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Old 13th January 2022, 03:46 AM   #1
Ian Osborne
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Can cats sense spirits?

I've never believed in ghosts, spirits of the dead or other such things-that-go-bump-in-the-night woo, but our new cat has given me cause to wonder. In April of last year, we adopted an 18-year-old cat called Millie. She loves the house, and has made it her own, with the exception of one room.

While Millie will go in our front bedroom and jump on the double bed, she always stays on the edge of the bed and never walks across it like she does in the other bedroom. If we try to carry her onto the middle of the bed, she gets very uncomfortable, and runs out of the room. Could this be because our previous cat died in the centre of the bed about seven weeks before she arrived?

There's probably a more mundane reason for her discomfort, but I'm damned if I can think of it. Does anyone have any ideas?
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Old 13th January 2022, 04:10 AM   #2
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We have a house cat, had her from being a kitten so she has only known the house, she sleeps everywhere in the house apart from one bedroom, she will go into that room but sticks to the perimeter, doesn't jump on the bed, and never ever sleeps in there.

Spirits - nah she's just a cat.
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Old 13th January 2022, 04:16 AM   #3
Ethan Thane Athen
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Originally Posted by Ian Osborne View Post
I've never believed in ghosts, spirits of the dead or other such things-that-go-bump-in-the-night woo, but our new cat has given me cause to wonder. In April of last year, we adopted an 18-year-old cat called Millie. She loves the house, and has made it her own, with the exception of one room.

While Millie will go in our front bedroom and jump on the double bed, she always stays on the edge of the bed and never walks across it like she does in the other bedroom. If we try to carry her onto the middle of the bed, she gets very uncomfortable, and runs out of the room. Could this be because our previous cat died in the centre of the bed about seven weeks before she arrived?

There's probably a more mundane reason for her discomfort, but I'm damned if I can think of it. Does anyone have any ideas?
Assuming you've changed the covers so she can't smell the other cat then the clue is in 'If we try to carry her onto the middle of the bed, she gets very uncomfortable, and runs out of the room.' You're trying to make a cat do something against its will - they will often respond to this by buggering off. Even just picking her up when she doesn't want will make her struggle and then run off as soon as you put her down. You wouldn't give this a second thought if it was anywhere else in the house. one of my cats always perches on one corner of the bed and if we move him he buggers off or just goes back to his favourite corner... except when he comes in soaking wet in the early hours of course, when sleeping on my face is apparently the thing to do!
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Old 13th January 2022, 04:42 AM   #4
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Cats are superstitious.
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Old 13th January 2022, 05:39 AM   #5
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Since your new cat is already 18 years old, which is very old for a cat, then I expect that something in that room is triggering some sort of bad memory for her (colors, textures, shapes, sounds, smells, etc.) and that is why she gets so nervous when in the room as opposed to some sort of spirit being in the room which is making her nervous.
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Old 13th January 2022, 06:23 AM   #6
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I , of course, believe cats and other animals can see spirits. There was a picture on twitter of a room with four cats, and they were all looking up at something that was not there. My pet bird used to do the same thing. She sometimes stared up at something I could not see.
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Old 13th January 2022, 06:57 AM   #7
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Of course, some of us experience feline company differently.

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Old 13th January 2022, 07:36 AM   #8
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This seems to be the very thread for this most curious tale (or tail) that demonstrates that cats know things we don't know.

3 Vancouver Island cats hold owners' blender hostage for a month

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...ttle-1.6311910

Quote:
In a standoff that has lasted nearly a month, three cats based in Langford, B.C. on southern Vancouver Island have tried to claim ownership of a blender box a saga that has fascinated social media users worldwide.

It all started on Dec. 16, according to Nikii Gerson-Neeves, one of the trio's owners, when she brought in a new Vitamix blender and left the still-unopened, knee-high box on the kitchen floor.

Her four-year-old tuxedo cat, Max, immediately jumped on the box, bemusing Nikii's wife Jessica, who took a picture and uploaded it to a Facebook group that celebrates chunky cats.

. . . .

It's a month that has seen the couple deprived of the blender as their three fluffballs, all rescue cats, take turns atop their box perch . .
Anyone have a clue as to what the cats are thinking?
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Old 13th January 2022, 08:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ian Osborne View Post
I've never believed in ghosts, spirits of the dead or other such things-that-go-bump-in-the-night woo, but our new cat has given me cause to wonder. In April of last year, we adopted an 18-year-old cat called Millie. She loves the house, and has made it her own, with the exception of one room.

While Millie will go in our front bedroom and jump on the double bed, she always stays on the edge of the bed and never walks across it like she does in the other bedroom. If we try to carry her onto the middle of the bed, she gets very uncomfortable, and runs out of the room. Could this be because our previous cat died in the centre of the bed about seven weeks before she arrived?

There's probably a more mundane reason for her discomfort, but I'm damned if I can think of it. Does anyone have any ideas?
One of our cats just isn't a fan of soft surfaces. We have a quilt in the living room that serves as a leg wrap on the couch. It also ends up being the under-layer for the heating pad, which Ms TP and both the cats really enjoy.

But one of the cats just *hates* stepping on the soft surface of the blanket/pad. Took him a year and a half before he cautiously took his first tentative steps up onto the heating pad.

Took him two years to get up on the bed and walk around. He's still a lot more careful and circumspect about it than the other one.

Probably the cat in the OP just doesn't like the feel underfoot of floofy sheets and blankets. The other part is just a coincidence. Since we assume, a priori, that spirits don't exist, the alternative proposed in the OP doesn't make sense.
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Old 13th January 2022, 08:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
This seems to be the very thread for this most curious tale (or tail) that demonstrates that cats know things we don't know.

3 Vancouver Island cats hold owners' blender hostage for a month

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...ttle-1.6311910



Anyone have a clue as to what the cats are thinking?
With cats it's usually a thing about being higher.
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Old 13th January 2022, 09:52 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
This seems to be the very thread for this most curious tale (or tail) that demonstrates that cats know things we don't know.

3 Vancouver Island cats hold owners' blender hostage for a month

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...ttle-1.6311910



Anyone have a clue as to what the cats are thinking?
The cats are thinking "I got $20 that says these witless nimrods that feed us don't push me off the box and set up their blender for a month".
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Old 13th January 2022, 10:22 AM   #12
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While this SHOULD fall in the realm of "blindingly obvious", cats have:

* Different sensory acuities than human beings; for example a superior sense of smell, or superior night vision;

* Senses that perceive inherently different types of stimuli than humans - for example the inability to taste sweet things.

* Different inherent neural or instinctual responses to those senses - for example inborn alarm reactions to snake or cucumber-like objects; or pouncing instincts in response to wiggling string or fingers.

* Entire sets of learned or conditioned responses that they cannot explain through language - for example fear of something or someone that previously caused them pain

In other words, it is entirely possibly that your cat is perceiving something you cannot, and reacting negatively to it because of instincts you don't have or unpleasant memories/associations it cannot explain to you. it could be any number of things - a bad smell, lack of protective cover, a different level of bounciness in the mattress center, etc.

Last edited by Shadowdweller; 13th January 2022 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 13th January 2022, 10:44 AM   #13
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Cats are weird. And they're jerks. I wouldn't believe anything they say.
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Old 13th January 2022, 12:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by eerok View Post
Cats are weird. And they're jerks. I wouldn't believe anything they say.
Amen!

After having some 20 different cats over the years, and knowing at least 20 other cats over the same time period, then I can assure everyone in the Forum that this statement is quite true.
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Old 13th January 2022, 12:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One of our cats just isn't a fan of soft surfaces. We have a quilt in the living room that serves as a leg wrap on the couch. It also ends up being the under-layer for the heating pad, which Ms TP and both the cats really enjoy.

But one of the cats just *hates* stepping on the soft surface of the blanket/pad. Took him a year and a half before he cautiously took his first tentative steps up onto the heating pad.

Took him two years to get up on the bed and walk around. He's still a lot more careful and circumspect about it than the other one.

Probably the cat in the OP just doesn't like the feel underfoot of floofy sheets and blankets. The other part is just a coincidence. Since we assume, a priori, that spirits don't exist, the alternative proposed in the OP doesn't make sense.
Oh yeah, the thing about textures: we changed the rug in our living room a couple of years back and our 2 resident felines spent 6-9 months walking round it, then another 6 months doing a very peculiar high stepping walk on it, then started hunting it...

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Old 13th January 2022, 01:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by eerok View Post
Cats are weird. And they're jerks. I wouldn't believe anything they say.
Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
Amen!

After having some 20 different cats over the years, and knowing at least 20 other cats over the same time period, then I can assure everyone in the Forum that this statement is quite true.
Heh. I tend to think of cats the opposite way: They have an unflinching, remorseless honesty. They're always very clear about exactly how they feel towards me and what it is I'm good for.

Even when they're clamoring for food outside of the Feeding Time, they're not trying to trick me into thinking it's feeding time. They are quite sincerely telling me, "I don't give a rat's ass about your damn Feeding Time. I just want a rat's ass in my food bowl RIGHT NOW."

ETA: I do agree that cats are weird jerks, though.
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Old 13th January 2022, 01:54 PM   #17
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Can cats sense spirits?

My cat always knows when I have whisky in my glass. She won't go near it.
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Old 13th January 2022, 02:09 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
My cat always knows when I have whisky in my glass. She won't go near it.
Yeah, but what about whiskey in the jar?
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Old 13th January 2022, 02:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Ian Osborne View Post
I've never believed in ghosts, spirits of the dead or other such things-that-go-bump-in-the-night woo, but our new cat has given me cause to wonder. In April of last year, we adopted an 18-year-old cat called Millie. She loves the house, and has made it her own, with the exception of one room.

While Millie will go in our front bedroom and jump on the double bed, she always stays on the edge of the bed and never walks across it like she does in the other bedroom. If we try to carry her onto the middle of the bed, she gets very uncomfortable, and runs out of the room. Could this be because our previous cat died in the centre of the bed about seven weeks before she arrived?

There's probably a more mundane reason for her discomfort, but I'm damned if I can think of it. Does anyone have any ideas?
This is about cat psychology more than parapsychology, and cats are far more weird.

Start from the top, you recently adopted an 18 year-old cat, that means your pet has had 18 years of life experience you are unaware of, and are obviously influencing your cat's behavior. The previous owner may have been abusive to the cat if it got on the bed, or simply something traumatic happened to it that left a permanent impression.

I've had cats all my life, some are weird about the deaths of other cats. There might be a scent they pick up. Either way, I doubt it has to do with ghosties.
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Old 13th January 2022, 03:12 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by eerok View Post
Cats are weird. And they're jerks. I wouldn't believe anything they say.
Yeah, if I analyzed all the weird/passive-aggressive/downright mean stuff my cats have done, I'd never get any sleep.
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Old 13th January 2022, 03:51 PM   #21
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<SARCASM>

-

Yes.

How do I know?

Because my cat told me, and I believe everything she says, except when it's about how she's starving to death, and she needs food now.

</SARCASM>

Cats may be weird, but it's why I love them.

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Old 13th January 2022, 04:00 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Yeah, but what about whiskey in the jar?
-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boanuwUMNNQ&t=25s

-
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Old 13th January 2022, 07:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ethan Thane Athen View Post
Assuming you've changed the covers so she can't smell the other cat..
Changing the covers won't prevent the cat from smelling the other cat. Cats have a very acute olfactory sense (though not as acute as that of dogs) and can probably smell the other cat on the mattress.

ETA: In fact I'm pretty sure that when a cat (or a dog) seems to stare at nothing, it's because they have smelled something that is imperceptible to us.
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Old 13th January 2022, 08:01 PM   #24
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Old 14th January 2022, 02:41 AM   #25
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Yes, of course cats can sense sprits... my cat, Mr Miyagi, can sniff out a fifth of scotch from the other end of the house!
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Old 14th January 2022, 02:56 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
This seems to be the very thread for this most curious tale (or tail) that demonstrates that cats know things we don't know.

3 Vancouver Island cats hold owners' blender hostage for a month

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...ttle-1.6311910



Anyone have a clue as to what the cats are thinking?
Curiously we've had something similar here. An acquaintance of C's dropped over a box containing a piece of apparatus and it's accessories. Leonard was immediately suspicious and clawed at it. After the contents were removed he insisted on lying out on the box, and occasionally clawing at it.
We think it may have the scent of a dog on it.
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Old 14th January 2022, 04:48 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
This seems to be the very thread for this most curious tale (or tail) that demonstrates that cats know things we don't know.

3 Vancouver Island cats hold owners' blender hostage for a month

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...ttle-1.6311910



Anyone have a clue as to what the cats are thinking?
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Old 14th January 2022, 04:53 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Changing the covers won't prevent the cat from smelling the other cat. Cats have a very acute olfactory sense (though not as acute as that of dogs) and can probably smell the other cat on the mattress.

ETA: In fact I'm pretty sure that when a cat (or a dog) seems to stare at nothing, it's because they have smelled something that is imperceptible to us.
Agreed - I was trying to forestall an 'Impossible I've changed the sheets argument' but I shouldn't have been so definitive.
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Old 14th January 2022, 06:00 AM   #29
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https://twitter.com/dajjal_dd/status...343362/photo/1
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Old 14th January 2022, 07:32 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
And when they stare skyward it's probably this they are looking for:
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Old 14th January 2022, 11:34 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Mr Miyagi does that reasonably often... its usually a mouse in the ceiling or a bird on the roof that he can hear, but I can't.

Do not discount the possibility that the cats might be hearing something rather than seeing it. Cats have an incredible range and sensitivity of hearing, as low as 40Hz and as high as 85 kHZ, that is four octaves above the range of a human with good hearing. They are also incredibly good at localising sounds... they can determine the source of a sound within 5 either side - about three inches at three feet.

While cats cannot hear the 50/60Hz of electricity, if you have a bad insultator or connection in your home, electrical current passing through it can cause a sound at 50/60Hz that the cat can hear and you can't. Same applies to incandescent light bulbs with a dodgy filament
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Old 14th January 2022, 05:11 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
While cats cannot hear the 50/60Hz of electricity, if you have a bad insultator or connection in your home, electrical current passing through it can cause a sound at 50/60Hz that the cat can hear and you can't. Same applies to incandescent light bulbs with a dodgy filament
My cat goes completely berserk whenever I get a cell phone call. Which is unfortunate (painful) when she is sleeping on or against me.
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Old 15th January 2022, 05:47 AM   #33
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To support that view, I have a totally deaf cat and she's been deaf from birth, and she doesn't do that "staring into the corner of a ceiling" thing. (Don't worry - she has plenty of other ways of unnerving me so she is keeping up the cats' code.)
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