May 4, 2010


There is a distinct difference between accepting that you are glimpsing the ghost of a little black cat darting about your house - and of thinking that you are 'imagining things', every time said cat cavorts playfully at the periphery of your vision!

I have no doubt, that the ghost of a little black cat has been living with me for a number of years now; and that she occasionally disappears for weeks at a time, to visit other members of my family in their own houses. (Sort of goes off on her 'holidays'!).

All this came to light of course when I casually, and half jokingly mentioned that I was being 'haunted' by this animal and surprised family members also admitted that they too sometimes 'saw' a little black cat, flitting silently around their houses.

We did have a real, live black cat once. In fact we had five family cats, during the years my children were growing up. All of whom came to us either as young strays, or were born in the house, or from another litter - and all lived to a ripe old age (17, 18, 19 and 20). All except the little black one that is. She was the first cat we ever had - a young stray (found by yours truly) starving and sick in the snow - and who when recovered, became mother to four kittens; two of whom found homes elsewhere and two we kept, because they got too big waiting for homes - and we'd become too soppy about them to want to part with them anyway...

Our little black mama cat was about 14 when she became very ill and had to be 'put to sleep'.

I sobbed all the way back from the vet's on the bus, with her little lifeless body wrapped in a blanket on my knee..... and buried her in the garden - and my heart ached for months. Nay, years!

What the heck, I hear you say. It's just a cat...

Yes, they were all 'just cats'; and they all got ill in the end, with quite serious old-age illnesses (brain tumour; hyperthyroidism/heart problems; kidney failure) and all had to be 'put to sleep' and buried in the garden. Except for the fifth one - a little grey and white cat. She moved with me to my present abode - where there is no garden - and I had to have her cremated and her ashes 'scattered at sea' in The Hague.
Actually, I was a bit bothered by that afterwards, because cats don't like water and it didn't 'feel right'. But there was no other choice (council rules and regulations) so it wouldn't therefore have surprised me, if she hadn't turned up on a few celestial visits - to reproach me for her soggy end...! But no. It's not her.

It's definitely the little black cat.

That's her in the photograph (taken when she was alive)!

On the other hand. For those of you who prefer a more rational explanation for my feline phantom, I have googled up this site:


I came across the phenomenon of 'animal hallucination' during a psychology course.

It's not the worst hallucination in the world! Rather comforting actually. And I don't have problems with my eyes, apart from needing glasses for reading, so am still convinced that in mine and my family's' case, this is not some kind of brain/eye syndrome - but a true haunting! And just so you know, our hearts and minds will remain open to our little black cat ghostie, for as long as she needs us. And that's just purrrrrrfect!!!


grannymar said...

Not being a cat lover, I would find that creepy.

Geri Atric said...

Grannymar ~ I can respect that. I know a few people who are nervous around cats. Something about their eyes... and the habit they have of wrapping their whole body around your hand and digging their claws in(?!).

steph said...


I LOVED this post, not because I'm seeing what isn't there but because I love cats and I, too have wept my eyes out on the way home from the vet.

I read that piece on the Charles Bonnet syndrome but it doesn't fit with you as you are seeing something that you were once familiar with.

I reckon that you're experiencing a visual memory of your little black mama cat and that would explain why other family members are 'seeing' it too.

Whatever it is, I'm glad it's more comforting than scary.

Geri Atric said...

Steph ~ Thanks for this - and a big sympathy hug, for your own feline dear departed.. Apparently with cats you either love them or hate them - but if you love them, it really does hurt so much, when they go...!

I am sure you are right about the 'memory vision'. Still, I just wonder why it is only the little black cat who is 'visiting' us (?) since I/we loved all five the same!

I suspect,(*sigh* - psychology course(s) taking over)that it is all related to the sorry state in which she was found; plus the fact that she was our first feline friend and a great comfort to the kids at a time of upheaval in the family.... Association.

BUT - (back to Geri mode!) despite all that, when I opened my eyes this morning, a shadowy, almost intangible form, took off from the end of the bed and disappeared around the open bedroom door. (No it wasn't a rat!).

So you see, there she was again, sleeping on my feet and keeping me company throughout the night...
(And besides, she MUST have been there, because I had cramp in my left foot - the one she always preferred to lay on)!

P.S. Charles Bonnet Syndrome is rather wonderful isn't it?! If you have to have a syndrome, then this certainly isn't the worst one to have. It doesn't seem to activate the 'fear' parts and pathways of the brain.

Jay said...

Wow, I'd never heard of Charles Bonnet Syndrome. It's fascinating, but surely doesn't fit your case anyway? Or do you have severe vision loss?

I have seen or heard all of my beloved dogs that have passed on. The most persistent visitor was Susan, who was only with us five and a half months, but whose death was very difficult for me because if only we'd diagnoses her sooner, she could almost certainly have survived. I must have taken her to the vet hundreds of times, knowing full well something serious was going on, but it was only when I got angry and insisted on a referral that we were referred to a specialist and by then it was too late. Poor Suze. :(

I saw that lovely white shape moving through the house and garden right beside me for weeks, off and on, always fleeting, until the day I thanked her for her company and said she was welcome to stay around, but she could go now, if she wished. I never saw her again.

All in the mind? Maybe, but there was an air of worry about her, as if she didn't want to leave until she knew I was OK. Very strange. And if my mother could be woken by a visit from my grandmother the night she (grandmother) died, why might not Susan visit me?

I saw Jack the other day, too, and wasn't even thinking about him. Thought he was Sid, until I saw that Sid was fast asleep in his bed in another room.

Geri Atric said...

Jay ~ I know, it sounds really odd (!) unless you have experienced it first hand - but I think it is wonderful that you can still see and sense the departed dogs you have loved so much.

I can imagine your angry frustration and pain on being too late to save Suze. And feeling in some way guilty about it, would certainly count as 'festering' unfinished psychological business! But in addition to that, it would seem she died before she was ready to accept having to leave YOU. However, the kind and thoughtful way in which you sent her onwards obviously worked (!) and has made me think again...

I will try it with my little black cat if her 'visits' persist - just in case she would like to go, but can't because she got 'stuck' in my earlier grief????

I have read - and heard first hand too, of the kind of experience your mother had with your grandmother; either seeing the person who has just died, or experiencing a sudden acute thought of them, or sense of being touched by them.
Also of dogs who were actually at home when their beloved owner died in hospital - and at that exact moment began to howl and howl and were inconsolable.

To my way of thinking, this has nothing to do with the various worldly religions humans have created for themselves - but everything to do with the eternal spirituality of every living thing.
After all, at quantum level, fading energy doesn't disappear - just sort of disipates into waves that are always there!!
Perhaps that is all death is. Another wave length (?) that we can sometimes tap into - or that can tap into us??

Better stop there! I'm no scientist - but I do find comfort in the logic and purity of it.

Please give Sid a hug from me! I have no animals (pets) now - but sometimes l-o-n-g to cuddle one!

jay said...

"To my way of thinking, this has nothing to do with the various worldly religions humans have created for themselves - but everything to do with the eternal spirituality of every living thing."

That's exactly how I feel, myself, Geri. And yes, maybe death is merely moving to another level of energy as many spiritual people tell us. It is comforting, is it not?

Sid will most certainly be hugged, and I'll tell him it's from you. It's a pity you're not in England, or I could one day bring him to see you!

Geri Atric said...

Hi Steph ~ Yes, it is comforting and just sort of feels right to think that instead of being sent 'upstairs' or 'down' - depending on whether we have been good or bad in earthly life - we will just be moving 'next door'(!) as it were, to a spiritual plane of peace and understanding; self-knowledge; learning and renewal.

I'd love to meet and cuddle Sid! Maybe one day, when I get around to taking that long White Peak Pennine cottage holiday I keep promising myself...! (I was born a Derbyshire lass).

Take care!

Kate said...

How lovely! I don't find it creepy or even a little bit strange.... I'm not a believer in anything much these days, but I am positive that where there is love - these things happen.
Pets - simple really, if they can visit a loved one - why shouldn't they? checking up that all is ok or just reliving a lovely moment - why worry?
People? - I am sure that you, like me, sometimes feel the presence of a loved one who has died - sometimes I smell the talcum powder my Mum used and I know she is near... I love it and I am sure she loves visiting too.
Oh and add Leicestershire to your visiting list please....Max and Alfie are waiting!!!

Geri Atric said...

Hi Kate ~ I suppose in modern jargon you could say that our bodies are the hardware, our brains the software and our spirit the programme?!
And love - well, love is the electricity that keeps it all fizzing along. We just have to ensure (i.e., learn to be good electricians?!) to keep it turned on!

Thanks! It would be lovely to meet Alfie and Max one day.. Meanwhile, will be over to iRamble regularly, to enjoy their antics. Fur and hair not flying around I hope ?! Oh well, I'm sure they will find their own brand of 'love' in the end!!

Kate said...

:-) well - at the moment Max is kind of ok when Alfie is in his crate with the door shut... Alfie has been with cats before but he is still stupid enough to chase Maxie - but hey - that happened with the greyhound too and Max won that round. i would like them to be friends but its early days - I'm sure there will be more adventures on my blog too!!!

Geri Atric said...

Kate ~ Good luck with them!