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Home > Cats > Can Cats Detect Electricity? What the Science Says

Can Cats Detect Electricity? What the Science Says

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Cats are fascinating animals. They are loving and cuddly yet independent and adventurous. They’re accustomed to being spoiled but prefer to always do things on their own terms. What’s impressive is that cats can do many things that humans cannot, such as scale walls and curtains with ease. You may even have heard that cats can detect electricity! But is there any truth to this claim? The short answer is no, but there is more to this topic. Here is everything that you need to know about cats and their ability to detect and/or recognize electricity in any form or fashion.


Research Shows That Animals Can See UV Light

According to scientists like Professor Glen Jeffery,1 many different animals, including cats, can see the UV light from power lines as flashing bands across the sky. If cats can see UV light from power lines, it is safe to assume that they can see UV light wherever electricity is flowing. Remember, though, UV light is an energy field, so just because an animal can see UV light doesn’t mean they necessarily see it as electricity or recognize it for what it is. It’s not like they can see UV light coming through the walls at home, after all.

The reason scientists find this to be a big deal is that power lines can have a negative impact on migratory behaviors for many animals throughout the world. It’s believed that power lines can result in the fragmentation, if not the complete loss, of habitat for roaming and migratory animals. Fortunately, this is something that we don’t have to worry about when it comes to cats, since they spend most of their time inside, and even cats that live exclusively outdoors do not adopt any migratory behaviors.

However, you might notice that when your cat does go outside, they take notice of the power lines in the sky and try to avoid them. You likely won’t ever see a kitty hanging out on a power line or in any trees near one.

Gray tabby cat with big sick eyes close-up, glaucoma, tumor
Image By: Katerina Varnakova, Shutterstock

Cats Can’t Detect Electricity Inside the Home

While cats may be able to see UV light coming from power lines, there is no evidence that says that they can see it through the walls in your home. Extension and power cords in the home may emit a small amount of UV light that they can detect, but many cats still have no problem lying on the cords or even chewing through them, so the amount of electricity emitted does not seem to make cats feel like they are in any danger by being so close to it. This is why we must protect our cats from electricity in the house, similar to how we would do so for toddlers.


How to Protect Your Cat From Electricity at Home

Electrical chords inside pipes
Image By: Piqsels

Any time you are working with a powered appliance, keep an eye on your cat and their behavior. Don’t allow them to play or lie next to any power cords, especially when they are in use. Cats don’t understand electricity the same way that we do. It isn’t clear to them that electricity could shock them and injure or even kill them. While we can teach children about electricity, we can’t do the same for cats. That said, we can still take steps to protect our cats from the dangers of electricity, as we would for toddlers and young children living in the home. Here is what you can do:

Additional Safety Tips
  • Plug covers into any power outlets that you are not using throughout your home.
  • Tuck power cords and cables under furniture and in other places where your kitty cannot reach them.
  • Keep small appliances and accessories unplugged whenever they are not in use, and make sure the cords don’t dangle down, which can be enticing for felines!
  • Keep the door closed to any space, like the garage, where exposed power cords or wires are accessible to your cat.




Even though cats cannot detect electricity through walls or let us know when there’s an electrical threat, these animals are still impressive and deserve all the love and attention that they get worldwide. It’s just our job as caretakers to ensure that cats stay safe from the dangers of electricity.

Featured Image Credit: Dhaya Eddine Bentaleb, Pexels

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