Dr. Garth C's
My wife and I had recently had to give permission to our vet to put down our beloved Burmese tom cat, Sam. He was 12 years old, had been suffering from what had originally been diagnosed as chronic kidney deterioration, but during his last couple of days of life, the vet had carried out a biopsy and discovered that Sam had cancer on one of his kidneys. This devastated us because Sam had been a very special animal and we couldn't contemplate the idea of losing communication with him. To understand this it is necessary for me to digress a little regarding his character and our relationship, which is not so very commonplace between most cat owners and their pets, but tends to be fairly characteristic of owners of Burmese cats, who seem to have something particularly spiritual in their natures, especially their capacity for love.
I have always believed that part of the responsibility of being a pet owner is to contribute to their evolution by 'educating' them about as much as possible regarding their environment and life in general. Consequently, from the time Sam was a baby kitten I had taken him for walks, taken him out in the car, shown him people swimming and boating in the sea (the expression in his eyes was something to see!), taken him to the railway station to see trains with people getting on and off them, played him classical music and showed him pictures in books (he was particularly fascinated by brightly colored pictures of ancient Egypt and the pyramids!!).
I work at home, essentially alone, although Sam would sit in the chair opposite to me while I typed away on the computer, and then at the same time every day when he considered I had been working long enough, he would come over onto my chest and try to get me to stop typing, or else he would just watch the cursor moving over the screen and then work out the connection between the key-strokes and the appearance of letters, and watch bemusedly as pictures would change on the screen and all kinds of inexplicable phenomena that were part of my electronic human experience presented themselves to him. Like most cats, he had adjusted to television and the telephone long ago and took them in his stride.
Obviously, our relationship had become very very special over the years. My wife and I were heartbroken as we held him whilst he was put down. My problem was not so much accepting that we had had to put him out of pain; that was obvious. It was the sense of complete finality, and the feeling that all of that communication I had spent so many years building between us and all that evolutionary progress Sam had made, was suddenly for nothing, gone, obliterated, all for nothing. I couldn't accept easily the inference that there was nothing left of him, that he was just a body. That lively intelligence, the look of love in his eyes and his insistence on expressing every cat opinion in loud stgentorian tones and his social graces and cat etiquette, all extinguished in a moment. My wife and I both found it very difficult to cope with for many weeks, even though she was convinced that animals had souls which survived death. She believed that Burmese cats' souls would join a kind of group Burmese soul, but I hated the thought that Sam would lose his individuality and become just part of an amorphous mass soul.
Ten years earlier we had lost another cat, Tara, who also died of kidney failure. She had been alive when we obtained Sam and upon her death it seemed as though Sam had somehow immediately assimilated many of her personality traits, including the way he played games from that day on, his understanding of the vocabulary we used to talk to him, which had seemed to evoke no response previous to Tara's death, but which he seemed to understand immediately, once she had died. So I had thought that my wife was probably right and that there was a universal Burmese soul into which Sam had been assimilated and that was that.
But we continued to grieve for him and would send him little messages mentally, in case he were 'around' somewhere.
Then I had this experience.
I was barely awake, but what had
awakened me slightly was the feeling that I was lying on top of a cat, with my
arms holding him very close to my chest. I could feel him purring and hear him
purring. The vibration of the purrs was resonating in my chest and his purrs
were continuous and fairly high pitched, of a kind he always gave when he was
deliriously happy. I didn't know how I could be lying on top of him, although I
do tend to, and was lying on my stomach, but that made it seem impossible
anyway. But there he was. At least, I assumed it was Sam.
But as soon as it became apparent to me that I was hugging this cat tightly to me, and it was an unmistakable sensation, one that I couldn't deny or put down to illusion, I immediately began to question the identity of the cat. Was it Tara or Sam? I kept trying to answer that question but the more intently I asked the question and tried to work out which cat it was, the fainter grew the purrs and I felt him or her diminishing and fading away. The experience lasted for about twenty seconds, I would estimate.
I was awake then and woke my wife and told her. There is no question in my mind that it was not a dream. It was too physically real and even today I can recall the sensation of the purring vibrating against my chest. Since that day, as a consequence of this 'visit', I have been reading books on life after life and it has completely reoriented my consciousness towards accepting survival. Perhaps Sam thought it was time my evolution was furthered and that was one way he knew of ensuring it. I now believe that we shall meet again one day and that has given both my wife and me great hope and inspiration.
Did you hear the deceased or hear something associated with the deceased? Yes
Describe: Loud purring, happiness at being united with me.
Did the voice or sound seem to originate externally, or outside of you, inside of you, or did you not hear a voice or sound but had a knowing of what was communicated? It originated outside of me and love and happiness appeared to be being communicated.
If you heard a voice or sound, was it similar or dissimilar to the voice or sound the deceased made when they were alive? Identical sound to when Sam was alive.
How clearly did you hear the deceased? Very clearly indeed.
Is there any possibility that what you heard was from any other source in the surroundings at the time of your experience? No. My wife snores but with a rhythm that I have had to "imagine" is the sound of waves breaking on the sea-shore in order that I can get to sleep. Her sound is not at all like a cat purring. I wish it were.
Was there any possible impairment to your hearing at the time of the experience? No. The room was completely quiet.
Did you feel a touch or experience any physical contact from the deceased? Yes
Where and how were you touched? The length of Sam's body was cross-wise along my chest. I couldn't feel his head or his tail. It was just the main part of his body, which I was hugging close to me.
Was the touch familiar? It was familiar as a cat's body, but it could, objectively speaking, have been any cat. I just felt or inferred, that it was Sam's body because of its length.
Was anything communicated by the touch? Just the happiness one usually infers from a cat's purring.
Is there any possibility what you felt was from any other source present in your surroundings at the time of your experience? No way.
Did you see the deceased? No
How clearly did the deceased appear? To the touch, solid and pliable.
How much of the deceased did you see? Nothing. It was dark.
Did the deceased appear or not appear to be the age at which they died? Not applicable.
How healthy did the deceased appear to be? No appearance, but during his last weeks of life he didn't purr. Now he was purring like he had when he was well.
Is there any possibility what you saw was from any other source present in your surroundings at the time of your experience? Not applicable.
How long did the experience last? About 20 seconds.
Was the beginning and end of the experience gradual or more sudden? The beginning was sudden, the ending gradual.
Could you sense the emotions or mood of the deceased? Very happy.
Describe: Very happy.
Did the deceased give you information you did not previously know? Inferred by me, of course: that survival of the soul after death of the body is a fact.
How do you currently view the reality of your experience: Experience was definitely real
What did you feel (while awake) immediately prior to your experience?
Describe in detail your feelings/emotions during the experience: Wonder, relief and exhilaration.
What other attitudes and beliefs about your experience do you currently have: Joy
Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience? Yes
Describe: We still miss Sam and always will, but we are both convinced that animals have individual souls that survive. After this experience I began reading Dr. Moody's book and others on survival and my perspective on life after life has changed radically in just a few weeks.
Did the experience give you any spiritual understandings such as life, death, afterlife, God, etc.? Yes
Describe: I am reading all I can about NDEs now. My only disappointments are that I have no sense of what my purpose here actually is and I feel aimless. The possibility of a life-review is somewhat alarming when I think about mine, but the information is at least a word to the wise and maybe I can make amends for some of my past neglects. Sam's death was the initial trigger to this way of thinking, which now occupies a great amount of time from day to day, as I am semi-retired.
Did you ever in your life have a near-death experience, out of body experience or other spiritual event? Yes
Describe: Have already contributed my out-of-the-body experience to another of your sites under "Dr. Garth's OBE (which I jokingly refer to as my Order of the British Empire medal, a civic award in England.)
To the best of your knowledge, did the deceased, during their life, ever have a near-death experience, out of body experience or other spiritual experience? No comment
Describe: They say that cats are psychically more sensitive than we are. Frequently I found Sam staring at something to the left of my left shoulder, just near to the top of my head, and when I looked to see what it was, there was nothing there. But he seemed preoccupied by it.