Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Familiars [Part 2]: Domestic Animals as Familiars - Is my pet a familiar?

Previously, I talked a bit about the different types of familiars.  We typically imagine familiars as the little black cat trope but animals are not the only kind.  There's the Familiar Spirit, an entity that guides a witch and with whom a witch typically has a relationship.  There's also power animals, animal spirits which protect us and give us wisdom.

And then there's imps, familiars who come in the form of an animal, plant, doll or other inanimate vessel and assist a witch with his or her work.  The common "animal as a familiar" falls into imps and are what I prefer to specifically call domestic familiars.  From here on out, when I say "familiar," I'm referring specifically to that of a witch's partnership with an animal.

If you're here, you may be interested to find out if your pet or recent animal friend is a familiar.  Many times, when I talk about familiars on my blog, I get several comments with a pet's life story that end with the question "Is s/he a familiar?"  The honest truth is that I absolutely cannot answer this question for you.  Only you can decide if an animal in your life is familiar worthy and if a pact can be made.  However, the following article can help.  For the better part, however, if you're not sure, then you probably do not have a familiar.

The History of the Domestic Familiar
During the European Witch Trials

The first historical notes of a familiar or imp in reference to witches came during the European Witch Trials of the 17th Century.  References to a witch's imp are most prominent in the works of English witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins.  Attributed with the responsibility for the intense increase in "witch" prosecution in England between 1644 and 1646, Hopkins believed that a witch made a pact with the devil or a demon for her power.  In exchange, she was gifted with an animal, called an imp, to spy on others, carry out her wishes and guard her.  Animals believed to be imps were usually cats and dogs, but could also be other animals, like mice and toads.  To feed this imp, the witch was given a third nipple, or teat, from which the familiar would draw blood as its food.  This teat could be located anywhere on the body and would be unusual in shape, size and color, so it was the most common "identifier" for witches.  Hopkins was convinced that the teat was the only evidence needed to prove a witch of her guilt.

One of the most specific cases, and perhaps the most popular, was also one of Hopkins's first. In 1644 in the town of Manningtree, he arrested and deprived a woman of sleep for four nights straight.  Afterward, she named all of her familiars and their forms: Holt, a white kitten; Jarmara, a legless overweight Spaniel; Vinegar Tom, a greyhound with a head "like an Oxe;" Sacke and Sugar, a black rabbit; and Newes, a polecat.  In addition, she listed five more familiars, described as imps, one of which was the famous Pyewacket.

Of course, the name Pyewacket would be popularized in the 1958 film Bell, Book and Candle as the name of a cat familiar, and has such remained in popular culture even to this day.

It should be noted that the European and American Witch Trials were not an affront on witches.  Most people prosecuted during that time had no connection with witchcraft.  Executions between the 15th and 18th Century likely totaled between 30-100k (not millions) and can be attributed to mass hysteria, poverty, illness, blight and other reasons.


Perhaps the easiest way to initially describe the concept of modern domestic familiars by listing misconceptions first.

Not every witch has a familiar.  Not every witch wants one, and they're perfectly within their right to that.  But, however disappointingly, not every witch that truly wants a familiar finds that kind of bond over their lifetime.  And that's okay!  Having a familiar is not required to be a witch or to practice magick by any means.  The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be to move forward.

Cats are not the only animals that can be familiars.  In fact, mammals are not the only kinds of animals that can be familiars.  Just about any kind of animal or insect you could ever imagine possible could be a familiar.  In fact, even plants can be familiars.  Thus, while the stereotype is the little black cat, you could just as easily have a snake, horse, bird or tarantula as a familiar too.

Separating the Pet from the Familiar

But perhaps the biggest misconception is that familiar is just another word for pet.  

Let me be clear: Not all pets are familiars. In fact, most aren't.

Do we love our pets and do they love us? Yes.  Do we form amazing bonds with our pets, to the point that we can imagine what they're saying and almost seem to be telepathically linked?  Of course.  Does it feel like we've known our pets from another lifetime?  Sure.  But does this make a pet a familiar?  No.

The pet/owner relationship can be just as sacred as the familiar bond.  Pets become family because they love so unconditionally and so purely.  In turn, we love them in a similar manner.  This kind of mutual love is rarely echoed in other chosen relationships in our life. That's why it's so hard to imagine that Fluffy isn't a familiar.

Many familiar relationships begin as pets initially.  In fact, it's a great starting point.  The unconditional love that comes from owning a pet with a fantastic connection to you is a solid foundation for familiardom, but it does not a familiar make.

So Exactly What Denotes a Familiar?

The Familiar Chooses You.

Typically, we as witches don't get a choice in who our familiar is.  There are ways to call for a familiar of a particular type if you don't already have one, such as extensive meditation, visualization and projection, but the most real of familiars I find are ones who make that initial call to us instead.  The best examples I can give are from my personal experiences: All three of my cats came to me outside and asked to be brought in.  For one of them, I heard him calling for several days and knew the moment I walked out my door that I was going to find him when he suddenly appeared out of nowhere and walked up to me.  More on all of that later.  That being said, they have since never asked to go back out again and entrusted themselves to my care.

Some traditions believe that you can only be given a familiar.  In that case, my dog qualifies there as he was passed to me directly from his previous owner, his abuser, with her knowing full well that I was taking him home as my own.  However, I still feel like my dog chose me in many ways.  I didn't have any idea that day when I got up that I was getting a dog.  It just happened.  It was like the universe came together in a way that we could find each other, and we've been inseparable ever since.

On that note, all of this isn't to say that you can't go to a pet shelter and find your familiar.  I'm not even saying that you can't see a picture of an animal online and just know.  Though maybe a bit less likely, your presence at the shelter or your seeing that photograph could have been orchestrated by the bigger picture.

However, it's not something you can force.  You can't go and pick up just any animal and decide that that animal will be your familiar.  The animal to be your familiar will choose you when and only when the timing is right.

And even if you have an animal randomly appear on your doorstep, it may still be a pet unless...

The Familiar Bonds With You on a Spiritual Level

This one is easy to mistake with the unconditional love of a pet/owner relationship, primarily because it has its roots in just that.  It's why we get so caught up with pets being familiars when they may not be.  This spiritual bond can seem similar to unconditional love if you've never experienced it and thus blurs the line for those who have not had a familiar before.

The kind of spiritual bond I speak of transcends physical realms.  It's obviously not a romantic or physical bond; I would certainly never suggest that and wanted to make that clear.  And it's more than just an "eerie telepathic I-know-what-you're-thinking" link or the feeling of knowing that animal from another time and space.  In fact, I find it hard to describe this bond at all because it goes beyond words.  It is deeper than you can ever imagine if you've never had a familiar, terribly frightening if you're just now experiencing it and can be physically exhausting for even the most experienced of witches and pagans.

But there's more...

You Can Trust Your Familiar Wholly.

Oftentimes, we feel we can trust our pets with our life.  While it's a sweet sentiment, and in many cases true, the kind of unconditional trust I speak of goes beyond what you might expect of a pet.

The easiest way I can point out the difference is to pull from personal experience and print screen a reader question about my rune chain.  For reference, this is what my rune chain looks like:

And here is a question a Tumblr user asked about it:

While I did cleanse the rune chain with lemon juice initially and cats tend to not like citrus, I also have several blessing keys hanging in the house:

And a large bowl of salt and fragile items called a Blessing Bowl on my coffee table where even my dog could access it:

The Blessing Bowl, in its various incarnations, has been around for over a year and not once has it been knocked over by a familiar (or knocked over at all, for that matter).  Not a key or rune has been pulled down once.  I don't rearrange, cover or move these items when I'm gone or not present in the room.  In fact, I have never once worried about damage by one of my familiars to any of my spiritual items.  Because I have complete trust in my familiars, I have the confidence that they will not harm my possessions and, in particular, any protective and blessing items I have throughout and around the house.  

So when I speak about love and trust, I'm speaking on levels that exceed beyond that of a pet owner.  If you can't trust your pet around something spiritual, that pet is not a familiar.

But just because your pet doesn't knock over an important bowl of protective salt doesn't make it a familiar.  The most important characteristic is that...

A Familiar Guides Your Magickal and Spiritual Endeavors

A true familiar takes an active role in your spiritual undertakings.  If you're the ritual type, they participate in rituals without having to be closed into the same room as you and being forced to be present.  They offer guidance and wisdom beyond what might have been available to you without them.  This means that they push things into place, or pull things out.  They make you notice things that you need to notice.  Again, they are actively participating in your craft.  Depending on your views, there may even be a true psychic connection with a sort of otherworldly communication, often fostered through astral travel and a permanent psychic connection.

I want you to take a look at the familiar present for this ritual: My cat, Zeus.  Notice that he is not being forced to be there; he is calm, lying on my grimoire.  He's also intense.  He is completely unafraid of the flames, yet he's not approaching them dangerously.  Instead, he's staring at them intently.  He's not looking at me.  He's not looking off in some other direction.  He's not laying his head down.  He is lending his energy to the spell at hand.  It is clear in the picture that he knows exactly what he's doing and that it's working as the flames reach up far higher than I anticipated.

Which brings me to the final point in this discussion: Your familiar should empower you.  Beyond the strong spiritual bond and utter trust, there's a vibration when you touch them or they touch you, like being at the brink of a storm on a cliff or that moment the wind swirls the leaves around you, lifting your hair.  And that kind of empowerment is reflected into your work.  Your spell work is bigger, deeper, richer, stronger, more focused with them present.  And it's not just a feeling you get; the results are clearly evident.  You couldn't hide that this animal was your familiar if you tried.  If anyone has worked with you spiritually, they already know exactly which animals are and aren't your familiars just by how those familiars interact with your craft.

Can You Have Multiple Familiars?

I'm always highly hesitant to answer this question as a positive.  If you've never had a familiar link, you may not be experienced in that kind of bond enough to distinguish just one familiar, let alone multiple.  Take a hard look at why you think you might have multiple familiars.  Is it because you have multiple pets?  Is it because your two cats are brothers?  Just because you have multiple pets or they're related does not make them familiars.  A familiar's definition mostly boils down to their relationship with you.  Please review the above for each animal you think might be a familiar.  Then add the following:

Multiple familiars often act like a cohesive pack.  If you have that kind of familiar bond with two animals, then those two animals should also have a bond with each other.  After all, a familiar becomes an extension of yourself.  I'm not saying that two animals that fight can't also both be your familiar, but chances are fairly against you for that.  I'm also not saying that two animals who act like they've been bonded for life are definitely your familiars.  They still must pass all of the above criteria.

In terms of the animals' bond to one another, just how cohesive am I talking?

Really, really cohesive.  None of my familiars are related and approached me almost a year apart each, yet act as though they've known each other their entire lives.  That's the kind of cohesiveness you should expect from your familiars.

That being said, for animal safety purposes, don't try to see if your cat loves your bird or if your mouse and your fish get along by dumping your mouse in a fish tank.  Those are terrible ideas.  Animal safety always, always comes first.  Sometimes, due to differences in environments, two familiars can't fully interact and that's okay.  But never put an animal at risk to see.

Think You Have a Familiar?
Look Again.

I cannot stress enough how often I see witches and pagans decide their pet is a familiar without thinking things through thoroughly.   They'll bend the rules to match their situations or think they have connections they don't truly have.  They want so badly for their beloved cat or dog (or bird or so forth) to be a familiar that they forget to be cautious.  If you decide an animal is a familiar, you'll have to take a step that many of these witches and pagans do not take yet still use the familiar term.  And that thing is going to involve you with your familiar in a way you two can never separate again, in a way that could endanger you or your familiar spiritually if you've got this wrong.

Before you decide your animal or pet is definitely a familiar, I highly suggest using meditation, visualization, astral projection, divination or some other form of insight as guidance.  Make positively sure that what you have is a familiar and that you both are ready to move forward.

Because if you are, it's time for you to make a pact.

Familiars [Part 3]: Forming a Pact with your Domestic
Familiars [Part 4]: Your Domestic and Ritual
Familiars [Parts 5]: Hermes: Domestic Air Magick
Familiars [Parts 6]: Apollo: Domestic Fire Magick
Familiars [Parts 7]: Artemis: Domestic Water Magick
Familiars [Parts 8]: Zeus: Domestic Earth Magick


  1. It feels like "Is my pet a familiar?" is a question like "How do I know I'm in love?", because neither has an answer besides saying "You'll know when it happens", and that's frustrating. The lack of definitive answers makes me rethink and question every person who ever said they have a familiar, which is not a situation I like as I want to know there's someone out there who's got it right and could give advice! It's all confusing going around in circles haha :)

    1. Well hopefully the article above has clarified all of that. It gives my personal four criteria for familiardom: The familiar chooses you, bonds with you on a spiritual level beyond the pet/owner relationship, has some level of trust that goes above and beyond a pet and plays and active and intense role in your magickal endeavors. I've also offered a variety of physical proof using my own familiars as reference. If you have any specific questions, I would be more than happy to answer them!

  2. My cat is blind and nearly 15. I have always felt that we knew each other in another life because the day she walked into our house and decided to sleep in my lap 12 years ago, I have cherished every single second with her. When I'm having a hard day, she's always there without me even finding her. I just turn around and she's ready for cuddles and petting. She knows, without a doubt, when I need her. We had a health scare five years ago, when she went blind in the first place. The loss of sight started with her depth perception, her jumps and judgements on what was what were very far off. She started having problems with balance and just wasn't her usual healthy, playful and always-hungry self. She was having problems keeping a healthy weight and keeping food down, as well. However, everything came up negative. She was scanned for tumors and tested for neurological issues. As far as tests went, she was totally fine. It scared me, especially considering how sick she was when she first came to me. I kept asking myself: "What if she's been sick like this her whole life? In pain and enduring it for all of these years?" and honestly, it hurt me to think that I didn't see anything. To this day, she still has her symptoms, but she gets around and always seems to find herself on the fridge or my desk to pester me when I am working. I love it when she enables my procrastination, haha. Every penny I make goes to her first, I get her what she needs before I get what I need. Food, a heating pad, a new collar and harness, various sweaters for if she wishes to spend some time outside and it's chilly out (always under supervision!), joint and health supplements, etc. My blind old cat may have her accidents around the house and get confused as to what is a litter box and what isn't, but those things are tolerable (at least by me) and easily taken care of. I am not saying she is my familiar, but I am not saying she isn't either. She always seems to be present at my magic and my rituals. Even if I am just praying. Even though she is 100% blind, she always seems to be watching what I am doing. I have thought about making a pact, but I think that with her health she may only be around for another couple years or so, but at the same time I have this unshakable feeling she will be here much longer than that. If I'm not blessed to have her in my life, than being blessed is a nearly impossible thing to come by. Thank you, very much, for this article, I have learned so much (Kind of a newbie to magic, honestly. I have only been in practice for about three years.) from you and I am thankful to have some help on the subject.

  3. I really like this series, really interesting! I own two cats and a rabbit, although they are my most beloved family members, none of them is my familiar (as I know of), nor do I need them to be. They just are. And as long as they are happy, I am too! One of my cats might be my familiar, but I didn't even bother trying to find it out. My other cat is definitely not! Every chance she gets, she destroys every centerpiece in the house (flowers, coffee table pieces,...) - I have my spiritual room locked down, because she plays with the altar ornaments (HORROR!!!) But Hey, it's okay, I still love her (even the times I want to throw her out *hihihi* ;) )

    1. Oh, btw, last year she knocked our christmas tree down 3 times! I wonder what horrors we will face this yuletide! :)

    2. I swear by a mixture of water and lemon juice for anything you don't want cats on. Just coat your tree before decorating, particularly around the base and underside, and don't plug it in for 24 hours. Cats tend not to like the smell of citrus, so lemon juice often keeps them away. You could also use sachets of dried citrus peel (oranges, lemons, etc) and/or sachets of lavender on your tree for the same reasons. You can also put aluminum foil under the cover at the base of the tree. If all else fails, I have friends who have a hook screwed into the ceiling and they hold their tree up with fishing line. It may not stop them from getting ornaments off, but at least the tree won't come down!

  4. My cat is nearing 14 years of age. She has had some respiratory issues and has a tumor on her abdomen that I am afraid to do surgery on because of her current health and her age. She came to me when I was nine years old and having a hard time. She was having a hard time as well, having been dumped with our neighbors who never wanted her. The husband kicked her out on the streets and soon, she was completely infested with fleas and being beat up by Reggie, the massive neighborhood cat. After a couple months, she was having severe reactions to her fleas. It turned out she was allergic to them, so we got medicine from the vet. Well, she was far more allergic to the medicine than the fleas. She went into what I can only assume was some sort of coma. She wouldn't wake up, no matter what. I was at a loss. Suddenly, my father calls from work with a crazy epiphany. He told my mother and I to give her a thorough bath. Rinse her off, shampoo her and see what happened. Twelve hours later she was awake, but weak and tired. I fed her a liquid mix of water and wet cat food from a syringe and after a couple days, she was walking and eating on her own. We were so happy, but at the same time I wasn't. My father hates cats, you see, and even though I was very attached to her he was still planning to give her away. But, 11 years later, she is still with us in our home. I always find her around when I am doing magic and I always see her watching my rituals. I feel that they go more smoothly than when I am away and do not have here with me. I never call, entice or bring her to the room when I practice, but she always seems to be there. I am not saying she is a familiar, but I am saying that she could be. However, because of her failing health, I will not magically bond her as a familiar. The vet has given her mere months to be here and truthfully, if her symptoms worsen from how they are now... I may have to do something everyone with a furry/scaly/whatever companion dreads even thinking about.

    1. The Bible says it's appointed unto men ONCE to die, and after this the judgment. There is no such thing as a past life.

    2. Thank you for sharing that. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance says, “We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.”
      See? I can quote books, too.

  5. Can an animal be a familiar with two people or only one?

    1. That's the animals choice, but It is very unlikely, as the familiar has one person TO TRULY rely on. If you are referring to you're cat than see who she/he goes to more often, first, and stuff like that, that might determine whose familiar it chose IF it is one.

  6. I really like your blog. It is intense and informative. I like the way you put your thoughts in order and to the point. Your not abrasive just sure and unwavering of what you say. I know I have 3 familiars. I could not be parted with none of them. I know when something is amiss whether I am awake or asleep. I am very much at peace when I am with thme. Keep on blogging...I'll keep on reading. With much respect, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The more I read, the more convinced that my dearly departed Sylvester was my familiar, Goddess bless his soul. He chose me, was actively involved in all my spiritual workings, would never leave my side when I was ill, choosing to lay on my chest and stare into my eyes, until I was well. We had a bond that transcended time. Many people remarked on how incredibly close he was to me. He was my protector and my best friend. He came to me when it was his time and asked to break his bond. It was the hardest decision I had to make. He entered the world and chose me to spend his entire life with, and as a thank you, I was with him until his death 2 years ago. His loss is felt far more deeply than even some people who have passed on. I will miss him until we meet again.

  9. Hi.

    I am wondering if my cat is a familiar. My previous cat died from FIP and the breeder I had adopted her from had told me that I would be able to adopt another cat whenever I choose to do so. However, I did not want another cat for two years, as I was grieving. Then, I had a dream in which I was informed that there was a cat waiting for me. As soon as I woke up, I knew I had to adopt a kitten. Thus, I contacted the breeder and told her it was time. She told me I was lucky because she was no longer going to be a breeder after this last batch. As soon as I saw pictures of her kittens, I knew she was the one because she looked almost "aware" in comparison to the other kittens... if that makes any sense. She also looked familiar.

    I feel like she has chosen me. Later, when she came home, she cuddled up with me as though she already knew who I was. We did not have to get to know each other. She is also a Pisces, and I feel like she is very wise. She's also very quirky. She acts quite like a human. She only drinks from cups and hates it when I give her the same wet food twice in a row. She also loves to sleep with me and is very protective. I also feel like I can communicate with her without having to speak to her.

  10. I Lost My Sammy (my familiar on the 18th of this month...) I am crushed.... he would not pass while i was in the room with him. I told him I would leave and let him go... he passed within 10 moments... 3 weeks before he passed Ella came to us I don't know if i will be able to bond with her as Sammy and I did, but i am the only one who she allows ro hold as a child up across my shoulder, and as a babe. i have not tried to talk to her without speaking to her like i did with Sammy ... to soon...
    How do you cope when you lose your familiar?

    1. I never thought of her as another familiar when she came to us.... And now that he's gone....

    2. I see a lot of cats. Starting to feel I'm the only dog person ��☺️ I have 2 dogs & a rabbit. The 2 dogs are 4 years apart & each were acquired unexpectedly. The oldest is a chiweenie named spike & the other that just turned a year is a Doberman mix names Scooby. We had no intentions of getting either dogs cause I also have a rabbit that roams free in the house. Spike, I rescued from an awful hoarding situation, but the "owner" would not let me see him. She brought out 3 pure bred dachshunds that were gorgeous just no "connection". Then out of no where this little red baby deer looking puppy just fell out of no where. No joke, he literally just appeared. The lady scooped him up and put him back in the house. Not even 5 minutes later there he was again. So this time I picked him up & he hugged me. Nuzzles his head to me like he couldn't get close enough. She was adamant that I don't want that dog & at the last minute her husband came out & told me the dog was mine if I wanted him. Well duh, I had this tugging feeling that I didn't so much want him, but I needed him. He almost didn't make it thru the night he was so infested with worms & parasites. The next day I took him to the vet to get help (also to inform them of the hoarders from hell). He is hands down my familiar. Not because I love him, but because, well I can't explain it. I want to say we "feel" each other but even that can't explain it. He gets along great with the bunny they've been pals for almost 5 years strong.
      Then there's Scooby. We had a local pet store that carried exotic animals & went there to get a turtle. There he was in a small glass enclosure that he was way too big for. He had this aloofness about him that interested me. So I asked to see him. The lady was telling me he had already been claimed, but I could pet him for a bit. I gave her my number and told her to call me if it didn't work out with the new owners. Two weeks later I got the call. The new owners returned him because he wouldn't stop howling. Not barking, howling. So we went back. (Side note I have always been terrified of large dogs cause I was mauled and almost died when I was attacked by a chow/lab mix) yet here I was drawn to a freaking Doberman. We brought him home & he was only 4 months old but he acted like he had been there from day 1. He and Spikey dog have never had any problems with each other, best buds, and never has he howled like the previous adopters said. Also let me point out again just how terrified I am of any dog bigger than a chihuahua, I felt absolutely no fear what so ever with scoobs.
      With that being out there I also want to add that I don't feel he is my familiar. Spike yes, scoobs not so much. There is one really weird thing about them though. They both have identical markings on their sides. It's only noticeable if you really really pay attention, but it's 3 lines on their side. I noticed Spike's years ago & just thought they were "scars" from the rabbit. They eat his food & he gets mad. They are 3 lines that look like slashes I guess. Not really sure how to explain it unless you see it & they don't photograph well. Then one day my partner was outside with them when he noticed Scooby had the same markings. He asked me if Taco (the bunny) had attacked Scooby. I said not that I can recall. Then he said how odd it was that they were identical & even on the same side. It very well could be Taco got them both with a rad bunny kick to the ribs & just super coincidence of the location. Any thoughts on the markings are greatly appreciated. Getting tired of my partners hell hounds joke ��

    3. Sorry about the run ons & grammatical errors

  11. Beautiful story of how you linked with your familiar. I did however have another familiar come to me, and her name is Star. I will tell you about her in a moment. But we also have a few other animals as well, and one of them is Willow. Willow is our Black Lab and Brindle Hound mix. She is such a love bug. She always comes to me when she knows i am upset, and when she knows my tachycardia is about to act up, she comes to me now and then just because and wants to sit on my lap (and she is not a little thing anymore lol.) As much as she is lovable to me I am not a dog person so to say and she was gotten for my hubby, and why she picks me to love all over I do not know, But I have never thought of her as my familiar. I know what she wants when she comes up to me she sits in front of me and looks at me and i know she is either hungry or wants water wants to go out to go to the bathroom or misses my son or husband and wants to go out to try and find them lol. Sometimes it's just that the cat that wanders around outside that we have named Tori is hangin around outside and she wants to go outside and play with her... i have to tell her Tori does not want to play with you Willow.... But I have never thought of Willow as my Familiar. But I do Love Willow... We do have a connection I just never thought of her in that sense before... She is supposed to be my husbands dog

    On April 2 however I was standing outside with my husband and telling him how Sammy's spirit is still around us. and I told Sammy I miss you as looked upon his grave. We took a walk out into the yard and hubby said oh look Orion is right over the house. The sky was so clear and we could see all the stars it was a beautiful night.

    The next day I went inside after going down to a neighbors and getting some wood to make some planter boxes and i took a shower... as i took my shower i was thinking to myself this is a new day the start of a new beginning. I i got done my shower and started clearing up my room and and clearing up where my altar is. put on my medicine bag and went outside to wash up the rocks i got from my nature walks in the woods behind my home. my husband got home and he and i started talking about the rocks i cleaned up and a black and white cat (Sammy was black and white) came from over by Sammy's grave I thought at first it was our neighbors cat Tux, and I said come here Tux and kissed at him... but it wasn't Tux and it was not a him. It was a young female cat that was pregnant. But she went under my porch and up to the steps and came running up to me. my husband bent down picked her up. She acts as though she has been part of this family forever. I know she is my new familiar. I asked her the other day what she wanted her name to be and went through some names and when she finally started kneading on me for the name Star more than once (and alternating names in between I knew she wanted the name Star, and when I was looking for my Agate i asked her after i was tired of looking for it, i said Star please help me find my Agate.... she got off the bed and went under it. popped her head out at the foot. so i looked and there it was at the foot of the bed in the corner on the floor. All of this after i had asked her to be my familiar silently heart to heart love to love and letting her know i will take care of her.

  12. I must say I loved reading this.
    I have three familliars. The first whilst I was unaware that I was a witch, my horse and just like you, the bond was inexplicable.
    My second, Cobar, my dog now 5, has grown with me since 8 weeks old and to begin with he was just a pet, but as he has grown there is something about him that is beyond any other pet I have ever owned. To the point where most people will ask if the dog us hurt, because he will fall asleep with me in the woods rather than be off running around!

    My newest came to me in January, Buddy a German Shepherd that was badly abused and not given the correct ownership (at 18 months he had over 4 owners!) he originally came as my partners pet, being a "mans dog" he had aggressive tendencies. I thought Cobar and I better steer clear (as awful as it sounds, I didnt want anything to do with him, NOT that I dont love animals, but he was VERY dangerous). Cobar felt this unease and immediately became Buddy's guide. Helping him relax into our home, after a while Buddy shifted from being my partners dog to only listening to me (and Cobar, maybe there is hierarchy within familiars? as the Cobar deeply respected Brock my horse). Now although Buddy is a puppy and has the tendency to chew the odd mundane household item. However he has this strange respect for anything religious around my house, including a rather shiny stick.

    My Familiars have been amazing and each one has guided me through parts of my life, teaching me and helping me see life and Magick through new and loving eyes.

  13. This is a wonderful and straightforward piece! I am very much looking forward to the third and subsequent installations.

    I'm so glad I found your site!

  14. Hi, my male cat follows me everywhere, and I mean everywhere, he is always by my side, he sleeps on my shoulder of a nighttime, he chose me when I had him at 2 months old. He watches everything I do, does this mean he is my familiar?

    1. Direct quote from the article:

      Many times, when I talk about familiars on my blog, I get several comments with a pet's life story that end with the question "Is s/he a familiar?" The honest truth is that I absolutely cannot answer this question for you. Only you can decide if an animal in your life is familiar worthy and if a pact can be made. However, the following article can help. For the better part, however, if you're not sure, then you probably do not have a familiar.

  15. I just thought it may be an idea to post incase anyone else was having problems researching but I am a little unsure if I am allowed to put names and addresses on here.
    High domain authority backlinks

  16. Excellent post. cleared several misconceptions of mine about the familiar and dog food. I am a superstitious person, the post helped me clear my mind and thoughts about the pet's familiar.

  17. My cat Ash came to me by walking straight into the hospital where I work, walking past others. He marched right up to me out of everyone and meowed. I picked up this fuzzy, dirty little creature and he licked my nose. Stayed under my desk the whole night and when I had patients, he'd suddenly become like a statue. On the way home, he put his paws in my lap and stared up at me the whole time I was driving home. I don't know if he is a familiar or not, maybe we'll figure that out as we go. Nonetheless, he's a gift. I often catch him staring at me and purring even from short distances. At first, that was a little weird, but I got used to it as he looks very loving when he does it. Just never had a cat that would stare at me and purr for such a long time even when I wasn't close and petting them. He is unique to say the least ��

  18. Recently, I've been working some Magick and I'm fairly new to the craft. Today, out of nowhere a black cat showed up at my door. Keep in mind I have never been a cat lover. Yet, I feel an extreme bond with this cat. He even lays in front of my front door. He's even layer in me, yet he won't let anyone else pet him or play with him. Only me. I have a question about this. My roommates do not allow pets in the house. If this cat happens to be my familiar, what do I do as far as keeping it without letting it in the house? They don't know about my craft. Does this make me a bad person to keep the cat outside?

  19. I was wondering if a dead cat could be a familiar even if they weren't one in life. I figured that because they're dead they had access to information they didn't have before. If properly asked and accepted by both parties could it be possible?
    And if not, could there be a continued relationship after death? A form of communication not dependent on third parties like pet psychics? What are a few paths one might go about to achieve this goal without hurting anyone?
    Thank you for your time and for this blog. It's hard to find someone who really knows their stuff.

  20. I have a question I have seen satan and his demons many times it started at a young age when I was 15 I went down town and stopped and was talking to some guys as we was talking they introduced me to a new guy in town he was a very good looking guy he was blond and had light grey eyes we spoke and I thought that was the end of it later on that night I was down a back Rd making out with my bf and that's when I first saw the 7 ft tall black cat after that the blond guy showed up in my dreams I finally decided to look on the Internet and c who he really was and there he was satan it said now if anyone knows satan as he has dogged my trail since I was a kid knows satan has dark hair and dark eyes and he is beautiful as the bible says I played around with divination but don't do that anymore one day I went into a shelter and a demon told me to get a cat I named her azriel she has never left my side and won't let another person touch her I've had her for 10 years I adopted her on October 31st 5 years later I'm laying in bed and satan shows up he's got this real creepy voice and he was dark and black he seemed to swirl like a mist he said Diane I have another kitten for you that's all he said then he was gone a couple days later a friend finds a black kitten across the Rd I went to visit her and there she was she looked straight at me I took her home that night coz she was sic when I layer her down that night I looked back and I swear that kitten was laughing and playing with her toes on her back feet azriel is a main coon she is very close to me I can't understand why satan would give someone who doesn't do witchcraft a kitten actually 2 kitten's can you help me

  21. I'm fairly new to the realm of witchcraft and as soon as I stumbled upon animal familiars, I looked at my cat and had a high feeling she may be one. I found this post, and I can say it gave me many things to think about. Harley was abandoned by her mother and was not a planned member of the family, but when she was given to us, my connection with her was immediate and the family decided she liked me most. So she was given to me, to live in my room. I completely trust my cat while I'm away, something I've noticed is seen as an abnormality for my friends and their cats. I've never had to worry about her knocking over my things, and my room is cluttered with all sorts of things, both breakable and non-breakable. She's climbed on almost every piece of furniture in my room but never my dresser, where my now alter is. I spent probably an hour today doing research on different basic witchcraft terms and wiccan terminology, with my sweet Harley sitting on my office chair, watching. There were times when I'd look back at her to see her not looking at me, but focused on what I was reading. When I sit on my floor and have important items placed around me, like for instance sewing equipment or craft items, she's always carefully walking around me. She never walks in between me and my supplies, but walks around in a circle or sits in a higher place away from where I am. There have been times when she's done something she wasn't supposed to, and we share a look. I don't even have to have a particular facial expression, but she understands she did something wrong and will run, usually under the bed. Sometimes she likes to look out the windowsill, and when she does she's usually staring alertly in a particular direction (usually to the right). I figured it was a cat thing and it may very well be, but who knows what her cat eyes see. Either way it makes me feel protected. I could have my bedroom door open or closed, and she always chooses to stay. I've had spring cleaning sessions that lasted for hours with the door open, and most would assume a pet would wander around, but she stayed in my room the entire time, simply choosing to move around me. Not once, even in kittenhood, have I gotten scratched, bitten or harmed. Finding this article, for me, felt like finding a label for a relationship that was already with me. My Harley is my best friend, my room mate, my confidant. I will take your advice and seek further guidance, but seeing as each of your criteria sparked a specific fond memory for me, I think this may be the real deal :) Thank you for your wise advice.

  22. I really feel like my cat, Blackie, could be my familiar. I am not trying to assume he is if he isn't and I plan to find out through meditation and rituals before I can say for sure. But he fits most of these descriptions. He picked me years ago. It was my best friend who got him as a kitten. He wasn't that into her he wasn't mean to her but didn't want much to do with her. When I went over there he pretty much gravitated towards me. He would always lay by me and pur. Then one day she called me and said she couldn't keep him and asked if I could take him. I had already fallen in love with him so of course I did! I've had a very strong bond with him since I met him and have been through so much with him. I went through some bad moments in life and breakups and he comforted me through them all. I got together with my current boyfriend and we found a house to rent but they didn't allow cats. He said I needed to find a home for Blackie. I tried to bring him to a friend's house that I knew work be a good home. We were on the way there in the car and I just broke down balling my eyes out I couldn't do it. And I don't cry for no reason just the thought of separating from Blackie was unbearable. So we went back home and the landlords never found out. That was almost 3 years ago and I still feel like I'm going to tear up when I think about it. Blackie doesn't do well without me either. We went on a road trip a while back and my boyfriend's sister watched him for us. I thought about him all the time when we were gone. I have a dog too that I love very much and he was taken care of too, but I mostly couldn't stop thinking about blackie. Anyways when we got back he was so stressed out meowing a lot and even peed on the bed. I got him to be comfortable again and I felt so bad I thought he would be ok being watched by someone else. A lot of times when I'm sleeping he lays right on me. When I'm sad he is always there. I haven't brought him in with rituals, but he does sit right outside of the door when I'm doing them in my room. So he really fits the description and I'd like to find out for sure somehow, but if he isn't there is for sure a deep connection.

  23. I have never really believed this could happen - I'm still not totally convinced. But I have never really liked cats and definitely did not want to take one into my house. A feral cat that I had seen for years asked me (in a very intense look and a horrible dying noise that scared me to death) to come into my home. I was moving away and he came back to ask again. I didn't have the heart to leave him. He adjusted immediately and hasn't left my side in a year. He is just a very strange cat! I can't help but feel that it was meant to be. He has never scratched or destroyed anything. Never had an accident in the house even though he was feral for 15 years. I still don't like cats!!! But I like this one. Thanks for the post.

  24. I have a six month old kitten that I knew was meant to be in my life the moment I met him. My wife (H) and I were living with my best friend (S) and her husband (J) for a couple of months while our own house was being built. Even though it was a time of great chaos (I HATE moving!) S and I did a great job of maintaining a balanced and blessed home. A day before Hurricane Irene was predicted to make landfall, J came home in the afternoon with a mewling kitten in his hands. He couldn't have been more than a week old but I instantly knew we were connected. S wanted to care for the kitten in the months until they could re-home it, but after only three days it was clear that she was having trouble. S and J were both PRETTY allergic to cats, you see. I hated seeing my friends suffer and I had to step in. I was given temporary custody of this cat, which I made permanent.

    I never wanted to push the idea of him being my familiar, but in the six months I've had him I can say for sure that he is indeed willing to be my familiar. I truly knew on the morning I opened my grimoire and realized one of my loose notes had fallen out. I felt myself fill with dread: my cat is a NOTORIOUS paper fiend. I recalled the poor notebook left open on my bed during a quick run to the supermarket, may it rest in pieces. I looked under my bed (his shadowy den) and to my surprise he had left the small bit of paper completely untouched. Not a single wrinkle or bite mark in sight. This paper happened to contain instructions on two rituals for removing hexes and curses, respectively. Since that day I started to pay close attention to his behavior in or around my sacred spaces and tools. Everyone knows babies will be babies! He will sniff and nibble and bat and chase anything that he comes across, but his playful kitten demeanor almost disappears when he is around any blessed object or area. He becomes this reverent and majestic little thing who makes it very clear to me that he is supportive and protective of my craft.

    I have never had a familiar, but I've had many pets in my life and he is unlike any that I have ever met. I'm going to let him grow a little and observe more of my practice before I decide to make a pact with him, but what I have experienced with him in this short time has been so significant and powerful that I simply cannot label our being put together as just chance. Until then, I know he will continue to protect that which is most sacred to me: my wife!

  25. I have just started to come back to magic, I had started out as a witch young. My familiar was a male cockatiel named Luna. I had gotten him from a petsmart, I stuck my finger in with a bunch of them and he was fearless. He came up and nibbled on my finger like he was grooming me. And when the petsmart employee got him out of the cage he didn't even struggle. I took him home and had a massive cage (that he only went in at night since he was such a good boy) and if you've ever read a bird care book you know it says give them time to adjust. But I was a kid and impatient to make friends so I stuck my hand in and he hopped on like he'd done it a thousand times. He also picked up on his name and would even say it. He didn't say anything else besides whistles.
    He and I were inseparable and he helped me with rituals and I honestly believe that we soul bonded. Unfortunately I only had him for seven days. He got an upper respiratory infection and he was at the vets office on a ventilator. They sent him home and I did everything the vet said plus a strong healing spell. I went to bed and I dreamt of him right in front of me, the background was black and dark but he was bright and glowing. But then he got dimmer and smaller until he completely disappeared. I woke up crying and I knew he was dead. My birth mother came to my room to wake me up and tell me he was dead. But the thing is I have a strong feeling either she killed him or made my father kill him as they were both very abusive.
    I have never been able to connect with any other animals or people since.

  26. So I've had my cat since I was at least three or four years old. He's been with me for the past 12 years of my life and he chose to come to me. When I was younger I always remembered that he wouldn't allow anyone else but me pet or hold him until i was about 7 or 8. When I started doing magic around the age of 12 he would always sit in and watch me set up and pretend to sleep but as soon as I started a ritual he would act all cool and then intensely watch whatever i was doing. He's always been very sensitive of my emotions and always seems to know when I come home upset or go to bed upset and will come and lay near or next to me and press his internal purr button and find ways to make me feel better. I didn't ever think when I started magic that he could be a familiar but now that I'm almost 16 and know a bit more I'm thinking that he has always been my familiar and that he's spirit is also my spirit animal because he has always watched over and protected me. Since he's getting older (he's 15 years old) I'm worried that my little boy will soon continue his journey where I cannot follow.
    But anyway my question is this:
    Can you're familiar still be with you even after they've died?

    Thank you so much!!