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Secret Past Lives of my Cats

24 October, 2006

I have three adult cats: a Maine Coon queen, a Bengal girl neuter and a male neuter.

Some weeks back I was with a friend of mine, and we were talking cat, as all cat-mad people do when they meet, and she commented that my Maine Coon queen, Ananda, was a princess. I asked her what she meant and she said that she was one of those cats who glide through life expecting people to do things for her, because of her beauty, sweetness and grace. I said “hmmm” and unconvinced, left it at that.

This evening Ananda was sitting on the kitchen counter when I put her plate of food on the floor. She stared at it in dismay, as though she was on a mountain top and the dish way below in the valley. So I lifted her and placed her on the floor and only then did she start eating daintily.

Yes, truly princess behaviour.

So it got me thinking about why my cats had such different personalities and what they might have been in a previous life to make them the way they are.

I have to agree. I think that there was royalty somewhere in Ananda’s previous incarnations. It’s just the way she expects to waited on, but there’s nothing domineering about her, she just knows it’s her right to have sweet nothings whispered in her ear, to be treated with the utmost gentleness. She is a well-bred cat who shimmers around the house royally-robed in her tortoiseshell coat of many colours. She would never dream of creating a scene or starting a fight. There’s no need to because she only expects good things to happen to her. Her name reflects her personality – Ananda, meaning universal joy.

My Bengal girl, on the other hand. Well, where do I start? Everytime I say something nice about her, I qualify it with a “but”. I love her to bits, but … oh the heartache her feistiness causes me.

She must have been a warrior cat in a previous life … something along the lines of an Amazonian.  When she was a kitten of about 6 months’ old, she was playing in the garden when up popped the neighbour’s cat, male, muscly and supremely ready to assert his authority. She saw him from up the garden path, and came trotting down. Something about her swagger, leading with her head made him made him reconsider his tactics, and this cat who was about three times the size of the kitten turned tail and ran off.

She looks at the world and she thinks: “hmm … is this prey? Is this edible? Or is it a toy? Should I let it live?” With her rippling muscles, powerful hindquarters and razor-sharp claws, she is the supreme athlete and hunter.

A warrior is fearless and despises weakness. Because of that, she’s the top cat and unfortunately sees the princess cat’s gentleness as something to be taken advantage of. Who knows … perhaps they were rivals in a previous life.

I’m not sure why I named her Maya which means illusion. Perhaps it’s all a front. Certainly with me she’s all love and throaty purrs. It’s just that she can’t bear to share me with anyone, much less a princess cat.

Then there’s Teddy. He unites the best of both Ananda (his mother) and Maya. He’s huge, a jolly ginger giant with a huge love for life. He’s bolder than Ananda, but not as aggressive than Maya. He follows me about, snuggles up in bed next to me. He looks out at the world trustingly. Because he’s so huge, and maybe because he just loves everyone, Maya tolerates him. I named him Teddy because there’s something bearlike about his size and coat. I still haven’t worked out what he was in a previous life, but I have a feeling he was a dog. A large, happy go-lucky dog living for food and love from his owner.

I sometimes wish I could wave a wand and change Maya into something more Teddy-like, or get Ananda to assert herself, but I think they’re here to learn their own lessons about life. And who knows what they’ll be in their next lives? I only hope that I’ll be there to share it with them.

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