Can Cats Detect Cancer or Other Illnesses?

Can Cats Detect Cancer or Other Illnesses?Research suggests that dogs can smell out cancer, but what about felines? Can cats detect cancer or other illnesses? Is your kitty able to sniff out or somehow sense a health concern?

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Cat

Dr. Mangilal Agarwal of Indiana University-Purdue University’s Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases explained in a report by CBS that dogs having the ability to detect cancer is supported by studies. “People have never thought that dogs can smell molecules that relate to cancer, and recent studies show that they can,” he explained. Other research suggests dogs can also sense your mood and pick up on other concerns.

But, what about cats?

The dog detecting cancer theory has some truth to it. After some training, dogs have been proven to be the ability to sniff out prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma. As Dr. Agarwal stated, dogs can sniff out the molecules related to cancer. Unfortunately, little to no research has been done on cats’ ability to detect cancer. Thanks to a feline’s superior sense of smell, it would stand to reason they have the same opportunity. In addition, their hundreds of stories of kitties alerting their owners to health problems. As Cure, an online medical magazine focusing on cancer notes, “If scientists are beginning to research dogs’ abilities to detect cancer, perhaps they should explore the secret power of cats as well.”


Beyond cancer, cats may also have the ability to sense hypoglycemic episodes. Just like dogs, cats too have been known to alert their owners to dips in blood sugar. As for seizures, dogs seem to have the solo hold on detecting epilepsy episodes.

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Cat

While there is no scientific support for the theory cats can detect cancer, felines are able to pick up on your mood. An article published in Animal Cognition stated that while it’s not a cat’s strongest ability, they are “modestly sensitive to emotion, particularly when displayed by their owner.”

Do you have a story of your cat detecting an illness in your family, your mood, or a strange situation? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.

Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, on our Facebook Page,  Follow Our Twitter Account or Head Over To Our Pinterest Page!

9 Comments
  1. Guest says

    This is a very interesting read. It stands to reason that cats would be able to detect things like this just as well or better than dogs. Now we just have to find a way to make them care enough to do it! LOL I’m only kidding. I know it’s a myth that cats aren’t loving animals.

  2. Guest says

    I think this is so interesting but if they can detect cancer or an illness how would they alert a person to this so we can act on their intuition. I would love to hear more about this exciting issue.

  3. Guest says

    Interesting read. If dogs can detect those things, I don’t see why cats couldn’t. They have incredibly keen senses.

  4. Guest says

    That would be interesting to learn more about. They do say animals have some pretty great instincts.

  5. Guest says

    I really believe animals know how we are feeling. Whenever I am sick my pups are always by my side!

  6. Guest says

    This sounds amazing! Animals can be a great help to human health!

  7. Teal Unicorn says

    I didnt even know dogs could sniff cancer. I am sure animals have really heighten senses so this could be true for cats too!

  8. Karen Dowrick-Thompson says

    I was diagnosed with a rare condition called Idiopathic Anaphylaxis with Chronic Urticaria – This means my body attacks itself for no reason my skin blisters (inside my body as well as outside) and if not treated quickly I can go into anaphylactic shock and die, I have to take tablets and then Epipens and call 999 problem is this can happen at night when I am asleep, it will wake me but by then I am normally quite ill. But my cat has started waking me in the middle of the night frantically clawing at me and the quilt until I wake He will not stop I have then realised I am starting to feel unwell and take one tablet and I am fine as soon as I take the tablet he leaves me alone. If I dont wake up he goes to my partner and claws him this has now happened 6 times and each time he has woken me before I would of woken and not become really bad. His name is Storm and hes amazing

    regards Karen

  9. Karen Thompson says

    I was diagnosed with a rare condition called Idiopathic Anaphylaxis with Chronic Urticaria – This means my body attacks itself for no reason my skin blisters (inside my body as well as outside) and if not treated quickly I can go into anaphylactic shock and die, I have to take tablets and then Epipens and call 999 problem is this can happen at night when I am asleep, it will wake me but by then I am normally quite ill. But my cat has started waking me in the middle of the night frantically clawing at me and the quilt until I wake He will not stop I have then realised I am starting to feel unwell and take one tablet and I am fine as soon as I take the tablet he leaves me alone. If I dont wake up he goes to my partner and claws him this has now happened 6 times and each time he has woken me before I would of woken and not become really bad. His name is Storm and hes amazing

    regards Karen

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.