When Our Spirit Guides Are Our Pets
I met Tink in March of 2004. I was living in California right down the road from Yosemite National Park.
She had been rescued on a busy highway when she was a tiny kitten.
I decided I wanted a cat so I called around and found a small animal rescue.
They had just a handful of animals but about 5 cats to choose from.
When I pulled up to the house I didn’t see any cats but other animals were walking around the yard, a few chickens, dogs, and a goat.
I stepped out of the car and a tiny calico kitten came prancing over to meet me.
She was meowing her greeting with the sweetest little meow and I knew instantly this was my kitty.
She did not really want me to pick her up but was telling me a long kitty story.
Then, she jumped into the car to explore her new mode of transportation to her new home.
She was not shy but demanded the respect of a self-assured royal princess.
I met her tortoise shell companion but we both knew that she was the only one going home with me that day
Before I put her in the car, I told her she would have to be a traveling cat because I didn’t stay in one place for long.
I told her I would take care of her but wanted to make sure she was okay with this. She looked me deep in the eyes and meowed back to me.
Somehow I felt like she understood and an agreement was made.
Although the agreement we made that day was much deeper than I even realized.
When we got home, I planned to keep her inside for good, since there were predators all around the area.
She decided the first day that she would be an indoor/outdoor cat.
I saw very quickly that there was no negotiating this with Tink.
I would walk outside and close the door behind me so she wouldn’t come out. When I’d turn around she would be following me.
When I’d turn around she would be following me. This did not just happen a few times.
This did not just happen a few times.
She did this constantly. Doors meant nothing to her. She could disappear and reappear at will. It blew my mind.
She didn’t just open the doors to the R.V. but every house we lived in. At first, I just thought the door didn’t latch.
Then, I’d move into an entirely different place and she continued defying closed doors.
I never saw her do it and often the door would be closed when she appeared beside me.
It was a mystery she never revealed to me, but when she wanted to go out she did.
No matter what I did to try to keep her inside, nothing worked. I finally gave up.
We lived in several places with cougars, bobcats, coyotes, owls, otters, eagles, and bears.
Tink did what she wanted and survived them all.
There seemed to be some unspoken terms she had with them and they obeyed.
One day I looked out and saw her sitting peacefully on the roof of the house that overlooked the bluff above North Beach in Port Townsend, WA.
She was sunning casually as a pair of eagles in a nearby tree observed.
I was a nervous wreck trying to get her down from the roof but she had different plans.
She stayed until she was done and came down slowly.
The eagles seemed to treat her with a mutual respect.
Not just a cat
From the start, I could see that Tink was never a normal cat. In fact she seemed more like a human spirit in a cat’s body.
She would use her paws like hands.
I looked over one day and saw her playing with my niece which was 3 at the time.
They were taking turns picking spools of thread out of a bowl.
I watched as Tink reached in with her right paw, using it like a hand as she lifted the thread out and placed it in Maddie’s lap.
Then, Maddie would do the same. This went on for about 30 minutes. I couldn’t believe it.
Wherever You Go I Go
The first week I had Tink, I decided to go fishing on the river that ran through the RV park.
I took about 10 steps before I heard a faint chirp of a meow and turned to see Tink prancing over to me. She rarely walked…she pranced.
So off we went down to the river. When I got to the river,
I jumped across a few boulders to get ot the middle where there was a nice deep hole full of trout.
I began casting my line and suddenly felt something brush across my leg.
I looked down to see a perky little Tink face seemlingly smiling up at me. There we were in the middle of a river, me and my cat, Tink.
She fished with me until I was done and we walked back home.
A few years after this, I moved to Washington to manage an RV park on the Olympic Peninsula right down the road from Lake Crescent.
I walked to work every morning in the rain or snow. It was only about 1/4 of a mile.
I’d work 8 hours and then walk back at night.
The first day of work, I walked out closed the door behind me and started walking down the path. Again, I heard a chirp behind me and here comes
Tink prancing through the snow to get to me. When she took a step, the snow covered her legs completely but she didn’t seem to mind. She was on a mission.
She would walk me to work and actually came in to the store the first 2 days.
She walked all the way around as if doing a security check and then let herself out. I guess she felt okay with me being in there.
She took a seat outside in a window that was about 8 feet off of the ground.
She had a nice view into the store from this angle. She stayed there for the entire time I was at work! Then, she walked me home at night.
She would repeat this day after day, occasionally exploring the area if it was sunny and returning to walk me home.
She would walk with me everywhere I went. She would even try to hike with me but I’d have to take her back.
It was clear she was not just my cat but a sworn protector spirit.
When I would drive someplace she would meet me in the driveway with a prance and a chirp.
If I was sick, she would come check on me until she knew I was going to be okay and then she would go do her thing.
In 2010, I started mentoring with a Shaman and I would practice ceremonies. I’d have fire ceremonies, in the woods.
Tink insisted on being right in the middle of all of them.
She was not a nuisance but more of a protector. She would circle the perameters and then come sit in the middle of the circle until I closed Sacred Space.
She was not afraid of fire and would often sit very close while I was working with the sacred fire.
Other times, she would climb a tree right above the sacred space circle. She was very good at holding space.
I began having recurrent nightmares of my cats being hunted. They would be taken and I’d have to go find them to bring them back. The dreams tormented me for months but each night they would be freed.
I kept doing the work and Tink would join me. My other cat seemed afraid of the rattle and would walk away when he knew a ceremony was about to take place.
I had a fish that I’d grown attached and was trying to nurse back to health. He had started showing signs of dropsy but I had to do everything in my power to get him well.
Tink didn’t really pay much attention to the fish until one day.
She jumped up right next to the aquarium and just stared at Fred, the fish.
Curious as to what she was doing, I walked over to see.
Fred was just on the bottom of his tank looking at her. They stayed like this for quite a while.
Then, I noticed Fred started acting like he was trying to breathe, his gills her pumping in and out in a labored manner.
Tink remained watching over him for about 20 minutes when he pumped his gills for the last time and became still.
She remained for a few minutes then walked away.
There were many times I wondered if Tink was an angel and even had friends say the same thing.
Everyone seemed to fall in love her sweet spirit right away. I had a soul sister friend that I’d gone through teacher training with to learn to teach meditation.
She invited me to live with her for a while in Oregon.
The day Tink and I arrived, my friend opened the door for us. Tink walked right in like she had been there before, stretched out on the floor and started purring.
She acted like my soul sister was an old friend she’d known forever.
In 2013, I decided to move back to the RV park near Lake Crescent for a short while.
I planned to only stay for the summer season and at the time didn’t know these plans would change.
When we got there, Tink hopped out of the bus I was living in, like she knew exactly where she was.
She seemed to pick up where she’d left off, walking me to the shower house and everywhere I went.
One day I decided to walk into the woods to open sacred space and start creating a sand painting. Tink went with me as usual.
It started raining lightly so I hurredly opened sacred space and arranged my stones.
This ceremony felt different though. I kept getting the impression I was being watched. I’d see Tink looking behind me which is where I felt a presence.
I’d turn around but saw nothing except an old fallen tree that left a dark hole that looked like a cave.
I tried to see if there was an animal inside that was watching us but couldn’t see anything really. It was starting to pour so I left sacred space open and walked back home.
The next day I visited the site and saw it had changed. I had put a candle in a clear bowl.
It had broken and looked like a small animal had gone poop in it.
I knew sandpaintings changed but I wondered if I should leave it as is or if it would be offensive the ally spirits.
I decided to leave it as it was. I closed sacred space and we went back home.
Over the next few days, I noticed Tink was running and hiding from something.
She would look in a direction and run away to hide under the desk or behind the bed.
I couldn’t see anything that may have frightened her.
This was not normal for her. In fact, I’d never seen her do this before.
I was leaving for my sister’s wedding within a couple of days so I was busy packing and making arrangements.
My boyfriend was planning to stay and take care of the cats.
Tink kept hiding but otherwise seemed to be eating and drinking as normal.
On March 28th, the day I left, I tried to find her to say goodbye but she was nowhere to be seen and I was running late.
I kept getting a strange feeling like I would not see my loved ones again.
I questioned if I should cancel the trip. I wondered if something bad was going to happen.
My boyfriend reassured me everything would be fine and I decided to go.
On March 31st, I got a call from my boyfriend saying Tink had passed away the night before.
He said after I left her fur started turning gray.
She died the early in the morning on the 31st from poison.
I felt such an emptiness without her in my life.
I blamed myself for ignoring my intuition and leaving her.
I even wondered if she died for me as spirit animals often do to protect their companions.
It is still hard even after 3 years. She was my spirit guide, protector, and friend.
There are so many questions I’m left with…
I hope to meet her again soon.
Happy Birthday, Tink.
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