Reading Each Others’ Minds

    Pretty much exactly what I had in mind.
Pretty much exactly what I had in mind.

Mimi knew exactly the pose I had visualized, and here she is, as beautiful as I had imagined.

Many of us joke that our animal companions can read our minds. In a very real way they can with their understanding of body language, and use of their senses to anticipate emotions by our scent if it’s fear or anger or another state of the human mind that puts us a bath of hormones.

But without the same language as us can they truly understand our thoughts? And respond appropriately? And communicate in return? Cookie knew when I intended to get up and leave the room before I moved and got up in anticipation, even when she wasn’t on my lap, and she knew a lot of other things too. Namir knew when I thought about giving him his medications and got up and sidled away from me. Kublai transmitted his thoughts to me in concepts that came to me as pictures and as words.

Buttercups waiting for the sun to come through.
Buttercups waiting for the sun to come through.

I tend to think in pictures, sometimes seeing images of the concepts I’m considering instead of putting words to thoughts, and I also visualize a lot. All the time. I’m always framing photos and visualizing a finished painting or sketch even if I have no intention of following through; it’s the background of every moment for me.

This morning it rained and I thought Mimi and I would have no time outside and I wouldn’t be able to work on a portrait out on the deck as I had planned. But at one point I decided to go outside to hang my geraniums on the railing for the steps to get more rainfall and Mimi ran outside next to me. The rain fell then slowed and stopped and we went down the steps  to do what we do out there, she to download her pee-mail and look at the yard from several different vantages and I to check flowers and such and take lots of photos.

Forget-me-nots drizzled with rain.
Forget-me-nots drizzled with rain.

We were both very wet when we came back up the steps to the deck.

We both had wet feet.
We both had wet feet.

I had begun another essay before I rather abruptly walked out the door and decided I should get back to that and get on with my day, but Mimi was so happy and was purring so hard when I picked her up to go in that I decided we should take a little more time. I remembered a few of the photos I’d taken of her earlier and immediately visualized just one more.

I had set up my little desk with flowers to be pretty, then thought how purr-fect it would be if Mimi was there and settled right in front of the chair, a wonderful composition with the flowers and lamp, maybe sitting up, maybe lying down, in the way that she often goes to where I will be working and settles down as if to tell me, “You need to get to work now.”

So I set her down on the table and figured she would do what she wanted and I would photograph it. She walked around a bit and enjoyed her pets and seemed to be settling in so I went to get my camera and get in position before she grew accustomed to me being there with her. As soon as I turned around…

Mimi's first idea.
Mimi’s first idea.

…the first image I had visualized, seeing her sitting up. She sat there and looked around calmly in all directions, pausing long enough for me to photograph her. Then she decided to settle down a little farther.

How is this?
How is this?

“How is this?” she asks. Yes, I’d pictured that pose. I was hoping for a more relaxed, prone position, but, Mimi, you are the best, I thought, and continued photographing her, zooming in to this position.

Also a very good idea, Mimi.
Also a very good idea, Mimi.

I like that one a lot. I’d pictured the whole table but also wanted some closeups of her face. And again, she slowly looked all around her. Then finally…

Pretty much exactly what I had in mind.
Pretty much exactly what I had in mind.

I’m convinced she knew just what I was visualizing, both before I started and as I was photographing. It’s not just that I was paying attention to her on the table so she stayed there, usually she follows me when I walk away, but she stayed and moved herself into each of the poses I had visualized, just as she had known last week when I absently considered how it might look if Mimi got up on the big wooden rocker, and within a few minutes she did. She’s continued to go and visit the rocker each day so maybe she just likes it, but the coincidence of her visit to it at that moment is really great. Or maybe I read her mind instead of her reading mine. Or maybe we are that close that we looked at the possibilities and both came up with the same conclusion. Sometimes it was like that with Cookie. In any case, I think Mimi is pretty special. And I’m thrilled that she is feeling better than she has in a while, and I have an update below.

First, a slideshow of nearly all the photos from this morning. You can see many more expressions and poses by Mimi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

. . . . . . .

Update on Mimi

Seven weeks ago, after Mimi had been eating less and less and vomiting more and more, she simply quit eating entirely and started vomiting two or three times a day. She couldn’t even keep down the Pepcid I gave her just in case she had indigestion or reflux for some reason. All her vitals were normal and I could find nothing to begin to treat. I called my veterinarian and we talked about doing all I could to get her to eat, but by week’s end we would have to get diagnostics if she hadn’t started to eat.

So we ended up at the emergency hospital on April 6 with a possible diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis or cancer. I couldn’t afford to leave her there to transfer for testing the next day so I brought her home, still vomiting, even with an anti-emetic (read the original article here).

And so began the search for whatever was happening. With reiki from Ingrid King and acupuncture from Michelle Elgersma she quit vomiting but not until the following week did she begin to eat again after beginning prednisone prescribed by my veterinarian, ten days without food. We discussed the testing we could do and I kept a journal of all her activities and made an appointment with the specialty hospital.

A follow up appointment with my veterinarian, another course of prednisone and an antibiotic, and all of the raw foods she likes best (the most expensive of course) and follow up testing, she has felt better than she has seemed in months. She eats everything, she’s very playful and social, no vomiting at all, she seems to have gained the weight back, and when I see her sprint across the back yard as she used to I know there’s a difference. I discussed this with my veterinarian and talked to the specialists, and asked what we might find on the ultrasound if she’s feeling well and blood tests and other symptoms show nothing. Neither IBD nor pancreatitis leave any significant scarring that we might find on an ultrasound or xray, and we had decided against the intestinal biopsy already. We all decided we would not stress her with unnecessary tests, but I would continue to watch and keep a journal of all her activities, and if the symptoms or anything else seemed to recur I would contact everyone immediately.

Thanks to everyone for your concern and for your donations. They covered the initial emergency/diagnostic visit, plus the visit and tests and medications with my veterinarian, and the alternative treatments which were truly the only way she quit vomiting. Once she began eating but still turned away from the tasty canned foods I’d gotten her, I went to find the raw diets she liked best and she dove right in, eating regularly from then on. I would never have been able to afford all this without your help.

I don’t think this issue is finished. We are all certain this was just the first incidence of a chronic condition since she’s shown symptoms of IBD earlier in her life. But from here I will know to watch for symptoms and will know exactly when and how things happened.

Read more Essays on The Creative Cat.

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.
Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

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Weekly schedule of features:
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And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

6 thoughts on “Reading Each Others’ Minds

  • May 20, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Way to go, Mimi!
    Way to go, Bernadette!
    Thrilled to hear your good news and to see such a lovely spring portrait. Mimi is quite the subject, isn’t she?

    • May 21, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Meg, Mimi is beautiful every moment, and I’m so happy!

  • May 18, 2015 at 8:01 am

    SO glad to know Mimi is feeling better. What a little beauty!

    • May 21, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Lynda, it’s like a miracle. Mimi’s like, “Get over it, I’m fine!”

  • May 18, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Bernadette…BEAUTIFUL picture of Mimi…definitely card-worthy. 😉


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