I had just moved into my new house and heard strange scratching sounds that seemed to reverberate in every room. My first thought, of course, was that the house might be haunted. One morning, I braved going to the backyard—which was a total mess—and a small black and white cat greeted me. I went into the house and brought the cat a bowl of skim milk.
She hesitated but hunger won her over. As she lapped up the milk, four tiny kittens emerged from beneath the porch. Oh wow, I thought: My stray cat had given birth and raised her family under the house! That explained the weird sounds I’d been hearing. The next day, I bought cat food and spent the next several weeks working to get them to trust me before I led them into my house and officially adopted them.
Little Cleo, the girl kitten, took to me right away. The male kittens seemed hesitant to get near me, but Cleo allowed me to hold her until she’s ready to run around again. Her mother, Serena, loves to snuggle and follows me around the house. Some of the boys now sit near me and even like to have their little chins rubbed.
And me? I’m in love. I hadn’t planned to have any pets, but this little family of cats found me. Or perhaps we found each other.
Could we be soulmates? Is that even possible?
“There are going to be certain animals that you instinctively feel that you click with, that seem to have an understanding of you—as you do them—innately,” says psychologist and consultant Dr. Julie Gurner. “There is no one standard definition of soulmate that I’ve seen, but I would explain it as a deep, innate, automatic connection. It’s a moment of instant recognition. People know it when they find it.”
One of my friends found his feline soulmate when he went to an animal shelter to get a pet for him and his wife. A little kitten walked right up to him and sat at his feet. When he saw her, his heart melted and he picked her up. This little kitten, he felt, was the one. As Dr. Gurner described, my friend experience an instant connection with that little cat. Perhaps the kitten knew he would be a good caretaker for her.
According to the New York Times, 65 percent of pet owners will buy their animals a Christmas present, 70 percent share the bed with their cat or dog and 23 percent act as personal chefs to their pets. Animals will show their love in return in various ways, depending on the animal. For example, cats will rub their heads on your legs or hop into your lap. Dogs will lick your face and wag their tails. And the longer we spend time with an animal, the more we can love them and they can grow to love us.
“No matter what type of pet you have, dedicate time to spend with them every day,” says Dr. Gurner. “It’s important to remember that while you have many social outlets, friends to see and places to go, your dog or cat only has you. Include them in your life as much as possible.”
Even small pets need love and care, so research what your pet needs to be healthy and happy and make time for them. Even lizards show affection to their owners, according to clinical researchers at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Lizards will recognize their owners and some seem to enjoy being petted.
We tend to think of soulmates as a mystical connection, but what if it’s actually the process of building a relationship? Dr. Gurner advises taking your dog with you when you visit friends or making sure to have playtime with your cat. “If you want to build a solid relationship with your pet, they can’t be a hobby,” says Dr. Gurner. “They need to be a part of your life.”
(image source: public domain/pixabay.com)