Can Dogs and Cats See Ghosts?

Updated on May 9, 2016
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.

Can dogs see ghosts when humans can't?
Can dogs see ghosts when humans can't? | Source

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 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?

Is this dog seeing something we can't?
Is this dog seeing something we can't? | Source

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 why wouldn't dogs be able to see ghosts?

Cats are eerily sensitive to spirits and such...
Cats are eerily sensitive to spirits and such... | Source

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.

If cats are underworld guardians, it's no wonder they can see spirits...
If cats are underworld guardians, it's no wonder they can see spirits... | Source

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 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.

Can dogs and cats see ghosts? I believe so..
Can dogs and cats see ghosts? I believe so.. | Source

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Questions & Answers


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    • Discordzrocks profile image

      Gavin Heinz 2 years ago from Austin TX


    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a topic that I find very interesting. I've never noticed my dogs or cats behaving as you describe, but I try to keep an open mind. I suspect that there is more to reality than we normally detect. I wouldn't be at all surprised if dogs and cats could sense some aspect of this expanded reality!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Loved this hub when you first published. Congrats on Hub of the Day! Hope you're having a blessed and beautiful 2016 so far!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Animals have very acute senses. By watching their reactions people had a greater chance of survival. So called "animal familiars" were used by alleged witches to aid in survival. Even wild animals and birds brought "omens" of ill winds or predictions of events. Some of this is based on proven science eg the behaviour of animals before earthquakes or of ants before a flood or the proverbial rats leaving doomed ships.

      Are their senses acute enough to sense otherworldly phenomenon? Yes of course. They can sense when death or disease is approaching.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Nicole, this was a far out hub by nature. This was pretty interestingly amazing to know and read about. Thanks for sharing and congrats on HOTD!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Congratulations for the HOTD!

      An interesting hub indeed. The animals do have more sensitivity than us humans. They get a sense of the Earthquakes much earlier than we do. They can even smell suspicious things much before we get a sense of that.

      Thanks for sharing this interesting article!

    • vasantha  T k profile image

      vasantha T k 2 years ago from Bangalore

      Interesting topic to think about! Animals have extra sensory abilities to sense things.

    • starme77 profile image

      starme77 3 years ago

      My dog has always been very spiritual. Once, she had a big growth on her leg and the vet wanted over a thousand dollars to take it off. could not affored that , so one day when we left her with a friend, she ran away. My son was so upset, but that night he had a dream that our dog would be found without her growth. Well, she was picked up by animal control, the growth removed and we found her. I think she was telling my son she would be back and be just fine. She is 15 years old now and she randomly barks, I think she is seeing the spirits on their way to take her to heaven :)

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 3 years ago from the Ether

      Oak and Mystic - That's an awesome story. Thanks for sharing!

    • Oak and Mystic profile image

      Oak and Mystic 3 years ago

      I have no doubt that my dogs, and cats could see things I could not perceive at the time. Back in February of 1971 we had an earthquake on the 9th, it was 6.7. For days afterward we had aftershocks which our dogs sensed before they occurred! Whether a premonition to an event, or the sighting of something ghostly, it was unnerving when our animals alerted; LOL, especially after the Exorcist came out! Woody

    • profile image

      Jack 4 years ago

      Yes, once I was watching some TV then my cat just hisses loudly at nothing, I turned on the light and his hair was sticking straight up, his back was arched and he stared up at me with his big scared eyes and meowed

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      precy - Yes, sounds like he is tapping into something there. I've had many dogs and cats that could see and even play with spirits around us. Blessings to you.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 years ago from USA

      And this just confirms my hunches.....and somehow scares me, I'm a scaredy cat. I work in a home care, and few times the dog of this client I'm working for would bark and scratch the carpet, I thought that was silly. But then, few times also I caught the dog barking in the air, like he was looking at something, one time in the rest room and the last time in the kitchen. He was a bit on my right side behind me and he barks in the air, moving his head from one side to the other, as if looking at something, gave me chills with the thought that he's probably seeing something.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      I agree! Thanks, FlourishAnyway.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      What an interesting hub! Our four-legged friends are much more sensitive and tuned in to all kinds of experiences than most humans. I really enjoyed reading this.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Heidi - I agree! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Definitely believe they can tune into the spirit world and aspects of the physical world that are beyond our senses and understanding. I've always marveled at how they can be completely at peace (even sleeping) and then, suddenly, for no apparent reason, be on instant alert.

      Have worked with animal communicators and it was very interesting when during a session, she said to watch for some changes in behavior. I could tell! What a wild experience that was. It did give us some insight into what may have happened to our boy since he was found as a stray.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Danette - As one who is obsessed with the fairy realm, I can tell you that it sounds more like you had some fairy tricks being played on you...particularly when you say you lost things and couldn't find them. The fay are well known for "borrowing" things and never returning them or returning them WAY later!

      bac2basics - No doubt...I would've shat my pants too! LOL. It must have been really scary if you remember it this many years later. Thanks for sharing! Sally sounds special.

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Kitty.

      Another great hub. I do believe animals are in tune with the spirit world and can see and sense many things we can not.

      I have had animals all my life too, mainly cat´s and I can tell you that one of my favourite cat´s, Sally, really freaked me out one night. I had just moved into a new house, maybe I had only been there a month or so and one night I heard the strangest noise. I had just gone to bed and Sally was curled up on top of the covers, we both heard the noise obviously and I remember thinking " what the hell was that" and then immediately " well if it was something weird the cat would have reacted" Just seconds later sally began to growl and I almost Shat myself. It took me a long time to get to sleep that night I can tell you, but as Sally didn´t seem overly concerned and stayed put in the room I figured that whatever had made this strange noise couldn´t be that threatening, but it did freak me out somewhat and obviously I never forgot it either and it happened over 30 years ago.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      I live in Alton, IL, one of the most haunted towns in America. There have been many times when I've "lost" stuff in the house that shouldn't be lost. For instance, the day after I bought a potholder and an oven mitt, the oven mitt disappeared. I looked everywhere, even in the trash. I have yet to find it and that was about a year ago. Many other similar instances.

      About 3 months ago, my dog was acting strange. She stayed near me most of the day and she'd pause at the back door and slink in and out, looking around her. Shortly before bed, she sat near a 1/2 wall in our house and looked up at the ceiling as if watching something. The next day, everything was back to normal. We think a 'strange' ghost was hanging around the house that day, one she wasn't familiar with.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Thanks, lucybell! You're too sweet. :)

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Thanks, Bill. I'll check it out.

    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 4 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      I think they really see spirits. Wonderful hub.

    • Bill Sego profile image

      Bill Sego 4 years ago from Logan, Ohio

      If there is anything valid to the phenomenon, then they would naturally be more in tune since animals are more sensitive to morphic fields. Even if ghosts are a scientific phenomenon and are merely living relatives from an alternate reality that have passed on in this one, the animal would be more receptive to such a crossover or hotspot in this reality. If alternate realities and histories to this one act similar to wavering "branes" in string theory, certain people and animals might be more receptive to loved ones and family members still living in another. Check out research on morphic fields as it is a valid hypothesis.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I try to keep an open mind on these subject. It is interesting to speculate about.