Can Cats Predict Floods And Natural Disasters?

Do cats know when it's going to rain?juliasudnitskaya – Fotolia.com

Can cats really predict natural disasters and get out of harm’s way? I’ve been hoping against hope that they can since last weekend when the historic district of the town next to ours was devastated by the worst flood in its very long history.

Cars were upended by the rushing water, and historic buildings were destroyed. People escaped from flooding restaurants by climbing up ladders into attics and making their way across rooftops to safety. 

But what about the town cats? Did they

make their way to safety? Cats — and all animals — have ways of knowing disaster is coming, so I’m praying the answer is yes.


How Cats Know When It’s Going To Rain

It would be fun to think our cats have a sixth sense that warns them when disaster is about to strike. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. And no one really knows for sure how cats and other animals know when it’s going to rain or how they can predict natural disasters, like earthquakes.

One theory suggests that cats know a storm is coming because they feel changes in the barometric pressure. That could be the reason why some rub their faces and behind their ears before a storm. The low pressure could be uncomfortable and rubbing a paw across the face or behind the ears might relieve some of that discomfort. 

Another theory is that cats can smell rain coming from miles away. And a third is that they can hear thunder, or perhaps the sound of rushing water, long before we can.

Furry Forecasters

Cats are believed to be such good weather forecasters, fishermen and sailors have been calling on them to predict the weather for hundreds of years. They see cats rubbing a paw across their faces or behind their ears or trying to jump ship as a warning that bad weather is on the way. 

Apparently, not all cats are such good weather forecasters, though. The night the town next to us flooded, we had three inches of rain here (they got more than six inches). My cats sat under a huge bush and waited for it to go away. When they finally agreed to come inside, they were perfectly dry, but I was drenched.

I pray that the Ellicott City cats were paying more attention to their inner forecasters than my cats were and got to high ground in time. And all of us are praying for the business owners and residents of the historic district. It will take months to repair the damage, and in the meantime, all of us will be doing everything we can to help.

To find out how you can help Ellicott City’s flood victims, visit the Howard County Government Facebook page.

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