It’s happened to every cat owner at one point or another: Your cat suddenly stops and freezes, staring off into the distance at … nothing. Or at least, they’re staring at nothing that you can see.
But what if they were staring at a ghost, a demon, or worst of all, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man? The thought is certainly creepy, but is there any truth to it?
We take a look at the available evidence to see if you need to stop worrying — or if you need to call an exorcist.
As a general answer, there is no evidence at all.
Do Ghosts Even Exist?
The answer to that is: Who knows?
Despite tons of effort from all sorts of interested parties, there is no evidence that proves the existence of ghosts. However, there is tons of circumstantial evidence that proves that something freaky and unexplainable happened at some point in time, and as much as 13% of the population has claimed to have had a ghostly encounter.
Unfortunately, though, we need a little more proof that ghosts exist before we can start testing whether cats can see them. Without clear proof that they’re real — and a foolproof method for detecting them — we’ll never know for sure whether your cat is staring at a specter or just wondering if there’s any food left in their bowl.
This may reassure you, or it may leave you disappointed in the fact that there’s no way to reach a definitive answer.
So, What Is My Cat Staring At?
When it comes to physical senses, cats have the edge over humans in almost every category, and that includes their ability to see and hear. As a result, they can detect all sorts of things that we can’t.
For example, cats can see ultraviolet light. This allows them to see things that are invisible to us, like that spot where they last peed on the carpet. Many ghost hunters use ultraviolet light to try to detect the supernatural, so maybe there is some truth to the theory.
More than likely, though, your cat is simply seeing some trick of light that momentarily caught their fancy. It’s unlikely to be anything serious, which is why they usually go right back to licking themselves after a moment or two.
Cats can also hear much higher frequencies than we can, so if your cat is cocking their head to one side and concentrating intently, they may be eavesdropping on something. Many electronic or electrical devices emit high-pitched frequencies that humans can’t hear, but your cat may be taking notice of them
What Should I Do When My Cat Starts Acting Creepy?
It’s important to realize that just because you know the situation is safe and you believe that there is no such thing as ghosts, that doesn’t mean your cat is also aware of those facts.
Often, when your cat stops and stands completely still, it’s because they’re trying to determine if they’re in any danger. They don’t know that the ultraviolet light waves are completely harmless, and they’re not sure if that electrical hum will burst through the door and try to eat them.
That means you should generally try to reassure your cat when they turn rigid for no reason. This is especially true if they start vocalizing, as that can be a sign that they want you to come to the rescue.
A good thing to do is make an exaggerated effort to locate the source of the disturbance. You can put your ear to the door or start looking around and under furniture, as this shows them that you also hear or see what they are. If all this is happening in the dark, you can turn the light on to show them that the room is empty.
What’s the Verdict? Can Cats See Ghosts?
Until we figure out for certain whether ghosts exist, it’s impossible to state whether cats can see them or not.
Your cat may be seeing more dead people than Haley Joel Osment, but until we figure out a way to determine where these spirits are, your cat will have to suffer these visions of the supernatural in silence.
That’s not to say that you should worry every time your cat stops and looks around, though. Chances are, they’re just noticing a small physical anomaly that your feeble human senses can’t detect.
Featured Image Credit: Cat Box, Shutterstock