We all have heard the amazing stories: a dog who can sense when an epileptic seizure is about to take place, some disturbance in the electromagentic field or something that alerts the dog to an impending event.
Or maybe those pets who sensed an earthquake or tsunami was bearing down, and ran for higher ground long before the people figured out what was coming.
Or Oscar the cat, the gentle hospice feline who had a way of knowing when a person was about to pass on, and always managed to find his way to them to snuggle in their last hours.
Animals know things we don’t, and it bugs us as humans when we can’t figure out how they do it. So we wonder, and study them, and doubt their abilities, but at the end of the day all we can do is marvel at the amazing gifts they possess.
Granted, some skills, some sixth senses, are more useful than others. Take Apollo, for instance.
He’s fairly aloof, at least with strangers. Give him a day or so and you guys will be best friends, but at first he prefers to study strangers from the relative safety of the laundry room, where he can quickly escape to the garage if you turn out to be worrisome.
There are, however, a few exceptions to the rule. If you are one of the following types of people he will immediately single you out for his undivided attention and love:
1. Deathly afraid of cat people. From day one Apollo could not get enough of my sister, a woman who has had issues with cats ever since a troubling childhood encounter with a particularly malevolent calico. He jumps on her chest, drools on her arms, and if she forgets to put him away at night, sleeps on her face.
2. Allergic people. If you are allergic to cats, Apollo will without fail implore you to explore hygiene hypothesis through flooding you with all the dandery goodness he can rub on you. His method of attack is to approach immediately and from behind.
Perhaps he senses reticence and fear, in the first case fear of physical attack, and the latter fear of a nasty immune response. I like to think maybe he is simply trying to be reassuring- See? I’m a nice cat! No need to worry! rubrubrub – which is all very nice and all until someone stops breathing.
We had some friends over yesterday, and it happened like clockwork. A new mother bouncing her adorable 6 month old on her lap. Apollo, rising from his spot on the couch and instead of beelining for the laundry room, immediately tries to climb on her lap. I see her freeze.
“Is that OK?” I ask, not sure if she’s concerned for the baby, the fur, or her life.
“Oh, I’m just…” sniffle “….allergic. He’s very sweet, I just….” sniffle….
“Say no more,” I said, scooping him up and bringing him off to the spare room for a quiet solo evening.
If a dog can sniff out colon cancer, I can’t see why a cat can’t sense allergies, or fear, or who knows what else. Anyone else have a pet with a peculiar sixth sense?