Cat's Got a tongue


I don’t think of myself as a spiritual person. I don’t believe in God. But I do believe in dog, and in cat, for that matter. I’ve always been an animal lover, and these two creatures especially speak to me in ways that some may consider to be as intense as a religion.

My two felines, P. Kitty and Biggie Smalls, make up a huge part of my universe. They are the reason that my allergy-prone boyfriend, who lives with us, constantly has a stuffy nose. If the kitties didn’t have such silly names, you might think I was talking about human children by the amount I gush about them. Like with kids, the responsibilities that come with owning pets affects my lifestyle: I have to plan my day around their feeding times, there are no wild parties at the house, and I can’t leave town for more than a few days at a time, unless I want to return to some hissy, stressed-out cats.

Some may call us co-dependent, but I like to think that my cats and I have an understanding: they provide me with happiness by being their silly, crazy, loveable feline selves and I provide them with a warm home, food, and love. It’s a pretty good trade in my book, but there have been times that I wished we could be even closer.

What I would give to hear their thoughts – definitely more than a penny.

Whispers in the Dark

I decided to contact Barbara Reed of Intuition for Animals, an animal communicator who uses her intuitive powers to help people understand and become closer to their pets. If you’re not familiar with intuitive work, on the most basic level it’s the ability to read physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy coming from another living being. From a skeptic’s perspective, it sounds like hokey Miss Cleo kind of stuff. In fact, when I mentioned to my brother that I’d be speaking to an animal communicator he pshaw-ed the idea and said that I might as well take my cats to a televangelist.

As I said, I’m not a spiritual type, but living in the Bay Area for more than 10 years has definitely done its part in keeping me open minded and optimistic that anything is possible. Throw in the chance that I can actually find out what my cats are thinking and you’ve at least got my attention.

The part that will probably get most people crying foul is that Barbara, or Barb as she signs off on e-mails, does most of her animal communication sessions via telephone. She works off of photos, sent via snail mail or e-mail, of the pet(s) in question. She also requests the pets’ names and ages. I asked Barb how she can read an animal’s energy based solely off of static photos. Even the most open-minded person is going to think that’s a bit fishy. Her answer: “If you accept that energy knows no time nor space, then it’s easy.” New Agey, but I’m biting.

Barb explained that she doesn’t need the photos to do a reading, but they help her focus, to get a deeper understanding of those involved, and to help her separate the pet owner’s energy from that of the animal. She likens it to meditation or prayer, where people are said to reach a higher state of being, by focusing their thoughts and intentions. Bottom line – I was going to have to take a leap of faith here.

Barb asked me to prepare a list of questions that I wanted to ask about my cats. I came up with seven, mostly about their relationship with each other (P. Kitty is most definitely a top, Biggie is hopelessly a bottom) and if
there is anything I could do to make them happier or more comfortable in
their lives.

Animal Testing

Before we spoke, I had a lot of doubts and questions about what was going to happen. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Barb’s reading was totally out in left field, or if she gave me a completely wrong reading about my cats. I wondered how she’d relate my cat’s messages to me – would she speak in weird meow-ly voices? Or worse yet, in that unsettling baby talk that people often use to speak to their animals?

Fortunately, none of the above happened. When we chatted, she sounded like an intelligent, sane, and understanding woman. I was comfortable speaking with her because it was obvious that I was talking to someone who loves and respects animals. And because she was right on many levels about my cats.

The Odd Couple

She knew right off the bat that P and Big are very different. Biggie, she said, is very shy. “A beautiful-spirited cat” with “a lot of feminine energy.” She was also able to sense that my gentle-souled kitty isn’t quite fully there. “I don’t want to say that Biggie might be ‘simple minded,’” she said, “but there’s a little bit of that resonance about her.” So true. If Biggie were a kid, she’d be on the short bus.

As for P. Kitty, Barb sensed correctly that she is a territorial type with a tendency to be a bully. In fact, this is an understatement – P. Kitty may be as obsessed with me as I am with her, so much so that she cock-blocks Biggie from getting any of my attention. Barb said that P. Kitty asserts her alpha-hood not only physically, but also in an energetic sense. Biggie may not be the brightest bulb, but she can read bad juju.

It’s probably a good thing that my boyfriend Tim is a commanding 6’4, because if he were smaller, I’ve wondered if P. Kitty might try to bully him as well. “P. Kitty is like, ‘Who is this guy?’” Barb explains, “That may be more of a territory thing, not that she dislikes him. She watches him a lot.”

Cat’s out of the Bag

Barb also had some surprising observations: Biggie, she says, likes Tim. I wasn’t convinced about this because she mostly ignores him and seems scared of him, probably due to his height. And of P. Kitty’s tendency to randomly meow at nothing, Barb said, “This is going to sound a little weird to you, but it sounds like she’s talking to spirits. She’s talking to ‘other.’ She’s just telling the world at large what her thoughts are.” So my cat is an oversharer – good thing she can’t Tweet.

Barb had some interesting ruminations about my cat’s lives before I met them: Biggie, who I adopted from the SPCA, was the runt of the litter and didn’t get as much attention or food as her littermates. This is why P. Kitty can so easily bully her. And as for P, who I found starving and anemic in the Mission as a 3-4 month old kitten, Barb was convinced that she was neither abandoned nor feral. Barb sensed that tiny P had ventured out from her previous home and gotten lost.

Finally, Barb offered tips on how to help alleviate the tension between the cats, namely, flower essences, or herbal infusions made from flowers that interact with the energy in a person or animal to help create emotional and mental well-being. She also suggested making eye contact and talking to Biggie when P. Kitty isn’t allowing her to get close enough to pet – it’ll help to make her feel included, even when she physically can’t get my affection.

Purrfect Stranger

Overall, Barb reaffirmed beliefs I’ve already had about my cats. But it was still fascinating that she was able to deduce so many things about them that a stranger couldn’t know without meeting them in person. And over the next few days, her reading resonated with me in ways I didn’t initially feel after we hung up. Whether or not she was really communicating with my cats, I do see my feline friends in a different light. Who knew it would be possible for me to love them any more? They’ve become even more dynamic and special in my eyes.

During our session, I had my cell phone on speaker so that I could record the session. P. Kitty was curled in my lap, but eventually, she climbed onto the table and nestled right next to my phone. I’m not sure if it was Barb’s voice or if P. Kitty was attempting to communicate through energy, but she sure did purr like one happy cat.

Do It Yourself

If you’re as obsessed with your pets as I am and need to know what’s on their minds, contact Barbara Reed of Intuition for Animals for a session ranging from 30 minutes to one hour at $50 to $95, respectively. She also offers intuitive healing sessions for $120. Call her at (415) 821-9349 or e-mail her at to make an appointment.

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Published on February 3, 2010, 2010

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