Can Cats Detect Cancer or Other Illnesses?

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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.

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