Let me be perfectly clear about this: I believe my cat, Chai, is the reincarnation of my former cat, Sputnik.
I am completely serious. I believe in the recycling of souls, also known as reincarnation. Of course, billions of other people also believe this, but I suspect a significant number of these folks are Hindu or Buddhist. I, on the other hand, was raised in a church-going Lutheran family. I started questioning things pretty early on, however, and have not been a Lutheran–or even a Christian–for the majority of my life. Though I believe very firmly in a higher power, I choose not to refer to it as “god,” since I associate this word with Christianity. And pretty much everything about Christianity makes me intensely uncomfortable. Instead, I think of it as Source, or Source Energy, the term used by the teachings of Abraham-Hicks.
The biggest shift in my worldview began in 2003 when I began attending classes at Creative Living Institute at the recommendation of a friend. Mary Graham’s lessons opened up a whole new world for me that made more sense than anything I’d ever been exposed to before. I learned about numerology, tarot cards, astrology, auras, chakras and meditation, among other things. I knew what reincarnation was, of course, but Mary talked about it in a way I hadn’t considered before: that souls travel together through time and have “contracts” with each other, and that everything comes from the same source energy and is thus connected.
With this abbreviated background in place, let me tell you about The Man.
Sputnik was my soulmate, my familiar. We found each other at the Dumb Friends League in Denver, Colorado, in February 1991 when he was about six months old. He was the first cat I adopted on my own, and for whom I was the sole caregiver. I loved him with every fiber of my being.
From the first moment I saw him in his kennel, I knew. An adoption counselor placed him on my lap in a visiting room, and he immediately rolled over on his back, waving his paws in the air. I named him Sputnik because I liked the sound of it, and because I liked the band Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
My friend David almost immediately dubbed him “Little Man,” and that nickname–along with several variations like “Little B” or “The Man”–stuck till the end of his life in 2010. He was extremely naughty, with a penchant for blueberry muffins left out overnight on the stovetop. He tipped the trashcan over and dug through the contents almost every day until I wised up and bungeed it shut. One day I returned from work to find every piece of jewellry I owned strewn from one end of the apartment to the other. Oh yes, he was naughty. And I adored him. He particularly loved playing stalk and chase, and being held above my head to be “flown” around the house, complete with airplane sounds. David tied a rubber cockroach to a long piece of dental floss, creating a cat toy for Sput second only to “Mr. Purse Strap,” which we finally just threw out a few years ago.
I adopted a brown tabby kitten from the Dumb Friends League in 1993 and named him Biscuit. “The Boys,” as they were known, provided my husband and I with many years of love and entertainment. They left this world within a year of each other at the ripe old age of 19.
We moved from South Dakota to Oregon in early 2012, and, though we had Sidra and Nemo, two female cats we’d adopted in Rapid City, I knew I had to find another male Himalayan mix like Sputnik. In May 2013, I found him on Petfinder.com. Actually, I found a brother-sister pair who had been rescued from the shoulder of Interstate 5 near Springfield, their mother having been killed on the highway. I made a phone call, loaded a pet carrier in the car, and off we went.
Though we were prepared to adopt both kittens, the rescue assured us that, based on their young age and personalities, they wouldn’t be the least bit traumatized by being separated. So Chai came home with us on May 26, 2013.
Chai is very self-entertaining, as are many cats. One day I noticed him playing alone in our guest room, and watched as he pawed at the rug (like he was digging a hole), then put his head down and did a front roll into the spot where he’d been “digging.” Sputnik used to do the exact same thing. I’ve never seen either of our girl cats do it.
Last week, I was in the bathroom flossing my teeth, and Chai joined me on the counter. Then he did something he’d never done before: he got into the sink and began pawing at the sides, curling himself up in the round space and looking up at me. Nemo will sometimes get on the bathroom counter, but she has never once gotten into the sink.
I took an almost identical photo of Spunik in our apartment sink in 1992. I spent a lot more time in front of the mirror in those days, and he was right there with me, most of the time. I think he even supervised the night I tried to pierce my own nose with a sewing needle. (That didn’t end well. I had to have it done professionally.)
If it’s true that souls can choose to travel through time together, it’s entirely plausible that the Little Man bided his time out there in the Nonphysical from 2010-2013, saw an opportunity to come back to me and took it. This probably sounds pretty crazy to someone who doesn’t subscribe to this particular worldview, but that’s OK. I don’t really care, because the truth of it resonates within my higher self.
It was only within the past five years or so I actually looked up the word “Sputnik” and discovered its literal meaning is “fellow traveller” or “travelling companion,” depending on which website you use.
There are so many reasons to feel connected to Source.