I’m pretty laid back when it comes to certain issues of spirituality, and I can see some things both ways (or many ways). I don’t get too riled up about differences in beliefs (unless harm is involved).
Along these lines, I have long wondered whether our pets can “come back” to us after they have passed on. Can they reincarnate? Is reincarnation possible? Is some force that we don’t understand at work here, allowing the essence of a beloved pet to come back in another body? Or is it simply my mind, longing for my beloved pet to return, and rationalizing any situation that comes along to fit what I wish for?
I don’t know. I think that either, or any scenario, might be possible. That is me. Some of you will have stronger opinions about this, one way or another.
I know that well-known psychics and mediums, for example, believe this is possible. Who am I to doubt them? And I don’t. At the same time, I am skeptical of my longing and grief when a cat passes on, and how this could bias and shape what I hope for.
Has it happened for me? Has a cat come back?
I’ve had two instances where I think cats may have come back. Of course, I can’t prove this beyond a doubt — who can? In brief, here are my stories:
Medium-haired orange male Jamie lived to be almost 21. His last six months were some of the most amazing I have ever experienced with a cat. He bonded with us in amazing ways during those last six months, as if he was trying to make the best of his remaining time. The days and times I spent with him were achingly sweet. When he passed, it was a big, big deal, because he had been with us for all of those 21 years — the entire span of my relationship with my partner. We picked out Jamie as a kitten. Losing Jamie was in a way like seeing part of our relationship fall away, or change. Of course I hoped he would come back — even though a part of me questioned if it was possible.
Shortly after he passed, he came to me in a dream. He was white in the dream, in a sort of supernatural and unreal way, and he gave me the idea that he would be coming back and that I should begin looking for him. Eight weeks after that dream, an eight-week-old dilute calico kitten was taken in at my vet’s office. She’d been rescued and they really wanted to find her a good home because she had a sweet personality.
To make a long story short, some other signs flew up in my face: a flower that we called the Jamie flower (that hadn’t bloomed in years) suddenly bloomed, butterflies came up to me often, and I started seeing “Laredo” RVs everywhere (we had called Jamie by the nickname of “Jamie Laredo”).
What did I do? I acted, of course! Sweet Jamie Bluebell is a delight. Does she remind me of Jamie? Sometimes, in some ways, but not completely.
Fierce little Kali was a tender soul. She lived to be 18, was missing a rear leg, and had a number of health issues and an indomitable spirit. Losing her was tough, and her last three months were also achingly beautiful and profound and treasured by me. I considered her a powerful teacher. She had been through much in her life. Kali was a black and white tabby with a white bib and white paws and intense green eyes.
Again, about two weeks after she passed, I got a strong dream with a vision of an orange and white kitten. I could see that kitten clearly, and the kitty seemed to be meant for me. I had the feeling that the kitten was Kali, or associated with Kali somehow. Again, about six or eight weeks later, I walked into the vet’s office (for other cat business) and stopped in my tracks.
On the foyer entrance was posted a picture of three orange and white kittens that needed homes. One looked like the cat I’d dreamed of, with a white bib and white paws like Kali’s. Of course, you know the end to this story. I went to meet the kittens. Two of them were quite shy and were not interested in me — the foster mama wanted them to be adopted together. The third kitten fixed me with an intense and loving stare and climbed into my lap. We adopted him and named him Norton, though secretly, in my mind, I call him Kalil.
As I began to write about about my personal experiences for this article, Norton came up on the desk and looked at me — something he usually is too distracted to do. He got in my lap and stayed there for quite some time, staring at me and purring. Norton is quite passionate, and loving, as Kali was. Is he exactly like Kali? No.
What do the experts say?
Strangely, when I searched under high profile psychics like Sylvia Browne and James Van Praagh, I found more about where pets might go after they pass, rather than any speculation or elaboration about whether they can come back. I didn’t find much that looked like compelling writing about animal reincarnation. However, I may check out this book on animals and the afterlife, on my Kindle, based on its reviews. Another book, called Forever Faithful: Dogs that Return, also discusses pet reincarnation and looks like it could be interesting.
I personally, would hate for the hope of a cat “coming back” to steer me away from adopting a cat in need, but that is just one of many scenarios. It occurs to me that a person, longing hard for a cat who has passed on, might look so hard for a new cat with some (any) tie to the old cat, that many cats in need might be passed over. If I am looking for a cat that might seem like my beloved cat who has just passed on, for example, might I look too hard and fail to give some other deserving cat a chance at a good home? Maybe I’m the only person in the world who thinks about this stuff!
Please keep any discussion about this respectful! It’s not my intent to stir up arguments — I am simply interested in people’s thoughts, or perhaps, any experiences, that relate to this topic. Have you had a cat come back? Do you believe it’s possible? Share your stories, please.
More by Catherine Holm:
- Let’s Talk — Would You Join a Grief Support Group to Mourn a Cat?
- Five Tips to Help a Friend Facing Grief After the Loss of a Cat
- Let’s Talk about Why We Love Having Multiple Cats
About Catherine Holm: Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.