I love the written word, and the ability to catch an idea, moment, or experience, and share it with others. I write on a range of topics.
Our pets are so often a much-loved additional member of the family. Sometimes they really do feel like our best friends, lavishing us with affection and devotion no matter what. We can form strong bonds with our pets - the cat I grew up with from the age of 12 often came to sit with me when I was feeling low, as though he instinctively understood and wanted to give me his quiet support. I was devastated when he passed on due to old age, even though I had already left home myself by that time.
Meg, Our Beautiful Black Kitten
I once acquired a beautiful little kitten from a rescue centre. She was 3 months old when we brought her home. Her fur was shiny black and we named her Meg. We actually took two kittens, but Meg was the 'people' cat - the one who meowed at us, sat on our laps and purred all evening; the one who wanted to come inside our bed at night. When I say 'come inside the bed', I really mean just that. She would crawl down inside the covers and snuggle up with us. She was special. She was tiny. But she stayed tiny.
Looking back, her lack of growth should have caused alarm bells, but it didn't. The day we brought her home, she had actually vomited a little blood, but the vet said to feed her plain chicken for a couple of days and she should be fine. it didn't happen again. To us, she seemed perfectly healthy and happy. However, it was not to be. At just 11 months old, we returned from a holiday abroad to find her back legs paralysed (a friend was looking after the house and the pets while we were away). An examination at the vets brought the sad news that she was suffering from an unusual virus passed on from the mother cat. Meg had caught the virus whilst in the womb and should not have lived more than six weeks. Regrettably, we had to have her put to sleep as she deteriorated at an alarming speed and was distressed. It was a sad time.
As the weeks and months passed, we lay in bed each night without Meg. However, there have been many occasions when we have felt a presence near our feet. The first time I experienced it, I didn't mention it to my partner. It felt exactly like a cat jumping onto the bed, before padding across and settling. There was no mistaking the pressure, it was a real and very noticeable feeling. In fact, I initially assumed it was our other cat, Rusty, even though he was much less inclined to sleep with us. But I looked up and he wasn't there. Perhaps, I thought, he had jumped on and straight back off again. Something made me get up and check on his whereabouts - he was not even upstairs but was settled somewhere else.
Some people might say that the event was a figment of my imagination, that it could not possibly have been the spirit of a cat walking across the bed and settling down to sleep. However, the pressure on the bed was exactly the same sensation that you would get if a living pet did just this. I even wondered if it could have been my partner moving, even though I was awake and would surely have noticed. My first reaction was to find a logical explanation. But the sensation was of something putting pressure on top of the bed, plus it began on one side (the side on which he wasn't) and moved across to the other. What's more, it wasn't the only time I felt this sensation, but rather the first of many. Those of a cynical mindset might assume that I was creating the phenomena myself, perhaps as a result of grieving for the loss of a much-loved cat. At first, even I put it out of my mind and forgot it - but then one night my partner actually brought it up because, unbeknown to me, he had noticed it too. "It's Meg," he said. It turned out we had both been thinking along the same lines without communicating to one another.
No Other Explanation
I do believe in spirits. I have done for a long time, since I feel there are some things that just cannot be explained any other way. I think that so many people are cynical, trying to pass everything off as a coincidence or as the result of something much more 'earthy'. Some people want to look for scientific proof before they will allow themselves to believe. However, I think more of us than we realise believe in spirits. Sometimes we only discover the beliefs and experiences of others by way of random conversations.
It has been around fourteen years since I first felt what I believe to be the spirit of a cat jumping onto my bed and settling down to sleep. Since that first time, it has happened more frequently. I have also experienced the sensation of it jumping off again - so noticeable was the thud to the floor that I even had to get up and check if it was something else. I could even hear the thud, it was a real, physical feeling. It was in no way coming from my imagination. But there was nothing there. I lived in that house for over 15 years, but moved about 18 months ago. Since moving house, I have not experienced it so far (although I am often convinced the children have got up out of bed and are walking around upstairs, yet when I go up they are sound asleep). Perhaps Meg prefers the old house.
You might wonder what propelled me to write this article all of a sudden. Well, the subject of spirit pets returned to the forefront of my mind recently, when my mother was visiting. Out of the blue, she started discussing how she had often felt the presence of a pet on her bed during the night. She has had many pets throughout her life - some from the days when my sister and I still lived at home, and some since, including a much loved, faithful dog who used to sleep with her at night. It was really interesting to me, since I had never before told her of my own experiences. It seems as though we had both been noticing the same sensations over the years - on more than one occasion - and yet had never communicated. It led me to wonder just how many of us have felt the presence of our pets, passed-on but still loved, at the foot of our beds at night.
sweetstickyrainbo on December 16, 2014:
Didn't the pope say animals have souls?
bobsagetfan34 on March 04, 2014:
I was brought here by your article about your son's xbox play time, but also found this particular article interesting. I would like to say that pets are wonderful. They cheer us up when we are down and make us laugh, as we just sit and watch them in their own simple-minded little worlds. I do not believe that pets have spirits or souls however. Animals can not comprehend the love and compassion of God, and because of this inability to reason, do not possess immortal souls.