Those of you that have gone to the dojo website's dojo friends link know about Tiger. My current companion is a female tortie named Lily. The above photo was taken just after I got her in early 2005. I had at that time a cat named Angel, also a dear friend, who had gone missing. I spent months looking for her by going to animal shelters and checking to see if she had been turned in. On one of those searches I met Lily. I was being guided by various cages with cats. As I passed one a little paw reached out and touched me. I noted that the cats name was Lily. Further searches for Angel proved unsuccessful. Finally I noticed that Lily had been put up for adoption and I adopted her.
Somehow the memory of her reaching out to me(literally) moved me to bring her into my life. I got her on a Friday and then immediately left to go teach in Sebastopol.
Upon returning I found her wheezing and laboring to breathe. I waited for the next day, Sunday, and took her back to the shelter. I was told she probably had a viral infection in her lungs from being exposed to other cats at the shelter. I was given antibiotics to give her. And with the medicine she recovered and was fine.
She had been put up for adoption by the family who had her. This must have been very traumatic for her. It took both of us awhile to warm up to the other. Her age was listed as 3 years, although the dojo vet Ron May-Pumphries(Tiger's vet) later examined her and said she was probably much younger than that when she first came to me. I was told that she was strictly an indoor cat and had never been outside. After a couple of months I slowly introduced her to the outside world(I live in the hills of East San Jose). There is plenty of room for her to safely roam. She became so independent I hardly saw her at times. She learned how to hunt, still came in for food. She would only eat dry cat food. She couldn't be bribed or controlled with soft cat food or people food.
She would generally be outside during warm weather, only coming in for food and/or contact with me. Colder weather she would spend more time with me inside. Every pet has certain unique things you only do with them. Tiger certainly had his with me. With Lily is that we take walks together. Late at night. Where we stay there is a good space to walk late at night. A long stretch of road. Even down and back up a hill. There is little traffic then. And there are street lights. So Lily would walk with me, sometimes even following me up and down the hill. It became "our" thing.
When I would go away for an Aikido event or something like my trip to Europe, I usually had her stay with my friends Michael and Brigitte in the Summit area of the Santa Cruz mountains. In September I spent a week in Sebastopol dojo and house sitting for Betsy Hill. I left Lily with my friends as usual. She went missing a day before I got back. She had a collar with a tag bearing both my phone number and Brigitte and Michaels. Searches proved futile. Visiting animal shelters and looking at photos online were also unproductive.
The most unusual facet of this all was that when I got home I immediately felt her presence. In fact it was as if I could see her. I could point out to you where she was and what she was doing. Often times this is a sign that a being has experienced physical death and crossed over into the realm of spirit. And being spirit she could be anywhere with me at anytime. I slowly got used to the fact that she seemed to be here even if not in a physical body. In the car(I would sometimes take her for rides), visiting friends out of town, she could be with me at any location or during any activity. So I resigned myself to having a "spirit" pet.
Now one thing about this is that beings in spirit usually cross over. They stay around for a bit and then go back into spirit. Most I believe re-incarnate. Some like Tiger remain in the energy yet retain soul awareness. But somehow Lily was different.And she was remaining with me for much longer than the usual time. And of course I would tell her that I missed her physical being and presence.
Well imagine my surprise on Sunday when Brigitte called and told me Lily had returned. She had made her way all the way from their place to down town Los Gatos. She had been eating out of cat food left outside. The people putting out the food for their own cats assumed she belonged to someone in the neighborhood. Then finally they notice she had a collar and tag and called Brigitte's number. So Sunday night I picked her up and took her back home. She has lost a lot of weight. And after being gone 2 and a half months she was constantly by my side, spending Sunday night asleep on my chest. I observed her for a day, noticed she was getting her energy back, and let her outside today.
So what was the explanation for the psychic phenomenon? Can my cat spirit travel? Is this something we can all do? After having reflected on this for a bit, it is a mystery and it is probably best to leave it at that. One possibility, however, is that she and I have a very strong connection. It is possible that something chased her away from Brigitte and Michael's and she got lost. I think she may have decided she was going to go home to where I was. And she must have pursued this with the unbending intent of a true warrior cat. What I was picking up was possibly her onepointed desire to be back with me. And I would treat her spirit or energy self as if it were really her. I would talk to it. Pet it. She loves to lie on her back and let me scratch her tummy and I did all that. I think my responding to her that way gave her the strength to survive and create a way back to me. Or perhaps it was a joint venture.
Anyway, I am very happy she made her way back. Tiger went missing for about a month at the old dojo in Japantown. He was picked up by some people who dropped by Jtown once a month or so to shop. He seemed to be a friendly stray so they took him with them. He was probably about 7 months old. When they came back to shop they saw posters I had put up and called me. So that was Tiger's adventure. But Lily, surviving alone for 2 and a half months, staying connected, and finally making it all the way back is quite a story. Below is a photo I took on Sunday, her first night back. I think that this also validates what Don Juan told Castaneda, that unbending intent alone is not enough, true sorcery has to have yet one more thing in the mix: love.