Nearly half of pet owners involved in new research believe their animals posess some kind of psychic ability.
Predicting or sensing life-threatening illnesses, detecting spooky situations and even intervening to stop accidents are among the 'supernatural' presences reported by 39 per cent of the 2,000 dog and cat owners recently surveyed by Blue Cross.
But our experts say it’s more likely due to the “extraordinary” senses of our pets, rather than any psychic talent.
“Pets and their owners can have a really strong bond, so may be able to sense when their owner is under the weather or has something more serious looming,” said Tamsin Durston, Veterinary Nurse and Dog Trainer at Blue Cross. “They also have an incredible sense of smell that allows them to detect subtle changes in our bodies before we know anything is wrong.”
Three quarters of the people surveyed thought animals can sense or even detect illness before diagnosis, with examples ranging from strokes and seizures, to cancer and blood clots.
One owner said: “I have arthritis in my spine and once had a cat who knew when the pain was bad. He would sit on my back and knead the exact spot that hurt, then lie down on it. His purring and the warmth worked better than any expensive physio sessions I've had since.”
Another reported: “My pet began sitting on my stomach when I had a cancer there, and going through chemo would constantly sniff and lick my head and hands.”
Many owners also think their pet can predict when a member of the family is pregnant, on their way home or about to go out.
One even claimed their cat prevented a potentially fatal accident, saying: “I was just leaving to go to work when my cat started behaving really oddly - yowling and jumping up at me so I couldn't get out the door. I thought she might be feeling poorly so picked her up and took her into the front room - at which point a car lost control and ended up in my front garden.”
A quarter of those surveyed who currently own a pet also admit they’ve become more aware of the possibility of ghosts and supernatural activity since getting their animal.
One cat owner explained: “My mother passed away and our cat used to wait at her bedroom door. When we opened it for him he would stare at her bed (she had been very sick before she died) if we attempted to move him he became very distressed.”
But Tamsin explained that changes in mood can often be down to the different seasons.
“The change in the seasons can be stressful for some pets - darker evenings may mean they aren’t getting the exercise they are used to, or around Bonfire Night they face evenings of loud bangs and flashes – but Blue Cross has plenty of help and advice to offer.”