ANGELS AMONG THE LIVING
“An angel cat would be a messenger who would help you to know that love is all around you and that miracles are possible,” explains Linda Anderson, co-editor of Angel Animals, Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals. Bernard Ward says in his book Angels: They’re All Around and They’re Watching Over Us, “Angels are here to guide us, warn us, comfort us, teach us or just be a friend and companion.”
Years ago, when Stephanie Laland was in her 20s, she was distraught about her life. She remembers sitting on her bed and crying. “Suddenly, my two-year-old calico cat Yoko jumped up on my lap and put her paws on my face and licked the tears away,” she says. And while some cats are deeply affectionate, Laland confesses, “This wasn’t the sort of action that my cat would normally do. At that moment she was my little angel.”
Since then, Laland had turned her life around. She is the author of Peaceful Kingdom: Random Acts of Kindness by Animals and Animal Angels, and teaches workshops for people wishing to boost their bond with animals. She feels she knows firsthand how it feels to be touched by an animal angel.
Many of the stories in her work suggest that the notion of animal angels isn’t merely whimsy. Take, for example, the story of Mrs. Sweeney, an elderly woman who had always welcomed animals in need into her home. One winter evening, she became ill and wasn’t able to move from her bed. As the fire from the stove went out, the house grew deathly cold. Too feeble and ill to move, she was sure she would freeze before daybreak. In the morning, when her neighbour came to check on her she discovered the freezing temperatures and raced to the old woman’s bed, fearing the worst. But Mrs. Sweeney was safe in bed, very much alive—and not cold at all. She was quite comfortable, with seven cats and a dog draped over her warm body like a fur blanket.
Many animal experts believe that there is a link between life and death. “Cats are so special and have a spiritual nature. And because they are so open spiritually they can be conduits for this unconditional love that comes from God or the creator or spirit,” says Anderson.
Laura Pasten, a veterinarian from Carmel, California, adds, “A guardian angel is a companion animal. A cat that just comes into your life quickly and leaves is an angel that comes in for a purpose.” Some people believe that an angel is just supposed to point you in the right direction, or make a point and move on.
ARE ANGELS FOR REAL?
So, what about the absurdity of it all? Is it possible that a four-legged, furry feline could be a messenger of God? “It’s logically possible,” says Mike Meyer, PhD, professor of philosophy at the Santa Clara University in California. “Santa Claus is possible, although we have lots of good reasons to believe that he doesn’t exist.”
But what would be a sign that a cat is a real angel? “It would have to be something pretty incredible,” he says. “If a cat parted the Red Sea and helped all the felines in Egypt escape, or lifted the Empire State Building—that would be a miracle,” says Meyer.
Regardless of your beliefs, if you listen to the stories, each tale of animal angels led their owners to a spiritual connection that provided comfort and guidance. You, too, may experience an animal angel encounter—whether it’s a short-term sighting or a long-term gift of unconditional love. When you consider that Jill Hartman claims in All About Angels: A Biblical Look at God’s Messengers that an estimated 69 percent of Americans believe in angels, it just might be worth paying attention.