Having an animal often means that at some point in our lives, the time will come when they will become elderly and we’ll be faced with all sorts of emotionally difficult decisions.

I thought I’d share an experience I had of this very issue, this week. A repeat client contacted me, I’m familiar with her cat – let’s call him ‘Bob’ (false name to protect his identity).

Bob is an elderly cat and has spent quite a long time with digestive issues which cause him eating difficulties and some minor discomfort.

He’s a very dignified cat, the first time I spoke to him he presented himself as a tall, smartly dressed man in a brown suit, complete with walking cane and shiny shoes. He saw himself as smart, proud, intelligent, and presentable. He admitted to me that he wasn’t feeling as strong as he used to be, but accepted that it was part of his aging process. Very stoic.

He reported a ‘clogged’ feeling in his stomach area but luckily didn’t report any pain so my client continued on his regular diet, vet checkups, and care.

However, more recently, Bob had started to deteriorate, and the vet had suggested doing an abdominal scan to see if they could get the bottom of the issue. My client reached out to see if we could see what Bob thought about this scan since he had already expressed intense fear of vets and also previously mentioned that he was “happy just as things were” and “didn’t like too much fuss.”

When I connected to him, I explained that his mum had noticed that he was deteriorating and was worried and wanted to do something to fix it. I explained that the vet had suggested that an abdominal scan might shed some light on what was going on. I waited for his response…

What I got back can only be described as ‘nonchalance’; a sort of ‘shoulder-shrug’ feeling. He didn’t feel it was going to make any difference, so “why bother”.

My heart sank. To hear an animal seemingly express defeat in this way breaks your heart, especially since I’m open to the emotions of the animal when the conversation takes place.

He then added that he was comfortable where he was, and didn’t want to start a process of testing to see “what worked and what didn’t”. He just wanted to “be”.

He felt accepting of his future, and just wanted to curl up and be left in peace.

Moments like this are tough; the animal lover in me wants to reach out and give him a million reasons to fight, but at the same time, I’m tapped into HIS emotions and I know that there wasn’t sadness, or depression involved here. Just a calm acceptance. The sadness was coming from ME.

One of the hardest things in animal communication, is to put one’s feelings, opinions and judgements to one side. You have to approach the animal (and client/animal relationship) from a completely neutral place. And that’s hard when you’re a highly sensitive person, AND an animal lover. You feel everything – but that’s also what helps to connect…

So it requires me to identify MY feelings about the situation, and visualise putting them in a box and placing them to one side. Then I have to focus on a sort of ‘blank screen’ and ask the animal to show me how IT feels about the topic. Not an easy task but essential.

In this case, Bob wasn’t feeling emotional, he wasn’t feeling sad, or filled with dread, he was simply saying, “Just let me be.”

So I asked probably one of the most difficult questions in animal communication,

“Are you ready to transition?”

Remaining neutral here is incredibly difficult but I have to, in order to give the animal the safe space it needs to express its feelings, and needs.

At first I got nothing, a bit like static. Then I got a feeling of ‘indecision’, there was neither a ‘yes’ nor a ‘no’. It didn’t feel imminent, but also he acknowledged that it wouldn’t be long.

So, I knew therefore that he wasn’t preparing to go, which is what I told the client. She’s obviously grateful for ANY extra time so will make the most of every single moment she has with him.

Since I was already in ‘tricky question’ territory with Bob, I braced myself, took a deep breath and went on to ask him the next question,

“Would you like us to help you transition with euthanasia?

I felt ‘resistance’ here, like he was pushing back on the question, pushing me back, so I knew the answer here was “no” which he followed up with an image of him at home on his mum’s chest. He then expressed GRATITUDE that he was offered the help. Isn’t that something else???”

So we’ve let him be. We have to respect our animal’s wishes, even if they are different from our own.

I have offered to check in on Bob again next week to see if his feelings have changed l so that my client can be kept informed.

If you’d like me to talk to your animal, contact me by emailing me here.