• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Can My Cat Sense a Tsunami Before It Happens? What Science Says


May 23, 2023
cat sartled, scared near window


cat sartled, scared near window

Cats have incredible senses, which include hearing and eyesight, but can they sense extraordinary things like tsunamis? While there are no definitive answers to that question due to a lack of studies, there are several interesting theories and popular mindset that animals can sense natural disasters beforehand. Keep reading as we explore these theories and other facts about cats to help you be better informed.


What Is a Tsunami?

A tsunami is a series of large ocean waves created by an underwater disturbance, like volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. These waves travel across the ocean basin and cause significant damage when they reach the shore.

Can Cats Sense a Tsunami?

When tsunamis have occurred in the past, there are always several reports of animals acting strangely beforehand, which has many people wondering if they can sense disaster. However, there is no scientific research to back up these claims. If some animals act strange before a big event, many factors can be at play, like a drop in barometric pressure that they are sensing, not the disaster itself.

scared cat with his owner
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock


Theories Explaining How a Cat Can Sense a Disaster

Cats Can Sense Magnetic Fields

Cats have an organ in the inner ear called the vestibular system, which is responsible for maintaining balance, and it detects other changes in their environment, like changes in the magnetic field. This might explain why they sometimes start to behave strangely before a disaster.

Cats Can Sense Air Pressure

Cats might be able to sense an emergency like a tsunami because they can detect a drop in air pressure—or more specifically, they can hear it. When warm and cold air systems meet, warmer air pushes up, and cooler air pushes down, creating a high-pitched noise that a cat’s sensitive ears can hear. While small changes happen all the time and are undetected by your pet, large changes will be quite loud. Meteotsunamis are created by a sudden change in air pressure, and your cat would likely hear that change, which could cause them to act strangely before the event occurs. Your cat will also hear any other events that involve a sudden change in pressure.

scared black cat hissing, vocalizing
Image Credit: PDPics, Pixabay

Cats Might Sense Strange Behavior in Other Animals

Another thing cats may pay attention to that humans typically miss is the behavior of other animals, which might tip them off that something strange is happening and cause them to start behaving strangely too. People have observed many animals besides cats, including dogs, birds, and deer, acting strangely before a big event like a tsunami.


What Can I Do?

Whether cats can detect a tsunami or not, preparing for natural disasters is important. Keep an emergency kit with food, water, and other supplies for you and your pet, and inspect it frequently so it’s always ready to go. Have your cat microchipped so there is a better chance of getting them back if you get separated, and put an ID collar on them so their name and address are always available. You will also want to ensure that you have a detailed plan in place, so you know what to do with your cat in the event of a disaster.

microchip implant for cat by veterinarian
Image Credit: Ivonne Wierink, Shutterstock



Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as to whether cats can sense tsunamis, but they can likely hear rapid changes in air pressure, sense changes in the magnetic field, and even pick up on clues from other animals that might alert them that something unusual happening, which might cause them to start acting strangely right before a tsunami and other natural disasters. The best that we can do is prepare for the worst by keeping an emergency kit, developing a plan, and paying attention to our cats.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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