The Saga of Kittenpants

When Amanda’s cat went missing last summer, she responded in a way that most people, including her sister, consider unorthodox. The twenty-nine-year-old French–American Fine Arts graduate student consulted with a pet psychic and animal communicator in an effort to divine answers when other alternatives seemed impossible. However, an unexpected turn of events later called into question the practicality of this decision, as well as its effectiveness.

I adopted Kittenpants about eight years ago when she was a kitten living on the streets and we’ve been together ever since. She is, more or less, a pretty normal calico cat. I used to call her ‘fat’ until I realized that it hurt her feelings. These days, I describe her as looking like a hippopotamus, instead.

I’ve often felt as if Kittenpants was my sole companion. She has been featured prominently in my artwork throughout the years. I have made a lot of prints and drawings based upon a whimsical fantasy world I envision in which Kittenpants is a giant, robot cat and I’m riding her as we set out on amazing adventures. You could definitely say that we have grown very close.

Last summer I arranged to spend a month and a half in France in order to study and attend my cousin’s wedding. I knew that I would have to leave Kittenpants behind, so I sought the advice of a friend. I was aware that she was very understanding of her own animals, and that she had a relationship with a Native American animal communicator. She told me that this animal communicator had taught her the importance of having conversations with her pets whenever there were any impending changes in their lives. This way, the animals knew what to expect and were less likely to become shocked or upset.

Kittenpants was going to spend the duration of my trip in the backyard of my sister’s house. My sister already had two cats that lived outside, Miel and Hermie the Hermaphrodite. Kittenpants, on the other hand, wasn’t used to the outdoors. Nonetheless, the yard was surrounded by a fence, and I was sure that she’d be safe. Besides, Kittenpants had been a street cat when she was younger, and I assumed that her instincts would quickly return. Unconcerned, I took Kittenpants there a couple days before my departure, held her face close to my own, and said:

“Listen up. I’m going to be gone for a month and a half. You’ll be staying here. Don’t worry about it. There’s no reason to be scared. Miel and Hermie are totally cool. You’re going to hang out, have the time of your life, and then I’m coming back for you.”

My sister, however, was not so optimistic. Right before I left, she told me she was really nervous. Because she felt responsible for Kittenpants in my absence, she wanted to prepare me for the possibility that Kittenpants might freak out and run away. I told her not to worry.

After only a couple weeks in France, I received an email telling me that Kittenpants had disappeared. Despite my sister’s insistence, I refused to believe that she had run away. Instead, I was sure that she was just scared and hiding. After all, Kittenpants and I had talked about what was going to happen. She had known what to expect. Regardless, I still wasn’t worried, and I again told my sister not to be, either. At this point, she called into question the faith I was placing in a conversation I had with my cat, but didn’t press the issue.

When I finally returned about four weeks later, Kittenpants was nowhere to be found. I spent the next couple days searching my sister’s backyard and the surrounding neighborhood before I became completely swamped by an onslaught of schoolwork, lesson planning, and teaching. I was just starting my second year of graduate school, and I simply didn’t have the time to continue looking.

I convinced myself that Kittenpants was either dead or off having an amazing adventure like Tom Sawyer. If the the latter was the case, she was just going to have to wait until my schedule cleared up for me to be able to track her down. This was the painful but necessary conclusion I reached so as to be able to manage my other obligations.

In this period of uncertainty, I longed for answers. Not wanting to believe that Kittenpants had died, I contacted my friend’s animal communicator. This woman, in turn, referred me to an animal psychic in New York who was more comfortable handling cases of missing animals. In my head, it was simple. The psychic would somehow provide me with a pinpoint location where I could go to retrieve Kittenpants. I was wrong.

The woman asked me for a physical description of my cat. Once I had given it to her, she then asked if Kittenpants’ favorite toy was dark and fuzzy with a jinglebell. I tensed up and shouted, “Yes! That’s it!” I was now certain that the woman had managed to reach out, grab a hold of Kittenpants’ essence somewhere in the universe, and was now acting as a medium between the two of us. There was a pause. Through the speaker of my phone I heard her ask, “Kittenpants, where are you?”

After another pause, she answered in my cat’s voice. “I’m looking at my mom.” At this point I knew that Kittenpants was saying that she was looking at me, but I was confused as to what this meant. Next, the woman asked, “Kittenpants, do you have your body with you?” When I heard this, I held my breath. The answer to this question would reveal whether she was alive or dead. There was a long and agonizing silence before Kittenpants finally said, “no.” I was told by the spirit of my cat, now watching me from above in cat heaven, that she had been struck by a car after leaving my sister’s backyard. It had been quick and painless. I was devastated, but I had gotten the answer I needed. Kittenpants was dead.

In search of closure, I spent a sweaty, tearful afternoon putting copies of a poster I had created on telephone poles and in mailboxes throughout my sister’s neighborhood. I wanted to find the person who had killed Kittenpants, or at least someone who may have seen her body by the side of the road.

Later that same afternoon I received a phone call from some guy who had seen one of my posters. He thought that Kittenpants might be the very same cat his teenaged daughter found in their yard during the summer and had been, since that time, living in his house. I absolutely couldn’t believe it. Kittenpants was dead! Yet when he described the cat in his possession, my doubts disappeared.

I raced to the address he’d given me. When I arrived, standing at the top of the driveway was a girl holding a furry ball that I recognized immediately. I took Kittenpants in my arms and began weeping uncontrollably. It was as if she had risen from the dead. I had been torn apart by accepting her death and embracing the grieving process. Yet here she was. We were together, again!

According to my friend’s animal communicator, the explanation for this strange turn of events was simple, and also the reason why she hadn’t been willing to handle my case directly in the first place. Because there are so many spirits of dead animals that are trying to communicate, the chance of a psychic accidentally getting in touch with the wrong animal is pretty high. The cat that the psychic from New York had contacted had been a different one that had actually been killed by a car and was desperately trying to contact its owner in order to say goodbye.

While the psychic from New York may have made a mistake, I don’t think that she, or any other psychic, would ever intentionally try to deceive or mislead me. There is an energy out there, and I believe that some people really can communicate with animals, living or dead. These psychics are there to offer their help and guidance to people like me who find themselves in difficult situations, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. When you think about it, It’s really no different than religion.

The experience turned out to be the start of an ongoing period of contention between myself and my sister. Whereas she is very logical, linear, and rational, I’m the opposite. My choice to speak with an animal psychic rather than immediately take an approach she considered more practical drove her crazy. She responded with criticism and dismissiveness and, while she may have been right in the end, she hadn’t been very sensitive. That being said, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever call an animal communicator again. I’ll probably get Kittenpants microchipped, instead.

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