Friskies® Post

Do Cats See Things That Aren't There?

Have you ever noticed your cat suddenly take off chasing after nothing at all? Perhaps he's walking through the room when suddenly he spins around and takes off after some invisible toy somewhere? Or maybe he's sitting on the sofa when you notice his eyes get wide and his ears perk up as if an invisible bird just flew out of the kitchen?

What you're actually witnessing is your cat being extremely tuned into his environment. His incredible senses pick up on sounds that are too high-pitched for us to hear and smells that our noses don't even know are there. His keen sense of sight is also able to detect the most subtle movement or shadow – and from a cat's point of view that subtle movement could be something worth playing with so it's always worth investigating.

Because cats play by being using stealth and then pouncing on the toy, there are times when they simply have lots of built-up energy and so the slightest little interesting sight, smell, or sound can create an opportunity for them to expend some of it. In our home, it's not unusual for one of my cats to go from zero to 90MPH in mere seconds when she sees, hears, or smells something “invisible.” My daughter has nicknamed it cat zooming.

The next time you notice your cat look as if he just saw something invisible zoom past, it might mean he's in the mood for a little playtime. Take out a fishing pole toy and turn that invisible game into something you both can see, hear, feel, and enjoy!

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Watch & Play

About Pam Johnson-Bennett

Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and best-selling author of seven books on cat behavior and training. Pam is one of the most well-known experts on cats and a pioneer in the field of behavior consulting. Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, LLC, a veterinarian-referred behavior practice in Nashville, TN. Her website is

More about Pam

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