If you’ve ever been “owned” by a cat, you may understand why it feels nearly impossible not to have kitty companionship in your life. Our last cat, Cuddles, passed at the age of eighteen. It wasn’t until a year later that we healed from grieving her loss and could consider adopting a new feline family member.
But what type of cat would be best for our family? What cat would open our hearts to give and receive more love?
Our existing pet family included a twelve-year-old cocker spaniel who is still frisky. Cats, in the past, have used scratching and hissing to show him that being chased isn’t their idea of fun. Our cockatiel, Sunshine, was twenty-six. He definitely didn’t need an agile young cat who could jump on top of his birdcage. With our current situation in mind, and because rescue groups have a hard time finding homes for aging cats (people want cute kittens), we decided to look for a senior cat.
Where to Look for Help?
Because we’re members of Eckankar, my husband, Allen, and I know about the benefits of asking for and receiving help from ECK Masters. These are spiritual teachers who can remove obstacles that block more love from entering a person’s life. Prajapati is an ECK Master whose mission is to assist animals. I decided to ask him and my Inner Guide, the Mahanta, to help us find exactly the right senior cat for the aging Anderson family.
For several months, Allen and I scoured internet sites dedicated to helping match people and pets. Because animals are spiritual beings, we know that they make agreements with other Souls for mutual spiritual growth. Which Soul had agreed to live with us at this stage of our lives? We drove to animal shelters to visit cats waiting in cages and to homes where wonderful people foster cats. None of the kitties we met seemed right for us.
Then one night I had a dream. I was holding a beautiful, long-haired gray cat in my arms. The cat looked up at me with emerald eyes that shone with the light of divine love. Inwardly I heard someone say, “This is your cat.”
Where should we go to find this enchanting creature?
Another bout of researching pet-adoption sites online turned up a cat who might have resembled the one in my dream. It was hard to tell because this poor girl had arrived at the rescue site with gray fur so matted that it had to be shaved completely. In the three months she’d been at the shelter, her fur had not fully grown back. She had been through a lot in a short time. She’d lost her home, her best friend (a cat who had been brought in with her), a tooth that had to be extracted, and all her hair.
The cat rescue was run by a veterinary clinic that prided itself in giving good medical care to cats that needed new homes. This is a wonderful service, as relinquished cats can have serious and expensive health challenges. The clinic was close to where I work. On one of the first days of summer, Michael, my cat-loving coworker, and I drove to meet the gray cat during our lunch break.
Are You the One?
When Michael and I entered the kitty adoption room, the gray cat whose photo I saw jumped off a tall piece of carpeted furniture (a kitty condo) in the corner of the room. She ran to me as if reuniting with an old friend. She did look like the cat I’d held in my arms in the dream.
Were we Souls recognizing each other? Had she dreamed of me too?
Sometimes animals will seek us out because they need our help. They can sense if the person they approach is open to Divine Spirit, divine love. Animals are Soul. They may be following an inner nudge, or they may be acting on something they learned in the dream state.
Yes, animals dream too.
The receptionist told me the gray cat’s name. I thought it was awful and didn’t fit her personality at all. I decided not to call her by her previous name but instead thought of her as “Miss Gray” for now.
I sat on a bench in the small room, with about ten cats milling around. I watched Miss Gray as intently and with as much fascination as she looked at me. A young calico cat immediately claimed a spot next to me on the bench. The calico began rubbing against my leg and showing how affectionate a kitty she would be.
Miss Calico, her mission accomplished, jumped back down to the floor. She got distracted with a long, crinkly tube that allowed her to play hide-and-seek. Sensing the competition might be winning my affection, Miss Gray blocked the tube’s end with her paw so the calico couldn’t get out. She seemed to be signaling that I was hers and hers alone.
Singing to Miss Gray
In the ECK teachings I’ve learned many spiritual techniques that illuminate the connections between Souls. When I have a question or need to solve a problem, I sing HU, a sacred love song that flows through all of life. For decades, I’ve sung HU to animals and been delighted and awed by their responses.
Michael went to the lobby, leaving me alone with Miss Gray and the other cats. “Do you want to come home with me?” I asked her.
I told her about our dog and bird and my husband. Then I sang HU. With an unflinching gaze, Miss Gray looked up at me for the minute or two I chanted. Her imagery and messaging couldn’t have been clearer: Yes, I’m ready to get out of here. Yes, I’ve seen birds from my window at home. No, I don’t know what a dog is.
A veterinary technician (vet tech) came into the room to provide more background on Miss Gray. She said the cat was very shy, which surprised me. Hadn’t she just flown across the room to greet me when I entered and kept the calico cat from upstaging her? She was showing a certainty and determination that wasn’t what would be expected of a “shy” cat.
I explained that I needed to talk with my husband about such an important decision as bringing home a senior cat, even one who had managed to meet me in the dream state. I told the vet tech that I’d fill out an adoption application. If the cat was still available in a week, after we returned from vacation, Allen and I would probably adopt her.
The vet tech swooped up Miss Gray in her arms. When the cat’s claws caught on her sleeve, she declared that she needed a manicure. The vet tech carried Miss Gray away for the dreaded nail trim. My heart sank at the disappointed expression on the cat’s face and the anguished howl from deep within her being.
Later, I told Michael that the poor cat’s reaction had reminded me of when a play or novel hits the point in story structure called “All is lost.” Miss Gray had looked as if she believed all was lost for her hopes of finding a home.
One More Dream
I asked the Mahanta for another sign that Allen and I would be doing the right thing for our family by adopting Miss Gray. The night we returned from vacation, I woke up with a song I hadn’t remembered in years playing in my mind. Its lyrics: “The sweetest thing I’ve ever known is loving you.”
The next morning, my husband and I returned to the cat rescue and adopted Miss Gray. As we waited to fill out the adoption paperwork, Allen looked in the kitty-visiting-room window. Miss Gray waited patiently by the door. She knew we’d come for her. When we placed the cat carrier on the floor to transport her home, she ran over to it immediately.
The receptionist asked if we wanted to give our cat a new name. “Yes,” I said enthusiastically. “Her name is Sweetie.”
We are very gradually introducing Sweetie to the dog and the bird. On the second floor of our house, where she resides during this transition period, she’s found hiding places that only a cat could find. She’s adjusting slowly to the sights, sounds, and wonders of her new home.
On her second afternoon home, I sang HU to her as I brushed her gray fur. She purred for the first time.
We suspect Sweetie will live up to her new name.
—Photo by Allen Anderson
Have you had spiritual experiences with a new pet family member?