It’s often been said animals can sense when something’s wrong.
From therapy dogs to cows sitting down before it rains (that’s definitely a thing), to pets being simply intuitive, animals show a lot of compassion towards us humans, often when we’re at our most vulnerable.
One man in New Zealand experienced this first hand, while he was at home recovering from an operation.
Andrew Falloon, an MP for Rangitata, shared the picture of his recuperating father asleep on the sofa, while snuggling next to him was a peacefully sleeping cat. Andrew’s father and cat were also holding hands, or paws…
The thing is, neither Andrew or his parents own a cat. The friendly feline had apparently wandered into the house when Andrew’s mother had left the door slightly open, and got cosy with the sleeping man on the couch.
My Dad is recovering from an operation. Mum went out and left a door slightly ajar. My parents do not have a cat.
My Dad is recovering from an operation. Mum went out and left a door slightly ajar.
My parents do not have a cat. pic.twitter.com/uuQdBMlKQY
— Andrew Falloon MP (@andrewfalloon) April 14, 2019
Andrew’s spoken about the cute photo, which has since been shared more than 73,000 times, telling Mashable:
I’m just happy Dad’s on the mend, and if the photo made a few people smile that’s nice too.
There’ve been a number of studies conducted to see if animals can detect illness.
In 2004, research showed dogs could sense bladder cancer via urine samples. Further tests were then carried out in the US and Japan for other types of cancer, and the results were surprisingly positive.
Dogs in California, for example, were trained to detect cancer from breath samples, and recorded an 88 per cent success rate for breast cancer, and a 97 per cent success rate for lung cancer, Animed Direct reports.
While in Japan the results were even better, as a 98 per cent success rate was recorded for colorectal cancer – this was even considered slightly better than the standard tests used to diagnose this form of cancer.
It’s not just dogs who can pick up on these things though, as cats have also been known to spot the signs of illnesses. In America and in the UK there’ve been a number of stories of cats detecting lung and breast cancer in their owners.
Wendy Humphreys told the MailOnline how her kitten would jump and sit on her right breast every night. After getting checked out at her GP, it was revealed Wendy had a cancerous lump in her breast, and believes her kitten is to thank for saving her life after alerting her to the issue.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.