Cat Questions
can cats see ghosts

Can Cats See Ghosts? - Spooky Sightings from Feline Mediums

Written by Steph McCulloch


The curiosity surrounding whether cats possess an uncanny ability to see the supernatural has intrigued humans for centuries. Many people wonder if cats can see ghosts, and in this article, we answer that very question.
cat gripping table and looking spooked


The age-old curiosity surrounding whether cats possess an uncanny ability to see the supernatural has intrigued humans for centuries. From ancient folklore to modern urban legends, the mysterious connection between feline companions and the unseen world has fueled the imagination of many and sparked numerous debates.

This fascination finds its roots in historical beliefs that firmly link cats to the supernatural realm. Many people believe that cats can see ghosts, and in this article, we explore this intriguing question: Can cats see ghosts and spirits? Drawing from historical anecdotes and folklore, we navigate through ancient beliefs and delve into anecdotal evidence, pondering whether our feline friends possess a unique perception of the unseen.

How cats’ senses differ from humans’

maine coon cat looking slightly spooked

Cats possess a range of sensory abilities that differ from humans, allowing them to navigate their environments with remarkable precision. For example, they have exceptional night vision and vision in low light due to a higher number of rod cells in their retinas. These cells are specialised for low-light conditions, giving cats the ability to see in almost total darkness. Cats also have a structure in their eyes called the tapetum lucidum, which reflects light back through the retina, further enhancing their night vision.

However, it’s not just the structure of the eye that differs between cats and humans. Cats have a wider field of vision compared to humans. While humans have a field of vision of about 180 degrees, cats can see up to approximately 200 degrees, allowing them to detect movement and objects in their surroundings more effectively.

Cats also have highly developed hearing, far surpassing that of humans. Cats can hear frequencies four times greater than humans, including ultrasonic sounds that are inaudible to us. This heightened sense of hearing is especially useful for detecting prey or potential threats.

Whiskers are also a great sensory tool for cats serving as tactile sensors and allowing them to gauge the shape, texture, and movement of objects/prey in their environment. Whiskers are deeply embedded in a cat's skin, and each whisker is connected to a network of nerve endings. These nerve endings are extremely sensitive to touch and vibrations in the surrounding air. This allows cats to detect even the slightest changes in air currents around them.

When air moves, it creates subtle disturbances in the environment. These disturbances cause the whiskers to vibrate, providing cats with valuable information about their surroundings. This includes detecting nearby objects, feeling the distance between objects, and even sensing the movement of prey or potential threats.

Do cats really see ghosts or spirits?

cat looking up at camera

The question of whether cats can perceive ghosts or see spirits has been a subject of fascination and speculation for centuries. While there is no scientific evidence to definitively prove or disprove this phenomenon, anecdotal experiences and observations have contributed to the enduring belief that cats may have a unique sensitivity to the supernatural.

In essence, if you believe in ghosts, chances are you'll believe that cats are able to sense spirits and ghosts, especially when they see things we cannot see or hear things we cannot hear.

One aspect often considered in this discussion is cats' sensitivity to weather fluctuations and barometric pressure. Cats are known for their keen instincts and ability to anticipate changes in weather patterns.

Some believe that if a cat exhibits unusual behaviour, such as staring intently at a particular spot or acting skittish, it may be in response to shifts in atmospheric pressure that humans are not sensitive to. This atmospheric sensitivity could potentially explain why cats sometimes appear to react to unseen forces.

Another factor to consider is cats' reactions to various environmental stimuli. Cats are highly attuned to their surroundings and can be particularly alert to subtle sounds, movements, and changes in their environment.

They may react to drafts, shadows, or even minor disturbances that are imperceptible to humans. These cat’s heightened senses enable them to be more reactive to these subtle environmental changes, which may contribute to their reputation for perceiving the unseen.

It's important, however, to differentiate between supernatural perceptions and natural instincts. While cats may exhibit behaviours that seem mysterious or even eerie, these responses are often rooted in their keen senses and evolved survival instincts.

For example, a cat's ability to detect small movements or changes in air currents may explain why cats sometimes appear to react to unseen entities or why cats can sense spirits.

Although we consider ourselves cat experts, there’s still a lot unknown about feline behaviour. Cats tend to be mysterious and independent which further adds to the belief that they possess a heightened awareness of unseen realms. Whether this is true or not, we just don’t know!

Are my cat’s reactions anything to worry about?

Whilst it’s perfectly normal for your cat to act a little odd from time to time, it shouldn’t happen regularly. Ongoing strange behaviour can be a sign of environmental stress which can impact your pet’s physical health and well-being.

Here are some examples of normal versus abnormal behaviours:

Normal behaviours:

  • Curiosity towards unusual areas: Cats are naturally inquisitive creatures, and they may investigate areas or spaces that pique their interest, even if humans don't detect anything unusual.

  • Attentiveness to shadows or movements: Cats' keen senses may lead them to pay close attention to subtle movements or shadows, which can be attributed to their heightened visual and sensory perception.

  • Alertness in low-light conditions: Cats' exceptional night vision allows them to be more alert and active in low-light environments, which may contribute to their ability to notice things that are imperceptible to humans.

Abnormal behaviours:

  • Unexplained reactions: Sudden or intense reactions, such as hissing, growling, or fleeing from an area without an apparent cause, may suggest that a cat is perceiving something beyond human senses.

  • Persistent focus on a spot: If a cat consistently fixates on a specific spot or area, seemingly in response to an unseen presence, it may indicate that they are sensing something unusual in their environment.

  • Not sleeping: If your cat is staying awake or seems more alert than usual, this is a sign that something in their environment is causing stress.

It's important to regularly assess your cat's behaviour and environment. Making adjustments to minimise stressors and providing a comfortable, enriched space can significantly contribute to your cat's overall well-being and happiness. If you notice persistent changes in behaviour, consulting a veterinarian is recommended to rule out any underlying medical issues.

If you’re a Waggel member, you can speak directly to a vet any time of day with
Joii. Joii is a 24/7 online vet care provider free for all Waggel members.


While science may not provide a definitive answer, anecdotal experiences and observations suggest a unique sensitivity in our feline companions. And what we do know for certain is that our cats experience an extraordinary sensory world.

Recognising this sensory world, including heightened perception and acute instincts, allows us to respect and care for our cats in a way that acknowledges their mysterious nature.

One amazing thing this ongoing mystery provides us with is the opportunity to deepen our bond with these remarkable creatures, cherishing their special place in our lives.

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