The Moon’s brightly slitted eye sees all
as we listen to the song of this Teacher’s call…
“In silence I stalk my prey,
bringing home gifts of
and tiny details oft overlooked…
All brought home like so many strays.
Nine times I return,
sometimes to play,
other times to wander,
and lastly to share my life with yours.
Humming with content,
invoking laughter with my whimsy,
with agility and balance
I wipe away fears
Sleek and satisfied
I slumber in the warm Sun
dreaming of the days when I was
cosseted as divine.
Remember, you too are divine
and worthy of praise.
Pick delicately at the bones of wisdom…
Meet life on your own terms
and be mirrored in my luminous gaze!”
“A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays.” English Proverb
“It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.” Diane Ackerman
“In the Hour before time began, Meerclar Allmother came out of the darkness to the cold earth. She was black, and as furry as all the world come together to be fur. Meerclar banished the eternal night, and brought forth the Two… Goldeneye and Skydancer bore many children and raised them in the forest that covered the world at the beginnings of the Elder Days. Climbfast, Wolf-friend, Treesinger, and Brightnail, their young, were strong of tooth, sharp of eye, light of foot and straight and brave to their tail-ends.” Tad Williams, “Tailchaser’s Song”
Domestic cats, Felis silvestris catus, are primarily carnivorous members of the family Felidae which includes a number of small cats, leopards, lynxes, cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, lions and tigers. As always, which specific Cat Teacher is calling to you will have different lessons depending on breed, color, size, etc. Each cat should be examined along with any balancing energies (prey or predator Creature Teachers) that will also vary widely. Despite the tale of tiny Mouse saving the mighty Lion, Mouse is more likely to be a balancing energy for a domestic Cat than the King of Cats who feasts on larger game like gazelle, zebra, and wildebeest for example. I’d like to discuss several of these magnificent Teachers and I’ll begin with that most beloved family pet, the Cat.
“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” Mark Twain
“Beware of people who dislike cats.” Irish proverb“In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” Terry Pratchett
If you ask how many breeds of cat there are in the world today, the answer will vary depending on who you ask. The International Progressive Cat Breeders Alliance recognizes 73 breeds while the Cat Fanciers’ Association only accepts about 41 breeds. Those bred from “wild stock” like the Bengal or the Savannah are often not acknowledged as a true cat breed. An adult domestic cat is about 8 to 10 inches high, 18 to 20 inches long from tip of nose to tail base and the tail is about 10-15 inches. Females usually weigh from 6 to 10 pounds, and males from 10 to 15 pounds depending on skeletal size, health, living conditions, and genetics.
Cats have keen hearing and the internal mechanize of their ears is also what gives them such a keen sense of balance. While dogs are renowned for detecting high-pitched whistles beyond that of human hearing, cats can hear even higher frequencies than canines and are almost as good at hearing in the lower end of the scale. A cat up to 3 feet away from the origin of a sound can pinpoint its location to within a few inches in a mere six one-hundredths of a second, and can tell by differences of as little as one-tenth of a tone the type and size the potential prey. Cats also can hear sounds at great distances than humans, four or five times farther away in fact! They will often turn their whole head in response to a sound in order to focus their ears and eyes upon the source more efficiently. These physical abilities are especially important to those wild felines who depend upon the food they catch for survival.
“As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.” Ellen Perry Berkeley
“Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.” Pam Brown
“A cat is a puzzle for which there is no solution.” Hazel Nicholson
The cat also comes closer than does any other animal, except owls and apes, to having binocular vision similar to that of humans. In bright light a cat’s pupils contract to narrow vertical slits, but in darkness these slits enlarge to round openings that will admit a maximum amount of light. Iridescent green or yellow crystalline needles in the inner lining of the eye offer back a green or yellow reflection when light shines across them in the dark. Except for Siamese cats as their retinas lack pigment, and the color is provided by blood vessels giving back a red reflection. In fact, many animals can be identified in the dark by the color of their eyeshine.
Much can be told about a cat’s mood or health simply by looking at it’s eyes, and I have found Cat people will express quite a lot through the open regard of their eyes and general body language. A frightened or excited cat will have wide open eyes with enlarged pupils while an angry cat will have narrowed pupils. If their inner third eyelid, the nictating membrane, is partially lowered, it could indicate sleepiness, but if they are exhibiting other unusual signs you might want to take them to the vet as this is also an indication that they are not feeling well. They are subject to many of the same ailments as humans when it comes to their eyes, like pinkeye! Their night vision is superior to ours although we can see better than they can during daylight hours. Cats are primarily nocturnal with greater activity at the dawn and dusk hours. We do them a great disservice as pets expecting them to operate on our time schedule, but mankind has relied on domestic felines for ages to keep rodents and other pests out of the fields, granaries, barns and larders.
A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times more efficient than a human’s, and even the domestic cat relies on this sense to bring down prey more often than human’s rely on their sense of smell for anything at all. A cat’s whiskers (vibrissae) are delicate sensory tools of touch. Four rows of stiff whiskers grow on the upper lip on either side of the nose. Small groups of whiskers are also situated on other parts of the body including above each eye, both cheeks, and on the backs of the forepaws. Cutting off these whiskers not only detracts from the animal’s appearance but also seriously impairs their balance and ability to feel its way about. Cat’s use these sensitive feelers to judge spatial relations and will determine whether or not they can fit within a narrow space safely by testing the opening of the space with their whiskers. Keeping your senses clear, listening to your intuitions/instincts, and utilizing these keen senses by quietly observing a situation before pouncing into action are key Cat lessons that will see you through some metaphorically tight or dark situations.
“Purring would seem to be, in her case, an automatic safety valve device for dealing with happiness overflow.” Monica Edwards
“If purring could be encapsulated, it’d be the most powerful anti-depressant on the pharmaceutical market.” Alexis F. Hope
“A meow massages the heart.” Stuart McMillan
“If I tried to tell you how much I love my cats, you wouldn’t believe me – unless your heart is also meow-shaped and covered in stray fur. " Lexie Saige
All cats, domestic or wild, can and do purr. Kittens begin purring after just a few days, and purring may be loud or so soft that it escapes our notice. Like any other vocal noise, the sound come from vibrations of the vocal cords although science still does not understand quite how a cat produces this sound, what they use it for, nor why other animals do not purr. From my experience, cats use their purrs to express contentment, well-being, and affection. For all the loving loyalty of dogs, there is a special thrill when the confident and independent cat rubs it’s head in your palm with an affectionate purr. Cats have often been painted as aloof, stubborn, willful, impossible to train, or even stupid and uncaring because of their self-confidence and Independence. Nothing could be further from the truth! Cats recognize that not everyone is worthy of trust, and they value themselves enough to give their affections and loyalties only to those who earn them.
As a child, cats played a more vital role in my life than they do at this time. Neighborhood cats often went out of their way to find me, share a little affection and investigate whatever I was playing with at the time. Strays turned up on my porch even when we had dogs, and I will never forget the day my mother took me to the local animal shelter in search of a pet I chose myself. We toured the large shelter meeting and greeting animals from guinea pigs to horses. While I was sorely tempted by the poor white horse dubbed Gandalf that they had rescued from some barbed wire, mother convinced me that it wouldn’t be fair as he would have to stay with her friend in a barn far from where we lived. Continuing my search, I entered a room full of cats who began meowing as soon as the door opened. A wall full of cat kennels seethed with meowing ruffling fur and in all that commotion one tiny calico face sat serenely gazing at me, knowing that we would belong to each other even before I laid eyes on her.
Gingersnap was a long-haired calico whose black and gold face was divided by a triangle of white that stretched up from her throat to wrap around her black and pink nose. When looking at the significance of color, white represents purity and blessings. In color therapy it is used for cleansing and new beginnings. Gold represents illumination, wisdom, wealth, and in color therapy this color not only represents an alchemy of consciousness, but is also the strongest color for healings of all sorts. So strong in fact, that most people cannot tolerate it and have to condition themselves to it over a period of time! Black, like other colors, can represent many things depending on the culture you draw from, but black is often associated with negative or destructive concepts or conditions which makes it excellent for aiding in removing such qualities from our lives when applying color therapy. Black can represent fear as well as the conquering of our fear; Life, Death, and the transcendence of both. It is a color of power and authority. In some traditions it represents wisdom and knowledge brought from across the Void, as well as the Void itself.
Ginger brought me comfort, laughter, joy and confidence in a crucial time of my life when I needed these things more than words could possibly express. Her purring weight upon my pillow banished nightmares, and her balanced ways encouraged me to find the serenity locked within me when all else was falling to pieces around me. Though she disappeared from my life many years ago, I have never forgotten her and am grateful for the time spent with this special friend. I would have no other cat in my life for a long time. As an adult I brought home a tiny gray tabby to my kids who were about 8, 6 and 4 at the time. Frodo, as he came to be called, was just as amazing and unique as Ginger had been though they were very different cats. Frodo was always a bit more wild than Ginger had ever been, more active, more challenging too. Yet he delighted the whole family with his antics in ways that Ginger may have been too proud to do.
“If I called her she would pretend not to hear, but would come a few moments later when it could appear that she had thought of doing so first.” Arthur Weigall
“Meow is like aloha – it can mean anything.” Hank Ketchum
“If the pull of the outside world is strong, there is also a pull towards the human. The cat may disappear on its own errands, but sooner or later, it returns once again for a little while, to greet us with its own type of love.” Lloyd Alexander
“The cat is the only animal which accepts the comforts but rejects the bondage of domesticity.” Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon
“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.” Bill Dana
Frodo loved to play with my kids. They had a game that was a cross between tag, and hide and seek in which Frodo would wear them out before bed time, purring happily the entire time. He would walk them up the hill to school, sit upon the top step that led to school property and watch them enter the building, waiting for their final wave, before returning home to tell me that they were safely where they were supposed to be. He guarded our door from strangers with the promise of violence that far exceeded his size, chased the neighborhood dogs from his sunny spots, brought home gifts of squirrel, bird, and rabbit, and understood every word I spoke to him much to the amazement of my husband. Frodo showered me with affection he rarely bestowed on anyone, and there was no greater balm upon my soul than his purring warmth perched above my head or curled in a trusting ball in my lap. Like Ginger before him though, when he decided his time in my life was done Frodo disappeared into the wild to stake a territory for himself. I spent nearly a year, full of tears and sorrow, searching for him and had nearly given up when he re-appeared in a near-by neighborhood, firmly refusing to return home, content to be the neighborhood porch cat til the end of his days.
The love and trust given to me by these two special felines has affected me in ways that the devotion and service of my much beloved canines can never know. Giving up these friends who had chosen a new life for themselves has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life. But I always knew that my time with them was a gift between equals, an honor from proud and confident beings, and even when it broke my heart, I knew that they loved me so completely because I accepted them on their own terms. There is no greater compliment one can receive than the love, trust, and friendship of an animal however long they choose to be with us, whatever form they take.
Cats teach us to be content in the now, to shed our fears and negativity with a purring peace that will reveal all that is magical in life. They show us how to use agility of mind and body in harmony to overcome challenges, help us to find clear perspective in the darkest nights of our lives, teach us to treat our fears like prey instead of predators, remind us of the importance of a good nap or playfulness, and above all, ask us to remember that all of us, All Our Relations, are sacred beings worthy of respect and love no matter how troubled or humble our origins. They teach us confidence in self, relying on oneself to find true freedom, how to turn the mysterious in our lives into creative expression, and how to be sensitive to the world around us in a good way. Cats, like their larger cousins, teach us to conserve our strength for when we will need to rely upon it in crucial moments of our lives.“A cat is a tiger that is fed by hand.” Proverb
“After dark all cats are leopards.” Native American Proverb
“Thou art the Great Cat, the avenger of the Gods, and the judge of words, and the president of the sovereign chiefs and the governor of the holy Circle; thou art indeed…the Great Cat.” Inscription on the Royal Tombs at Thebes
“Hear me calling across the plains
to my fierce Queen who rules with pride.
Calling royalty, strength, courage, and
leadership from deep within your veins.
Crowned with shining integrity, abide.
Give silence its due, and release your song to ring
across the land.” ~ Quinn, contemplations on the Lion
“I put down my book, The Meaning of Zen, and see the cat smiling into her fur as she delicately combs it with her rough pink tongue. “Cat, I would lend you this book to study but it appears you have already read it.” She looks up and gives me her full gaze. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she purrs, “I wrote it.” Dilys Laing, “Miao”
“Harar Goldeneye had eyes as hot and bright as the sun at the Hour of Smaller Shadows; he was the color of daytime, and courage, and dancing…. Fela Skydancer, his mate, was beautiful, like freedom, and clouds, and the song of travelers returned.” cat legend from Tad Williams’ Tailchaser’s Song“No cat out of its first fur can be deceived by appearances… Because I be, what I be. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, mum, but I be a cat. And no cat anywhere, ever gave anyone a straight answer."~ the Cat from Peter S. Beagle’s The Last UnicornLions, as the King of Cats, lend their strength to all the qualities one finds in the Cat family: mystery, magic, agility, stealth, heightened sensitivity, etc. Learning the proper use of one’s power is a Lion lesson. Mountain Lions add the message to stand behind ones convictions. Panthers speak of prophecy, mysticism, the reclaiming of power, and like other cats, shape-shifting. Lynxes are the keepers of secrets and are linked with clairvoyance, and uncovering all things hidden. Each of the Felines carries their own message, and we must listen carefully to hear their magically silent approach. These independent Teachers give their attention sparingly, but their lessons carry magic, mystery, and stealthy power.
Cats of all kinds tend to be direct once their opinion is given, so be sure you want the truth when you ask something of these people! Domestic cats are particular susceptible to poisoning as their liver cannot process many toxins. Cat people should also beware the many toxins found in life; physical, spiritual, metaphorical, emotional, etc. Unbalanced Cats will display all the negative associations with the various cats; disassociation, sneakiness, deceit, self-interest, etc. Cat people often perceive more of the unseen World around us than others, and are often sensitive to communications from the Spirit World, even if they use such abilities only subconsciously. Dream journals/diaries, and lucid dreaming are important tools for Cat people. Cats are free thinkers, independant, meditative, and curious, who often feel most active at night. This mysterious and magical Teacher is a fierce protector who will help us navigate the maze of this life, as well as working out past life knots; bringing enlightment on the tip of her tail.
This Singer is renowned for living in more than one world/time at once, and easily crossing back and forth from world/time/life/reality to another. The Cat makes an excellent guide, and is a wonder Teacher for working through past life issues, bringing useful awareness from past lives into present, working through Shadow Self issues, Dreamtime, and utilizing self-disciplines like meditation, lucid dreaming, yoga, or martial arts. Magically creative, this Singer understands both Law and Chaos. How does the Cat appear in your life?
“If cats could talk, they wouldn’t.” Nan Porter
“Most people leave their bodies to medical science. I’m leaving mine to the Louvre, baby!” Cat, Red Dwarf
“Subliminal kitty messages? “You are getting very sleepy” is not a command when said to a cat; it is an eternal truth." Ari Rapkin
“Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.” R.I. Fitzhenry
Key Concepts: Natural Magic/Law, Mystery, Riddle/Puzzle solving, Independence, Agility of mind or body, Dreamtime, Feminine energy/power, Shadow self/work, Overcoming fears, Past life work/many lives, healing, travel, curiousity/cleverness, unpredictability, fate/fortune, communication, divine messages/will, Gateways/Crossroads and other liminal zones, Fae energy, Intuition, Seeing the Invisible, Lunar and Nocturnal energy
Associated with: Dreamtime, and Travel (especially between worlds or times). Cats have been worshipped as gods and linked with the deities: Bast, Freya, Cybele (lion), Sekhmet (lion), Dionysus (panther), Henwen, Chin Mu, Aker, Apedemak, Asthartet, Bes, Hathor, Mafdet, Mut, Nefertum, and Tefnut. They have been linked with the Moon for their nocturnal habits and ability to see in darkness and with the Sun and solar energy for their love of sunny spots in which to soak up this blessing.
Possible Balancing Energies:
Birds like Robin , Crow/Raven , Sparrow , Blue Jay , Chickadee , Hawk , Eagle, Vulture, or Owl
Rodents , Dog , Wolf , Coyote , Fox , Fish like Salmon ,Squirrel and Chipmunk, Rabbit , Other felines from lynx to Lion , Flies , Lepidoptera (caterpillars and butterflies
), Spiders , “Ants”:“http://www.redbubble.com/people/entwife/writing... and other Insects,”Frog/Toad":http://www.redbubble.com/people/entwife/writing... , Lizard and other amphibians, Earthworm , Snakes , Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum, Cattle, Horses , Trees, Plants like Catnip, Mint, or Grasses
Each Who Sings Now? poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; tree, stone, animal, plant, etc. All Our Relations are still willing to teach anyone willing to gratefully listen. Nothing is ever truly lost as long as there is still someone willing to look for it. Can you guess who is singing?