Cats can feel an earthquake coming well before it hits

Originally published at:


The Kitty Cam caught it all.


Either they felt some pre-tremor from the Earth, or someone opened up a bag of Greenies.


A pre-tremor, or perhaps some kind of magnetic pulse that would travel faster than the tremor. I can’t imagine sound would travel faster through the Earth’s crust than the actual tremor.


The kitty-tree cats seem non-pre-plussed.


No kittahs! No where to run! No!

This other pic is just because its funny.


Finally! A use for cats…


when the Great New Madrid Quake Scare of 1990 happened, i was in SE Missouri, and my cat at the time DEFINITELY felt it coming. she suddenly started jumping at the front door to my apartment, trying to grab the door handle. i was asking her wtf she was doing, and what was wrong, when the first quake hit.


I submit that the following is more exemplary of cats losing their shit :smiley_cat:


Oh, don’t sell them short. There’s lots of uses for kitties.


Mmmmmm. I will take your word for that.

We have 3/4-ish of a cat and that’s 3/4-ish too much cat for me.


There are two main types of waves from an earthquake, primary (P-waves) and secondary (S-waves). The P-waves travel faster than the S-waves and generally do very little damage. The kitties felt the P-wave before the S-waves arrived. The S-waves are transverse waves and do the major shaking.


Shared “custody” or a less-than-complete cat?


Dear god I hope all that cat furniture is properly anchored.


Most likely what we’re seeing here is cats being startled initially by the arrival of the high-frequency P waves, which travel faster, but damp out rapidly with distance; followed by full-on panic at the arrival of the low-frequency S waves, which travel more slowly, but don’t fade as much with distance.

P waves are rapid, high-frequency shaking, and, at the right distance, can feel like just an odd vibration.

S waves are much longer-period, and cause more noticeable swaying motions in tall structures like this

At sufficient distance, all you’ll feel are the S waves.

(Unless maybe you’re snoozing atop a wobbly bookshelf; then you might notice the slight preceding vibration of the P waves :slight_smile: )


Less than complete cat. Trust me, I would have no problem giving up full custody of that cat if it ever came to that.

I was deathly allergic to cats when I was young, and it has mellowed with age. Now if I’m around a cat long enough, I’ll get used to it. If it’s a “new” cat, my eyes and lips puff up, my skin itches, and my breathing turns to crap.

Our 3/4-ish cat was one my youngest daughter talked me into giving a home until we could find him some place else to live. His owner, who had declawed him, abandoned him in late January. Chucked him out into the snow to die.

Prior to his abandonment he had been in a fight with a fox, and lost his right rear leg. Why they paid to save him and then just got rid of him like that, I have no idea. He’s a right bastard of a cat, as I’ve learned, but he didn’t deserve to freeze to death.

We’ve had him for at least six years. He’s my wife’s cat now.


I wouldn’t trust humans after that either. Declawing is such a fucked up thing to do to a cat.


Heh. We cross-posted, but I’m more verbose. :slight_smile:

Actually, depends on distance, magnitude, and underlying geology - Close to a large quake, intense P-waves can do a lot of damage, because they can break lightweight but brittle structures. Lots of stucco and glass breakage, concrete fractures, and unreinforced-masonry failures.

S-waves mostly don’t damage lightweight structures, but they cause swaying in large, tall structures, especially on soft soil, which can couple with unfortunate structural resonances that multiply the damage.


I agree that declawing is fucked up, and I feel bad for him when I see him trying to claw because I know it’s driving him nuts.

He trusts us just fine. Especially my wife.

My problem with him isn’t about trust. My problem is that he’s a cat. I don’t hate cats. I just don’t find them at all endearing or likeable. I feel the same way about politicians and “pet” fish.

Maybe I haven’t met the right cat …


Last December there was an earthquake in Delaware, about 70 miles away from my town in PA. That afternoon my cat suddenly jumped up from where she usually sleeps, ran over to me and started meowing like crazy. A few seconds later, I could feel vibrations in the floor and hear the window pane in front of us rattling a bit. All that shaking lasted nearly a minute, and after it stopped my cat calmed down.

I thought the vibrations were coming from a road repair crew, until the news of the quake was published online.