Monday 27 September 2021

Cats' mythical ability to foresee earthquakes is explained

Recently, in Melbourne, Australia, there was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake (Sept 2021). An English Staffordshire terrier dog began barking and running about before the ground began to shake. The dog ran back and forth and up and down the house barking. It was as if he had predicted that an earthquake was about to take place. The experts say that cats usually leave the vicinity when they predict an earthquake. Dogs do vocalise by barking and howling before an earthquake. I guess that this doesn't always happen but dog owners do report it.

Cats' mythical ability to foresee earthquakes is explained
 Cats' mythical ability to foresee earthquakes is explained

However, an Australian veterinarian, Dr. Anne Quain, says that there is no scientific evidence that cats and dogs have a mystical ability to detect when an earthquake is about to happen. She believes that these companion animals react to the foreshock or small earthquakes that preceded the main seismic event and which humans cannot feel. She does not believe that they have an extrasensory ability to predict them.

In the Melbourne earthquakes there were reports, on social media, that some cats were going missing. Many foreshocks occur 24-hours before the main shock. Sometimes the foreshocks can occur up to 30 days before the main shock. This gives companion animals plenty of time to apparently predict the main shock. What they're doing is simply reacting to an earthquake that people cannot experience and therefore it looks as though they are making a prediction of the main shock, which, of course, can be felt and seen by their human caregivers.

Dr. Desmond Morris in his book Cat World says that it has been established beyond doubt that cats are capable of predicting earthquakes but at the time of publication of his book (1996) he said that the experts were unsure how they managed to do it. He did suggest that cats may be sensitive to vibrations in the earth which are so minute that instruments cannot detect them. And he did also state that in the lead up to earthquakes there is a gradual buildup which provides an early warning system to companion animals.

He also suggested that cats may be responsive to an increase in static electricity which precedes earthquakes. Humans can also respond to a dramatic increase in static electricity in that they produce vague symptoms such as headaches. This makes it hard to relate them to foreshocks.

Morris also proposes that cats may be responsive to "sudden shifts in the Earth's magnetic field which accompany earthquakes". Perhaps they are responsive to all three simultaneously. He states that cats do become intensely agitated just before earthquakes. Cats run around the house desperate to escape. The same sorts of reactions occur before volcanic eruptions or severe electrical storms.

Superstitious Christians in mediaeval times or times of that era would put these skills down to cats being possessed of unnatural knowledge resulting in them being burned to death.

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