When I was pregnant, I often wondered what my dogs could sense regarding my pregnancy. My late Akita, Brownie, was like my babysitter when I was pregnant and stuck to me like glue. She slept on the side of my bed and followed me around the house, never more than a pace away from me on walks. What could she sense about my pregnancy? Was it my smell? Do pets just know you're pregnant? I began to wonder if she knew there was something in my belly, but can my pet hear my unborn baby?
To be honest, I don't think there would be a good measurement to notice if my cats could hear my baby in the womb. They're tiny dictators who only present themselves as feline in appearance to the unguarded human eye. I love them like crazy, but I'm reasonably certain they don't give a damn about me. Sure, I'm good for scratches, and occasionally I open cans of food for them, but essentially, I'm unnecessary to their existence. I don't think a bulging womb would change that much. I mean, they might hear the baby in utero, but it's not going to register as something important.
But my little mutt? I can only imagine how fiercely joyous she would be if I was pregnant. My kids and, well, all kids, are her favorite things in the whole world, and she'd be like that overly-involved dad whose nipples start leaking and has sympathy morning sickness. She'd be the best canine mom companion, and I wouldn't be surprised if she tuned in to radio baby via my abdomen for all of the approximately four hours she's awake during the day.
I spoke with veterinary technician Abel Greenbaum of Brooklyn, New York and asked him the big question — can your pet hear your unborn baby? He tells Romper, "It depends on the pet — almost certainly your dog or your bunny can hear your baby in utero, but your cat, even though they have great hearing, the skill of their ears lays at the upper register of pitch. They hear similarly to humans on the lower notes."
I honestly never even thought to bring up bunnies. They have red eyes and therefore terrify me, but he brings up a solid point. According to Greenbaum, "Bunnies can hear things as far as miles away, so a heartbeat that's just beyond some muscle and tissue wouldn't be a problem for them. They're a prey animal. They rely heavily on their sense of hearing to avoid being captured and eaten — those big ears aren't just for show."
If cats don't hear low tones much better than we do, why do so many women report that their cats are drawn to their bellies like a moth to flame? Greenbaum says that some people believe cats have a sixth sense humans don't posses. Not that it's necessarily psychic or supernatural, but that they might read electricity and currents we cannot. Also, they have a superior sense of eyesight and smell. They're clued in, even if they seem completely tuned out to anything that isn't a laser light or catnip.
As for Fido, not only can they smell even the most minute chemical changes in your body, it's posited that they can possibly hear your baby in utero. I swear, I think my dog knew I was pregnant before I did, and it turns out there's some validity to that argument. Whether or not your pet is hearing your baby in the womb, or just attuned to the changes in your body, it's pretty amazing how their behavior changes as you continue in your pregnancy and beyond when the baby arrives. I know my Akita just went from hanging out with me all the time to never leaving my babies' sides, but then again, I don't drop my snacks nearly as often as they did, making me far less interesting.
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