When your spirit animal saves your life

Published 11:31 am Tuesday, January 15, 2019

One night, after a highly stressful day involving family emergencies, I literally fell into bed before 9 p.m. and I gave into deep sleep.

That is until 2 a.m. when I felt something patting my cheek.

I swatted at the patting to make it stop. It did not stop. It got harder.

Finally, it got to the point I opened my eyes.

There was my cat “P” obviously determined to wake me up. But why?

As I rejoined the land of the living, I was stunned. The burning pain in my chest was taking my breath away and now I was awake.

I sat up and turned on the lamp by my bed.

I thought it was the dreaded heart attack. But two Nitros later, it was no better.

What to do?

And how did “P” fit into all of this?

He always sleeps right next to me all night. One nightly pee is the only time he leaves me, but not this particular time.

Without a doubt, he was trying to alert me to wake up. I had to find the reason.

I swung my legs over the bedside, looked at my oxygen machine, and you’ll never believe what I found.

In my haste to sleep, I never turned on my oxygen machine. I positioned the cannula on my face but there was no oxygen passing into my lungs.

The burning pain was caused by my lungs being starved of oxygen.

Later I learned if my wondrous cat named “P” had not sensed something was seriously wrong, the oxygen to my lungs would have eventually not been enough to sustain life.

How did “P” know this and how did he know how to wake me up?

The bottom line is, in a very real sense, my cat who I rescued at three weeks old may have rescued me at age 87.

Do you think this deep connection he and I have is because I scooped up this puny, oddly shaped little guy nobody wanted?

I always believed rescued animals are some how special for being saved.

On the other hand, I also rescued Bella, my Norwegian Forest cat.

She is beautiful and has more of the diva attitude. She, in 10 years, has trusted and loved one person — me — and nobody else.

She was found wandering the streets at about six months old. The vet suspected she was abused, and therefore, learned not to trust humans.

Maybe that shoots down my theory or not.

Just like people, animals have feelings and they know how to judge.

They have brains and memory and they are extremely loyal and forgiving.

That night I was devoid of enough oxygen, Bella woke up but did not wake me up or help me.

“P” did not stop until I was awake and aware.

Some people say it is just a different personality between the two while others agree with me that it is an example of the deep love and devotion an animal can have for his person.

By the way, since that incident, I have had more problems getting and maintaining enough air in my lungs and “P” has become my shadow. I mean, he moves when I move. He waits for me by the door when I leave.

When the doctor comes to see me and lays her medical bag on the floor, “P” gets into her bag. And any company I have he gets between the visitor and me.

If I start coughing, he almost panics and always sits on my chest.

Do you know what a spirit animal is? It’s a species of animal that watches you and guides you through life.

Well, I have had in my life many wonderful cats, dogs, birds, even wolves, but none have captured my love like “P,” especially since he patted by cheek hard and long enough to possibly save my life.

His name is “P” and I think he is my own spirit animal.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.