It all started with my desire to give a special Christmas gift to my niece and nephew, who are two and four respectively. I saw the ad for the Hallmark recording storybook "The Night Before Christmas" and instantly knew this was a great idea. Due to circumstances I had been unable to travel to visit them in person. Aunt Rose was simply a voice on the phone or perhaps a photograph. But with the storybook their Aunt Rose could read them her much loved Christmas classic from 1823 at bedtime, and perhaps they could have wonderful dreams filled with promises of Santa's visit on Christmas Eve.
My last post, Thanksgiving with the Animals, was illustrated with a photo entitled Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? featuring one of the local squirrels sitting on a pumpkin looking through my front door at cat Sand.
This time the photo above was taken at my back door. Perhaps you can tell by the eyes—this young male cat wants in!
He was first seen (and heard) by myself and students attending Reiki class a week ago. We were outside as he zipped past loudly vocalizing a need for something or someone. One student asked if I had seen him before. I said I had not, but I assumed he probably had been adopted by a neighbor who had recently lost a cat to the local coyotes.
The student asked if I ever had animals just show up at my door. I said that I used to when living on the East Coast, but in the time that I have lived here I’d only had it happen with two dogs. One who’d been let out of the back yard by the three year-old, and one who told me she had always wanted to see inside my house (her owner thought she was lost – the dog knew exactly where she was). As the mystery cat was still vocalizing I jokingly called out to him that there was a vacancy if he should be looking for one.
The following day the mystery cat made his first move, rushing across the back yard to greet me enthusiastically. He was wildly affectionate, head-butting me so enthusiastically I almost fell over.
Yesterday he zipped over even more quickly than before, meowing frantically. This time as I crouched down to pet him I felt his hunger. Against my better judgment—since I was still thinking he lived with a neighbor—I asked him, “Would you like me to give you some food?” Placing a paw on either knee he head-butted me so hard in the face that I thought I might need to check my nose for damage. Clearly that was a “YES!”
As I watched him wolf down the food I realized he was way hungrier than he should be if he had a home. I vowed to bring him another meal later since it would not be a good idea to feed him too much at one meal.
The next meal came much sooner than expected. I heard a disturbance at the front door and looking out I saw mystery cat trying to figure out whether Woodstock the squirrel was someone he should approach (she has a condition that affects her ability to detect danger). Woodstock quite naturally wanted the nuts I had given her and mystery cat had now decided that he should try to eat them. Clearly this was a very hungry cat.
In an effort to distract mystery cat away from the nuts which were not good for him I stepped outside with the container of dry food and shook it at him. This got the attention of Woodstock as well. As I attempted to lead the cat to the backyard Woodstock joined the procession, moving side-by-side with mystery cat who could not make up his mind what to do—the squirrel or the cat food? I rattled the container a bit more vigorously at him while giving Woodstock a firm command to go back to the front porch. Heaven knows what the neighbors thought, we must have been quite a sight!
While mystery cat ate his second meal I took the opportunity to palpate his body and discovered that under his thick coat of fur I could feel his ribs too easily—he was not getting enough food.
After his fourth meal I decided to take a walk to the neighbor’s house where I had thought he might be living. I rang the bell but no one answered, and as I stood there another neighbor that clearly knew me well asked if I was there about the tabby cat.
She told me that he did not live with her next door neighbor. Mystery cat had been applying at their front door and they had fed him, but because of severe allergies they could not bring him in, much as they wanted to. She said she had not seen him recently and I laughingly told her that was because he had set up camp in my yard and on my back porch. He showed no desire to leave the yard, and anxiety when I did.
I told her I would continue to feed him and keep him safe from the coyotes, and she volunteered to put up posters over the weekend. I reassured her that I would make certain he found a good home through some local agencies if he was not the right match for my household.
That night as I was typing the information for the Lost and Found Pets on the West Seattle Blog my guides suddenly informed me that he was a “spirit cat.” Googling the term did not turn up much information on what that meant, but it did lead to a name for him since I simply could no longer refer to him as just “cat” or “mystery cat.” Temporarily he is named Manitou, the closest I could get to “spirit cat.” He seems to like it.
Last night I finally caved as it was getting cold, and managed to sneak Manitou past increasingly deaf Cougar and an alarmed Sand into the back room, where he proceeded to cry loudly, only stopping when I joined him. Eventually I smuggled him into the bedroom so that I could try to sleep. He alternated between affectionate cuddling, and crying to be let out to investigate the rest of the house. Needless to say I got very little sleep.
And Manitou cried non-stop every time he was left alone until my fogged brain advised me to do a healing session for him since he clearly had separation anxiety. He enjoyed the Reiki but he loved the shamanic energy—rolling and stretching. And finally, he jumped into the chair and went to sleep. I left him quietly sleeping and did not hear a peep for hours.
My shamanic buddy says he is not meant to be my cat—Manitou thinks he already is—Cougar does not care, and Sand is not thrilled. Manitou’s guide (who happens to be a huge black panther) enigmatically says only, “Time.”
I’m one confused shaman, but we have time to get clarity. Manitou has a vet appointment to determine if he has a microchip (unlikely) and I will have him checked for any infectious diseases before introducing him physically to the rest of the household.
I have promised him that he is safe, and loved, and that tasty meals will arrive regularly. For the rest, we will take it one day at a time.
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.