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Can Cats Sense Tsunamis Before They Happen? Facts & FAQ

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Scared cat'

There was a time when Egyptians believed that cats were magical creatures. They believed that the Felis catus had the ability to bring good luck to anyone who housed or took care of them. During those days, wealthy families would dress up their feline pets in jewels, feed them treats reserved for royalty, and mummify their corpses after they died.

History aside, researchers have discovered that cats can actually predict the occurrence of a few natural phenomena. Of course, this has nothing to do with supernatural abilities, but their natural feline traits.

But can cats sense events like tsunamis before they occur? Let’s find out.

Cats Can Sense Tsunamis

Simply put, Tsunamis are extraordinarily large waves. And these waves are often created by enormous disturbances in the ocean, such as landslides and earthquakes. We often don’t know the creation of such a phenomenon has started because our senses are not very acute.

Anecdotal evidence presented to the public via various research studies has shown that cats, together with several other animals, can sense the vibrations caused by a Tsunami.1 And even when they fail to sense the earth’s tectonic plates moving, they’re still able to tell that there’s a shift in the general direction of the wind, as well as changes in both temperature and atmospheric pressure.

As soon as cats detect such changes, they’ll start exhibiting some anomalous behavior. And it’s because they know Tsunamis are a threat to their ecosystems.

Image Credit: Schäferle, Pixabay

Can Cats Sense Tremors & Earthquakes?

Yes, they can. And when they do, they’ll look stressed, anxious, and ready to flee. Unfortunately, researchers still don’t know how they are able to do it.  But a couple of theories have been floated over the years, one being the theory of static changes.

Its proponents are of the opinion that cats usually rely on their senses to detect the static changes that occur minutes or even hours before an earthquake. Scientists have discovered that some people are also able to perceive such changes, but more often than not, they think it’s being caused by a simple headache or exhaustion.

The other theory that tries to explain our furry friend’s natural ability to sense tremors and quakes is that of small vibrations. It talks about how cats are able to predict such an occurrence using the pads on their paws. Since that section of the body is so sensitive to minor changes in the environment, they are able to feel tremors of great magnitude from a mile away.

This version of the explanation has received the backing of several scholars, but some are convinced that their fine ears are more sensitive to the movements than the legs.

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

Can Cats Foresee Death?

For centuries, people thought that cats had the ability to predict death. And in a way, they were right. What they didn’t know is that it has nothing to do with magic, but human physiology.

You see, the human body has a way of reacting to trauma. When some of its organs begin to shut down, it slowly releases chemicals. We’re referring to the Cadaverine and Putrescine compounds that are usually produced as a result of the decomposition of amino acids.

Cats have a sense of smell that’s 14 times better than ours. This is a fact that we cannot deny, given we only have 5 million sensors in our noses, while they possess 200 million. Because those foul-smelling compounds are released minutes before a person dies, they get to smell them before we do. And that’s how they know that someone is about to pass on.

woman holding and stroking a cat purring
Image Credit: Gadzick, Shutterstock


How do cats react before a tsunami or disaster?

This is a difficult question to answer, as all animals will react differently. Some cats may act stressed, anxious, refuse to eat or go outdoors, or hide. Of course, these could also be signs of other issues, so it can get tricky to evaluate why your cat is acting strangely.

shy scared cat in bucket litter box
Image Credit: Tung Cheung, Shutterstock

How do cats know when an earthquake is coming?

While it’s yet to be conclusively proven, cats may have a sensitivity to the earth’s vibrations, and so are able to detect tremors that are imperceptible to us.

Can cats sense when disasters will happen?

Apart from drastic changes in weather or environment, cats are still highly perceptive. However, they are still picking up patterns from their environment using their senses. This means they can detect certain changes, but not all, and it can be difficult to tell exactly why a cat is acting abnormally.

scared cat
Image Credit: PDPics, Pixabay


It seems that cats may be able to predict tsunamis and other natural disasters, but this is yet to be conclusively proven. Some people believe that cats have the ability to sniff out cancerous tumors. We don’t have sufficient evidence to dispel such rumors, but we’ll tell you this—if there’s an iota of truth in there, it’s because cats have a relatively superior sense of smell.

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