Cats are interdimensional beings. We’ve already established that they can teleport and even sometimes come back to life; there’s no point going over that again.
But what about when a cat does move on from this world? As unbounded travelers of the multiverse, you wouldn’t expect them to remain burdened by the collars of mortality. Not for long. No, according to many stories, they prefer to stick around.
Don’t believe me? Typical. Here are five signs that a ghost cat may be haunting you at this very moment, and a few strange tales to go along with them.
Why Would A Cat Haunt You?
While tossing this idea around, someone actually asked me: Why would a cat haunt you? They do seem to be solitary creatures, just fine being left alone. And yet, this actually doesn’t appear to be accurate – many sources online state that cats are indeed very social, and their labels of independent and solitary are mostly myths. Cats are just a bit different, that’s all. And, as with any animal, not all cats are alike.
So the idea that, if possible, a cat would return from beyond the grave to lounge in their familiar surroundings, or visit their previous owners, isn’t so much different from the alleged ghosts of people. If you would do it, maybe your cats would, too.
There’s also the possibility of residual hauntings. These aren’t intelligent hauntings. Rather, they’re a hypothetical paranormal phenomena akin to environmental recordings. A kind of echo in time and space, where the actions and characteristics of a person or animal (or perhaps even a place in general) are repeated long after they’ve passed on. It’s believed that such residual hauntings may be the result of traumatic events or perhaps electrical anomalies.
Strange things, indeed.
Well, now that we’ve established why your cat (or really any pet) might return as a ghost, let’s check out a handful of the potential signs.
1. A Furry Presence
Humans have a pretty good sense of when they’re being watched. It’s something we, as with most animals in the wild, likely picked up from our ancient days of wandering throughout a wilderness full of predators. In fact, studies have shown that the human brain has an innate ability to sense things about our surroundings without conscious visual information.
Even if you don’t actively think you’re seeing something, such as a person looking at you in your peripheral vision, your eyes receive information beyond what is at first visually apparent. We tend to notice these things subconsciously.
Going further, some would even claim they can sense “being watched” without any line of sight at all. A kind of sixth sense. This is a controversial idea, verging on extrasensory perception. A 1913 study titled “’The Feeling Of Being Stared At’ – Experimental” revealed that of 146 Stanford University students who filled out a questionnaire, 68% reported having the feeling of being watched at one point or another, “with the conviction that the feeling can be (more or less) relied upon.” A later questionnaire resulted in 86% of students sharing that same belief.
According to the scientist behind the study, E.B. Titchener, the reported feeling could be described as uncanny. It is “a state of unpleasant tension or stiffness at the nape of the neck, sometimes accompanied by a tingling, which gathers in volume and intensity until a movement which shall relieve it becomes inevitable.”
But what if something invisible is watching you? Something that by any normal human means should be impossible to detect? Can you sense that and, if so, what could your brain possibly make of it? Would you feel that same tension, that same tingling?
The answer, according to many, would be yes.
A feeling of being watched, or that there is a presence in the room, is often linked to the signs of a haunting, not just by the ghosts of cats. But there’s something to be said about feeling not just any old random presence, but a familiar one. A hairy one.
A little over a year ago, Reddit user natsusauce shared the story of what he called his “psychic cat.” It was a rather extraordinary tale about the cat’s passing and his eventual return. It began, however, very subtly.
“I believe it took about 2 hours or so before he made his presence known to us…We first felt something appear at the door, then the feeling grew stronger as it got closer, it walked up the steps towards us and we could hear the sound of the steps creaking like a cat walking up the stairs.”
They felt a profound connection with their cat, and their otherworldly experience continued. They would hear strange sounds at night, and sometimes feel their cat jump up on the bed and sleep next to them, like he always did when alive. They even went on to encounter ghostly orbs, a phenomenon we’ll see later on.
But for right now, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Next up…
2. The Phantom Meowing
Our next symptom of a feline haunting: unexplained noises and the feeling of an actual physical presence.
People have reported hearing their deceased cat’s footsteps, the sounds of them scratching walls or furniture, or playing in a litter box (possibly one that isn’t even there). Some have even experienced the occasional haunting meow.
Others will report feeling their cat on a bed or couch, the way you’d feel anything that jumps up or sits down on one while you’re also sitting on it.
Redditor parrott_j is all too familiar with this experience. Several years ago, he and his girlfriend owned two cats. And they were perfectly normal cats, make no mistake. It was the third cat that bothered him – the one that didn’t really exist.
It started as a strange meowing in the hallway. They wrote this off as just one of their two cats playing around, big deal, even though they never saw the cats nearby when it happened. But then, he’d hear that same loud meowing, even with both cats right there with him on the couch. At that point, he knew they weren’t responsible.
This went on for a while, until one night the strangest thing happened. He’d been up late in bed reading, with his girlfriend sleeping next to him.
“I feel a cat jump on the bed and look from my book to see who it is. No cat. But there is… something. The best I can describe it is as distorted pixels. Its a small mass that looks like when they censor something on T.V.”
He watched, confused, as whatever it was moved across the bed. It approached his girlfriend’s hand, and “she immediately and quickly [drew] her hand back and turn[ed] over…like something had stepped on it.” The distorted cat would never appear again, but sometimes he’d hear that occasional meowing, or see the other cats staring at the empty hallway entrance.
In another case, Reddit user beemcnee described her bizarre experience with a random ghost cat that seemingly glitched into existence, only to disappear just as quickly. She had been asleep one morning when she felt a cat jump up onto her bed, then to her feet, and up to her stomach. It curled up and, thinking it was her Calico cat, she began to pet it.
But it wasn’t.
“I was thinking about how strangely sweet she was being. Until I noticed that it was not the calico Booboo, but instead an orange tabby!!! And then, in a blink of an eye, there was no cat at all.”
Ghost cats aren’t always so forward. Sometimes, it’s just that disembodied meowing, as Redditor shinkikker experienced several years ago. She’d been sitting on the couch with her cat, Cleo, in an otherwise empty house when she heard a very distinct meow, one that reminded her of another cat, her childhood pet that had recently passed away.
“…Sunny’s meow was low and long, where Cleo’s meow is high-pitched and short, like a kitten. The meow I heard was exactly like Sunny’s. So I looked at Cleo, and we both were staying still on the couch. About 10 seconds later, I heard the meow again, and this time, I could distinguish where it was coming from: the basement, Sunny’s favorite place to hang out…”
3. Familiar (But Ghostly) Smells
The following account may seem a bit crude, but it’s yet another sign that a ghost cat may be nearby: that of strange, and sometimes wicked, smells.
Two years ago, Reddit user Katweasel shared a story about her 16-year-old cat, who unfortunately had to be put to sleep earlier that week. A few days later, after walking over by the kitchen pantry, she was hit with the overwhelming odor of cat urine.
Now, this might not seem too odd. Not only could it have perhaps been a remnant of her deceased cat, but there were also two other cats in the house. However, those two cats were asleep in the bedroom at the time, and the door to the pantry had been open. The smell was far too intense and fresh, she explained, and focused on one specific area — the two middle shelves, where it was unlikely either of the living cats would reach. That, and absolutely nothing was wet. It didn’t make any sense.
She even went and brought one of her other kittens into the kitchen to see if she would react, but nothing happened. And then, just like that, the smell disappeared.
“For about an hour to [an] hour and a half i kept going back to try and figure it out. Then one time i went back and NOTHING. There was no trace of any smell. All day i was wondering.”
The smell never returned.
Many hauntings have involved phantom scents, be they of cologne or perfume, cigar smoke, or other smells associated with the individual who passed away. Perhaps the same can be said of cats and other animals.
4. Shadow Cats at the Corners of Your Eyes
Many have claimed over the years to have experienced so-called Shadow People. These are strange, humanoid shadows that sometimes appear fully formed, other times undefined or blob-like.
However, they don’t always appear as human. They’re often simply described as supernatural entities in general, and have indeed been reported to appear in the shape of animals, including cats.
Sometimes, in fact, they just appear at a person’s feet, like in this situation:
“I’ll see cat shadows run around my feet which startle me because the cat I own now is black and I’m afraid of stepping on her, but I look up the stairs and she’s sitting at the top, just staring at me.” – RJDeep/Reddit
Another very bizarre account is that told by Redditor multicrazy1012. It was an experience that happened when he very young. He woke up one night and saw what he described as “a large 2 dimensional cat that had the outline of a house cat but was the size equivalent of a tiger.” The cat was a shadow, and had strange glowing eyes. A dream? Possibly, but the way he told it, the memory was just too vivid to be a dream.
Five years later, he’d witness other shadowy figures in that same room.
“I was again walking down the stairs from my bedroom and this time clearly and vividly saw a tall, featureless, 3d figure run from the bathroom to the guest bedroom nextdoor.”
That later account sounds much more like a traditional shadow person experience. But what, then, do we make of the large shadow cat?
5. Ghost Cat Apparitions
As with any haunting, the most profound sign is outright visual manifestation. This, however, can happen in many stages and and take many forms. We’ve already seen a few of these above. Ghost orbs. Brief glimpses of cat-like shapes not of this world. The aforementioned shadows.
“…I had orbs thread around my path and rub against my ankles; my room would suddenly smell like kitty litter for a few minutes then it would go away; a recorder I left on at night captured cat meows and the sound of something playing with the recorder and scratching at the microphone…” – splendidorphan/Reddit
Full body apparitions are something else. They can appear solid, as if the person or animal were standing in front of you clear as day. Or, they can seem transparent, a kind of ghostly projection.
An account shared by Reddit user CapMarvel91 involved one such transparent manifestation. She had been over at her friend’s house when she happened to catch the specter of a cat standing in the hallway.
“I could tell that it wasn’t real, but I could see that it was white with black patches. It had colour, but it was transparent…It took two steps and disappeared in front of my eyes!”
Now, she’d never actually seen her friend’s cat before. She knew only that it had been hit by a car, and the family had buried it in their flower bed in the backyard. But, strangely enough, when she shared the experience with her friend and described how the cat looked, the description matched exactly that of her friend’s deceased cat.
Apparitions of full cats, which seem almost completely real, are also known to occur. In one instance, Redditor Drew-Pickles was walking through his girlfriend’s house when he happened to pass an open door leading to a bedroom. He gave the room a quick passing glance, and noticed a cat lounging on the bed.
He didn’t think that was anything unusual at first – they did own cats, after all – but stopped when he realized that they were all downstairs with his girlfriend, or “locked in the conservatory.” He turned around and looked back into the room, and there it was, completely empty. No cat to be found.
He hurried downstairs to tell his girlfriend what he saw.
“…she confirmed that the two kittens were with her and the rest were outside. I described the cat to her and she said that she knew what I had seen, it was her dead cat, Ginna. She then went and got a photo of him and lo and behold, it was the cat I had seen.”
Well, there you have it. Have you ever encountered a ghost pet, or experienced any of the strange signs listed above? Feel free to share in the comments below!