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Can cats see ghosts? Spooky behavior explained!

Do you know why cats always accompany witches? Or have you ever wondered why they say black cats are bad luck and evil? Are these cat-related paranormal stories true? Surely on more than one occasion, you have noticed that your cat has certain strange behaviors that, no matter how much you want, you can’t understand, for example, when they stare at a point on the wall where “there is nothing.” If you think about it, maybe the answer to this enigma is out of this world. Wait a minute. Can cats see ghosts? Let’s investigate!

Cat legends

Just as your cat never ceases to amaze you today, these felines have always enchanted humans with their sweet pirouettes, risky mischief, and weird behaviors. No wonder, after having inhabited the earth for thousands of years, these furry felines are present in the folklore of many cultures, whether in myths, legends, or tales of the afterlife.

can cats see ghosts - legends

There are ancient stories that today endure in popular culture, either because they are part of the tradition or because they serve to explain phenomena that otherwise would have no answer. Here are the most popular ones.

  • I’ll start with my favorite, Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed cats were magical creatures that brought good luck to the home. They loved their cats so much that some families dressed them in jewelry and, upon death, mummified them. It was customary for family members to shave their eyebrows when their cat died and to mourn until they grew back, all this to honor the memory of their cat. The image of the cat was so powerful that there was even a goddess, Bastet, with a cat’s face and a woman’s body. Goddess of the sun, pregnancy and childbirth, and protector against evil spirits.
  • The cat-sith! This corresponds to Celtic mythology, which said that this creature was an evil fairy in the form of a black cat with a white spot on its chest. The Sith could steal a person’s soul if the gods didn’t claim it in time during the funeral. Families would watch over the deceased’s body until the burial, so the Sith wouldn’t have a chance to get close.
  • Witchcraft and black cats. The bad reputation of black cats began in the 16th century when herbal knowledge and natural remedies began to be demonized in medieval Europe. Healers were accused of being evil witches who prowled the woods at night, and guess what animal also prowls at night? Cats, of course, to which all sorts of spooky stories were attributed.
  • Versatile Japan has the legend of Kasha, the demon cat that steals corpses to take them to the underworld, but they also have Maneki-neko, their famous white cat believed to bring good luck.

Ok, but why do people think cats can see ghosts and spirits?

Short answer, for years, they have been associated with dark magic and the afterlife, and it is worth mentioning that some cats have such cold eyes that they can be frightening.

can cats see ghosts - spirits

Leaving aside the myth, a common reason why we might come to think that the cat perceives something that’s in another astral plane is that felines have much more acute senses than us, which allows them actually to perceive things that we can’t, and I’m not talking about ghosts.

To claim that a cat sees a ghost every time it stares at an empty wall is to try to humanize it because we want to make sense of its actions through patterns that correspond only to humans. Your cat may be your child, but don’t forget it still is an entirely different animal than a human.

The science behind the myth: cat’s keen senses

To understand their behavior, we must consider their physical and mental characteristics that differ from ours.


Cats’ vision is incredible, at least in low light, as they can see six times better than humans. That’s why they’re often out hunting at night. Cats can see colors, but that doesn’t mean they know the world the same way we do because their eyes don’t focus well if they are exposed to daylight.

But even seeing blurred, they detect things that we cannot see, for example, the flickering of a light bulb or small objects passing by at high speed. Sound familiar? Maybe your ghost was a mosquito.


Cats’ hearing is 3 times more powerful than humans, so it can pick up frequencies we can’t appreciate. So the next time you see your cat’s ears twitching, it’s probably because he’s listening to something meters away.

can cats see ghosts - hearing


Cats’ whiskers are very important, like sensory antennae that help them detect vibrations. These vibrations help them get a better idea of their surroundings, from the proximity of an animal to the size of spaces.

Can cats see ghosts? Conclusion

As you can see, there are many reasons why we might think a cat sees ghosts, maybe it is trying to concentrate on hearing some distant sound, or it has seen a mosquito fly by. If you believe ghosts exist, you can still choose to think that maybe your cat sees spirits. After all, I have never heard of anyone being able to ask their cat if they see ghosts. Therefore, we’ll never know for sure.

There you have it. Cats are unique animals with incredible capabilities and a mysterious aura that can’t be explained. Who knows what they see in the dark of night? All we can do is enjoy their presence as our loyal feline friends. In any case, we are lucky to have them!

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