I love animals. I think they are amazing, intuitive, and much easier to get along with than most humans. By far, my favorite animals, though, are cats. I got my first cat when I was 8 years old, after begging for one since I could talk. My Dad finally broke down and got me one as a consolation prize when my mother moved 3000 miles away. I was ecstatic about my new friend. He was all white, with green eyes, and his name was Garfey, after my childhood hero, Garfield. Garfey stayed with me for 12 years, and I still hold him closely to my heart.
Since Garfey, I’ve always had at least one cat. Usually two, but more recently, three. I’m pretty sure that three puts me squarely in the “crazy cat lady” category, but, I’m fine with that.
The downside of always having pets, of course, is dealing with it when they eventually die. I’ve had cats who have died of cancer, complications related to diabetes, and just old age. But, recently, I lost a cat who seemed to be in the prime of his life.
Tux was a gorgeous black and white long haired cat with the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen. Like all of our cats, we got him from a shelter, but unlike most of the cats that I’ve ever adopted, he was already 6 years old when I took him home. It was actually my husband who decided we needed Tux in our lives. I was set on a tiny orange and white kitten, whom we took home as well. We named the kitten Crush, and he and Tux, having been in the same shelter, became immediate BFFs. They were inseparable, bathing each other, playing together, and going on outside adventures with one another. It was adorable.
That is, until one day, Tux went out and didn’t come home. He actually went out with our other cat, Wilson, who is now 14. Wilson never fully took to Tux, but Tux loved to follow Wilson everywhere he went. Anyway, the two were gone all day, which was very unusual, and when Wilson came home alone. Tux was nowhere to be found.
In the harrowing days that followed, I had all kinds of thoughts about what could have happened to Tux. I wondered half-jokingly if Wilson had gotten Tux lost on purpose, or if Tux had succumbed to a coyote or some other predator. I worried that maybe he was hit by a car, although, he was pretty street savvy, having survived for 6 years on his own. Most of all, I was surprised that he had ventured further than our yard, since he was always such a homebody. Most of the time, he could be found on our living room rug, belly up. I always marveled at how relaxed he could be, even with kids screaming and running around him.
I had a complicated relationship with Tux. I always kind of saw him as my husband’s cat, even though, he clearly chose me as his “person.” This caused more than a few scuffles between him and Wilson, who is, - okay- I’ll say it, my favorite. Wilson is my co-therapist, and, one of the coolest cats I’ve ever had. He’s here with me even as I write this.
I loved Tux, but not the way that I love Wilson, and I’ll always feel a little bad about that. Tux tried so hard, but he never learned how to cuddle without using his claws, and that always annoyed me.
Right before he disappeared, though, Tux started to break through with me. I finally started appreciating him for who he was, instead of comparing him to Wilson. I only wish I’d done that sooner.
Now, here’s the part, (if you haven’t gotten there already), where you’re going to think I’m really crazy. I believe that I got a message from Tux’s soul about what happened to him.
Okay, let’s back up a little bit.
I believe in things that we can’t see. I believe that souls exist past the time that our physical bodies exist. And, I believe that there are times when the “veils are thin.” In other words, there are times when we can gain access to thoughts, messages, and ideas that are coming from the spiritual world. I actually had the true story of how my son’s soul communicated to me before I became pregnant with him, published in the wonderful “Chicken Soup For The Soul: Dreams and Premonitions.”
I also believe that we can talk to animals.
One person who has helped me solidify that last belief is Anna Breytenbach. She is a professional animal communicator based out of South Africa. Anna has been practicing and teaching animal communication for about 15 years, and she is the subject of a 2013 documentary. She is probably best known for her work with Spirit, the black panther formerly known as “Diablo,” whom she helped immensely by listening to his concerns about the welfare of two panther cubs. If you haven’t heard of Anna or her work, follow the links above. She is amazing!
Anna’s work has helped me to validate my own beliefs about the possibilities present in regards to inter-species communication. But, I’m still very aware that many people think these ideas are ridiculous. But, then I remember that doctors used to think that babies didn’t feel pain...so, mainstream ideas are not always the best!
Anyway, back to Tux. A few days, or maybe more than a week, after he disappeared, I was lying in bed getting ready to go to sleep. This is the time that messages tend to come to me, since my mind is attempting to be quiet. Suddenly, I heard a very quick message that said:
Tux had to make choice.
He could either stay with you for a few more years,
Or leave now,
And get to come back to your family in a bigger capacity.
Like, maybe as Gabriel’s wife.
Look out for him in about 20 years.
After hearing this message, I fell asleep. The next morning, I told my husband, who, Thank God, shares my spiritual beliefs. We both expressed relief and joy that Tux’s soul was being taken care of. I also questioned whether this was a real message, or just me saying this to myself, but, my husband assured me that it was real because that’s what we do for each other. When spiritual events happen to him, like when a butterfly landed on his finger so that he could take it outside, I helped him see the significance of that. We each have an easier time believing in the other’s experiences, rather than our own.
Will Tux’s soul return to our family? My husband and I joke that if Gabriel’s future fiancee lies on the floor with her belly up, we’ll know it’s him. But, of course, we can’t be sure. Either way, the thought of him coming home to us has brought us comfort, and for that we are deeply thankful.
As a side note, Tux’s disappearance also allowed me to help a neighbor who lost her own tuxedo cat. After hearing that our cat was missing, a different neighbor got in touch with us to let us know that a deceased black and white cat was found in the neighborhood. After a bit of a goose chase that ended with us peering into a landscaper’s garbage bag at a huge cat carcass, we learned that the dead cat was not Tux. It was easy to identify this, because Tux had no teeth, and this cat had plenty. I was relieved because this cat looked like it just passed away, and that wouldn’t have made sense with what I had been told.
A few days later, we noticed a “lost cat” sign, picturing the very cat we had seen, and I was able to call the owner and give her some closure. Had we not lost Tux, I never would have been called to identify that cat, and his owner might never have known what became of him.