“I can’t help but wonder if I could have caught my cancer sooner had I noticed his behavior and listened to him.”

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Dogs and cats aren't just being nosey when they put their heightened sense of smell to use. In fact, this sense has propelled them to super-hero status. They've been known to keep humans safe by sniffing out potential health problems and imminent dangers—even using their senses to locate people, drugs, and bombs!

And while that might be ancient news to some, I bet you didn't know this: A domestic cat's sense of smell is 9–16 times as strong as humans'. Likewise, they have over 10 times more odor-sensitive cells in their noses, allowing them to out-smell (and out-snuggle) every human friend. Experts say pets rely on this sense to detect diseases.

So, it may be no surprise that Oggy—pet kitty to Minnesotan Kate King Scribbins—recently made medical headlines. According to the New York Post, Scribbins believes her feline friend "let the cat out the bag," alerting her to a cancerous mass growing inside her left breast. 

She told the newspaper that while Oggy the cat had "always loved to snuggle up in my arms, but he began to snuggle more aggressively than usual, which was odd." Oggy seemed more "determined than ever" to make sure he was close to her left breast.

After months of noticing Oggy's unusual behavior, Scribbins woke up to "shooting pain," and after a self-examination, she located a mass in her breast. Soon after her discovery, Scribbins was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and has been treated with several rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and radiation. 

tuxedo cat portrait
Credit: Mark / Adobe Stock

According to the Post, Scribbins says that in retrospect, she believes he was trying to alert her of the disease. "I look back on the changes in his behavior towards me before my breast cancer diagnosis, and I truly believe he was trying to alert me to the dangers growing in my body." 

With cancer diagnoses, ongoing doctor check-ups mean patients are never fully finished with cancer. But Scribbins tells the newspaper that since completing treatment, Oggy seems to have stopped focusing his attention on her chest.

Fifteen years after rescuing Oggy, she credits him with alerting her of the cancer. Way to go rescue-kitty, our hats are off to you. Yet another example of the awesome senses of animals—cute and cuddly kitty by day, doctor and detective by night!