Can cats really see ghosts?

Have you ever gotten the feeling that your cat sees something you don't? Or thought they were staring down something supernatural? Or something you couldn't see?

Do cats see something we mere humans can't?
Do cats see something we mere humans can't?  © Bildmontage: 123RF/donatas120, unsplash/Krystian Tambur

Thanks to fairy tales and Halloween, cats tend to be associated with supernatural, and especially with witches and other magical beings.

In some religions' cat are considered cohorts of the devil or bringers of bad luck.

Considering all the magical associations we have with cats, especially black ones, it wouldn't be all that surprising if cats could in fact see ghosts or sense bad energy. Would it?

The Internet doesn't help. There is many a pet owner who believes that their cat can perceive paranormal activities and wants to share that revelation with everyone online.

Cats are strange and mysterious. Sometimes they avoid who areas of the house for no apparent reason. Or they are intent of chasing something invisible to their owner's eye. And sometimes they creepily stare at seemingly blank walls.

What attracts our animal housemates' attention isn't always clear to us mere humans. And that might explain why lots of people think that cats can see dead people or sense negative juju, regardless if they believe in the supernatural or not.

The fact is that cats have sensory perception that allows them to grasp much more of reality than us humans.

Cats are the masters of sensory perception

A cat's senses are highly evolved. They use these special abilities to hunt and protect themselves from danger. Felines can detect the smallest of movements, the quietest of sounds, and the lightest of touches. These senses give cats a special pass to a world that is hidden to us humans – but that doesn't necessarily make it limbo or the afterlife.

One of these sensory secret weapons is a cat's eyes. Their distinctive slit-shaped pupils obstruct fewer areas of the eye than our round human pupils. This special shape makes it possible for them to see different wavelengths of light with different areas of their eyes.

According to a study by the City University of London, cats can even sense ultraviolet light. And because their eyes are relatively large in comparison to their bodies, cats also have a wider field of vision.

Cats' unique eyes also make it easier for these animals to see in low light, like at dusk. That's because they have an extra reflective layer behind their retina. This layer makes it easier for their brain to register radiation. Visually, it makes it look like their eyes reflect the light, which gives them that striking glow in the dark effect.

Cats' special pupil shape makes it easier for them to see more of the world.
Cats' special pupil shape makes it easier for them to see more of the world.  © unsplash/Antonio Lapa

Not only are cats better equipped to process visual signals. Cats hear three times better than humans. They can hear frequencies far above the human hearing limit.

And unlike us, they can move their ears independently of each other and in 180 degrees. Their hearing is three-dimensional. They can pick up the softest sounds, determine how far they are from the sound, and can locate it.

Cats have evolved to be the perfect hunters of rodents and other small, fast creatures. They are effective hunters because of their keen senses that allow them to perceive things we cannot.

Check out more cat facts and guides on TAG24

Did a mouse or bug catch your kitten's eye or are they in a staring contest with a ghoul.
Did a mouse or bug catch your kitten's eye or are they in a staring contest with a ghoul.  © unsplash/Ricardo L

So you never know if your cat is staring down a ghost or another supernatural being, but it is clear that they most likely see something you don't.

Cover photo: Bildmontage: 123RF/donatas120, unsplash/Krystian Tambur

More on the topic Cats: