We’ve all seen them. They give presentations at health and conscious living expos. They rent booths at pet events. They advertise in our local New Age papers and websites.

They are Animal Communicators.

We wonder how they communicate with an animal, but we’re also curious. It’s not terribly expensive, and it’s fun to dote on our pets a little bit. Even if we don’t quite believe in it. Even if we think it’s silly. I had my doubts.

Before I found Fibi four and a half years ago, I had written in my journal my wish for a feline companion. I wrote that I wanted to find a cat who needed my family as much as we needed her.

Her new family
When her split face — half calico, half tabby — rolled up my Facebook feed with the announcement that she needed a home, I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t even tell my family. I picked her up and brought her home. We named her Phoebe, but we spelled it Fibi.

She hid upstairs for several weeks, and then months. I tried to encourage her to come down and join the family. Eventually, I surrendered to the fact that she was an “upstairs cat.” It saddened me, but I comforted myself by saying that at least we offered her a warm home and regular food.

One day, explaining my situation, a friend gave me the number for an animal communicator she trusted. I didn’t have anything to lose.

I contacted Dawn, and learned that we didn’t even need to get together in person. All she needed was a list of questions and a picture of Fibi. Then, we got on the phone and talked about why Fibi was reluctant to join our family.

His opinion matters
I learned that my husband had not yet accepted her. I had brushed it off as a joke that I had never asked his opinion. I thought he intuitively understood how much I needed her.

But he had felt dismissed and overlooked. Because of this, he had not truly allowed her downstairs — energetically speaking. Our dogs picked up on my husband’s messaging and taunted her, telling her she was only a visitor.

To top it off, not only did she not feel invited downstairs, there was no place for her to sit.

“But I’ve had cats before, and they didn’t need special furniture,” I said.

“She’s different,” Dawn replied. “She wants a place of her own, somewhere up high where the dogs can’t bother her.”

After an hour and a few more pieces of advice about what kind of food (no seafood) and what kind of litter (non-scented) she preferred, I talked with my husband. He did not deny that he was likely sending unwelcoming signals. I explained what she meant to me and why. I apologized for rushing into it. Officially made up and on the same page, I bought a cat tower and placed it in front of our living room window. (Plug here for awesome husbands.)

Then, we had a talk with our dogs, two Cavalier King Charles boys. We explained that Fibi was here to stay. We told them there would be no more sibling bullying. A biscuit and a back rub later, they were fine.

Within hours, Fibi crept downstairs. She looked around at her family, sitting in the living room. The dogs looked up but didn’t move. She saw her new tower. She hopped up and curled up. From that day forward, Fibi was never an “upstairs cat” again. I promised her a long, happy life with us.

Winter cough
Over this last winter, Fibi developed a cough. We didn’t worry too much. We thought she had developed allergies or maybe asthma. A few weeks ago, I brought her to the vet to get medicine. Unable to find anything wrong through a physical exam, the vet did X-rays.

“Fibi’s lungs are clogged,” she said. “Look, you can’t even see her heart on this picture. We can try some antibiotics, but you should get further testing. It could be cancer.”

Antibiotics made no difference, so I brought Fibi to a specialist for more tests. They shaved her front leg for the IV. They accidentally nicked her so they had to shave the other leg, too. Then they shaved her side and put her under so they could perform an MRI on her lungs.

When I picked her up later that day, the vet had bad news. They were quite certain she had cancer.

“We’d have to do surgery to find out exactly what kind of treatments she might respond to,” I think the vet said to me, but I don’t quite remember. I was busy wiping away tears.

All the options
When I brought Fibi home, she suddenly seemed as sick as the vet told me she was. It was as if the diagnosis gave her permission to let go of an act she had been playing for our sake.

I conferred with the vet a couple more times. My husband and I discussed next steps. I considered all the options. I wanted to give her every chance to have the long life I had promised her. It was my decision.

But before making it, I decided to ask Fibi directly. Or at least, directly through our animal communicator.

“Do you need an updated picture of her?” I asked Dawn as we began our phone consultation.

“No, that was just for the first appointment. I’m already connected with her.”

Then she laughed. “Your dogs just butted in, and wanted me to ask you that since it’s so nice outside, can they go outside and play?”

“Tell them we can,” I laughed and looked at my restless boys.

I then asked the most important question: “What does Fibi want? Does she want us to do whatever it takes to keep her around as long as possible? Or, does she want us to let her move naturally towards…you know?”

No more doctors
Fibi was adamant and decisive. She did not want to undergo chemotherapy or surgery. Furthermore, she never wanted to go to the vet again. She doesn’t like it when strangers mess with her. She gets cold. She wants to be at home. And she doesn’t like that they shaved her. Her looks matter to her.

I laughed. Fibi is nothing if not vain.

Then Dawn said, “But Fibi wants to stay for as long as she can. Her coughing is uncomfortable, and it’s getting harder for her to breathe, but she loves her life with you. She can feel spring coming, and she’s looking forward to sitting outside and feeling the sun on her.”

“When fall comes around though,” she continued, “start looking for signs that she’s ready to go.”

She shared with me a few more of Fibi’s desires. No more of the healthy food. Buy her something like Fancy Feast. After all, she doesn’t have to worry about watching her weight. Oh, and let her drink from water dripping from the tub.

“OK,” I agreed. “And tell her not to worry, there will be no more vet visits. When the time comes, we will have someone come to the house.”

“She’s not looking forward to that. But she’s grateful,” Dawn said.

“Is there anything else I should know?” I asked.

“Yes. She wants me to tell you that her only regret is that she didn’t find your family sooner.”

“I know,” I choked. “Please tell her we feel the same way.”

After I hung up, I found Fibi. She had been “taking the call” from the heated floors in our mud room — one of her favorite places to track our comings and goings.

I complimented her on her natural beauty. I assured her that her fur is already growing back. Her eyes sparked. I told her that she can have as much Fancy Feast as she wants. Treats, too. She purred and rolled over so I could rub her belly.

Knowing we only have a short time left with Fibi tears at my heart. But I take solace in knowing that we are honoring her wishes, from beginning to end. If I have any doubts, I will not hesitate to call Dawn. I trust her completely.

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Keri Mangis

Keri Mangis, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, E-RYT200, is a writer, activist and teacher living in Minneapolis. She likes to dig deep and write about how politics, parenting, current events and more are as much “spiritual centers” that can cultivate greater mindfulness and consciousness as anything that goes by this name. In a world divided, she seeks unity, compassion and connection. Contact Keri at kerimangis@gmail.com. To stay in touch, connect with her through social media.

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