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Can Cats Sense Evil in a Person? What Science Says

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

angry domestic cat growling

Animals and children view the world simply compared to adults, often more in tune to instinct and intuition than we are. Because of this, we often interpret them as having some psychic ability to “sense” things, such as ghosts, spirits, and of course, evil—and few animals get this reputation more than cats.

Can cats sense evil or bad in people? There’s no evidence that cats are psychic, mind readers, or anything else supernatural. But like other animals, cats do read and respond to nonverbal communication, so they could be “listening” better than humans do.

Cats and Mythology

Cats have played a long role in mythology and folklore in many cultures, especially in Ancient Egypt. Cats were worshipped and believed to be the mediator between the human spirit realms, imbuing the cat with the ability to commune with the dead.

Ancient Egyptian mythology also believes cats have the ability to ward away evil. Buddhists believe that cats are the reincarnated souls of the dead before they transition into their new form.

In some cultures, certain cats are considered lucky, such as Maneki-Neko, the “beckoning” cat in Japan, or the tortoiseshell cat.

Other folktales are not as kind. Instead of being protectors, the connection between cats and the supernatural is more sinister. In Hebrew folklore, Lilith, the biblical figure, took on the form of a cat and consumed babies.

In ancient Celtic lore, an oversized black cat, Cat Sith, lurks in the night, looking for souls to steal. Superstitious fishermen in the British Isles also believed that there was a witch who took the form of a sea cat, causing storms and cursing ships, so they offered fish to the sea to appease her.

Finally, medieval people thought cats were the personal soul courier of Satan, ferrying spirits to Hell.

angry cat hissing
Image Credit: Fang_Y_M, Pixabay

Can Cats Sense Good and Evil?

The myths and folktales surrounding cats endured, even now. Anecdotally, cat owners claim that cats behave strangely when they sense a presence around them. Some even believe that cats can see an aura around people to determine if they’re good or evil.

Cats have a strong association with Halloween, witches, ghost stories, and the supernatural. In fact, renowned cat behavior expert Jackson Galaxy agreed to an interview with The Cut about whether pets can see ghosts.

When asked, he said, “Cats have evolved to sense things that we, as humans, can’t. Their eyes can see perfectly with the smallest bit of light, they can hear six to eight times better than we can, and their whiskers are designed to detect everything from temperature changes to air current changes.”

Galaxy also said he had his own experiences with cats seemingly “picking up on energy” and he believes in the spirit realm himself.

Angry-faced Persian cat
Image Credit: Piqsels

Can Cats Sense Death?

While we have no concrete evidence that cats can sense evil, demonic energy, spirits, ghosts, or anything else not of this world, they do demonstrate a “sixth sense” for knowing when someone is about to leave our world.

For a long time, workers in long-term care have insisted that cats can “sense” death in a patient, a skill that’s inexact even for the most experienced of doctors. There are countless examples of resident cats accurately predicting the impending death of residents in facilities all over the country.

Is this evidence of a cat’s connection to the spirit realm? Or is there an earthlier explanation?

One sense that gives cats an advantage is smell. As hunters, cats have a much more acute sense of smell than humans, and that could be the reason they can tell when someone is about to pass away.

On a basic level, a person’s scent reveals their health, even if it’s subconscious. It’s an important evolutionary development that signals others to stay away to avoid catching an illness.

If humans, with our subpar noses, can sense illness in people, it’s not a stretch to believe that cats have honed that same sense while in the presence of sick people.

scared British blue-point cat hiding under the bed
Image Credit: Zossia, Shutterstock


Cats and the supernatural have been inextricably linked for millennia. While anecdotal evidence suggests that cats have some connection to the spiritual realm and the ability to sense good and evil, there’s no evidence to support it. But cats aren’t without gifts. There is evidence that they can predict impending death in sick and elderly people, providing comfort in their last moments.

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Featured Image Credit: pixbull, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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