The feline soul mate–do you have one too?

I think most cat lovers sense the meaning of  “feline soul mate” right away, but these feelings come from a wordless place.

These feelings soul catdwell in right side of our brain, where words don’t happen naturally.

Thankfully, dictionaries are helpful at moments like this.

Soul mate:

“One who is perfectly suited to another in temperament”

“Someone with whom one has a special, almost spiritual connection”

I like these definitions. They sound like the feline soul mates I’ve known.

What does this experience look like? A few specific traits come to mind. Let me know if you can relate to any of them.

A soul mate cat picks you out

Technically, you might say you went to the shelter and picked him out. Yet, why did you pick him? Because it was clear he wanted to be with you and you found him irresistible, right? He’s usually the cat or kitten who most comes alive when you appear.

Or, your feline friend might have just found their way into your life and it was love at first site. Sharon Callahan’s soul-mate cat Lily was part of a feral family downstairs from her flat. This wee little wild kitten took it upon herself to leave her family and venture all the way up the stairs to Sharon’s door. Lily decided she was not leaving, so she and Sharon proceeded to take care of each other for the full 25 (!) years of Lily’s life.

No matter how you find each other, there’s a sense that it’s meant to be–synchronicity.

They are more effective than a suicide hotline.

Cats who are soul companions are particularly tuned to your feelings, and an inseparable bond forms between you. They may look alarmed, or try to comfort you, when you are upset or ill. I shared some examples of this in Stories of Caring Cats.

Here’s another example. There was a moment several years ago when I was deeply depressed, crying, and seriously thinking–for the first time–of how I should end my life. Suddenly I saw that my cat Bastet had planted herself in front of me with the biggest, most concerned eyes I had ever seen.

I realized that I could never leave her. Frankly, I couldn’t bear that look on her face. I actually assured her out loud that I was going to be okay and that this would pass. I was committed to her. After all, she was in my care and she was a soul mate. Bastet was more effective than a suicide hotline at that very low point in my life.

There’s some amazing little mystery thing that occurs.

I’m talking about the kind of thing that we don’t tend to say much about because it just doesn’t fit how the world is supposed to work.

Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., is a scientist who has studied dogs and cats who know when their person is coming home–even when they are arriving at a random, unplanned time in a different car or by foot. The animal gets up and goes to stand at a window or door about 15 minutes before the person arrives. He says this phenomenon only seems to happen with animals and people who are very closely bonded.

You might have an instance like that, where your cat seems to be able to read your mind.

Or maybe your cat had a survival miracle. The little black kitten I adopted when I was four quickly made a habit of sleeping curled up next to me at night. Note that this happened even though I was too young to be the one who fed him. We were inseparable. When I was older and walking down the gravel drive way home after school he’d pop out at me from behind trees in that playful arc-jump that cats do.

One night he didn’t come home. This never happened. I was about 9 years old. I called for him every night and we looked for him for several days and alerted all the neighbors. As the days piled up, I kept calling for him with my child-like assurance that he would return. A family vacation took us out-of-town.

Then, three weeks after he disappeared, a call came from a neighbor. A neighbor had found my cat! He had been caught in the woods on a prickly bush the whole time. He wasn’t even that far away, we just couldn’t hear him. No food, no drink for weeks, but he was still alive. Somehow surviving on dewdrops and the occasional passing insect?

He was emaciated and had to have a graft on his neck where skin had been worn away as he tried to unhook his collar from the bush. That was heartbreaking, and yet darned if he didn’t recover quickly and live more than a dozen more healthy years with us!



I don’t think we are limited to just one feline soul mate. I suspect that each time we allow a new cat to pick us (assuming we feel quite drawn to them too), they end up being a soul mate. Animals have a sense of who they belong with—follow their lead and you’ll be glad you did.

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65 Responses to The feline soul mate–do you have one too?

  1. Ellen R. March 10, 2016 at 6:30 am #

    I lost my kitty soul mate, Rue, in September of 2013. Two and a half years later, I still (will always) mourn her, cry for her, and my heart breaks at her story.

    In September 2011, I stood at the window overlooking our deck and commented to my daughter that I should go out and remove the “piece of garbage” that was stuck there. My daughter looked to see what I referred to and answered, “No, mom. That’s a cat.” In shock, I immediately ran to the deck to find that what appeared to be a brown paper bag, wet, dirty, blown in the wind, was a crumpled and damaged kitten, obviously emaciated and damaged. Her tail was painfully broken, bending backwards up and over her back. She was starving and very weak. A Picasso mix of calico, tabby, and tortie, her fur had gone gray from the mid-spine to her tail. She was anemic I could see from her pale gums when I checked her broken teeth. I made her a “cat omelet,” consisting of warmed, softened cat kibble (I had four cats already in the house), a scrambled egg, and the juice from a can of tuna. This darling animal found the omelet restorative and decided to stick around. I continued to care for her, sneaking her into the house on cold nights after my husband was asleep. We showered her with care, food, treats, play, and shelter. She and I fell in love.

    Rue stayed contentedly in my arms or laid over my left shoulder, her heart on mine, as we looked (albeit briefly) for her owners, knocking on neighbors’ doors. No one knew of this tiny cat, so nearly destroyed by some unknown horror, and near Christmas, after a terrible run-in with an opossum that was eating the food I left out for her, I brought Rue into our home.

    This was when we learned that she, also, was deaf. When not in my presence she yowled with such pitiful mourning that many, many nights I would get up from bed to go to her and stay with her through the night. I never regretted doing that: I ADORED this cat and being with her made me a better person. You see, I too have been damaged from previous traumas and various medical issues. She and me understood each other; we had a lot in common.

    It was late on a Friday evening when Rue began her pacing. She walked the perimeter of our large front room time and time again, over and over. Her behavior was so unlike her usual smiling face, loving eyes, the touch we near-constantly shared … I was suddenly sure, certain in my chest and in my brain, that our time together was quickly coming to an end. I selfishly begged her to stay with me, to just please please please hang on until I could get her to the veterinarian. Monday morning’s emergency appointment had me bawling, holding my near-lifeless cat in my arms as we drove.

    After the shot that removed my love from my world, I lay sobbing and unconsolable over her precious tiny body. Our vet, checking her file, said he suspected FLV, feline leukemia virus. That most likely she had been born with it. I was stunned. My beautiful precious darling cat, my sweet little shoulder sitter, the cat I rescued from certain death and the cat that rescued me from myself, had probably been doomed all along. Going home I held her close, on my left shoulder, over my heart, where she had always lain.

    Rue now lies in her own flower garden. She has a beautiful stone angel cat statue, several heartfelt plaques, under a lovely white marble stone bed. Nothing is too good for this cat. Nothing. I go and sit near her. I cry. I ache. I apologize for everything I couldn’t do. I mourn.

    She was my soul mate, as no other I have ever known. In the time we were together, I too was discovered to have a blood disorder, and in the time since, I too have lost my hearing. Rue and I mirrored each other and took comfort from and in the loving presence of a kindred soul. She lives on in my heart, my mind, and in my very being.

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