Ghost Cat’s Spirit

If you’ve ever wondered whether pets have spirits and souls that live on after their body dies, this is the story of my cat Sunshine, and her visitation from the beyond.

Sunshine was 17 when she died. She’d been my companion since she was a kitten. From the time I was 19 years old to the time I was 36, Sunshine had been with me. We traveled together from New York, to Illinois, to California, and Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, and finally Georgia.

At the age of 17, she died peacefully in her sleep at home, and I buried her in the backyard, piling the grave with stones so that no other animal could dig it up.

The next morning I woke up at dawn. I’m not a morning person and I rarely wake up before 8 or 9 a.m., but for some reason I was wide awake at sunrise, and I saw the strangest thing out the back window. On top of Sunshine’s grave was a cat. I’d never seen the cat before, and it was lying on top of the pile of rocks which couldn’t possibly have been comfortable, but there it was.

I never saw the cat before, and I never saw it again. I do not know what the visitation meant, except that it was strange for the cat to visit her grave shortly after her burial. That wasn’t the ghostly part, though.

A few days later I was sitting on the sofa reading a book. I become totally engrossed in the story when I read. I am no longer in the here and now — I am in the world of the book. I was not thinking about Sunshine at that moment. I think I was reading a sword and sorcery fantasy novel by Terry Brooks.

Out of nowhere, I heard a loud purring behind me. My cats always slept on the sofa cushions behind my head, and I still had an 11 year old cat named Hadji. I reached up behind my head to pet him, but he wasn’t there. I turned around and looked, but there was no Hadji.

That was odd. I’d heard a cat purring as sure as could be. I got up and looked around the room for him. No cat. I searched the entire house and found Hadji sound asleep on the bed. This cat was totally zonked. There was no way that he’d been up on the sofa, behind my head purring.

I believe that Sunshine was sending me a message that she was okay. It did not happen again, me hearing purring where there wasn’t a cat. She had sent her message and she knew that I’d received it.

Just before she died, I had told her that it was okay to let go, that I’d be okay. I told her there were green valleys, and birds and bugs and butterflies, and that she should go there. I told her she be happy in the great beyond, and that she would feel young again.

When her spirit came to tell me goodbye, I knew that she had found her happy place, and that she’d gone to chase the butterflies. I knew that my cat had gone home.

Sunshine appears in the book, Yankee Go Home, a mostly true tale of our journeys through the South. Only one tale in the book is fictional, and nobody would ever guess which one. The wilder tales are all true.

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