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Can Cats Predict the Weather? Behaviors Backed By Science!

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

Dark photo of a young gray cat looking out the window as it rains in the yard

Back when smartphones and weather apps were not a thing, people watched animal behavior to predict the weather. Many stories, folklore, and myths have been told about cats being little meteorologists.

So, should we give our fur babies credit for being natural weather forecasters? Can cats predict the weather, or are these old wife tales?

It is factual that cats are extraordinarily attuned to nature and can predict the weather!

Cats are sensitive to even the slightest changes in atmospheric pressure. They are more sensitive to smells and sounds and will likely get a whiff of the metallic scent of lightning before you do. Cats can also hear thunderstorm rumbles from quite a distance and detect hints of the smell of incoming rain.

Read on to learn more about cats and their unique weather forecasting abilities.

Are Cats Natural Meteorologists?

Cats have heightened senses compared to humans. They can sense even the slightest changes in atmospheric pressure, sounds, and smells. This allows them to pick up hints of incoming storms with remarkable ease.

For instance, your feline buddy can detect a fall in atmospheric pressure and start preparing for an impending storm. It can also hear the rumbles of thunder from quite a distance and get a whiff of the smell of rain or the metallic odor of lightning.

cat looking outside the window
Image Credit: maigrey42, Pixabay

Why Can Cats Sense Weather Changes?

The auditory systems of cats are, to date, a biological marvel. Your feline buddy has a better sense of hearing than humans, dogs, and numerous other mammals. A cat’s ears can pick up sound signals like a satellite dish because its ear flap can rotate up to 180 degrees.

Moreover, cats have longer ear canals that travel to a deeper area for a heightened sense of sound. They can hear high-pitched sounds of 1.6 octaves above the human range and pick up the faintest rustling noises, peeps, and squeaks with remarkable ease.

While humans have only five million smell sensors in the nose, cats have over 200 million odor sensors!

Generally, your feline buddy can hear clear sounds at greater distances. It can pick up thunderstorm rumbles that are four to five times further than the typical human hearing range. Also, its sense of smell is nearly 14 times better than a human’s, allowing it to get a whiff of the scent of an incoming storm.

How to Predict Different Weather Changes by Checking Your Cat’s Behavior

Your feline friend is a fantastic weather forecaster. With all the unexpected climatic changes lately, it is common for weather forecasters to make wrong predictions. Maybe, you should stop listening to meteorologists and instead rely on a source you can trust: your furball.

Here are the behavioral changes to look out for to know whether to expect rain or snow.

Signs It Will Rain

Low atmospheric pressure is one of the common signs of impending rain. Unfortunately, it can cause joint aches and headaches for cats. Your cat may rest with the top of its head on the floor to nurse the headache or lick its fur against the gain to ease joint aches. Low atmospheric pressure can also affect the sensitive inner ear of your furry buddy, prompting it to groom its ears more frequently.

Moreover, impending rain lowers the humidity in the air. This can cause more static on your cat’s fur, promoting it to wet it more frequently to keep the static in control.

Here are the common signs your cat will display suggesting it’s going to rain.

  • More frequent ear grooming
  • Coat over-grooming
  • Licking the fur against the grain
  • Lying with the head’s top on the floor
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Scratching posts, carpets, drapery, or furniture more than usual
  • Hyperactiveness and a sudden burst of energy
  • Being more vocal than usual and playing with the tail
  • Dabbing the jaw with the feet (reduces jaw pain caused by low atmospheric pressure)
  • Constantly peeping out the window
  • Hiding than usual
  • Sudden irritability and trying to escape from the house
cat outside of the liter box
Image Credit: Jennifer McCallum, Shutterstock

Signs It Will Snow

  • Sitting with the back facing the fire (could also be a sign of strong winds)
  • Sleeping with the paws tucked under the body

Other Signs

Cats can predict just about any impending change of weather. If your feline friend is over-grooming its coat but is not sneezing or grooming its ears more than usual, you should expect dry weather. Your furball is licking its fur to add moisture to the coat and prevent static buildup.

If you notice your fur baby washing its face while running its paws over the ears, the weather will likely be clear. You can also expect pleasant weather if your feline buddy has a fine-looking, shiny coat.

cat lying butt near person's face
Image Credit: Benoit Daoust, Shutterstock

Cats vs Dogs: Which Is Better at Predicting Weather?

Like cats, dogs can also predict the weather. Loyal canines will always find a clever means of informing their families of impending nasty weather, including dangerous meteorological conditions like hurricanes and tornadoes. They could start to whine or bark frantically to get your attention.

Depending on what your dog picks up from the atmospheric and environmental changes, it could opt to crawl into its favorite hiding spot. This is often a sign of a major storm that will be accompanied by strong winds and thunder.

So, cats versus dogs, which is the better weather forecaster?

Cats take the crown for being the best weather forecasters. They hear better than dogs and will almost always act strangely right before the weather changes. Dogs also make excellent furry meteorologists. However, there’s always a chance that your pup will be more preoccupied with breaking into the garage to retrieve its favorite treats.

Generally, it’s safer to trust your cat regarding weather predictions. Dogs are more people-oriented and easily distracted. If you manage to get your pup’s mind off the tornado with a cuddle session, it will likely sleep and forget that the worst may happen.

The 5 Tips to Keep Your Cat Calm During Weather Changes

Cats react differently to weather changes. While some hide and act irritable for no apparent reason, others have sudden bursts of energy and become more playful. If your furball seems anxious or stressed because of an impending storm, here are a few tips that could help.

  • Provide a safe hiding spot
  • Keep the doors and windows closed to deter the potential escapee
  • Remain calm during the storm; your cat will pick up on your emotions
  • Try distracting your feline friend with toys, cuddles, or treats
  • Use a pheromone diffuser to help your furry friend calm down

If the above tips don’t work, your furball may have a thunderstorm phobia. Discuss the situation with a licensed veterinarian for proper guidance. Some cats may need medication to help them cope.


Can Cats Foretell Earthquakes?

Animals have repeatedly predicted earthquakes before they happen. Cats also have this superpower and can feel trembles in the earth. If your calm cat starts to bite or hiss, it is scared. While it may not necessarily mean there will be an earthquake, it may indicate an impending bad storm. Either way, take the necessary precautions, especially if your cat frantically wants to escape your home.

cat sitting in catio looking outside
Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

Can Other Animals Predict the Weather?

Yes! Numerous animals can make almost accurate weather predictions. They include dogs, cows, sheep, birds, toads, frogs, and groundhogs. These animals are acutely sensitive to minute changes in their environment and atmospheric pressure. They act strangely before adverse weather changes because they can smell, hear, and even feel environmental changes.

Why Do Cats Act Weird When There’s an Impending Storm?

Cats have heightened senses and can pick up on atmospheric and barometric pressure changes before a storm. While thunderstorms are bright and loud with sudden booms, only cats with thunderstorm phobia react with fear. Healthy felines act weird mainly because of the discomforts brought about by low humidity or atmospheric pressure.

Final Thoughts

Cats can predict the weather with jaw-dropping precision. Both folklore and scientific data explain how and why they can give precise weather forecasts of oncoming rainstorms and even natural disasters. Felines are the best natural meteorologists because they will almost always react to environmental and climatic changes.

Always keep an eye on the behavioral changes of your feline buddy. If it starts acting funny and cleans its ears repeatedly or rests with the top of its head on the floor, you better grab your umbrella on your way out. You may save yourself from a bad hair day!

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