The Special Sixth Sense of Cats

Several weeks ago I wrote about my elderly friend Charles and how when his cat died, a homeless cat just moved in and took up residence with Charles, to his great joy. I invited OTHER cat stories from readers and was not disappointed!

My husband would wake up to Beatrice curled up next to the part of his body that ached the most. The aches moved around, but Beatrice was always able to sense just where he needed comfort.

John, an Oregonian who is a frequent responder to this column and the director of a retirement complex, wanted to tell the story of Tom.

Tom. Let me begin by saying, up front, I’m not really “into” cats. However, until a few weeks ago, Tom lived in our nursing and rehab facility. When I started work here [at a retirement village] in 2004 I heard many stories about how Tom would go into a room and either curl up on the bed or next to the bed of a resident who was near death. It was an uncanny trait, but verified by many different employees who had witnessed this phenomenon.

During the last year of Tom’s life, something very special happened.

One of our residents, who was in hospice care and in a coma, had a roomful of kids and grandkids present. They were all singing hymns and waiting for her to quietly slip away. The story has it that Tom came into the room, jumped up on Mom’s bed, and got up next to her cheek and started rubbing his cheek against hers. After just a minute of this, Mom opened her eyes and said, “Tom, you’re here!” Her kids helped her sit up a little bit, and after singing a hymn together and praying with their Mom, she laid back down and went to be with Jesus.

This was told to me by one of the family members.

Poor ole Tom had diabetes and received an insulin injection each day (it cost us about $167 per month just for the insulin) and when he wasn’t visiting residents, he would sleep in the top tray in the nurses’ office, dreaming of all the people whose lives he touched. He will be missed. He was about 13 years old.

A reader in the Goshen, Indiana area sent two fascinating true stories.

Miranda. We have two cats (Miranda and Beatrice) and have one story about each. One summer evening a few years ago the tornado sirens sounded and so we headed for the basement. Beatrice followed us downstairs, but Miranda was nowhere to be found. We thought this unusual because our cats generally follow us as we move from room to room. We were concerned but felt we needed to close the basement door anyway, even though we didn’t know where Miranda was, and hoped that nothing would happen.

The winds kicked up, the electricity went out, and we sat in darkness listening to strange sounds. Suddenly we looked at each other, hearing a strange sound above us. A tornado ripped across our street and the strange sound we heard was our neighbor’s tree falling onto their house. Our house was fine, but many trees along our street were destroyed. Fortunately, aside from our neighbor’s house, there was no other structural damage. After the tornado, in the darkness, we once again looked for Miranda. We called her name—she always comes, but not this time. We used flashlights to look for her and after quite some time, my husband discovered her. Miranda had used a sixth sense to find the safest place in the entire house—a very small space underneath the furnace, wedged between it and the basement floor. She had never been in that space before, nor has she been since. She refused to come out. We called her name and held our hands out to her, but she wouldn’t budge. She had found safety and was determined to stay! Eventually she did come out, a few hours later.

Beatrice. My husband was later recovering from a serious health crisis. He had to take it easy for a number of months after returning home from the hospital. The smallest movements and tasks wore him out, and he needed to take frequent naps. No matter when or where he napped, he would wake up to Beatrice curled up next to the part of his body that ached the most. The aches moved around, but Beatrice was always able to sense just where he needed comfort. Though I returned to working full time at the office, I could count on Beatrice to take good care of my husband. Jerry’s health crisis was such a difficult time, and I still get emotional thinking about it (as does he), and we certainly are thankful for our attentive cats!

Our animal friends are part of God’s created kingdom. They can be a nuisance and a lot of work, but they also bring joy, solace and comfort in unexpected times and places. With the writer of Genesis we can say, “And God saw everything that he had made and indeed, it was very good.”

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Posted 11/27/2014 7:00:00 AM

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