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Old 02-15-2012, 03:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default can cats tell when another cat is sick?

Puffy had to be put to sleep back in June, but she was sick for a while- we took her to the vet and were in contact with the vet on the phone for a few months, but they weren't able to find out what was wrong with her until it was too late- there was a large tumor on her liver that they didn't see in the x-rays from 6 months earlier. They weren't sure if it was cancer, but they would have had to do the surgery either way, and they didn't think she'd make it through.
Anyway, the last few months of Puffy's life, her sister (litter-mate) Callie was increasingly mean to her. Near the end, Callie would hiss at Puffy for just walking into the room. She would slap her out of nowhere (and then they would box, which always makes me laugh, but it was also upsetting because Callie was always the one starting it). Callie never actually hurt Puffy physically, though. But I think she must have been hurt emotionally.
But after we found out that Puffy had cancer (not confirmed, but suspected from the tumor), I remembered that some animals can smell cancer. I saw on "Unsolved Mysteries" one time a long time ago about a dog that could sniff out skin cancer. And there are dogs who can sense when a person is going to have a seizure, too. Anyway, I was wondering if it's possible for cats also to smell cancer, or have some kind of sixth sense about medical conditions. I know it was internal- not like skin cancer or anything like that, but I still wonder if Callie somehow could smell cancer and it made her act that way towards Puffy... or if maybe the signs she saw of Puffy's sickness somehow bothered her and made her shun Puffy.
Anyone have any input?
It's just something I'm curious about.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, I think you are right that Callie could tell that something was up with Puffy. There have been lots of stories of dogs and cats who could sense illness in their owners, I am sure it applies for other animals too.

I don't know why that would cause aggressive behavior - perhaps she was afraid or upset, or Puffy smelled like a stranger to her (redirected aggression).

I am sorry for your loss , and that Callie lost her sister...

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Old 02-15-2012, 04:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Krista, I think cats can sense sickness, too. My Smokey, who died from FeLV, was treated differently by two of my other cats. Midnight did the same thing that Callie did. She would hiss and try to swat at Smokey the last week of his life. However, Star (Smokey's BFF), stayed with Smokey. He even slept in my son's room at night when I'd put Smokey up. The final two days of Smokey's life, Star even slept curled up with Smokey. After Smokey was put to sleep, Star would go looking for Smokey in my son's room, even meowing for him.

So yes, I think cats can sense when another cat is sick. How they react depends on the cat, as you can see from the paragraph above.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't know about being able to detect sickness but when Samantha was stricken with cancer and I had to let her go I showed Chiquita her body, even though they were never buddies I didn't want Chiquita to not know what had happened to Samantha.
She came over and sniffed Samantha's body for several second then just sat beside her for about a minute before she quietly returned to her spot on the sofa.
After I reseal the box with Samantha's body I came back and gave Chiquita lots of pets.
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Old 02-15-2012, 05:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooncatbob View Post
I don't know about being able to detect sickness but when Samantha was stricken with cancer and I had to let her go I showed Chiquita her body, even though they were never buddies I didn't want Chiquita to not know what had happened to Samantha.
She came over and sniffed Samantha's body for several second then just sat beside her for about a minute before she quietly returned to her spot on the sofa.
After I reseal the box with Samantha's body I came back and gave Chiquita lots of pets.
that's so sad. I think if Bitsy saw Gata's body she'd be very sad. (My two cats back home are like sisters even though they are YEARS apart in age)

As for the question Up on top I'm sure she could sense the cancer in her buddy. Cats are VERY prone to sensing things, she was probably scared, probably mad about the cancer, she wanted it out of her buddy. I'm sorry for your loss. She doesn't have cancer over the rainbow bridge, it doesn't exist there
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