Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., author of Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals, wants cat owners to participate in his research by conducting experiments themselves. He says not enough research regarding cats and extrasensory perception (ESP) abilities is available. Cat owners who conduct the following experiment and email him their results will be added to his database. The results will help to further the study of animal ESP.
To learn more about cat ESP, read Extra Sensory Cats in the June issue of CAT FANCY.
Cat ESP Experiment: Does my cat know when I am calling on the phone?
First, have a friend or family member at home observe the behavior of your cat when the phone rings. Then, have the person in the house most attached to the cat leave and remain gone for a random amount of time. Have that person go shopping or do other tasks. If there is a device that tells the number or name on a phone display, cover it up during the experiments so that the cat does not recognize the pattern.
Have the cat owner call several times, and concentrate on his or her cat when he or she calls. Also, have at least four other people who have little or no relationship with the cat (other friends, long distance family members, co-workers, etc.) call the same number of times at different times.
Make sure the person observing the cat does not answer any of the calls and responds indifferently each time there is a call. Make sure the person does not know when the cat owner is calling. This way, the cat cannot hear the owner’s voice, and the person observing cannot give any subtle signals to the cat that the owner is calling. The person observing also might want to videotape the phone as a way of documenting how the cat behaves with the different phone calls. Let each phone call ring a number of times.
Have the person observing write down and track when the cat goes to the phone or makes any unusual sounds or behaviors before the phone rings, when the phone rings or right after the phone has rung. Then, have the observer check and see if this is when the cat owner has called.
Do this experiment at least four times during a couple of weeks. Do the experiments at different times of the day and during different days of the week. Keep track of the experiment results, and include all dates and times.
Brad Kollus is a freelance writer, specializing in the human-feline bond. He lives with his wife Elizabeth, son Dylan and their four cats.