I've had a rough few days - expensive car trouble and a health scare that involved an ER visit Monday evening - and on top of that, my cat (one of 5 pets, but if I'm being honest, he's my favorite) has not been acting like himself since about Sunday night. He stopped grooming himself and eating, and even leaving my bedroom. He growled at the other 2 cats when they came near him on my bed, which is not like him at ALL. I was a little freaked out about it, because after my car repairs, I didn't have enough to take him to the vet and last me until my next paycheck, and he's only a year old, so I couldn't stand the thought of losing him. Then, within the last hour, he's suddenly seemed to bounce back. Completely groomed himself, went downstairs and ate, and now he's purring and giving me kisses. I told my sister-in-law about it and she suggested that maybe he was upset because he sensed that I was sick, and now he bounced back because I am feeling better. It honestly doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility to me. Maybe he was growling at the other 2 because he thought they were getting too close to me and he was trying to protect me.
What do you think? Do pets sense when we're sick and try to protect us, or are my SIL and I just anthromorphizing my cat?
I've always loved our cats, but have so little expectation for caregiving reciprocity. I can imagine unhappiness making them unhappy much more than I can imagine them putting on little capes and bounding to our rescue.
"Your cat knows you’re upset — he just won’t comfort you," [salon.com]
"Owners' view of their pets' emotions, intellect, and mutual relationship: Cats and dogs compared," [researchgate.net]
"Oscar, the Death-Predicting Cat (Review, 'Making Rounds with Oscar,'"
Animals sense by smell, actions and the electricty we give off what our moods are or any sickness we may be experiencing.There are many cat, dog and other animals who act as emotional support such as those with PTSD or someone suffering a seizure of some type. Animals have long been trained to protect us, to act as our hands or feet and to support and love us when perhaps no one else will. I don't think that is anthromorphizing. You might want to read a book I just finished by de Waal entitled, "Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are?"
I even read about a man who kept a collection of rare tortoises, but one day they started dying. He finally realized they'd started getting sick right after his own father died. When he did things to cheer himself up the tortoises stopped dying.