How do cats know to offer comfort when you’re feeling sad? How do they know when you’re going to give them a treat even before you walk into the kitchen?
Do you ever wonder if cats are psychic?
I swear that my cat can read my mind. Furball demonstrated his sixth sense in perfect form again last night. I had just finished brushing my teeth when I opened the bathroom door and found Furball patiently waiting outside the door. As the family had just returned from an extended vacation, I knew Furball was lonely and craving attention.
Of course, whenever you return home from a vacation, there’s loads of stuff to do, like vacuum the cat hair off the couch, clean the cat box, and sweep up the tumbleweeds of fur. I needed to start tackling chores.
After slathering Furball with affection and doling out belly rubs for about 10 minutes, I started heading downstairs to begin the "welcome home" chores. I figured Furball would follow me down to the living room. Instead, he just stayed put.
I looked back and called his name, "Furball, come on downstairs." He didn’t budge. I made the kissy sounds that he knew meant, "Come here." Furball just stared at me. I tried gesturing with my body language, using exaggerated tilts of my head motioning him to follow me. Furball didn’t move.
Then, I imagined the two of us playing together with his favorite toy. Within a hair of a second of me forming this mental picture, Furball sprang up and followed me down the stairs. He was raring to play.
This wasn’t the first time Furball seemed to be tuned into my thoughts. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve imagined a yummy cat treat in my mind only to find Furball headed straight for the cat food cupboard.
There was also the time when Furball became seriously ill with a blocked bladder. I brought out the cat carrier and projected thoughts of urgency upon him. Instead of running away from the carrier like he usually did, Furball walked right up and voluntarily stepped inside. It was as if he knew I was taking him somewhere to get help.
I’ve even tried experimenting with cat ESP while on vacation. We normally have a cat sitter visit daily to feed and play with Furball when we’re gone. However, it’s not the same as having his family there. Usually when I return, Furball is a bit out of sorts, and his coat feels matted and oily.
I wondered if I could "touch in" with Furball to reassure him that I was still thinking of him, that I loved him, and that we would be back soon. I was curious to see whether he could pick up on any mental warm fuzzies I sent him while I was away. I decided to try it while we were on vacation. Each day, I would picture his fuzzy little face in my mind and think loving and reassuring thoughts.
When I returned home from the trip, Furball was much calmer and more relaxed than usual. His fur was soft and smooth instead of greasy feeling. Furball was actually in a pretty good mood. Nothing else had changed, other than I had thought of him daily and sent him metaphysical Valentines.
I know that my subjective stories and observations don’t pass muster for scientific proof of my cat being psychic. Believe me, I’ve pondered whether there are other explanations.
I’ve thought of the case of Clever Hans, the horse who supposedly could do math. They’d ask the horse a question and he’d tap his hoof until he got to the right number. After some research, it was determined that his owner, Wilhelm Von Osten, was communicating the answers with a tell. In poker terms, a tell is when your body gives a clue about the cards you’re holding.
In Clever Hans’ case, Von Osten would noticeably tense up as the horse approached the right number and his face would relax when the horse got to the answer. Clever Hans had figured out how to observe his owner and know when to stop based on what he was seeing.
It made me wonder whether I was giving Furball a tell. Did my facial expression change when I thought about playing with him? Did Furball see a slight motion of my body toward the food cupboard? I wondered if there was some observable change that gave my thoughts away.
Then I wondered about the times when I was away. Was I imagining that he seemed happier and calmer when I came back from vacation? After living with this cat for more than 10 years, maybe I’m just a fanciful cat lover, but I swear my cat can read my mind.
Maybe your cat can read yours, too. Why not give it a try? The next time you’re going to be away or late coming home from work, try sending your fuzzy feline some warm fuzzies. You might just be amazed.