I must confess I love cats. With the exception of a year or two here and there, I have always lived with at least one cat. For the last 17 years I have been roommates with Lilly, a very quirky and vocal stray. For the last 12 years I have also had another roommate, Lucky, who was a stray that went to great lengths to find me. She was in the middle of Highway 94 dodging traffic when we found each other.

Both of these fluffy little friends have enriched my life greatly. They have been a comfort and support in difficult times and sheer comedy in others. I have so many stories I could share about the deep bond we experience, there wouldn’t be room here to even begin. But the cat I wanted to share a story about passed on 9 years ago. She changed my life.

Her name was Tawanda, and like the mythical warrior princess I named her after, she was a force to be reckoned with. Stubborn, willful and way smarter than a cat should be. She challenged me from the moment I brought her into my home to be a companion to my other cat, Lilly. She could get into cabinets and food jars and even up on shelves I didn’t think possible, to chew on my sacred objects. I had to be very creative to outsmart her. We had a healthy respect for one another, and there was affection as well. Only on her terms, of course.

Several years after she moved in, Tawanda became ill very suddenly. It was an obstructed bowel and they did surgery to find the cause. It turned out to be a non-cancerous growth in her large intestine. Oddly enough, it was in the same area that I had been diagnosed as having problems. After the surgery she didn’t really get better like they said she would. The vets didn’t have any idea what was going on.

I decided to call a pet psychic to see if there was something I needed to know from her. She told the psychic that this was a wake-up call for me. If I didn’t start taking better care of myself, it would be me next. I had just begun to do energy work and wasn’t very good at keeping myself from being drained of energy. I also had just started working at a natural health clinic, and even though the information and healing help was right at my finger tips, I was not doing what they told me to do to heal myself. There were a lot of changes I needed to make to pull this all together – and here my cat was, sacrificing herself to give me a strong message.

She died the next day.

I can’t tell you how devastated I was. The guilt I felt was enormous. It took me a while to look beyond my grief and see that she gave me a beautiful gift. Her purpose in my life was quite clear to her, and she did what she needed to do to help me along my path. My life and health today are a testament to her brave statement.

I think our pets are with us for a reason, just as much as the people we encounter. God sends us nothing but angels, I’ve been told – and I agree. Oftentimes the hardest, most emotional situations in our lives are there to give us direction, nudge or flat out push us along our path to where our souls want to go. Our angels come in many forms. Sometimes they look like a cat.

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Lisa Severson is a Holistic Life Coach, Energy Healer and Interfaith Minister who specializes in addressing all aspects of a person’s life to bring about balance, joy and healing. She can be reached at 612.800.4461 or www.revlisa.com.

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