If you have been around dogs and cats long enough, you start to wonder if they might have psychic abilities. Stories abound of pets who panic before a natural disaster or who get their families to leave an area before disaster hits. There are also the more low-key stories: have you ever thought about getting up to get a slice of cheese and have your dog run to the fridge ahead of you?
Can They Read Minds?
Has your dog ever climbed up in your lap, and you sense that he just knew you needed a cuddle? You didn’t have to say a word, but he understood your feelings. Does that make him a mind reader?
Scientists believe that dogs and humans have co-evolved over the course of thousands of years. This means that the species are closely partnered. While humans have no necessarily learned to speak “dog,” dogs have evolved a who slate of different ways to understand and communicate with their human companions.
For instance, dogs have a special region of the brain that allows them to process faces. Having this ability goes a long way towards explaining their sensitivity to interpreting human social cues. Our dogs may be able to pay closer attention to us than the humans around us, allowing them to know when we are feeling sad, angry, depressed, and other feelings.
There are plenty of reports about pets sensing problems such as earthquakes and storms before they happen. One study through Psychology Today had a researcher actual compile data on pets that seemed to note an earthquake was occurring before it did. He concluded that the shifting tectonic plates made sounds that could only be heard by the dogs, especially since dogs that were deaf did not appear to react, while dogs with upright ears reacted more than dogs that had floppy ears.
Many pets have been known to get antsy before a storm arrives. This behavior may be related to dogs and cats having much more adept senses than we do. They can generally sense barometric pressure changes in the air around us. They may also be able to hear rain or thunder way off in the distance, even if there is not a cloud in the sky visible from where you are.
Are They Able to Predict Future Events?
Have you ever gotten up from your desk to take your dog outside, only to find her sitting at the door with her Frisbee or leash in her mouth? If that doesn’t scream psychic ability, I don’t know what else might. But, are dogs psychic?
As with our dogs supposed ability to read minds, they are also masters at determining what we are going to do next. Much of our communication is non-verbal, and dogs are able to interpret our body cues. For many people, there is a lag time between when we actually start to move and when our consciousness is aware that we have made a decision to move. As a part of non-verbal cues, we may change our body posture, make hand gestures, and even have body odor changes. Our dogs are often able to interpret these cues because they are paying such close attention to us, constantly scanning our body for movements and motions.
Another area where pets excel and may seem psychic is with their senses. While they have access to all of the same sensory information that we do, they can also tap into their senses and hear and smell a host of other things. Dogs have a much larger area of the brain dedicated to olfaction and a more powerful nose that they can use to pick up smells. Cats and dogs can also hear things in frequencies that we cannot pick up. Because of their height, our dogs and cats may also pick up on different visual stimuli than we do. All of this puts their senses outside of our sensory range, so they basically possess “extra-sensory” perception.
So Is My Pet Psychic?
In most cases, no our pets are likely enough not psychic. Instead, their acute senses and ability to perceive our facial and body expressions makes them appear that way. There will always be cases that seem outside of the norm, however, such as reports of a cat who always knew when her owner would come home from work, even though she traveled at different times and through different modes of transportation. That cat really does seem like she might have psychic powers.
Whether you believe your dog or cat has psychic abilities is up to you, but there is no denying that they seem to possess special powers, at least in the areas of their sensory development. If we all paid as much attention to our pets as they pay to us, we’d rarely have miscommunications about things such as having an accident in the house, and our bonds would be that much stronger.