Categories: senses

Cat freezes on his first earthquake experience

Mochi is the cat in the video. He has just experienced the feeling of a minor earthquake were are told in the Twitter feed. He looks frozen to the spot.

His owner certainly thinks that he is scared and frozen. I’ll have to try and comment. Yes, I agree he felt the earthquake and was uncertain what was going on. He would have been unfamiliar with the type of noises that he heard – a faint rumbling perhaps. This would cause a little bit if anxiety. Not a lot in this instance otherwise he would have jumped off the bed and hidden somewhere.

You can see his alert face and he’s trying to digest the experience and work out how to respond. He’s unsure and stays still as a result.

I’d expect him to wag his tail from side to side and lick his nose at some point although we don’t see it in the video. Both of these feline behaviours are associated with uncertainties.

When the tail moves from side to side it indicates that the cat’s mind is in balance between doing two different things. Licking the nose is a form of displacement activity. The human version is scratching the head or biting nails. It indicates uncertainty and thought.

Mochi accepted having his hind legs gently held. Cats normally respond to this sort of thing by removing their legs or leg away from the human hand as they don’t like interference with their hind legs. Although we can’t generalise. Some cats will accept it and perhaps it is an indicator in this instance that Mochi is indeed temporarily frozen or distracted.

There’s quite a lot of discussion on the internet about the domestic cat’s ability to detect impending natural disasters such as earthquakes. Mochi did not predict it as far as I am aware. This ability is probably a myth and it is based at best on anecdotal evidence. However, I am not writing off the ability as nonsense. It may happen but not it seems in this instance.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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