Can cats sense when something is wrong?

Can cats sense when something is wrong? I’ll refer to my personal experiences and those of Jackson Galaxy to answer the question. When something is wrong in our world it affects us emotionally which usually results in our body language reflecting how we feel. Cats can pick up on our emotions through various ways including body language. There may be other signs that indicate to a cat that something is wrong. There may be more human noise and activity. Cats clearly respond to these stimuli. They’ll tend to retreat and watch or hide if there is a lot of commotion. Cats are good observers.

Cat looking in a concerned way.
Photo Image by Jacques GAIMARD from Pixabay
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My experience is that cats do pick up on human emotions. For example, if I am cross he’ll tend to steer clear of me (this is very rare). If my voice is warm and friendly he’ll want to be close to me. My girlfriend is slightly nervous with my cat. I sense that my cat picks this up and it makes him less trusting of her which means he is more likely to bite her. My cat has a wild streak because he was raised as a feral cat. These are obvious observations.

Jackson Galaxy on human emotions and domestic cats

Jackson Galaxy writes:

“Cats feed off human emotions..”

Human emotions are conveyed through body language. Domestic cats tend to mirror the energy of their human companions. If the person is frenetic, ‘it takes a single spark to set them off’.

Jackson says what I have said above about my girlfriend. He also states that a cat might perceive jerky, unsure hand movements when petting him/her as prey running away resulting in a misunderstanding by the cat leading to a possible bite or swat.

A person who is unsure about a cat should try and approach as confidently as possible. When people are confident the ‘positive energy feeds off of itself’.

Galaxy says that people interacting with cats should ‘come from a place of stillness and calm’. When something is wrong this is likely to be missing.

You should be non-threatening and friendly in demeanour and body language. Cats who are at the opposite ends of the spectrum in character – timid (‘wallflowers’) or confident (‘Napoleons’) – are more likely to interact by running away or aggression if the person presents body language which conveys a lack of confidence and distrust.

Galaxy says that the best way to approach fearful cats is to ignore them. He recommends backing off, getting low down to their level more of less and let the cat come to you. Cats are great observational learners. This is how they learn from their mothers. The point made is that cats can observe and notice when something is wrong.

A home which has a great, warm ambience is very important for a cat’s wellbeing. Homes should be calm, warm (physically and emotionally), quiet, and non-threatening. People in the home can ensure that these qualities are present through their behavior and emotions and through their interactions with other people in the home which when combined with a home which is enriched for cats makes for a content cat.

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