Can your dog see ghosts? Your cat? Have my turtles encountered any paranormal activity, lately?
Many have wondered if, perhaps, the exceptional senses of animals might allow them to better observe anomalous activity. To see strange things beyond what we humans are able to experience. To see ghosts.
Well, believe it or not, there are indeed alleged signs that dogs, cats, and other animals can see ghosts. In this article, we’ll explore a handful (jump right to them). But first, let’s consider just how they might be able to perceive unexplained phenomena better than we can.
Dogs, Cats, and the Ability to See Spirits
If dogs and cats can see ghosts, or paranormal entities that humans can’t, how might this be possible? Well, for starters, it’s been established that, in many cases, dogs and cats have more highly developed senses than humans.
According to PBS’ NOVA, for example, while dogs may be limited to the same five senses as humans, scientific research has shown that dogs’ incredible sense of smell “overpowers our own by orders of magnitude…10,000 to 100,000 times as acute.”
And while they may not see as many colors as we do, dogs and cats both have larger fields of vision, and can see much better in the dark. They may even be able to see in ultraviolet. This would mean they quite literally might be able to perceive wavelengths of light we simply cannot (this is already confirmed for several animals, including insects, fish, and birds).
Cats, in particular, can see very well at night, better than dogs, and both dogs and cats perform much better than humans in dim light, during dusk and dawn. Both are far more sensitive to sound than humans, being able to hear frequencies much higher than we can, along with the ability to turn their ears like cones toward the direction of sounds.
These heightened perceptions, some claim, could mean that dogs, cats, and other animals are also able to sense the paranormal, perhaps in a way that humans can’t.
Is it possible ghosts emit high frequency sound, or even give off strange ghostly smells that our pets are more likely to detect?
Their keen senses mean that animals may also have the ability to predict earthquakes, a belief that, as National Geographic reports, dates back centuries. In records from the year 373 BC, historians noted that many animals, “including rats, snakes and weasels” fled the Greek city of Helice prior to a devastating earthquake. This is a phenomenon that continues to be observed to this day, though it is still not fully understood.
Of course, there’s a big difference between earthquakes and ghosts. But all of this seems to underline the fact that animals, including dogs and cats, may sense many things that we are not able to, paranormal or not.
Now that we’ve briefly explored why cats, dogs, and other animals might be able to see wandering phantoms, let’s take a look at some of the signs your pet could be witnessing paranormal activity right under your nose.
Our first sign that your pet has seen a ghost…
1. Following something invisible
In December 2011, YouTube user Zack Clark decided to record footage of his dog, Zoey, who had been “exhibiting strange behavior” in his apartment.
This behavior included focusing intently on a certain area of the apartment, following something invisible with her eyes. In the video, the small black puppy could be seen attentively watching a particular corner of the room, near a table. She circled around it, back and forth.
“There is nobody in the house except for me and Zoey (and the ghost),” Clark stated in his video. He could only wonder just what, if anything, she saw that he couldn’t.
At the end of a follow-up video, which Clark uploaded to YouTube in 2012, this behavior was even more apparent. Zoey continued to look up and stare at the alleged ghost. Whatever happened there, it’s clear Zoey could see (or sense) more than her owner.
That’s our first sign: Your pet might seem aware of invisible activity in your home, usually in one specific area.
2. Barking, growling, or hissing when nothing is there
Sometimes, the paranormal encounter doesn’t end with fleeting glances and occasionally following something from room to room.
As seen in the aforementioned video, Zoey the dog not only hovered around that invisible something, but also barked and growled at it.
This could, of course, be due to a variety of reasons — perhaps there were mice in the walls, or a sound present that was inaudible to her owner (possibly infrasound, which can cause all sorts of bizarre phenomena). It could even just be a reaction to the shadows on the walls. There are all sorts of things that might rile up a dog or a cat.
But there’s another possibility: Could this barking and growling be a sign that a ghost was present at that moment?
A Cat’s Tale
In one exemplary case of this possible ghostly phenomenon, a cat owner found that, after moving into a new house, his otherwise “laid back” cat would do anything he could to avoid one particular room: The living room.
One day, the cat entered that living room and stopped suddenly, staring at an empty space. “His eyes were wide and he began hissing,” his owner wrote.
With the cat still hissing at some invisible intruder, the owner walked over to the mystery spot, and while he couldn’t see anything there, he did feel what he could only describe as a “weird sensation,” possibly the chills.
Was a ghost also standing in that spot?
He calmed the cat down and gave him some treats. But every time the cat would get near the living room, he would hiss, and sometimes even claw at the air, desperately wanting to avoid whatever he could see that we mere humans could not.
3. Ignoring You In Favor Of A Ghostly Friend
Despite the previous account, I’ve read (I don’t remember where) that cats are more indifferent to spirits than other animals. Or maybe it was that cats are just more indifferent in general. That I can believe.
Some, however, would beg to differ. The third sign that your pet has seen a ghost is simple: acting distractedly. Ignoring you, its attention split by a (potentially) invisible force in the room.
Sometimes you might see your dog or cat preoccupied by something unusual. They won’t be growling or hissing, and they won’t be running around following a potential spirit, but they’ll give you the sense that maybe you’re not the only one vying for his or her attention in that moment.
From personal experience, I can say that cats in particular are usually very mindful of what goes on around them. And though they may sometimes ignore you, more often than not they’re perfectly aware that you want something when you call their name. They simply choose not to acknowledge you.
And yet, there have been cases when owners have found their cats doing more than just giving you the cold shoulder. When he or she almost seems to be playing with another cat. Looking to you, then looking to their invisible friend. Maybe they have a spectral playmate!
4. Fear of the Unknown
Several years ago, Reddit user Lillibeth shared a story that would seem to exemplify our final clue that your dog or cat has seen a ghost: fear.
At the time, Lillibeth had moved into an old house with her grandparents. The place was at least 100 years old and had a “creepy vibe,” or so she put it.
One night, she and her dog, a Shih Tzu named Lola, were getting ready to go to bed. They were, perhaps ironically, watching Ghost Adventures together. But at a certain point, about an hour later, Lola began to act up. She suddenly jumped to the edge of the bed, and looked over. Her eyes then began to follow something in the air, her head moving back and forth, watching something.
“I would call her name and she wouldn’t move,” Lillibeth wrote. She turned on the light to see if perhaps Lola was being pestered by a fly or a mouse, but she saw nothing. Then, as if in fear, Lola curled up against Lillibeth, occasionally glancing over the edge of the bed throughout the night.
Was Lola afraid of something her owner could not see? A ghost? Or, perhaps, Lola encountered something a bit more terrifying. If animals can sense whether or not a living person has good intentions, perhaps they read spirits in the same way.
Pets and the Paranormal
None of these signs or stories provide definitive answers to that question. We can’t speak to our dogs and cats. I can’t ask my turtles if they’ve ever seen anything strange lurking around their aquariums (and if they ever did answer, well, that’d be an entirely different topic to write about!).
What is that invisible something our pets eyes are following? Why are the dogs barking, the cats hissing, when nothing is there? Why are they afraid?
It’s entirely possible, when these odd signs occur, that our pets aren’t seeing ghosts at all. Perhaps they’re just jumping at their own shadows, or growling and hissing at literally nothing. Or, perhaps, they do have a slight ability to see things within our universe that we’re unaware of — higher dimensions, pieces of parallel universes, or other anomalies of space and time.
What can they see?
Questions, questions. All we can do is pay attention, and continue to wonder.
This article is an updated version of my original post “4 Signs Your Pet Has Seen A Ghost.” You can view an archive of it here.
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