Animal Emotional Intelligence

[posted on a spirituality listserv this morning, in response to a dialogue about animals’ emotions and how easily we misinterpret and anthropomorphize their behaviors…]

You know, I have learned so much about animals and their emotions and reactions since my first days of studying with a Cherokee medicine woman. She is a very, very gifted animal communicator and through her I have come to understand and appreciate how complicated the emotional lives of animals can be.

There are so many stories that I could tell and I will share some of them in my 2nd book-currently underway. But here is one. I had a great big orange tabby years ago. His name was Bosco and my teacher thought he was the finest cat and so much fun. She was convinced that he was a small time Mafioso in a recent past life though because of his personality a bit macho and tough, to say the least. I was going to call this new cat that I planned to get the day I got him – Milton. But two hours after bringing Bosco home, I could see he was not a Milton- sensitive  new-agey guy type of cat. (Apologies to any Milton reading this but the name does have a sensitive energy to it.) No, this cat was a real “Bosco” as in “Listen Bosco, you’re going to have to… “ The gist of it was that he was going to have to essentially recognize that I was alpha and not him in the house. We tussled for a while until we reached a truce about who was the dominant one in the house. Seriously.

Bosco loved to sleep on the other side of my bed. The other pillow was his space at night – every night. Then one night, I had a new boyfriend with me, and he was on that side of the bed with his head on ‘Bosco’s Pillow’. Well, the cat did not realize that my friend was there, tried to jump up, got halfway and sat that head and was visibly shocked and pissed. I saw his expression. It was kind of humorous how big his eyes were and how quickly he turned around and jumped down to escape the room. He was indignant.

Well, I left for a week-long trip the next morning. My catsitter let Bosco out (per my instructions) two days after I left. The plan was that he would come back in that night. Neither of us saw Bosco ever again. He was gone.

So my teacher was able to communicate with him long distance and learned that he was really pissed that I had let another man in his place. He was the man of the house. And the hunting was really good outside anyway, being that it was spring. And besides, he was a cat and he “could do whatever he wanted to do.” That is literally what he told her.

I could go on and on with the animal stories and snippets of their reactions and responses. But suffice it to say, I now know that animals understand English as well as we do. They don’t just respond to our emotional energy. And they can be quite fascinating and amazingly good teachers with their views of the world and ways of responding to it. But I’m very fortunate in finding this teacher and having these sets of abilities to tap at times.

Happy day to you all… We just got a dusting of three inches of snow here in Baltimore. Gloriously sparkly outside.
Mare

Ps. Just a quick addition… When we hear the birds sing in the spring and we think it is so melodic and enjoyable to listen to, now that what we’re listening to is birds cussing each other out as they claim their territory. They’re screaming at any other bird who tries to invade their space. Sometimes it’s an advantage to not understand what they’re saying, since it drives my teacher crazy and she sometimes yells at the ones in her yard to pipe down.

About Mare Cromwell

Mare Cromwell is the award-winning author of "Messages from Mother.... Earth Mother" and "If I gave you God's phone number....Searching for Spirituality in America." She is currently working on her third book: "The Great Mother Bible." She has studied with Native American teachers for eighteen years and sits on the World Council for Wisdom Gatherings. Mare calls Western Maryland her home. To learn more about her books, go to http://www.pamoonpress.com. (Note: she is a former worm herder. ;~)
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3 Responses to Animal Emotional Intelligence

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello.. I want to subscribe to your blog but I cannot find your rss link, please help. Thanks. – Jen

  2. Hi Jen, I’m not sure what to tell you. The rss link should be where all wordpress blog rss links are. good luck.

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