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Can Cats Sense Tsunamis Before Humans? Feline Facts & FAQ

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on February 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

scared British blue-point cat hiding under the bed

Can Cats Sense Tsunamis Before Humans? Feline Facts & FAQ

Cats have been seen as magical creatures throughout time, from their royal treatment by ancient Egyptians to their depictions as familiars in TV, movies, and books. To add to their mysterious ways, researchers have found that cats can sense disasters, such as tsunamis, before they happen and certainly before humans know they’re coming. We’ll discuss what cats can sense and more below, so join us.

cat paw divider

What Is a Tsunami?

Tsunamis are gigantic waves caused by ocean disturbances, like earthquakes and landslides. Tsunamis are difficult to predict, like earthquakes, but some advancements have been made to help residents escape tsunamis. Underwater sensors can detect when an earthquake occurs, but their deployment is sparse, and they don’t provide much time to react to a tsunami. However, cats have an internal alert system that tells them when one is approaching.

How Can Cats Sense Tsunamis?

Studies have shown that cats tend to sense tsunamis long before they happen. It is thought to be the vibrations caused by tsunamis that alert the cats. Some cats become frantic and display abnormal behavior before the wave hits.

The change in atmospheric conditions, the change in the weather, and shifting wind directions alert cats that a tsunami is approaching. However, scientists don’t understand how felines detect tsunamis and other storms. Some believe their enhanced hearing detects the vibrations, while others think the cats’ sensitive paw pads can feel vibrations from far away.

scared cat
Image Credit: PDPics, Pixabay

How Will a Cat React Before a Disaster Such as a Tsunami?

While we would love to say that all cats react the same to a disaster, such as a tsunami being on the horizon, every cat reacts differently. Some hide, some get anxious and stressed, while others refuse to eat or go outside. Since other issues could cause all of these odd behaviors, it’s hard to say how a cat will react with any certainty.

Can a Cat Predict Someone’s Death?

This is another of the magical abilities that have been attributed to felines over the centuries. While it doesn’t have anything to do with the cat being a supernatural creature, in a way, they were right. However, instead of being supernatural, it’s physiology. When dying, the human body begins to shut down its organs, releasing a compound that cats can smell.

Cats have a much better sense of smell than humans, meaning they can smell these compounds and know when someone is close to death.

scared kitten hiding
Image Credit: Khamidulin Sergey, Shutterstock

Other Animals That Can Predict Disasters

Cats aren’t the only animals that have been known to predict disasters, and residents have mentioned how these animals act strangely before disaster strikes.

  • Elephants
  • Birds
  • Dogs
  • Sharks

While this isn’t proven by science to be true, anecdotal evidence suggests that some creatures can provide early warnings for earthquakes and tsunamis.


Final Thoughts

While cats were credited with being magical, there is no scientific proof that they can actually predict tsunamis or any other natural disaster. However, cats and other animals have exhibited strange behavior before a tsunami, and some researchers have suggested that they can detect the changes in barometric pressure and vibrations from earthquakes. Although cats, dogs, elephants, and sharks are not employed as tsunami detectors, they possess abilities that can help engineers design more effective detection systems.

Featured Image Credit: Zossia, Shutterstock

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