There's something witchy about cats, as confirmed by old legends. Science confirms that as well — just without any sorcery!
August 8 is the International Cat Day (In the UK its celebrated on October 29) It's a great time to learn exactly why your cat is clingy when you're on your period and what makes cats your magical companions during period cramps.
Yes, you have probably noticed that your kitty becomes extra attentive and cuddly when you're on your period. Today we'll explain if cats can:
- sense when you're menstruating;
- feel your pain and mood changes;
- relief your cramps' intensity;
- affect your period in any other way.
Wait, do cats know when I'm on my period?
They know that something is different about you. Here's how it works.
Feline senses are incredibly sharp, and that includes domesticated breeds. Their sense of smell is superior: cats have 200+ mil sensors in their noses. Not a single odor change escapes them, including the smell of your body.
Now, when you're on your period, cats can smell not just blood, but also hormones, in theory. Veterinarian and OB-GYN experts often agree that hormones like estrogen can emit very, very subtle odors that can't be detected by humans, but are obvious to cats. When you're on your period, your estrogen and progesterone levels fall, and so does their hypothetical odor change. Your cat may sense that.
Cats can also pick up on your period-related mood swings. You can be sad or irritable, you can lay down a lot and be not as active overall. Attention and affection from the owner are important for cats, they rely on them to survive. When you're not as cheerful, a little alarm bell can go off inside your cat's consciousness.
So, your cat will try and investigate the situation: approach you frequently, rub against you, smell you. After gathering information within several menstrual cycles of yours, it can use that data in the future. This means next time you're on your period, your cat won't be as confused or weirded out by your smell and behavior. On the contrary, the cat may act more clingy and sweet to get an affectionate reaction from you.
Why? Because cats can feel that loving on them makes "their" humans happier and calmer. They detect the difference in their owner's heartbeat and breathing — and, possibly, the rise of endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin hormones.
But does my cat know when I'm in pain?
Even the smartest of cats don't comprehend pain as humans do: they don't have a philosophical concept of it. Just as they don't know what human periods are.
But as we said above, cats are good at detecting stress. And period cramps are stressful. So yes, your cat probably knows that something is wrong with you.
If my cat lays on my stomach when I have cramps, does that mean it's trying to "heal" me?
Okay. So, a LOT of people swear their cats often lay on the aching part of their body — including snuggling against the bellies of menstruating owners. As if they're trying to bring relief and can DETECT where it hurts.
Science still doesn't know if cats can detect that in reality. However, as we established, your cat senses your stress and knows that cuddling with you may lessen it. When you're laying down with cramps, you probably do it in an almost fetal position. So when your cat comes for some anti-stress snuggles, it nestles against your stomach — because it's a cozy and warm spot.
Why is my cat clingy when I'm on my period?
Because it can detect your stress and wants to make you feel better. Cats know that cuddling makes humans happy: they can "decipher" changes in their owner's body when it happens.
Can cats affect your period?
Yes, they can make it less painful. They give you affection, affection releases "happy" hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins — and those hormones help relieve pain.
What is international cat day?
It takes place on August 8 every year. It's not just a celebration of kitty excellence, but a day to spread awareness about feline well-being around the world.
National Cat Day in the UK is celebrated on October 29.