionate towards our daughter when she was home sick. He wasn't normally an overly affectionate cat so I know he recognized something about her feelings.
post #4 of 9
Gizmo doesn't seem to really know when I'm feeling off. She still wants to play. She gets a little distant when I say No. But when I lie down she accepts this, and joins me for a cuddle.

I really don't think she knows about human illness. Maybe she is just a little too self-centered.

Now when I was sick once in Georgia a friend came over with her Dobie, "Thor", and I never saw such compassion and worry on a canine face before. He was absolutely wonderful.

Sorry, but Gizmo does not compare.
post #5 of 9
I hd a kidney stone and my sweet little Fred, now gone to the Bridge, sat on my pillow for 18 hours and watched over me while I slept off the medication. Once I woke up a little, he ran to the litter box, came back and cuddled with me for a nap. He always looked after everything and everybody in the house.
post #6 of 9
I'm sure they can sense that something is different. The way they respond depends on the indidual cat's (or dog's) personality. In my little group, everyone is distictly different in their reactions. One cat (my Meezer, Niko) alsways tries to comfort me by rubbing against me and purring, or by doing tricks to make laugh; my Cornish Rex will curl up on me, preferably wherever it hurts, and purr. Julie, the oldest and top cat, stays away from me at those times.
post #7 of 9
I think they do sense illness and injury. The other day I was taking apart a plastic, 60's-style table we use to put our Christmas tree on. I was wiggling one of the legs out of its socket, and it was really stuck. It suddenly came loose and hit me in the eye, cutting the top of my eyelid and causing my eyelid to swell. Harriet was sitting next to me while I was taking the table apart and saw the whole thing happen. When I dropped the table leg and covered my eye, saying 'owww!", she ran over, pawed at my hand that was covering my eye, and then started to lick my forehead anxiously. She paced around and meowed as I cleaned off my eye and put a bandaid on it

I do think that they can sense how we feel, and I think it's so sweet.
post #8 of 9
During the holidays I was sitting in a chair by the x-mas tree... I don't normally sit there other times of the year. I was exhausted and dozing off and Cosmo was sitting on the floor watching me. I was looking at him but kept nodding off... and he apparently thought something was wrong with me because when my eyes were closed for more than about a minute he immediately sprang up onto my chest and back onto the floor (like bouncing off of me gently). He has NEVER done this, either prior or since.

Once I opened my eyes (obviously a bit startled) he sat back down and proceeded to watch me until I got up and went about other business.
post #9 of 9
I think they do sense when we have something going on. I have a health issue that makes me extremely tired all the time and so I need to nap frequently ... Pearl will get right up above my head and literally purr me to sleep while George snuggles his body (his very big, big body) as tightly against mine as he can. Once I am asleep, the people who are caring for me tell me they both leave for short whiles but check in with me frequently.
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