Our spooky feline companions
They are a reminder that love survives death
I have experienced many ghosts in my lifetime, but the most curious and endearing to me are the ghostly cats.
Many years ago I lived in an apartment haunted for a time by a black and white kitty. I encountered the ghost cat shortly after moving into a 1920s building in the Swansea area of Toronto, Canada. One evening after entering my new home I was startled to see a medium sized adult cat race past me along the entrance hall corridor and dart into an adjacent room. My initial reaction was to question how a cat had gotten into my locked apartment. Determining it was impossible, and that there was no cat nor anyone who could have let one in to be found I chalked up the experience to a trick of the light and an imaginative mind. It had happened so fast so I just discounted the experience and I did not bother to tell anyone about it.
The following week my companion at the time commented on an unusual event he had experienced while in our kitchen. He related seeing a black and white house cat sitting by the refrigerator as if in anticipation of her noonday feeding. His reaction was similar to mine in that he immediately thought how did this cat get in the apartment. He told me that he turned his head momentarily and the vision was gone. He also assumed it was a trick of the light.
I must admit that my jaw slightly dropped and I rushed to tell him that I too saw what I believed to be a cat. We had not discussed this before and at this point I realized that there may be something more to this cat then initially presumed. To further add mystery to the experience we were later asked by the superintendent about our cat , which we did not have one.
At least not a living one!
When my youngest daughter who was 5 at the time started playing with the unseen kitty in our hallway I knew we had a feline ghostly visitor.
Reports of animal apparitions are certainly not new in fact they are quite ancient. One needs only to study various folklore and traditions to realize that the sheer volume of phantom animal stories matches if not exceeds the human variety. Case studies collected by research organizations such as The Society Of Psychical Research, ASSAP, and PSICAN in Canada bear this out.
Just about every manner and variety of animal has been sighted, and much like their human counterparts animal apparitions are usually reported as solid entities that break light, and display characteristics normally associated and attributed to them. Witnesses will accept them as a living being until such time as something unusual occurs, like they evaporate, walk through a solid object, or if the apparition is recognized as a beloved deceased animal companion.
In our case the ghostly cat we had witnessed was not known to us, however, a large number of sightings are reported from people who have suffered a loss. I really don’t know anyone personally who has lost an animal companion and NOT had some kind of confirmation that our love does go on.
Shortly after our experiences were published in Dusty Rainbolt’s book Ghost Cats: Human Encounters with Feline Spirits others began to reaching out to me. One witness wrote that her dog of 15 years had to be put to sleep. Soon after Bandit’s death she and her youngest child were startled to see a vision of their beloved dog bounding towards their backdoor. So real did the experience seem that she physically opened the door before remembering that Bandit was no longer with them. Another witness wrote that her cat whom passed away of feline leukemia still visits her often. Not only has the orange and white tabby been seen in various locations of the house, but also can be felt leaping onto the bed as was her morning routine.
The late Parapsychologist Raymond Bayless gives examples of similar animal apparitions in his book entitled “Apparitions and Survival Of Death. In chapter four he writes of “two sisters who were seated by a window during the day, when they both saw their cat Smokey cross their lawn in a most life-like fashion. As the cat continued it’s walk, the sisters noticed that it limped, a very characteristic trait. One sister rushed out of the house and called to the cat,but it paid her no attention and passed through a shrub and out of sight. A few minutes later, the cat was once again seen by one of the sisters and a friend, who were by the same window from which the cat had originally been sighted. A search was hurriedly made, but no trace of the animal could be found. Still later in the day the cat was seen inside the house, and believing it to be alive, they offered it a drink of milk, which it ignored. Needless to say, the cat was actually dead and, to prove this point, the gardener exhumed her body from under a dahlia bush were she had been recently buried.”
During a telephone-in radio program I was a guest on a man called in and told us he was being haunted by his deceased German Shepherd who he said was sighted jumping out of a large box that was located on his front porch! The sighting had occurred during the middle of the day and again was viewed by more then one witness.
Ghosts of our beloved animal companions cannot be viewed as “crisis apparitions” as they have appeared long after their death. This should not imply that there are no reports of animal “crisis apparitions,” but that cases such as these lend support to speculation that animal consciousness survives bodily death. Crisis apparition for those unfamiliar with the term, denotes an apparition seen during a crisis situation, just prior to or very near the actual time of death. It is thought by some researchers to be a telepathic message and not a ghost or surviving consciousness. But, if we consider the possibility of survival of human consciousness then why not that of other animals as well? The witnesses I have interviewed in regards to deceased pet sightings have all confided that they are convinced that this is the case, and I believe this too.
Shortly after we adopted a shelter kitten the black and white ghost cat began to appear less and less until finally one day she just faded away. Maybe she knew her time had come to move on. I certainly did not mind sharing my space with her and I hope that she has found her tribe on the other side.
Have you experienced a ghost cat or other animal spirit? If so please share in the comments I’d love to hear from you.
In memory of Lady Mary
Ghost Cats: Human Encounters with Feline Spirits
By Dusty Rainbolt, Stupid Gravity Press
By Raymond Bayless, University Books Inc.
Apparitions And Survival Of Death
By Raymond Bayless, Carol Publishing
Ghostly Animals Of America
By Patricia Edwards Clyne, Dodd, Mead & Co