CATastrophe in Tahoe

Cindy Hartzell
Special to the Sun

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series.

I received a phone call from a client who was in frantic need of help. During the past few years, a smoldering tension between the three cats sharing her home had reached a tipping point. Something had to change. She was desperate.

When she called, she wasn’t sure if an animal communicator was what she needed. However, what she did know was she needed professional help to try and restore harmony in her home.

I assured her we could find the underlying cause of the problem by communicating with her cats. In doing so, we could find out what was wrong, and even what the cats believed they needed to fix their anxieties.

Animals communicate intuitively — sometimes using pictures. The best analogy I use for explaining animal communication is the following:

You are getting ready for your day, showering, eating breakfast, all the things people normally do. While you are doing this, you think about what you’re going to do next. (We literally run a movie in our heads about all the things we need to do.)

When you are reaching for that cup of coffee and your dog starts jumping up, getting all excited and you pause and wonder, “How do you know I was about to get your leash?”

Your dog intuitively saw the video you played in your mind. They use senses we humans tend to lose as young children, although, each of us can regain this skill through training and practice.

Three cats

My client’s three cats are neutered males that were introduced into the household at different times. Geoffrey is the oldest and the first. Then came Jonathan, followed by Jackson. When she introduced Jonathan into her home, it was an easy transition. He had spent most of his life as a feral cat and had recently been domesticated. He and Geoffrey quickly became friends.

Jackson was a kitten when he became part of the family. My client’s daughter, a young adult, had actually acquired him and brought him home. In the beginning, things were wonderful. Everyone was happy.

Until Jonathan, the former feral cat, began to urinate around the house. My client took him to their veterinarian where he was diagnosed as having a urinary tract infection. Following treatment with medication, his inappropriate urination subsided.

However, something in the household had shifted. All of a sudden, there was fighting going on between Jonathan and Jackson. It escalated to the point Jackson was confined to a room and allowed out only for short times to visit. Each time he was let out of his room, he appeared to get more agitated by the other cat’s smells. Meanwhile, Jonathan developed another urinary tract infection. My client and her cats were not a happy bunch.

The elder greeting

Greeted by Geoffrey, the eldest cat, I settled with my client in her kitchen as she explained her cats’ issues. Communicating with Jackson first seemed the logical choice, since he seemed to be the problem child.

I began my session with him by asking he liked to do best. This helps me establish a relationship with client’s pets and learn a little bit about them. In sharing their favorite experiences with my clients, it validates for them I am indeed communicating intuitively with their pets.

In Jackson’s case, he told me about his favorite place on top of the kitchen counter. He also shared how much he loves to watch the birds outside and chase the butterfly on a string (a feather cat toy). Jackson is a jumper and loves to leap through the air after his “butterfly.” Finally, he expressed how much he loves to cuddle and burrow himself in the covers.

Then Jackson told me he was mad.

When I asked him why, he said he knew he was locked up because he didn’t get along with Jonathan and that made him mad. I decided I’d take a different approach. I asked him if he could tell me what it was like when he first came to live here. He shared that at first, he was scared, but soon Geoffrey and he became good friends and Geoffrey taught him about living here.

In the beginning, he and Jonathan got along and played. Then one day as Jackson was getting older, he crept up and pounced on Jonathan while he was sleeping. However, this time, Jonathan being a former feral feline, reacted aggressively. He beat the snot out of Jackson. For both cats, their individual experience of the event was traumatic.

From that point forward, Jonathan didn’t trust Jackson. Having never been beaten up before, Jackson felt threatened by what he once considered a playmate.

Unbeknownst to my client until my animal communication with Jackson, this happened again on two other occasions. Jackson felt much like a child playing at school with friends and the schoolyard bully comes over and starts picking on them. In the case of the child, it can instill a sense of fear that school and other kids are not safe or friendly. While to someone on the outside looking in, we may perceive it as nothing — no big deal. Yet, it can change the filters through which a child may see their world.

As for Jackson, his view had changed. He grew up and became a strong big cat. He decided he wouldn’t put up with Jonathan’s snotty attitude and began taunting him whenever he could. The feline dynamics of my client’s household had changed.

The next question I asked Jackson was if he could learn to forgive and stop creating so much discord in the house. Did he want to live here or would he prefer to live somewhere else? Sometimes these types of questions are difficult to ask an animal. In my experience, they often do not understand what that really means. In Jackson case, he had a reply that surprised me.

His response was unique and very clear. Jackson knew exactly what he wanted and what he needed.

Read the second installment in next week’s Sun. Cindy Hartzell is an Animal Communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, Animal Aroma-therapist, and Equine Experiential Learning Coach. Contact Cindy at 530-386-3639 or visit

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