How did my cats know that?[quote]“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” John Muir[/quote]
We had a lot of thunderstorms in Michigan this year. A lot. It’s particularly memorable to me because each storm, as it gets close, necessitates unplugging all my computer equipment. [Losing a printer in a storm last year was all it took for me to learn that lesson!]
So the drill at my home during a storm is:
Unplug all computer equipment;
Curl up with a good book;
My two cats go to their respective hiding places. [While I find electrical storms magical and awesome, they clearly do not].
During the last storm, after I had been reading for a while, thunder still thundering, my cats suddenly showed up next to me. Surprised, I listened closely and, after a few moments, it was clear that the storm was moving away. But they knew that well before I did. How?
The animal world is full of stories of super awareness, and I think it has been a big mistake on the part of modern society, and science, that we haven’t paid more attention to what we can learn from them.
Native peoples, naturally, have always considered animals teachers. The ancients learned, for example, what plants were medicinal by watching what injured and sick animals ate.
Here are some great examples of animal talents:
Migrating birds follow the same route each year, for thousands of miles, apparently by reading the earth’s electro-magnetic field like a map.
My neighbor had a stray cat move into her back yard and, being an animal lover, gave it food and shelter. But her other cat wouldn’t accept it, so she found the stray a job as a barn cat four miles away. A few days later, the cat showed up back at her house.
How can birds and cats do that when I regularly lose my car in the Meijer’s parking lot?
There are many accounts of birds and animals leaving an area before earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Moken tribe off the coast of Thailand recognized the signs both in the water and in animal behavior that something bad was coming in December of 2004. They all fled to high ground and, while they lost their villages and boats, all the Moken survived the tsunami that killed over 280,000 thousand from Thailand to East Africa.
Dogs can be trained to give an alert before their human has a seizure, and to detect peanut allergens and accompany a child to be on alert for them.
Dogs can also be trained to smell cancer. The Pine Street Foundation in San Anselmo, California has trained dogs to smell lung cancer 99% of the time. It’s believed cancer causes a change in body odor that dogs, with their sensitive noses, can detect before anyone else.
There are numerous stories of people who claim their pets saved their lives: waking them up when there’s a gas leak or fire.
A bee’s sense of smell is so precise that it can differentiate hundreds of different floral varieties and tell whether a flower carried pollen or nectar from yards away.
The monarch butterfly can detect its lover’s scent eight kilometers away.
How do they do it? What can we learn?
All these animal stories are not psychic skills, but highly developed observation skills. Wildlife experts note that animals have acute hearing, and can feel vibration and changes in air pressure that come with weather changes. Life in the wild is dependant on such keen observation skills.
If humans paid more attention to the subtleties of the world around us, we could undoubtedly develop those skills, too. But those of us in the west have gotten a bit soft when it comes to observing natural phenomena. Those skills are not gained indoors, in front of the TV.
What does this mean for us? It might be wise for us to pay more attention to the messages our animals are trying to give us. In this fast-paced world, spend some time letting them lead you: watch what interests them, where they stop. What do they notice? What do they hear?
Spend some time looking at the world through their eyes. They can be amazing teachers and enhance our lives immeasurably. As such, they deserve our respect and good care.[quote] “Lots of people talk to animals…. Not very many listen, though…. That’s the problem.” — Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh[/quote]
What have you learned from the animals in your life?
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Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com