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longgone's avatar

Does a cat sensing a miscarriage looming seem unbelievable to you?

Asked by longgone (17109points) September 7th, 2015

I just read “When Fraser met Billy”, a book about a cat helping a little boy with autism. I liked the story, but didn’t like the writing much. May have been due to reading the German version, though.

In the book, the mother gets pregnant. At some point, Billy – the cat – acts weirdly toward her. He is trying to tell her something, jumps at her, meows, knocks over some stuff on the counters. She then finds out her unborn child is gone.

Ever since I learned that a dog can smell half a teaspoon of sugar dissolved in an Olympic swimming pool, I am convinced that we miss a lot of the animals’ world. I can easily see how Billy might have reacted to pheromones or other tiny clues, not knowing what they meant, but knowing they meant something.

What do you think?

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14 Answers

Thammuz's avatar

I think that’s possible, dogs can be trained to smell cancer cells afterall, no question there’s things we don’t see/hear/smell etc that other animals might be better equipped to notice.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Not at all unbelievable!

dxs's avatar

In my hometown of Providence, there is a cat named Oscar in a nursing home who supposedly can sense patients are about to die.

marinelife's avatar

Cats have interesting diagnostic (and I think healing) powers. Cats will lay next to your body near the part that hurts.

I definitely think the cat knew.

Coloma's avatar

It’s possible, but maybe the women just had a tuna sandwich for lunch. lol
A cats purr also has healing properties from the vibrational effects, infact, some scientists believe the purring function is about healing along with other behavioral aspects like contentment, pain, etc.

Pachy's avatar

Totally believable. Humans have instincts, so why not animals?

Buttonstc's avatar

It’s totally believable. The cat’s sense of smell is so much more acute than that of humans that we have difficulty imagining it sometimes.

And since a miscarriage occurs because of the death of the fetus, it’s not at all surprising that a cat could smell that and try to communicate it to us “less observant or less intelligent” humans.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I believe that animal companions are capable of many things. Their senses of smell, taste, and sound are so much more heightened and complex than those of human beings.

I had a dog who always rested in her own bed, except when I was sick. Then, she’d set up camp on the floor next to my own bed and wouldn’t leave me. I must have smelled ill or “off,” because she knew immediately and wanted to tend to me. Also, whenever my husband and I were being intimate, she’d tactfully leave the room and give us privacy. We thought that she must have sensed pheromones.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There was an episode of House (which is not necessarily the best source of medical knowledge) wherein a cat in a nursing home stayed close to – or on – the bed of a person who, as the plot had it, was the next person to die

“episode summary”:

How true is it? Well on House, it was disproven (it was the electric blanket) but it was a clever enough plot device to get used.

Coloma's avatar

My goose ” Marwyn” senses when Jehovahs Witnesses are near and goes on patrol. He has been the official witness protection goose for 17 years now and still takes his job seriously. lol

Buttonstc's avatar


Check out the link above that @dxs left. This is the true life cat upon whom that storyline was likely crafted.

However, no electric blankets involved.

Zaku's avatar

Seems quite possible, on various levels. Seems likely, to me, though being able to tell what a cat’s trying to say can be tricky…

There are many stories of animals that strongly suggest various types of connection and/or psychic abilities. See the book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals .

What exactly they know, and what they may be trying to communicate, and even harder to prove, until/unless we expand our ability to communicate with animals in our own terms, in a way that others will believe, at least. However there are quite a few serious people who believe they are pet psychics and will try to fill in that link, too. See for example the book Learning Their Language .

Even if one insists on denying that anything is ever psychic in any way, it’s clear that animals do have keen and different senses, and so it’s quite possible some animals can smell, taste, or otherwise observe changes in the humans they know and behave differently in the case of some health conditions. If nothing else, the first book above has many such examples.

longgone's avatar

Thanks, all. The author was very much in doubt, which surprised me.

ibstubro's avatar

How far along was the pregnant woman?

Perhaps the baby was in some distress before it died and the cat was able to hear it?

In any case, I totally believe the cat could sense the miscarriage. People laugh at cats for looking at imaginary things and acting oddly, but I tend to figure the cats are just reacting to something beyond our human senses – say, maybe, insect or rodent activity in the wall or ceiling.

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