Can Dogs and Cats See Ghosts?
Are animals psychic?
In a world where there are psychics, mediums, palm-readers, and tarot card readers in nearly every strip mall, some of us wonder if all this supernatural stuff isn't just a bunch of hoo-ey. At the same time, there are those of us who know that there is something coinciding with the natural world...sort of a secondary world thriving all around us that cannot be seen by us...at least not by most human eyes.
If you've ever owned a dog or cat, you have probably been around when one of your pets has had a random fit and barked at the air or played with something that seems to be invisible. This usually makes us ask the question, "can dogs and cats see ghosts?" Most humans might not be able to, but what about our four-legged friends?
Do Dogs See Dead People?
Is it the dog's keen sense of smell or perhaps the fact that they are un-jaded by the world's non-belief that gives them a seemingly sharp ability to sense something unnatural in a room?
As a little girl, I grew up in a house with a mother who was a huge animal lover. In fact, many times we thought she loved the animals more than she loved humans. Given this fact, my mother has had many dogs and cats and so we got used to having four-legged friends all over the house on any given day. Some of them were somewhat dumb, but there were some who were rather smart and in-tune with their surroundings. These were the dogs who would see things...
When the dogs would stare up into the air at literally nothing intently, we knew they could see something we couldn't. Generally the air would get rather heavy in the room and we would get a little freaked out by the experience.
Our dogs would do anyone of the following when they saw ghosts (or what we believe were ghosts):
- their hackles would raise for no known reason
- they would bark at the air
- they would attack something on the walls or in the closets
- they would get rather protective of their humans for no known reason
- they would run and hide in a corner for no known reason
- they would seem to be playing with something invisible
And the list of these creepy occurrences could continue on and on...
So it raises the question, do dogs see ghosts? Are they seeing something that we choose not to see or cannot see? Many ghost hunters and investigators believe that dogs
Why can dogs tune into the supernatural and we can't?
Are dogs able to tune into the supernatural because they are less jaded than humans? Maybe it's because they have keener senses than we do. They can smell, see, and hear much better than we can.
Something I find interesting about dogs is that they have been steeped in mythology and ancient beliefs relating to the dead. Dogs are seen as psychopomps in many cultures and ancient religions (a psychopomp is a spirit that guides souls to the other side).
For instance, if we look at the mythology of Hecate, she stands at the crossroads between life and death and is almost always accompanied by a three-headed white canine.
If we look to Egyptian mythology, a god of the underworld who is also considered a psychopomp is Anubis. By the way, he is depicted as having a jackal's head (a type of canine).
In the state of Maryland, there is a legend about a Blue Dog who appears only on the night of his and his master's death over two centuries ago. Quite often ghostly dogs are seen across the United States and elsewhere in the world.
Are dogs more able to see the supernatural world because they have a deeper sense of the supernatural? Perhaps these myths and legends of dogs being associated with death have a deeper meaning than modern people understand. It would make sense that a psychopomp would be able to easily see and feel the presence of otherworldly spirits and ghosts...so why wouldn't dogs be able to see ghosts?
Can cats see ghosts and spirits?
So we've debated whether dogs can see ghosts, but what about cats? Are they just as sensitive to changes in the environment as dogs are? Some people may even believe in fact they are more sensitive.
If your cat has seen a ghost, you may have noticed him/her doing one or more of the following:
- hissing at something unseen
- hackles raised on its back for no known reason
- hissing and hiding in a corner as if its scared of something
- batting at the air or at something completely invisible to the naked eye
- purring and having its hair stroked by an unseen hand
- playing with something invisible
- meowing at an alarming volume and in a way not normal for your cat
Typically when my cat is acting strange there is a change in his demeanor almost immediately. He begins to act very territorial, but for no known reason. Usually I look around the house to see if there's a stray cat or dog outside tormenting him, only to turn up no solid results. This usually happens on very random days, but closer to the Full Moon and usually during Twilight hours.
Cats have a strange way of tapping into emotions family homes. If a child is upset, perhaps you have heard your cat cry along with the child. Or if there's a family argument, perhaps you've noticed your cat hiding under the bed. They are extremely sensitive creatures and are known for tuning into their surroundings and owners so it's no wonder why some believe that cats can see ghosts and otherworldly spirits.
Cats and Mythology
Just as dogs permeate mythology all over the world, so do cats. When many of us think of cats in mythology, our minds might be transported to ancient Egypt...to a time when Sekhmet the warrior cat goddess ruled the worship of many. Or perhaps we'd be reminded of the more gentle Egyptian goddess of the hearth, fertility, and woman known as Bast or Bastet. One can still travel to Egypt and pick up a miniature statue of the cat goddess to this day.
Other areas of mythology where the cat can be found is in Norse mythology with the Goddess Freyja. Also, what do you think of when someone says the words black cat? Most people automatically think bad luck, or associate cats with witches. This belief probably relates to the worship of Freyja and the Christian Church trying to convert her worshipers many centuries ago. Cats were sort of demoted from a guardian of the gods to mere familiars to evil witches (unfortunately).
In Edain McCoy's book "A Witch's Guide to the Faery Folk", she says that if you have a cat in your house that the fairies or "wee folk" will not come around. They are supposedly fearful of cats, because cats know when spirits are present in or around a home. So if cats are sensitive to the wee folk, there is no doubt they are sensitive to ghosts, as well.
The ancient Celts believed that cats were guardians to the underworld and that they could also be animal spirit guides. They were a direct link to the Mother Goddess and to the universe.
It is also known that cats are sensitive to atmospheric changes such as approaching thunderstorms, etc. So if they are able to sense a change in the atmospheric pressure, would they then be able to sense a change of a spiritual kind?
Written and copyright © KittytheDreamer (May Canfield), 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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