One of the things I’ve learned in my time talking with animals is that most often, especially when someone has a “problem” with their pet, the animal is trying to show the person something going on within them. For example, perhaps Fluffy has been the ideal cat and then one day starts peeing on a favorite item of yours. Once a physical problem is ruled out, my question is always “what has changed in your life?” There is usually something, and we can then work out what might need to be done to solve the problem.

However, some animals, and this is just my perspective, remember, are more what I will call evolved than some others. Perhaps they’ve lived a lot more lives, or maybe they’ve lived as a human more than an animal. Whatever the reason, they may come into life to experience and release some baggage they’ve been carrying around. Our beautiful boy Tolstoy is a good example.

Tiny kitten

When we adopted Tolstoy, I don’t think he was more than six weeks old. He was tiny. The first time we saw him, he was in a big cage all by himself. We don’t know if he had other brothers and sisters who had already been adopted or if he had been brought there alone, but the point is he was a six-week old kitten with nobody. No mommy, no siblings. So we brought him home.

Instant family! We had two dogs and three other cats, all of whom required attention. Tolstoy was adorable, and always a little more aware of things than the average kitten. He would watch our faces when we talked to him and I swear he tried to make words. His little cat mouth didn’t work that way, though, so he ended up with a very distinctive “meow” all his own – his own way of making words.

See the notches in his ears? Those are from his “discussions” with the other cats.

He was always a stocky fellow, and as he grew up he also grew out. He also became quite….confrontational with the other cats. He was the boss. Most of them didn’t care and let him have his way, but he was especially insistent that the two cats who hung out in the barn knew exactly where he, Tolstoy, drew the line about who could do what where. He and one of the barn boys still occasionally have words. Nothing serious, although fur has flown.

So here we have a cat who comforts himself with food and is a bit of a bully. Attention getting or just whacked out? Today I was clipping his nails and got the message from him that he wished we paid more attention to him. This cat has been with us for 11 years and never did I hear more clearly than I did today that this is a guy who was taken away from his mother too early and felt abandoned. He’s spent his whole life trying to get attention. We just thought he was living up to his name (Tolstoy being the author of “War and Peace” and our Tolstoy being a sweet cat with a warrior streak), but he named himself that for a reason. He feels that even though he is a sweetie, he has to be bothersome to get anyone to notice him.

I apologized profusely to him for being so unaware, and told him how very much we love him. He is truly a delightful cat, and I love the intelligence in his eyes, and how he lays on the couch between us in the evening, and his four white paws and especially the heart on his chest. I promised we would make sure he got more attention, that he is just as important as the rest of our furry family, and if he needs a few extra hugs and pets to feel that, we are happy to provide it to him.

Even someone like me, who watches for signs from the animals all the time, missed this one. I love the animals – they are such magnificent teachers and truly want to be of service to us. Tolstoy, with his own issues, just taught me a valuable lesson.

What are your animals trying to tell you? Contact me, and let’s find out.