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My Story – Sheckley

October 26, 2013 4 Comments

A few days ago I received a post from Serena on my Youtube vid ‘All Cats Go To Heaven’. She was upset because five months previously her beloved cat had run away, and Serena didn’t know if she was alive or had died—no closure.

I know how she feels, and it inspired me to share my story with you all. I know there must be more cat (and other pet) lovers out there who have been or are in the same situation.

My Story

sheckleySome years ago, my beautiful cat Sheckley–whom I adored–ran away when I moved house. (She never coped well with change.)

I had got Sheckley from the RSPCA when she was just a kitten. She was a moggy, but she had the prettiest face I’d ever seen. She and I were very close—she would always sleep with me, even burrowing in under the blankets with me! She seemed sophisticated and dignified to me—I always imaged that if she was human she’d be a beautiful willowy woman, all class and confidence. She wasn’t great with everyone (she was fussy about the company she kept!), but we were great together.

When I had to move house suddenly, I had to move in with my sister temporarily while I was looking for a new place to live. But unfortunately, my sister was allergic to cats, so I had to depend on a friend of a friend to look after my two cats—Feynman and Sheckley.

(Some of you will know Feynman from my posts on Facebook and this website. He died about a year ago at the age of 15—and just btw, I’m a bit of a science and SF nut, so (just in case you’re wondering 🙂 was named after the brilliant physicist Richard Feynman, and Sheckley was named after…can you guess?…one of my favorite Science Fiction (SF) authors, Robert Sheckley. Just so you know 🙂

Anyway, I had told this acquaintance that she would have to keep the doors and windows closed because although I knew Feynman wouldn’t run away (he was very placid), I knew that Sheckley would (she would try to find me). I hoped this would only be for a week. The acquaintance agreed. I visited the cats every day to reassure them that I was still around. However, it turns out that my acquaintance was not all that vigilant. In fact, I don’t think she cared too much at all. On about the fifth day when I visited, I was told the devastating news that Sheckley was missing. A window was left open. I was devastated, gutted. It was all I could do to not go crazy on the lady who had been so careless (she genuinely was—that was her personality).

For months I door knocked and put up posters in my old suburb (in case Sheckley was trying to find her way back to my old house) and in the suburb where she went missing. I tried everything. I door knocked house to house, street after street, day after day. I visited all the businesses in the area, especially food places, in case she was looking for food scraps. Nothing.

My heart broke, just not knowing where she was, how she was, if she was scared or alone, dead or alive. It was utterly devastating. Not knowing. Not being able to help her. I’ve never felt so helpless.

Around this time I had read a book by Robin Norwood called ‘Why Me? Why This? Why Now?’. In it Robin spoke briefly about communicating with animal spirits. I thought I would try to reach her, to see if she could help. (Yes, I am in the habit of writing to authors all over the world, and you’ll be happy to know I usually get a reply :). So I wrote to Robin, via her publisher (this was in the snail mail days), not really hopeful that it would even reach her.

It did! And she was kind enough to write me a four page response. I had included a picture of Sheckley in my letter, and Robin told me that she had passed over, but that she was happy and that she knew I loved her (amongst many other interesting and comforting things). I was suffering terrible guilt because I felt like I had abandoned her, let her down. It was so sad, but still of comfort to me to know this.

This was many years ago, in the 1990s. Since then, I have studied and practised quite a lot about karma and spirituality, and I have had many special insights of my own. Robin gave me a gift back then, but I now know, of course, that Sheckley and I were always connected, and that she and I will meet again. I also know that love never dies, and that the ones we love always receive the love we send, no matter where they are and where we are. I know this because I have experienced this myself. If you have a story like mine and Serena’s, I know that you and the cat you love will meet again. And I know that you are still connected now.

I hope this is of some comfort to you. Take heart–the love you shared is as real now as it was then, and always will be.

(If you like, you can post your story and a picture of your beloved cat to share with others who understand your experience. It can be very healing. I’ll leave that entirely up to you, though 🙂  Best wishes to you all. BJ xx)

About the Author:

BJ Burman is a writer, researcher, healer, advisor and teacher. All through her childhood and adult life, she has shared her life with animals, every one of them dearly loved. She is also a passionate supporter of animal rights and animal conservation.

In addition, BJ has always been interested in spirituality and religion, both academically and personally. When she became personally involved in Eastern philosophy and religion, she became specifically interested in death & dying (and what really happens to us).

Over the years, she has studied and researched the subject of death & dying, and the associated grief, particularly from a spiritual perspective, under the guidance of respected Buddhist, Hindu and Christian teachers from the USA, Britain and Australia. These great traditions, have so much to teach on the reality of life and death.

BJ has worked in the education sector for nearly 20 years, as a teacher (particularly in a pastoral care role) of adolescents and adults, helping them to not only navigate their path in education, but also navigate their way through personal life obstacles for the happiest outcomes.

Bj holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, a Graduate Diploma of Teaching, Graduate qualifications in Linguistics/TESOL, Masters in Comparative World Religions and is a published author for national and international magazine print publications in the field of health and well-being.

It seems only natural to her to combine her love of animals with her interest in death & dying to create a genuinely compassionate and supportive forum for humans who must say good-bye to the animals they love so much.

It is BJ's deep desire to provide guidance and comfort for humans to help their beloved animals live and die in peace.

  • Stephen Steiger

    Hello B. J.

    I’ve been talking to you over at YouTube,(as FroggieTheRogue), your words have meant much. I only lived with our cat, Ravioli, who was 18 and a half, for about 3 years but my gf, lillie had her since she was only 5, so Ravioli was with her until the age of 23, practically all of her life.

    We saw it coming but still it was difficult. Ravioli looked a lot like your precious Sheckeley, her bio mom was Siamese so Ravioli was a yowler, and boy did she have a great set of lungs! I miss hearing her.

    A month and a half ago she began to not make it to her litter box, the vet said she had an inflamed bowel and put her on steroids and we changed her to Hills Diet. for awhile she seemed to improve, she was getting her B12 shots every week and had gained a half pound.

    But on the 15th of this month she suddenly went down hill, on the 16th, the night before her next vet appointment she tried to jump up on the counter and didn’t land on her feet. She didn’t break her hip but she was limping.

    The next morning we took her for her B12 but knew it wasn’t going to be good. The vet told us she weighed less than 4 lbs. and that there was nothing medical science could do for her at that point. So the decision was made to put our little girl to sleep.

    I know she was over 18 but it happened so fast, she had been getting better, then in 3 days she just started to cross over, we could tell by her face that she was ready to go.

    That morning before taking her to the vet, Lillie fed her some special treat that we’d stopped giving her because of her dietary changes. Ravioli ate all of it. We wish we would have kept giving it to her, it wouldn’t have harmed her at that point.

    I think I told you about my dream, where she was playing with another cat, they were chasing a lizard, she was showing me that she could jump real high again.

    We miss her so much it hurts but we’re glad she’s no longer in pain.

    Sorry for writing so much. Thank you for your compassion and support, I know we will be reunited with Ravioli when we cross over, this brings some comfort.

    -Stephen, (Froggie)

    • BJ Burman

      Dear Stephen, Thank you so much for coming over and saying ‘hello’. And thank you most of all for leaving this beautiful and heartfelt comment. You never have to apologize for talking ‘too much’ about how you feel about Ravioli (I think that is such a fantastic name!). Sometimes I think we feel that it’s okay to deeply grieve a person, but not quite okay to grieve an animal in the same way. But it is the same, and I’m glad you told me your story.

      I understand all of your ups and downs in Ravioli’s last months and days. In hindsight, we tend to question things, think we ‘should have’ done this, or ‘shouldn’t have’ done that. But I can see so clearly the depth of love you have for Ravioli—if you feel this way, then Lillie’s heart must be breaking. Please tell her I’m thinking of her.

      In terms of ‘the meaning of it all’, the most important thing is the depth of love in our intentions for another being. I can see that you and Lillie had incredible love for Ravioli in every decision you made, even if you weren’t sure if it was the right decision. In the scheme of things, it’s the intention that counts, and in that respect, you have given Ravioli the gift of pure love. This will really help her on her journey, you can be sure of that.

      Although her body is gone, her spirit will still be with you, very close in fact, for a time. Your dream is very significant, Stephen, and you can take believe it. I have been praying and meditating for you, Lillie and Ravioli. Because her spirit is still close to you, your thoughts of love and your prayers will have a strong, positive effect as she continues her journey.

      You may even meet again sooner than you think. When you ‘feel’ her there, she’s there. When you have a clear dream about her, she’s with you. If some situation ‘out of the blue’ reminds you of her, or you suddenly feel compelled to do something on her behalf, she is with you. We don’t have to have a body to be together. Please find some peace in this, knowing that there are ways to stay in touch, until you meet again.

      It says a lot about your character, Stephen, that you would write like this about Ravioli—(a) you are a male (more women tend to be ‘cat people’ than men) and (b) you only knew Ravioli for a comparatively short period of time. It says a lot to me about the depth of your heart and compassion, and I wonder if this will be your direction in life, doing something compassionate for others. Bottom line though, as much as you and Lillie were blessed to have Ravioli, Ravioli was blessed to have you.

      Thinking of you,


  • Stephen Steiger


    Thank you for your kind words. What I have learned from all of this is how much we can bond with our animal companions. I didn’t choose Ravioli, she was brought into my life by lillie.

    I never thought of myself as a ‘cat person’ prior to this, I didn’t realize that they have their own individual personalities and are as smart as they are. It was quite a revelation.

    In the past 3 and a half years we’ve been living together we’ve adopted 2 other cats and they are as original in nature as humans.

    I consider myself to be a cat person now, I’m happy to be so.


  • Robert

    Had a vision, years ago, about 37, to be exact, of Jesus welcoming my dog, Beau, home to Heaven. He met him on these golden steps, and had a sock in His hand to play with Beau, the way I always did. That was Beau’s favorite passtime. Since them, I have had many visions of Heaven, and in particular, of the Paradise Sector of Heaven, which is the fulfillment of all of the Animals dreams. People can visit there, but it is for their Heavenly reward.
    The only way to see your pets is through Christ’s generous gift of Salvation. That is all I’ll say, but it is there for people to research, if they want to. Wish I could write about all the wonders I saw there.