Back in 2018, a viral video seemed to show several cats in a Japanese cat café trying to flee to safety about ten seconds before an earthquake hit.
The footage of felines trying to escape from the magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Osaka caused many people to revisit the question, can cats predict earthquakes?
The answer isn’t totally clear; although, there is some science behind the theory and a whole lot of firsthand anecdotal evidence that exists.
Here’s what you need to know about whether cats can predict earthquakes.
What’s The Science Behind Cats Predicting Earthquakes?
While cat parents often believe that their felines have very prescient powers, the idea that cats can predict earthquakes has roots in scientific studies.
Back in the 1980s, the German scientist Helmut Tributsch released a book claiming to prove that animals in general are finely tuned to impending earthquakes.
The science behind Tributsch’s claim relies on the idea that animals, including cats, can detect the ions created when the planet’s underground plates move and rub together.
This is due to the body surface of cats being quite a bit drier than a human’s, which in turn makes felines more likely to pick up on electrostatic variances.
A similar theory also states that cats are simply more sensitive than humans, so they’re able to feel upcoming earthquakes early.
Adding science to this idea, in the late 1980s a geologist named Jim Berkland managed to accurately predict a couple of California earthquakes by looking at the number of missing pet ads in local newspapers. He surmised that, when cats knew an earthquake was coming, they’d flee from their homes in search of safety.
What Do Cats Do When They Feel An Earthquake Coming?(Picture Credit: grassflowerhead/Getty Images)
Conclusive proof of the science behind cats allegedly predicting earthquakes doesn’t exist yet, but a lot of anecdotal evidence does suggest that cats can predict earthquakes.
Some of the more common reported cat behaviors right before an earthquake include:
- Meowing wildly
- Becoming very anxious or frightened
- Running away
- Collecting up their kittens and going to hide
If you’re still unconvinced that cats can predict earthquakes, you can check out some of the many YouTube videos showing footage of kitties preemptively reacting to incoming earthquakes.
Do you think that cats can really predict earthquakes? Has your cat ever let you know when danger was coming before it happened? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments section below!