This is the story about an experience I shared with my golden male, Gretzky. A large part of my life is concerned with spiritual (not religious) matters and this includes interaction with my cats. They help to bring peace and harmony into my life, which is totally unrelated to whether they are show cats or ancient retirees (like Chapel Bells).
In 2003, we had to evacuate from our house because of the fires that ravaged Kelowna summer. Gretzky was just a young kitten of about 4 months old. As you can imagine, it was total pandemonium during this period as we had less than an hour’s notice to find all the cats and kittens and bundle them into our available carriers. In some cases there were three cats to a carrier… The cats spent a week in my veterinarian’s clinic and then for 1½ years they were shuttled around to the homes of some of my wonderful friends. During this period I parted with about 50% of them and those that were being looked after in pet homes I presented to the people who had them rather than have them stressed again with another move.
When Gretzky moved back with me he was an adult – and a very frightened and nervous cat. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body so will never bite or scratch but I have not been able to understand what I can do to help him to be happy. I will attach a photo of him so you can picture what he looks like as you read this. This is one of the photos that was used for our discussion and was taken during the period of our evacuation.
A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law gave me the name of a telepathic animal communicator named Shallah. At her request I sent Shallah three photos of Gretzky but she said she wanted to know absolutely nothing about me or him or the problems he might have. She asked me to prepare a list of questions that I wanted to ask him and explained to me that she would ask Gretzky to speak to me through her and tell me what I wanted to know.
I got a friend to act as a scribe to take down the conversation as per her suggestion since I didn’t have a recording device.
Without going into the complete discussion that took just under an hour, I will give you the highlights of what Gretzky said to me in answer to all my questions. That cat is worse than some people – once he got talking it was hard to keep him quiet! I had to keep putting him back on track…
I opened our conversation by thanking him for letting me talk to him through Shallah and telling him how special he was to me and how much I loved him. He responded by saying “I feel a lot of love from you. This is odd but interesting”. He also said that he did not feel he was special to me. I told him that he was very special and that is why I wanted to know what would make him happy.
I asked him if he was happy in his room in the cattery. He replied “sometimes yes and sometimes no. It’s interesting. I’m glad I have a window. I’d be happier if I had my own room”. I asked him if he would like to be moved upstairs to one of our guest bedrooms. He asked “Will my new room have a window? I want to be alone. This place I am in now is overwhelming. Lots of chatter. I hear other cats’ thoughts. I’m very sensitive. I retire and shut down. Other cats are way more relaxed. Can I take all my things? Can I be greedy? I want to feel spoiled. Does this mean I might see you more? I like gentle music without words. Can you nap with me?” I said “Yes”. He replied: “Thank you. I’m feeling great”.
I asked him which scratching box he liked better, the tall scratching post with the cabin on the top, or his cabin sleeping box that was on the floor. He replied “both”. I asked him which one he would like moved into his new room and he asked if he could have them both. He also asked if he could have everything else that was in his room. Of course I had to agree – what else could I say?
I asked him whether he wanted a girl cat to keep him company in his room. He replied: “I prefer to be alone”.
I asked if there were any cats he did not like. Could he tell me which ones? He said: “I’m not very good at making friends. Introduce me to some more mellow and understanding. I feel lonely most of the time”.
I asked whether he liked to have Whisper and his babies in the room beside him in the cattery. He replied: “Don’t know them well enough. They have a freedom that I aspire to”.
I asked him if he liked breeding when I gave him a female in his room. He said: “That is exciting. I don’t want the cat to stay with me afterwards”.
I asked if he liked watching the babies play. Would he like to have a baby in his new room with him? He said: “Yes, a baby with me. Some company but not too much to overwhelm me. I asked him what would happen when the baby grew up. How would I know that he didn’t want it there any more. He replied: “I will be clear that I’m grumpy. I’ll retreat and you will know”.
I questioned him about whether he preferred the hard food that is out all the time, or the soft chicken meal I give him morning and night. He replied: “Soft food far more tasty. I like to snack, don’t like huge portions. I find I love a little food to snack (then) I’m less stressed and nervous".
I asked him if he ever had any pain. What about his eyes? He got an ulcer in his eye during the evacuation and it had left a bit of scar tissue. I told him I had to put drops in his eye to make it better and take away the pain. I wanted him to know that I had to do this to help him. Do his eyes ever hurt now? Can he see properly because of the scar tissue? He replied: “Yes my eye burns. It runs. No, can’t see proper. Obstruction. My eyes get dry, rubbing hurts. Can’t describe”. I told him I would get lubricating drops to keep his eye moist.
I asked him if he minded being brushed and combed and whether it ever hurt him. He replied: “Hurts on top of neck when you brush me too hard. Would prefer if I’m never brushed”. I explained that he had to get brushed and combed or else I would have to shave him down. He asked me to explain this. I did – and he said: “You’ve done that with other cats. It looks odd. Will I look like that? I don’t think I’d like that”. We had a lengthy discussion about the pros and cons of shaving vs. bathing and grooming, during which he also said he didn’t want his feet touched. I had to be firm with him about this and I told him about the pain he would have if his nails grew into the pads of his feet. During this discussion Shallah also interrupted and said that he could incur other problems if his nails grew too long. Gretzky eventually agreed that he would trust me to cut his nails carefully and not object (he has never really objected to me doing this anyway). He also said that he would put up with the shaving procedure if it meant he would not need to be combed and brushed.
I asked him if it upset him when I bathed him and did he feel nice after the bath. He said: “It is overwhelming. After the bath I feel better. I know the difference”. He asked: “Little one too?” (This is the kitten I told him he could have living with him). I said yes.
I asked him if he liked to be held up, looking over my shoulder (He said – “not much”) or upside down so he could look up into my eyes. He replied: “I’m relaxed with my tongue out, I am letting it all hang out. I like that, prefer hugging. I like looking at you upside down. It makes me laugh".
It makes me laugh".
It was now time to start asking him what I really wanted to know since we had now got fairly well acquainted with each other on a verbal level.
I asked him: “Gretzky, can you tell me when you started feeling frightened of people?”. He said: “As far as I can remember. World is overwhelming. I wish I feel more confidence. I’m sure I was born perfect (typical man!). I can’t even help myself”.
I asked him if he remembered the time we had to leave the house when there was the fire, when he was just a little kitten. He replied: “Chaos. Smoke smell. That was terrifying”.
I asked if he liked Harold (my husband). He replied: “Yes. He is big. It makes me concerned. His heart is very big too. I’d like to sniff the back of hand. Back first, then move to the palm".
I asked if it upset him when children came to visit. He said: “Little people? Unreliable and unpredictable to me. Slowly and softly and not to stare at me. Too intense and feel like they’re trying to take something without permission. I assured him that I would not let any children upset him again. He said: “Thank you”.
I asked him if he would like to tell me anything else that would help me to help him feel less frightened. He said that he couldn’t take long deep breaths because he was not able to relax. Shallah explained to me that his muscles were now set in a shallow breathing pattern and I should try and show him by example, holding him close to my chest, how to take slower, deeper breaths.
He asked me when he would be going to his new room and I told him in three days. Shallah interrupted our conversation to say that she would explain this to Gretzky as three darknesses, since he could understand it better this way.
I ended our conversation by telling Gretzky again how much I loved him and wanted to help him and that I would do everything that I had promised.
Well, three days were up yesterday and last night was the “great move”. If anyone has scoffed at all the above, you would not have scoffed last night when I carried Gretzky up to his own bedroom. He had seemed different all day yesterday – excited and interested. Once all his furniture and personal effects had been taken upstairs I carried him (upside down, of course, looking into his eyes just to amuse him) and lay down on the bed with him on my chest. He wouldn’t take his eyes off mine for the longest time – and he was perfectly relaxed! He then examined his two scratching boxes and checked out his personal possessions – litter box and food and water dishes, and then sat on his high scratching box and looked out of the window.
I slept (napped) with him for a couple of hours last night and this morning he was stretched out on the bed where I had been lying. In a few days I will introduce him to the little chinchilla kitten who will spend the afternoons with him.
Cats… what we do for them!