Skip to Content

Can Cats Tell When You’re Sick? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Can Cats Tell When You’re Sick? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Sharing is caring!

Have you ever experienced your feline coming to you while you’re sick and not leaving your side? Is it possible that cats can sense illness in humans?

First of all, many animals have a great ability to sense something wrong. For example cats are able to sense bad energy, bad events, and similar.

Cats have a brilliant sense of smell, and they’re used to the particular smell of the people they are close to. When we get sick, that smell and other factors change, and cats are able to recognize this.

There are many people whose pets have actually saved their lives by sensing some serious diseases. So, throughout time, it has been believed that cats can sense illness in humans.

If you have wondered can cats tell when you’re sick, read on and find out which illnesses cats are able to detect, how cats behave around sick people, and lots more!

Can Cats Tell When You’re Sick?

A great sense of smell is typical of many animals. When it comes to cats, especially adult cats, it’s believed that they are able to sense certain illnesses. I have witnessed some of these scenarios myself.

For example, my grandma had a stroke and it affected her left side of the body. She has a cat who always lays at her left side.

Moreover, if you research a bit, you can find that there are pets who are specially trained for detecting some diseases or even predicting seizures.

So, if you notice weird behavior in your cat, like sniffing you a lot or something similar, you might want to contact your doctor and arrange a check up, just in case, to make sure that everything’s alright.

All in all, the answer to the question can cats tell when you’re sick is yes, they sometimes can. So, read the article and find out what illnesses cats can detect and how!

Can Cats Sense Illnesses In Humans?

a beautiful kitten in the arms of a woman

It’s a very good thing if cats can sense illnesses such as the ones that I’m about to mention. These are very serious health issues, and if noticed on time, they can be treated.

According to animal behavior experts, cats can detect certain signs of illnesses in humans, so let’s see if cats can sense the following diseases.

High Blood Pressure

Usually, high blood pressure is one of the issues that’s easiest to recognize. High blood pressure is characterized by behavioral symptoms that are familiar to cats.

So, if a cat owner has high blood pressure, he’s likely to have an increase in heart rate, with being irritable. A cat can sense it just by laying next to her owner.


Although humans cannot sense it, people suffering from diabetes have a distinctive sweet smell (due to excessive glucose) that cats can easily recognize.

If you develop diabetes and you own a feline friend, she may easily notice that something’s wrong.

Your feline may sniff you and flea in disgust or start digging into your personal things to see where the smell comes from. So, if you notice your cat behaving weirdly around you, then start monitoring your cat’s behavior closely, and contact your doctor.

Moreover, cats can notice whether you have a low or high blood sugar level, by seeing you tired, weak, and similar. If they notice that, cats may start meowing excessively wanting to warn you that something’s not quite right.


Hypoglycemia is a condition where a person’s blood sugar is lower than normal. It’s followed by symptoms such as:

• Increased heart rate

• Body tremors

• Sweating

• Weakness

• Lethargy

Cats will notice changes in your behavior as well as body smell, thus noticing that something’s wrong!

Heart Attack

Cats are known to be able to recognize the early signs of a heart attack. They don’t know what it is, but they’re able to recognize the owner’s behavior changes and symptoms that may be early signs of a heart attack.

Through those behavior changes and other changes such as breathing difficulties or changes in body temperature, cats are able to detect that their owner is in great pain.

Cats may headbutt you or meow in your face in order to tell you that something’s wrong.

Mental Illness

We already know that cats are able to detect illnesses because of their great sense of smell. Just like that, they can even recognize some mental illnesses due to hormonal changes that occur in our bodies. Mental illness may cause hormonal fluctuations, which causes us to have a different smell.

Moreover, your feline will be able to notice changes in your behavior and interaction with her.


When it comes to cancer and tumors, there is no scientific proof that cats can detect cancer, there is only anecdotal evidence. The anecdotal evidence says that some people found out they had cancer in the exact place where their cat was sniffing them all the time.

Still, this could be true because cancer produces polyamines in the body that have a very recognizable scent. Therefore, we’re not sure about cats recognizing cancers and brain tumors, but everything is possible!

Can Cats Sense Anxiety?

Cats can sense anxiety and depression as well. However, they don’t react to our emotions like dogs, because they’re more independent animals. Still, it depends on the individual cat.

When your feline notices you being anxious and depressed, there are two possible outcomes. She may become more affectionate towards you, wanting to pull out that negative energy from you and get you back on track.

However, another possible outcome may be that your feline becomes depressed just like you and starts copying your behavior. Unfortunately, that’s not good. If depressed, your feline may experience a loss of appetite which may lead to weight loss.

Moreover, your feline may start copying your behavior, for example if you go to the toilet, your cat will go to the litter box and similar.

If that happens, the best thing you can do is to ask someone, a family member or a friend, to take care of your feline friend until you get better, because your cat’s health and pet care in general are so important.

Can Cats Sense You’re In Pain?

sick woman with a cat

Cats can easily sense that you’re in pain through your body language, which includes grimaces and other facial expressions.

Cats may notice that you’re sick because of your sneezing, coughing, or other symptoms. Moreover, they may start showing you affection in order to help you, or start overgrooming the painful area. Besides pain, they may recognize serious life-threatening diseases.

Can Cats Sense Death?

Yes, it’s true that cats can sense death. Before dying, our bodies go through different hormonal changes that cats seem to recognize.

Cats living in nursing homes are more likely to sense death. Just like the therapy cat, Oscar. Oscar was adopted by a nursing home to provide company for the people living there.

However, Oscar became famous because from 2007 to 2011, he predicted the death of over 50 patients, which was unbelievable!

After realizing that a person could die, a cat may start being more affectionate towards that person as a sign of comfort.

However, if your cat shows you affection or if she’s behaving clingy, don’t worry. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to die! Perhaps you’re dealing with some other problem, and your feline’s trying to help you. So, if you notice a cat’s behavior change, pay attention to your health.

How Do Cats Know When You Are Sick?

an asian man sits on a sofa and caresses a cat

It’s easier to understand that cats sense illness than how they do it. So, the main question is how can cats tell when you’re sick?

We humans aren’t able to sense these particular things in order to detect certain health problems, like cats. Cats have a distinct sense of smell which enables them to detect illnesses.

Moreover, when a health problem occurs, our body undergoes different changes, mostly in smell, body temperature, and habits, that a cat can easily recognize. So, read on to find out more!

Habit Changes

Cats know that you’re sick when they notice changes in your habits. Every cat parent knows that cats adore their routine and they don’t want anyone to disrupt it. Just like that, they know that you have your own daily schedule.

However, if one day you stay home or don’t go to work, or you feed your feline earlier or later than usual, she’ll definitely notice that something’s wrong, because that’s not the usual schedule.

They may be vocalizing more than usual, not knowing what’s going on, and most importantly, your feline may not link these changes to your sickness. She’ll just notice that something is very unusual, leading her to confusion.

Smell Changes

Cats have a brilliant sense of smell, 14 times stronger than ours, which explains why people cannot recognize particular smells and illnesses the way cats can.

Cats are familiar with our standard smell. However, when we have health problems, our smell changes due to hormonal fluctuations, which cats can pick up on.

Usually cats are sniffing us because we suddenly smell different, however, that behavior can be helpful in recognizing that something’s wrong.

Although, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something bad. For example, a pregnant woman may smell differently than before, due to the difference in estrogen and progesterone levels.

Other diseases that cause different smells include:

• Hyperthyroidism – overproduction of thyroid hormone

• Diabetes – underproduction of insulin

• Addison‘s disease – lack of hormones from adrenal gland

• Cushing‘s syndrome – high cortisol levels

Cats are simply drawn to our smells and sometimes that can be helpful to us.

Body Temperature Changes

Here’s something that even we can detect, however, cats do it better! We can notice changes in body temperature because we become hot or cold, with other accompanying symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, and similar.

However, if you’re a pet parent, then you know that cats are always seeking a warm place to curl up. Therefore, if a cat sleeps next to you, curled up, it may mean that you have a higher than usual body temperature, which is the reason why your cat is sleeping next to you.

How Do Cats Behave Around Sick People?

kitty sniffs the handkerchief of a sick woman

Every pet is familiar with the pet owner’s usual smell, body temperature, look, etc. Therefore when some of these factors change, your feline will react because something is different.

When you’re sick, your feline may behave differently, showing more affection and being clingy. If you have a high temperature, don’t be surprised if your cat cuddles next to you. She’s just looking for a warmer place to curl up.

It’s important to understand that cats don’t sense illness. Actually, they sense that something is different in their favorite person.

However, people who aren’t well suit cats perfectly. Our bodies are warmer for them to lay down on, and we don’t move as much!

If you see your feline showing you affection while you’re sick, it’s mostly because you both benefit from it. She’ll show you comfort and love and you’ll warm her and pet her, giving her satisfaction.

How Can Cats Help Sick People?

Cats cannot help every sick person, however, those who are recovering from less serious illnesses may recover faster with cats.

The key to faster recovery is that cat’s purr!

A purr is a cat’s voice box vibrating, and if you’re close to your cat, you may feel it sending vibrations through your body too. As well as being comforting, a cat’s purring has many health benefits, such as:

• Stimulation of osteoblast production – these cells are responsible for producing bone, which is perfect for those who have broken bones.

• Calming effect – these vibrations reduce stress and anxiety, bringing peace to the person. This improves mental health, and the body recovers faster when the person is relaxed.

• Muscle relaxation – vibrations may relax the muscles which may be helpful in lowering blood pressure, recovering muscle injury, or improving cardiovascular health.

So, a cat’s purring is beneficial and relaxing even if you’re completely healthy. So, whenever a cat chooses to sleep with you, you should feel honored!

Famous Cats That Saved Lives

a beautiful cat with blue eyes with a woman in bed


Nemo, another hero, stopped his owner from dying. Nemo was having a normal cat life. However, one night Peter, his owner, was asleep, and his heart suddenly stopped beating.

Nemo made such a fuss that Peter’s wife, Angela, woke up. Luckily, she called 911 and they helped Peter on time, all thanks to Nemo!


Thanks to Mel-O, a nine-year-old boy named Alex escaped a diabetic seizure. In fact, that day was the first time that Mel-O ever climbed on the boy’s bed. Just after he climbed up, Mel-O started pawing the little boy’s face.

Mel-O noticed that something was wrong and reacted. Soon after that, the boy’s mother came in, and tested his blood sugar level, which was very low. Thanks to Mel-O, they had enough time to react before a seizure.


Gepetto is another hero after he saved his owner Phyllis. Phyllis went to bed that night with a headache and feeling sick. In the middle of the night, she was awakened by Gepetto’s loud meowing.

Phyllis immediately called her husband, and eventually, they discovered that there was a leakage of carbon monoxide. So, if it weren’t for brave Gepetto, Phyllis probably wouldn’t have survived.


Monty is another seizure savior. Monty is usually a calm cat, however, one day he was biting his owner’s fingers and he wouldn’t stop, despite the owner’s best efforts. When the owner had had enough, she stood up, but immediately felt dizzy.

The next thing she did was test her blood sugar, which was extremely low, almost leading to diabetic seizure. Luckily, Monty reacted on time, so the owner had time to prevent the seizure.

All In All…

So, can cats tell when you’re sick? The answer is yes, they can. Cats have a very distinct sense of smell, 14 times stronger than humans, which explains why we cannot detect the same things as cats can.

Their sense of smell makes them good at detecting when something’s wrong. That’s because cats are used to our regular smells, and when we get sick, many changes occur in our body.

Many diseases cause hormonal fluctuations which change a person’s scent. Sometimes, cats cannot know that we’re actually sick, but we may notice that something’s wrong when a cat is sniffing us all the time. Besides health issues, cats may notice behavior changes or similar.

The main question was how do cats know when someone’s sick? Well, besides the change in smell, they are able to detect a different body temperature, as well as notice differences in your habits, because cats always have a routine which needs to be respected.

All in all, it’s a good thing that a cat is able to detect illnesses or other important things because they may be able to help us out by alerting us to any issues. So, take care of your feline, and she’ll take care of you too!

Related Content

My Cat Wont Leave Me Alone – 10 Causes And 10 Solutions

Why Is My Cat Purring Loudly? TOP 10 Reasons

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *