I’ve written more than a few entries in the past year about the passing of my brown tabby cat Leo and his potential reincarnation.
Reincarnation is a funny thing. I was pretty damn sure our kittens had been born last spring, but they didn’t materialize in our life. This may have been because when the nearest humane society had a “two for one” kitten sale in June, we choose not to go. It just didn’t feel right, we would have been pushing ourselves, our energy, our car and our finances to adopt two kittens last summer. So we didn’t go and since then Leo has continued to visit in spirit.
I think that *could have* been an opportunity for us, but the neat thing about reincarnation is that it’s not set in stone. People can get whipped up into a lot of anxiety about finding their reincarnated pet (let this entry demonstrate my own obsession!) The truth is, when you find the right one, it will FEEL right and easy.
One thing I didn’t mention in ANY of the above articles is the names “Winter” or “Mikey”. These names have been around since we first started talking to Snowball about his incarnation into our family in 2011, before Mocha or Leo had passed away. Repeatedly during this reading and other ones, Snowball used the names “Winter” and “Mikey” while showing us a fluffy white kitten with blue eyes as himself. We thought that “Winter” and “Mikey” were potential names he’d like to have in his next life with us. I wish I’d written about it.
While reincarnation can and should be an easy, straight-forward thing, it can also be just as complicated as you choose to make it. When Sweetie & I choose to let pass the opportunity to adopt two kittens from the humane society, I found myself obsessively locking into the idea of pediatric spay/neuters. Any kitten we got through the humane society would already be spayed or neutered, even if it was an infant 8 week old kitten.
I will admit that I do still carry some sorrow and philosophical regret about Leo’s passing. Unlike Mocha who passed peacefully and painlessly after a stroke, Leo I believe died of kidney failure. I have a sneaky suspicion that the dry kibble I fed him all of his life caused him to die prematurely of kidney failure, which I now know is the leading cause of death in housecats. Sometimes I wonder if I’d fed him more canned food, if I’d switched him to a better kibble, if if if if if, MAYBE he could have been with me longer. I know I did the best I could for him, and the best I could for Mocha (who told me just two months before she died that her food was shortening her life.)
All of my animals have been rescues, and while their care has not been perfect, their lives were undoubtedly better with me than in their former circumstances. I can console myself in knowing that although I couldn’t give Mocha the VERY BEST, I did give her a great life. Before she came to me, Mocha lived the first three years of her life at the end of a chain in a back yard, before being tied to the doors of the humane society overnight and watching her family drive away. Mocha was pulled from the humane society before her scheduled euthanasia, and spent the next several months of her life in a chaotic “rescue” run by a woman with a big heart but few resources. This rescue was shut down a year later, but at the time of Mocha’s adoption, the house was a maze of make-shift barriers and a cacophony of barking. I assumed I’d caught the rescue in a bad moment, but I thought back to it when it took Mocha six months to clear the tapeworms and giardia she’d come home with.
Such is the background of a rescue animal, and such experiences do not detract from their ability to be loving, devoted, ideal family members. But this is not the background I want for my reincarnated Leo.
When it comes right down to it, I just can’t stand the idea of Leo coming back to me and experiencing one moment of uncertainty or discomfort. I don’t want him born to an independent semi-feral female. Unsprayed female cats are very uncommon creatures for responsible pet owners to have. Those who can provide proper nutrition, safe housing and a loving environment for their female cats nearly always provide sterilization too!
And any kitten born to a semi-feral mother would be potentially exposed to the disease, stress and malnutrition typical of “unwanted” kittens. Most of these kittens are separated from their mothers much too early, and those who end up in the humane society will certainly endure a pediatric spay or neuter before I have an opportunity to find them – never mind the multiple changes in environment, and the general stress of a shelter.
So that leaves breeders. There’s something I’m much more comfortable with! A responsible breeder would have the dam and sire on site, pampered, well nourished, well-loved animals from the day of their birth. If I provided Leo with an opportunity to come in through a breeder, his kittenhood would be one of warmth, nutrition, gentle routine, nurtured development and security from the moment of his arrival. He would have the best environment and his dam would be as relaxed and healthy as felinely possible.
The kitten would know no uncertainty and would transition from the place of his birth directly into his forever home without any side-visits to rescues or shelter facilities. I couldn’t give Leo the *very best* care while he was my first cat, but now I am in the position to give him the very best life as my third cat.
I know I’m being silly here. Ultimately, Leo is not attached to HOW he arrives, this is all about me and what I need. I’m not saying this is the best way to welcome a reincarnated pet into your home, it’s just one way of many… but I’ll admit I’m a control freak (Sweetie will vouch for that) and if I can control the circumstances around Leo’s reincarnation, buy GUM! That’s what I’ll do!
So this brings me back to the very early conversations with Snowball, and the names Winter and Mikey.
In the past few weeks I’ve been researching breeders. I was somewhat interested in ragdolls, but I’m just not that drawn to them. What I really want is a Maine Coon. Leo was part Maine Coon, and although he was short-haired, his heritage showed in his massive bone structure, his muscled body, his elongated face and his huge tufted paws. His presence was larger than a housecat, it was lion-like, hence his name. When he was young, you could almost see the aura of a ruffled mane around his head and neck.
When I look at pictures of purebred tabby Maine coons, I see Leo. I started to research Maine coon breeders in British Columbia, and I’ve contacted a couple – but surprisingly most breeders in British Columbia will have their kittens spayed or neutered at eight or nine weeks of age before allowing them to go to their new homes at twelve weeks of age! I was so surprised that a breed enthusiast who is dedicated to creating the most robustly healthy examples of the breed would deny such large cats the health benefits of early puberty. I wondered if the breeders were fixing their kittens to ensure the new owners wouldn’t cross breed them – there’s getting to be a serious problem with “designer cats” resulting from irresponsible “backyard breeding”. These are animals bred for curiosity or profit’s sake, often two purebred cats cross-bred to produce a “new breed”. My dog Happy, a papillion/poodle cross, is a casualty of ridiculous backyard breeding fads.
Then I found a breeder in Ontario. At first I wasn’t seriously interested in purchasing a kitten so far from home, but then I saw the pictures of the females – and one of them was all white.
I’ve never seen a white Maine coon before – I didn’t know they existed. Typically, white versions of certain breeds are undesirable or unhealthy, but I couldn’t get her out of my mind. When I brought up the website to show to Sweetie later that day, my eyes finally moved away from the picture of the cat to the text of her name: Winter.
Holy crap! Well, maybe it’s a coincidence. She *is* a white cat after all, Winter is an appropriate name.
But damn, I just can’t get her out of my head. I went back on the website today and my eyes snapped to the name of the large orange male. His name? Mikey.
Seriously. Could Snowball have been telling us three years ago the names of his sire and dam?
Well, honestly, probably not. That’s how it works with reincarnation – they will give you signals that confirm for you when you’re on the right track, when it’s a good path for them to come in. The cues “Mikey” and “Winter” could have come in while I picked up kittens from the humane society – someone could have yelled, “Hey Mikey – are you working this winter?” So when you find these clues it doesn’t mean I *have to* go this way, but it’s an indication that yes, this is an open path way.
And then, as I obsessively perused every corner of this breeder’s website, I found a photo of one of Winter’s kittens who was featured in a veterinarian cat anatomy textbook. This handsome model’s name?
Actually, Snowball is the name the breeder gave the kitten. When he moved to his new home, his people named him “Angel”.
I’m not saying this is decided yet, I’m just starting conversations with the breeder, but maybe, just maybe, this is the way we’ll go. No promises people, we’ll see.
17 thoughts on “The crazy cat lady’s theories on reincarnation”
What a wonderful post! I love this. It struck me because we have a orange Tabby named “Mikey” that looks EXACTLY like the posted “Mikey”.
Isn’t that neat? I wonder what it is about big orange toms that inspires that name?
I read somewhere that orange toms are most likely to be given human names, like Mikey or Charlie or the like. There’s just something about them that makes their people give them people names. 🙂
Funny! There are two black cats who live next door to us who have “people names”. I can never remember their names though, I think it’s Doug and Gordon. One of them has a crush on Sunshine, and I’m pretty damn sure Sunshine sneaks into their house and eats their food.
What a great post! As usual, not only is your message very interesting, but your writing style is so beautiful! I love the way you described Leo as “lion-like” – so descriptive and easy to imagine his grace and presence.
Don’t worry about the past food choices – I think it all works out in a way that teaches lessons and helps us process events – I believe when it’s time something will manifest to complete the plan.
BTW – I’ve never seen a white Maine Coon either – what as extraordinary creature – I think I want one too!!
I know, right!? She has odd eyes too, one green, one blue.
Thank you for your complements – you’re so awesome and supportive, T 🙂
How is Tina?
Tina is doing great for an old lady – 17.5 years and still traveling with me all the time – the things we do for pet love!! LOL. She sends her very best regards to you and your crew. 😉
I liked this post a lot
Thanks Noah! Nice to see you in the comments 🙂
cool story. All things that are meant to be find their way. We just have to trust in that.
Don’t dwell on the past too much. Remember? Living is the past is judgment, living in the future is worry, but living in the NOW is love.
I am a firm believer that every soul agrees to its departure from its earthly life. You played the role you were suppose to play and I am sure it was much appreciated by your sweet Leo.
Thank you, I appreciate the sentiment. You can’t talk someone out of their grief process though, I have to be ready to let go of it. Clearly, I’m not! 😉 But at least I can have a sense of humour about my irrationality.
I was thinking about this entry last night and slowly sifting through *what* exactly it is that I find so attractive in these particular cats.
One thing that I really miss about Leo is his little trilling meow that’s typical of maine coons. I want that meow back! Another thing is that Leo used to love to dance with me. I’d hold him in my arms and sing his silly song and we’d do a bouncy dance across the room. (Sometimes it was lyrics “He’s the Leo!” sung to the tune of Sinatra’s “She’s a lady!)
Not a lot of cats would tolerate that sort of nonsense.
Another thing I noticed is this breeder has imported several of her cats from Germany. Perhaps the half-German in me appreciates this black forest heritage!
I’m still grappling with the guilt that I didn’t provide my Mots with the very best of everything and so contributed to his passing.You know it’s not logical or sensible, but it is what it is.
Maine Coon cats (or their cousins, the Norwegian Forest cat) are my favourite breed, I think. It’s partly the look — the size, the floof, the majesty — but also the personality. Big teddy bears. I can see why you’d be drawn to the breed.
Was Mots a maine coon cross? I was looking at a couple of tuxedo maine coon males and they reminded me of him.
You and Mots had the same relationship as Leo and I. I love all of my pets, and it’s not to say that I loved Leo more, it’s just that I think Leo & I had an understanding and a connection that doesn’t always happen between animals and humans. Our spirits recognize each other.
I was thinking about the Norwegian forest cat as a possibility too…
I don’t know. I keep flipping back and forth on the kitten issue. Sunshine is getting older and so is Happy, and sometimes I think I should just focus on them. Leo is fine and will wait.
I was shocked, SHOCKED to realize that Sunshine is now a senior cat. How the years do burn by! They’re seniors before you know it!
I suspect that he was part Maine Coon: he was a big guy (16 pounds), with the typical Maine Coon ear and paw pad tufts and neck ruff, and his long coat was really low maintenance. Yeah, you and Leo make me think of me and Mots — it’s like it’s a long-term partnership, not just a human/cat relationship.
A friend of mine has a lovely tuxie cat who was my gateway kitten, the kitten who made me realize that I really love cats. I’m continually shocked to realize how senior she is (she’s 18 years old now). It creeps up on you, doesn’t it. Sunshine doesn’t look a day over 4. 😉
“gateway kitten” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA! That is going to keep me smiling all day!
I’ve been attracted to tux cats too, just for their humourous presence. Who wouldn’t love that in their house? This maine coon breeder describes her big tuxedo tom as “the class clown”.
So many cats… I may have to become a crazy cat lady just to get decent time with all the sorts of cats I’m attracted to. Big orange, solid black, solid grey, torbies, calicos. I have always gravitated to BIG cats though. I remember the first time I saw a 16lb male long-haired orange tabby and he just radiated love and calm. He wasn’t the least bit bothered by the dogs in the waiting room, he *owned* the room. He had this supreme confidence coupled with kittenish mannerisms. It was almost an affectation, like, “I’m so dignified I can be intentionally silly.”
Sorry you felt I was trying to talk you out of your grief process. That was never my intent.
As a mother of son who committed suicide I have been thru the what if, the guilt, the replaying of days, weeks and months to see if this time around I see any signs. My intent was to ease the pain and let you know you are not alone. We never get over the loss, we just learn to live with it. Personally I am more productive, loving, and in tune with my son when I let go of the guilt.