Cat – Personal Power
* This essay focuses on feral cats in Australia, but some of the messages here apply to feral domesticated cats everywhere.
Looking after yourself. Relax. Meditate. The hunting instinct. Getting what you want. Accomplishment. Self-love, worth and protection. Standing up for yourself. Taking time out. Gentle exercise. All forms of therapy. Independence. Intuition. Personal power. Magic.
Cats were introduced into Australia in the 1700s to hunt vermin and quickly became feral. Many native species weren’t adapted to having predators like the cat, and so the feral cat is an effective hunter and threat to many vulnerable species and has been implicated in causing the extinction of several species.
Feral cats also eat feral rabbits and rodents. Cats are effective carnivorous hunters, possessing retractable claws, keen hearing, smell and sight and excellent reflexes. They are solitary, nocturnal and usually bigger than domestic cats. They often sleep in dens or burrows during the day. The feral cat usually has tabby markings. It does not tame easily, and it is usually more humane to euthanase a feral cat, though kittens have been re-domesticated.
Lessons and Challenges:
Cat is a powerful teacher, because it draws our attention to our own personal power which can help us become more independent, and also place great emphasis on the need for healing journeys no matter where we’re at in our lives. The domestic cat is an exceptionally skilled natural predator, and has evolved to a point where it may take advantage of relaxation and leisure time in a world where many other animals; particularly herbivores, cannot.
Cat shows us how to look after our bodies and minds so that they remain constant sources of great personal power. Cat also reminds us that one of the best ways to deal with stress, is to remember to put significant time aside into de-stressing. When cat is around, being a workaholic is considered unhealthy.
It is time to relax and ground yourself. How’s your sleep going? This is one of the first things that cat asks you to address. Are you getting enough? Are you making time to get enough? Is it restful? Look at ways to improve upon your sleeping patterns, and don’t be afraid to take an increased number of short cat-naps.
Once you start addressing how much sleep you’re getting, consider introducing some meditation into your life. Meditation is a great activity, because it helps us to become aware of our bodies and breathing, teaches breath control (which can be used as a practical tool when we’re stressed out), and also calms the mind and creates inner stillness. Regular meditation in particular can increase our intuitive and magical abilities to manifest what we want in our lives.
There is nothing wrong with taking a ‘time out.’ It may be time for a holiday, a day off, or a weekend where you see no one else and just lounge around. Cat shows us that these sorts of time outs can be nourishing, and do not indicate laziness or some kind of lack in our ability to get what we want out of life.
One thing that cat definitely knows, is how to get what you want. Cat can take leisure time, or time to rest, because it knows how to seize upon opportunity and has an excellent sense of timing. The cat hunting instinct is an instinct that we also share. We too have a great sense of timing lurking within us, and an ability to grab an opportunity when it presents itself. Cat knows how to take calculated risks and turn many of them to its advantage. It is through learning how to apply intuition to our lifestyle, that we learn the appropriate times for taking a break, and the appropriate times for putting all of our energy into a goal.
A cat’s intuition is well-developed, and there are even stories and folk-tales that claim a cat’s ability to sense magic, ghosts and other aspects of the paranormal. When cat is around, it is important to learn how to listen to your intuition, and intuitive experiences (such as those relating to ritual, spirituality, divination etc.)
Cat saunters into your life to teach the importance of self-love, worth and protection. Many people who own cats are quick to say that their cat is a confident, self-important animal. Even feral cat energy has a sense of its own self-importance. Because cat is not a communal animal it needs to learn how to rely on itself in order to get all forms of nourishment, which means it must learn how to love, nurture and provide for itself consistently. Cat teaches us that it is not healthy for us to always rely on others to feed our own sense of self-worth and approval, we must learn how to love and protect ourselves.
Another lesson of cat is learning how to stand up for yourself. While it is appropriate at times to hide in the shadows or to not retaliate, cat knows that if you are backed into a corner, you must release all of your weapons as you see fit. Cat also reminds you that you have plenty of reasons to defend and stand up for yourself; the most important being that you are simply important and worthy enough to demand your personal space and respect from others.
As cat tends to indicate healing journeys, cat also indicates all forms of therapy; from psychology, to gentle exercises like tai-chi, to massage therapies, and all alternative therapies. Any therapy system which treats the mind, body and spirit as a whole will be of immense benefit, and can trigger great changes at this time.
Magic has many interpretations; but one that cat teaches is that magic is the act of deliberately uniting the mind, spirit and body to create conscious, transformative change within your life to benefit yourself and others. Look into ritual acts of affirmation or empowerment, and ask yourself how you can introduce more magic and transformation into your life.
The Shadow Aspects:
Those who fear or dislike feral cat may find that they have problems with the concept of selfishness, and taking time for the self. They might be workaholics, and they might resent people who work part-time, who take sick days when they aren’t sick, or who essentially don’t work as hard as they do. Alternatively, they might not work that hard themselves, but still be unable to harness the skills needed to relax, calm and centre themselves. Cat challenges this fear of selfishness, and reminds us that in the journey to helping ourselves, we must at times hurt the feelings of others; usually through recognising when it is important to put ourselves first, no matter what.
All cat energy as a shadow aspect challenges us to be brave enough to ‘be ourselves.’ Accept that you have a predatory nature, accept that it must manifest at times. Accept your need to relax, do nothing, love yourself and protect yourself. Stop guilt-tripping yourself for standing up for yourself, and start noticing when you let other people railroad you into unhelpful situations. Cat people are some of the world’s most graceful and knowing, and cat itself can teach you how to contact your inner feline and heal yourself from the inside out.
Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Cat is quite an accessible energy which is evidenced by the fact that many people have domestic cat as loved companions in their homes. For those who actually own cats, or have access to cats, consider observing the way they stretch, groom themselves and take time to rest as an example of how to apply personal care to your own life.
Cat will often approach you in visualisation/journeying, and as a communicator, varies from being quite cryptic (think riddles, like the Cheshire Cat), to being very straight-forward. The energy of feral cat tends to be wilder and reinforces all lessons relating to opportunity, standing up for yourself and intuition. When it comes to offerings, ask cat what it would like, as what it teaches you can determine what offerings it wants.