Bad Kitty Chooses and Trains Her Witch…
by L. Lisa Harris
The candles were lit, as the heavy scent of incense caressed the air. “We all come from the Goddess” was playing softly in the background as we passed energy hand to hand to cast our circle. Deities were invoked, and quarters were called with poetry and passion. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a movement as a furry black paw reached out from under the altar cloth and snatched my ritual candle lighter. The familiar strikes again.
The day before last Thanksgiving, I had an overwhelming urge to adopt a kitten. It wasn’t planned out. It wasn’t even rational. I needed a cat and I needed it that day. After we bought our house, we had discussed adding a new pet to our family some time in the future, but had made no immediate plans. As a matter of fact, my dear husband had not actually agreed to it. I rationalized my impulse by telling myself that since our whole family would be home for four days, it would be the perfect time to bring a new family member into the household, especially since the smell of roasting turkey is so welcoming. Visions of our happy family playing with a cute, fluffy frolicking kitten filled my mind. It was time; hubby would come to see that once the cute little fluff ball snuggled up to him and purred.
I picked up the phone and called the local Petsmart adoption center. I was in luck, an organization called “Spaying To Save Our Pets” had several cats and kittens up for adoption, but I would have to get there before 1:00 p.m., as they were going to be packed up and taken back to the shelter for the four-day holiday. I took an early lunch and headed up to South Hill to see the kittens. When I arrived there was quite the display of meowing, yowling, tumbling and cuteness.
These cats knew that they were “auditioning” and were hamming it up good. It was almost sensory overload.
My eyes went immediately to an older kitten, about six months old, with long silky black fur and penetrating amber eyes. I knew that my husband and daughter liked very young kittens with short hair, and that hubby would have a fit if I brought home a cat whose fur clashed with our white carpet. My dear husband has what I consider to be an unnatural attraction to vacuuming and takes great pride in making each nap of the carpet stand at attention, spotless and clean. He’d freak out if I brought home a cat with long black fur just waiting for the opportunity to shed all over the place. I tried to ignore her and find something interesting, or attractive about the babies and shorthaired cats, but I kept returning to those big amber eyes, that penetrating stare that said, “You want me.”
“It wouldn’t be fair for me to pick the cat I like, just because she looks like a `witchy kitty’; this is a family pet.” I told myself. Kitty had other ideas.
After the other cats and kittens got done making fools of themselves or completely ignoring me, my eyes returned to the black kitty. She calmly sat in her cage, regal and oblivious to the hubbub going on around her. With her head held high and her fluffy tail gracefully circling her perfect little paws, she let out three dignified, soft, throaty mews, then reached her paw out of the cage and put it on my arm as if to say, “You may pick me up and hold me now.” I asked the clerk if she could get the kitten out so that I could hold her and she instantly began to purr and snuggle. I was hooked. When I looked at the tag on her cage, I noticed that her name was “Sabrina,” a fine witch name. She had been brought back earlier that very day.
The adoption center people wanted to make sure that we didn’t have a dog, as she had been returned for “beating up” a Yorkshire Terrier in her previous home. I had to respect a tough kitty and considered myself fortunate to have had the urge to come adopt a cat the same day that this fabulous creature had been brought back in.
She bewitched the rest of the household in short order, and I began to wonder if she would become my familiar. She loved the whole family, but attached herself to me quickly and completely. She could not sleep unless it was on or in my face, and I was not allowed any unauthorized or unsupervised trips to any other room in the house, especially the bathroom. It became apparent that I had acquired a fluffy shadow.
She was attracted to anything magickal, and had a weird thing going with my Witch Barbie’s familiar. She would jump up on the dresser at night and steal her little gray plastic cat, as if to say, “I’m the only familiar in this house and don’t you forget it!” I soon found that she had a collection of sacred items, including one of my rune stones stashed under the altar in our bedroom. It didn’t take her long to earn the nickname “Bad Kitty.” One afternoon I came home from work to find her sitting in the middle of the small Brigid wheel on the living room altar as if to say, “I’m magick.” She somehow managed to jump from the floor, over a circle of seven-inch taper candles, into a space of less than 12 inches, without knocking a single candle out of place. I have no idea how she did that, but she was quite proud of herself.
The first time I cast a circle in her presence, to charge some herbs for witch balls I was making my coven members for Yule, she went crazy (more so than usual), tearing in and out of the bedroom and creating a ruckus. Finally, as she was taking a short breather, I yelled down the hall at her, “If you want to be my familiar, get your furry little butt in here and help, otherwise go harass someone else. I’m busy.” She stuck her nose and tail in the air as if to say, “It’s about time you offered me a proper invitation” and sauntered into the bedroom and sat next to the altar concentrating on my work, only occasionally taking a break to lick herself. Once she was formally recognized, she left Witch Barbie’s kitty alone, as it apparently posed no further threat to her status.
From that point on, it was apparent that I had a certified “energy junkie” on my hands. At our monthly coven meetings, she simply must be in the middle of the circle as it is being cast. She bounced off the walls for three days after “attending” her first circle. She has since learned to ground her excess energy. There is to be no magick in the house without Bad Kitty being in the middle of it. She will only leave a circle if drums are bought out, and only for as long as the noise is going on. She is able to slip in and out of the circle without actually breaking it.
I do a lot of magikal work involving meditation and visualization in the bathtub, as it is the only place in the house that I can get any quiet and privacy. One night, as I was meditating in the tub with my eyes closed, I felt a “furry presence.” Bad Kitty had let herself into the bathroom and was perched on the edge of the tub with her front paws on my shoulder, her face right in mine, and her bushy tail dangling in the herbal water. She and I were sharing breath, and much to my surprise, energy. I could feel that the circle was stronger after she entered it.
Bad Kitty is in transition from silly kitten to serious magikal partner. We spend a bit of time each day working on our physic communication. We play a little game where one of us pictures in our mind’s eye, what we would like the other to do. It works about 85% of the time. She often uses this skill to argue over when and what she’s being fed. When she’s not filling my life with trickster energy, she’s actually helpful magickally. At rituals held in my home, she will often feel and fill an energy gap in the circle. If someone is distracted, uncomfortable or for some other reason is not moving energy as well as they normally would, she sits just behind them as if to fill in the gap. Several of us have felt the circle strengthen when she has done this.
Unfortunately, she is still young, at just over a year old, and definitely has her moments when she’s an unfocused, obnoxious adolescent. I was recently working a seven-day spell for something extremely important, and discovered that she is up for no more than three days in a row of any single working. The first three days, she could sense me getting ready to do the work and enthusiastically supervised my preparations, lent her energy during the actual working and served as guardian. On the fourth day she couldn’t decide if she wanted to be involved or not and grudgingly entered the bathroom with me. On day five I picked her up and carried her into the bathroom with me, thinking, “I started this working with the cat, I should complete it with the cat.” After that, I realized that no familiar is better than a bored familiar and let her off the hook for the rest of the working.
The more we work together, the more I discover how powerful the magikal connection we share really is. I often wonder why I had the overwhelming need for a cat at the exact moment I did. I would like to think of myself as a humanitarian who “rescued” a homeless kitty from a shelter. But we all know that I was merely the pawn of a cat looking for her own “pet witch”.