“My name is Bozo”

bozo

This is my good friend Bozo. He was a neighbor for many years, and not only does he look a lot like Bart, he has some of the same idiosyncrasies. For example, Bart insisted on drinking water out of a dripping water faucet – so does Bozo. I have never known any other cat that does this although I’m sure there are few others. We used to get calls from the city that we had a water leak, but it was simply that Bart insisted we leave a steady stream of water running for him in the bathroom. Bozo’s mom turns it on and off for him. (she has better boundaries than we did)

And Bozo was Bart’s only friend. One day I spotted the two of them sunning together at on a vacant front porch. Had Bart seen me, he would have instantly turned on Bozo and the 19 year old warrior would have tried to have a brawl with the surprised younger and stronger kitty. Bozo has a sweeter nature than Bart did. This is where they weren’t alike. In fact in the photo of him here, he’s asking me to rub his tummy- something Bart would never allow.

When I first met Bozo, I was a little put off by his name. Who names their cat Bozo? Typically we name our animal friends with a nice noble-sounding name, and then proceed to use a variety of nicknames instead. Those of us who love our animals are reduced to puddles of love when it comes to our animal friends and silly nicknames come with that connection.

So I was really surprised that this wonderful mom who is Bozo’s human would choose such an odd name for such a great cat. She’s a writer for several of our local newspapers and asked me one day if I would interested in an interview. In preparation for the article, she wanted me to talk with Bozo – get an idea of how animal communication works, and learn a bit about his thoughts.

One of her questions was: “Do you want to be called ‘Uno’ or ‘Bozo'”? His given name was Uno, and I was anxious to find out the answer to this too as I had been calling him “Zo” for over a year. I couldn’t bring myself to call him Bozo.

I was surprised by his answer. He told me that he preferred the name Bozo. He told me proudly: “I like the name Bozo. That’s my name!” It was then that I realized that *I* was the one who needed the reality check. Bozo is a cat. He has no idea of the connotations of his name. He doesn’t know who Bozo the Clown is. He’s a cat who likes the sound of his name when humans address him. He’s proud of it.

A friend of Bozo’s mom had nicknamed him. He was flattered and felt very loved by this human. It brought a special connection between them and he liked the name Bozo better and wanted all humans to call him by this name.

Right away I felt what a snob I had been. Here I was feeling all defensive for him, when in reality he loved the feel and sound of his name. And to this day, I have never called anything but the name he prefers.

It’s a good lesson for us all. Animals are wise beyond what humans realize. And they’re not judgmental. We all have spirit names too. Animals and humans. We’re rarely given that name once we’re in a body. An example though is my good friend Zeke. He asked while in spirit that when he came into a body that he retain his spirit name. We all agreed. His name fits him and he loves it.

Now I often cat-sit for Bozo when mom goes on vacation. We have a great time and I look forward to spending time with this little sage, who taught me such a huge lesson.

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Simon

Meet Simon – he’s a very special kitty. This isn’t him, but he is Siamese. He lived happily in the Bayshore Animal Hospital, who is our favorite local vet. He was allowed to come and go as he pleased. But he always came in at night. He had a good life, welcomed animals that were in for treatment, comforted humans waiting for their animal friends, and was loved very much by the vets and staff at the clinic. This was home. He showed up as a kitten and had lived in the clinic his entire life.

The original clinic was a large mobile home that had been been used for years. But their successful business and the need for a larger space was becoming evident. So last summer, construction began on a new larger facility that was located right in back of the original one. Simon watched the construction with curiosity and anxiety. What was this new building? Why was it being built in his back yard? Who was going to live there?

Finally construction was complete the day came when it was time to move to the new building. Simon watched as his humans and all their things were loaded out of his home and into the new facility. It can be chaotic in moves like this, equipment, office materials, medical equipment etc. And throughout the move, Simon became more and more anxious.

Animals are very literal. Simon didn’t understand that the brand new building was going to be his home too. To him, everyone had left him. His home was vacated of all his humans and animals. Confused and scared, he packed up and left.

I was called and asked if I could locate him through my skills as an animal communicator. But lost animals are not my forte. They are difficult to work with in that they are scared, constantly on the move, and rarely sit and wait for you to find them. I talked with him and he told me he was “in his body”. Animals know when they are still in their body and when they’ve moved to spirit. So I knew he was out there. But where?

He showed me a wooded area behind the building. He told me he hunted for food and was hiding back there. He was scared and not willing to come near the new hospital. He may have seen some of his human friends from his vantage point in the woods, but he wasn’t willing to risk coming out. Meanwhile, the devastated staff were doing everything they could to find him. They put up fliers and set traps in areas they thought he be, and also a place I suggested. The result? They captured several strays who who were kindly neutered and released back into their familiar environment.

Meanwhile, the old clinic was moved to a location down the road a few blocks. It sat there, sadly broken in half. The plan was to move it back to the property and create a second building for other uses.

Simon had been missing for three months when one day I happened to be in a shop across the street from the old clinic. It looked so sad and kind of creepy broken in half up on blocks. I had visited this old place many times with my kitties and it looked sad and lonely in the rain. But I had a “hit” – Simon was there somewhere – in his home.

I called the new clinic and reported that I was fairly sure he was in there. But since that day was so stormy and there was no way to get into the mobile home sitting high on blocks, I couldn’t get in to search. Turns out the staff had thought the same thing and many had made frequent visits to the old building, calling his name, hoping he was there and would respond. Nothing.

Finally the day came to return the old mobile home/clinic to the original property. One of the vets watched as the large trucks slowly moved the building down the street in order to return it to its original spot. And what did he see? Simon. He jumped out of the building as it was being placed and scampered into the woods.

When cats have been away for as long as Simon had been, they go into “survival mode”. They don’t respond to those they once loved. They simply have the basics on their mind: find food, find shelter, and don’t approach any humans whether they know them or not. He wouldn’t come to the calls of his loved ones, but stayed hidden in the woods AND his home. No one could get him to come to them and traps still weren’t working.

But one stormy night, one of the techs was called in for a late night emergency. The rain and wind were howling and it was pitch black. She decided to try again and went to the empty mobile home sitting whole next to the new hospital, and called his name. She heard a faint “meow” and that’s when he decided to give up life on the run. That’s when he finally came out.

Skin and bones and still terrified, Simon was finally home. He was greeted with lots of love, happiness, good food, and a warm place to sleep. He came home on Christmas Eve which was the best gift of all for the staff at Bayshore.

Animals understand everything we say to them. I have clients that want me to tell their animals they love them – when this is something they can do themselves. If Simon had been shown the new facility each night as it was being built, if it had all explained to him that they were moving and so was he, this may have been avoided. But then again, animals have free will and he may not have accepted any attempts to acclimate him to his new space. He may have done exactly what he did. Run for it!

But to me, this is a perfect lesson in talking with our animals about upcoming moves. Tell them where you’re going. While you’re telling them, hold a mental “picture” of the new home in you mind. Tell them who will be coming (and who won’t). Tell them that all their toys and beds will be waiting for them when the moving day comes. Many people make the unintentional mistake of taking for granted that our animal friends will simply come along with us to a new home and after a few days – accept that this is now their new dwelling. But many animals don’t. They become afraid and think they’ll do better on their own. Or if they’ve been relocated miles away, they may even try and make the journey back to their original house.

When you are planning a move, you don’t need an animal communicator. You can explain yourself (without too much detail) what is going to happen. Always keep outdoor cats in for a minimum of 10 days (longer if you can) so that they adjust to their new surroundings. Then slowly let them out to explore their new territory. Make sure you stay with them and talk with them as they explore. After a week or so of short outings, if you feel confident that they understand that this is home – then let them roam for themselves. Cats are real home bodies. And they need to understand and feel comfortable in their new homes and surroundings.

There are many smiling and happy humans today at this wonderful Christmas “miracle”: Simon’s return. I made a phone call today, nearly three weeks later, to hear an update on Simon. I was told that he’s doing great.

And he hasn’t even tried to venture outdoors.

The real Simon:

Simon_1

A Happy Ending

Just a quick post to let you know that Boy Kitty is home again. As suspected, he was most likely stuck in someone’s shed or garage. He came home for dinner 10 days after he vanished. We are SO HAPPY to report that he’s doing  really well. After several cans of cat food and some Albacore tuna, he was he old cranky self!  We never felt he had left his body, that he was always near by. Now I’m trying to figure out where he was……

In the meantime, happy days!

Missing

I hate that word. Especially when you put it with a face. This isn’t his face, in fact, this is a borrowed face so if you know this cat I apologize for the jolt. Because every time I see the words “Have you seen?….” along with a photo of someone I know, well I get a jolt.

No, this is a kitty that resembles this sweet face. He’s been a bully and a trouble maker in the past, but right now, he’s breaking hearts by going missing. When I get the call on a missing animal, I’m not always able to help.

For one, animals who can’t find their way home are tough to track. You may “see” one thing from them and an hour later “see” something totally different. And where I live, seeing trees and grass isn’t helpful at all. In fact I’ve spoken to two colleagues who believe that this feisty roamer is not only alive, but trapped somewhere in a shed or garage.  I went out myself since his home is just down the street from me and looked the other morning. Most of the homes in our neighborhood have garages or sheds behind them. And most are vacated.

I’ve mentioned before that I live in a tourist area. Over the Labor Day weekend, almost every house was filled with happy vacationers and their friends and families. It was bustling around here. But now it’s quiet. There are full time occupants in a third of the homes in our area. We believe this guy ventured into someone’s back shed, was poking around, and got shut in accidently. It’s been almost a week and we can’t figure out which one he’s in.

There are things you should do right away when your animal friend goes missing.

  • make posters and handouts with a photo of the animal on it and your phone number. Pass these out and post them where ever you can
  • call your local police (in a rural area) or shelter to make sure someone didn’t turn him in
  • post a flier (with photo) in your car window
  • check your local paper to see if anyone has reported it

These are just the first steps. Animals ( and especially cats ) will go into “survival mode” and become a little feral after a few days. You might be calling in the woods and walk right past them with no response. A watchful eye and literally no stone unturned, must be the way you approach this the more time that passes.

My little buddy disappeared a week ago today. He may have been a victim of a predator, but I don’t think so. As a friend, it’s tough for me to talk with him and know what I’m getting is accurate. As animal communicators, when we know the one who’s missing, it makes what we receive from the animal unreliable because our emotions get in the way.

The absolute-sure-fire-best way to make sure your cat (in particular) doesn’t go missing is to keep them in at night. Even in the city there are predators.  I hope we can find my buddy here soon. I’m not giving up, but we’ve looked everywhere and time is running short.