Is Your Pet Sending You a Message in Your Dream?

In the modern culture we have been exposed to cartoon animals behaving in a way that is completely uncharacteristic of their natural behavior:  the bear wearing a tutu, dancing on a tightrope while holding an umbrella, for example. We’ve heard the words of a spider conducting a marketing campaign from her web. We’ve grown accustomed to talking animals and opinionated trees.

In dreams, we expect the unusual – things often look and behave differently than they do in waking life, even though we still cling to a sense of structure and what is ‘normal.’  It’s when one element of a perfectly normal dream stands out as bizarre that our attention is grabbed. What happens when a waking life animal turns up in our dreams with behavior that is very uncharacteristic – especially if we know the animal well?

Talking Cats

A friend told me she had a dream in which she was walking along a path. At one point in the dream she saw her cat beside the road. It called out to her, ‘Hello.’ She thought she had misheard a noise he made (“since cats don’t talk”) and kept walking.

Farther down the path she came to a fork in the road. Beside the junction was her cat – standing on his hind legs and leaning against a signpost. The cat greeted her again, ‘Hello,’ calling her by name. She was so surprised, certain she had heard him speak, that she answered him, saying, ‘Cats don’t talk.’ The cat replied, ‘Got your attention, though, didn’t I?’

My friend admitted that he had, and went on to listen to his message about a decision she was contemplating. It was the uncharacteristic appearance and manner of her own cat that made it clear to her she was making a decision that would set her life course for years to come.

Deceased Pets Reappearing

A dream visit to a client from her deceased dog let her know that another dog would soon enter her life, with his blessing. In her dream, her dog appeared happy, healthy, in the prime of life, and radiant. He ran up her driveway, accompanied by a small dog. Sure enough, shortly after that dream, she saw the small dog from her dream in a local shelter and adopted it.

My own cat, Tyson, a wise and dignified master teacher, has visited many of my dreams and meditations. One time, when I was trying to stay afloat during a period of significant transition, he showed a surprising side of himself. My elder statesman appeared wearing a Mexican sombrero with little red fluffy balls hanging from its brim – and doing the Hokey-Pokey!

In my dream I burst out laughing at this apparition. ‘Tyson, is that you?’ I asked. ‘Nothing is only as it seems,’ he replied. ‘Pay attention, much is happening. Quit holding on so tight, flow with it. Lighten up!’ And with that he danced off. I realized I was being very rigid and stressed with all the changes that were going on. I woke feeling relieved, and I swear he smiled at me the next morning!

Animals as Messengers

Dream messages, and the guides who bring them, have a way of making themselves known to us, such as by surprise, a bell ringing, or other such signal. Our dream source will figure out a way to get our attention.

Our companion animals are in our lives to provide support on many levels. Yours may bring you a message that you’re missing – or that needs to be reinforced – by paying a visit to your dream in a way that’s sure to get your attention. (We can visit theirs, too, but that’s another article.) The key is to recognize that this is a message from a guide who has gone to great lengths to make sure you get it.

Question: Have you had a dream visit from a companion animal?

Please note: Thanks for the many comments below. Sharing our experiences helps others through their own. I reply to comments in the order received (except when time is of the essence) and as time permits. It can take a couple of weeks or more for me to respond. If you would like a more timely response, please do contact me for an animal communication or grief consultation. For clarity, I have edited the post date so that my response appears with the comment it refers to. Thanks for understanding.

Article published by The Dream Tribe (July 2010):

Nancy is an animal intuitive and interfaith minister who specializes in helping people understand and communicate with their animal companions.

109 Responses to “Is Your Pet Sending You a Message in Your Dream?”

  • Hello Katherine,
    When a loved animal goes missing it can be even harder than when they die, for we don’t know what happened, or even if they’re alive or dead.
    The number 7 is connected with healing, completion, spirituality, and the rhythms of life. That it was 7 years between the time she went missing and this dream, feels to me to be important. If this were my dream, it feels like my cat has visited after a cycle of healing to complete her cycle with me. She clearly loves me and was affectionate. She appeared in my room – my personal space. She could not stay, which indicates to me that she is in spirit. Perhaps she came to give me the chance to say goodbye and help heal me.
    I would spend time in meditation or quiet time, preferably with a picture of her, and tell her thank you. Making an offering can help, such as lighting a candle or burying something (a picture or even some food) in the yard to represent her.
    Remember that love never dies, and the relationship with our loved animals continues as long as we remember them.

  • Hello Sarah,
    I’m very sorry about your tragic loss of Tommy. Having a loved animal be killed compounds our grief, for we not only need to heal from the loss, but also from the trauma.
    Snow falling in a dream can relate to feelings – water represents emotion and snow is frozen water. If this were my dream, the falling snow indicates my emotions are frozen, or I’ve shut myself down to keep from feeling them – a self-defense mechanism. Falling snow also is white, which represents purity. My dog comes to me out of the snow, we snuggle under a warm blanket and I feel happy again. When I walk down the hall I see a (black and gray?) kitten. I feel this is my dog coming back to help me heal my grief, thaw my emotions with that warm blanket. It feels to me that the kitten came at the same time as my dog’s visit, so perhaps I am to go look for that kitten.

  • Rachel:

    Hello, my name is Rachel. Me and my boyfriend bought a 6 month old ragdoll in June and he’s been like a child to us ever since. He is currently spending the month at my parents house because we’re going to Disney for a week and didn’t want to cage him at our Vet. My boyfriend had a Dream last night that our cat (Sasha) can to him and told him that he was upset with us. My boyfriend often dreams that our cat can talk to him, but I don’t have dreams like this. So he was asking where “Mom” was (me). And my boyfriend told him that we had to leave him at my parents for his own happiness and safety and we’ll see him again very soon. Do you think this is just my boyfriends subconscious feeling guilty? Or could Sasha be leaving us a message?


  • Hello Rachel,
    I’m answering your question out of order because it’s timely and others may benefit from it. So thanks for asking.
    First, yes I feel it is Sasha talking with your boyfriend. And Sasha is asking good questions. His coming into your boyfriend’s dreams may be because he’s easier to ‘tune into’ (like a radio) in dreamtime, while Sasha may communicate with you better in other ways.
    I’m glad that your parents are able to keep Sasha while you’re away. What seems to be missing is letting Sasha know specifically what’s happening. Our animals know when we’re getting ready to leave them, and want to be assured as to who will care for them, when you’ll be back, and so forth. Here is a link to my blog article on that topic, with more information and things you can do even if you’re already away:
    The answer your boyfriend gave Sasha about your absence was close. You might try focusing on a picture of Sasha and saying out loud that you’re visiting a place where he can’t go, and give him a specific time frame when you’ll be back. And pause from time to time while you’re away, or at a time that has meaning to him (like dinner time), and just think about him. And enjoy your trip.

  • Michelle:

    Hi, my black lab Led passed away 8 months ago and last night was the first night I had a dream about him. He was in my backyard playing with my new puppy Esmae and his old best friend Karma. We played all day and when night came he went and sat on the arm chair (Led’s arm chair as we call it) and started turning white and then passed away in my dream. From the beginning of my dream my family and I knew we could only spend the day with him and he would be gone at night. He was so happy in my dream as in life. What could my dream mean
    I’d also like to add that when led suddenly passed away it was very hard for me. He was my best friend. I haven’t been back to work since he died and my life hasn’t been the same. Also I have always wanted to dream of him to see him again so I’m very happy with my dream as he was happy. But living through his death again in my dream was almost a nightmare.

  • Maggie:

    Hi There, Nancy. I have stumbled upon this post because I am facing a difficult decision, and I think I have been looking for answers. I adopted a 13 year old beagle named Lola who was in a neglect situation a little over 3 years ago. I got her ailments fixed and got her to be as healthy as I could. Now, as she approaches 17 years old, she is deaf, blind, likely has advanced cushings, and her back legs are starting to fail her. I am having a hard time making the decision to send her over the bridge, and I fear I may be holding off for me, not for her. Last night, I dreamed of my parents old poodle who I had to send over the bridge about 2 years ago. I dreamed of Shadow like I was seeing his last day. My parents kept Shadow going perhaps longer than they should have. I wonder if Shadow visiting my dream was a sign (one that I have been looking for) that it is time, and that maybe he will be there to welcome Lola. I would be interested in your thoughts. Thank you in advance.

  • Hello Maggie,
    I’m answering your question out of order because time is important for the decision you’re making.
    Deciding whether or not to euthanize is the hardest decision we make when caring for our loved animals. We can feel regret afterwards if we feel we did it too soon, or too late. And the question of whether we wait for ourselves or for them is a good one. Searching within may provide an answer. What does your heart tell you?
    Euthanization is an option, not a requirement. Considering that every soul is on its own soul growth path, some faith traditions, notably Buddhist, teach that much can happen for the soul’s growth in the last days, hours and minutes of a life.
    You may also want to review the Quality of Life Scale of the Association for Pet Loss Bereavement, at That may help.
    As to your dream about your parents’ dog Shadow, if it were my dream, if Shadow had appeared looking younger and healthy, I would feel he was showing me that he’s happy now and that would influence my decision. But since Shadow appeared in the dream as he looked at the end of his life, I would feel it was to remind me of the decision I made for him. How did I feel after making that decision? Was it the right decision to make at the time? It’s an opportunity for review.
    This is not turning out to be the confirmation I feel you were seeking. I’ve only raised more questions. My best suggestion is to ask Lola. If you can sit quietly with her, and ask her, both mentally and out loud, “Are you ready to go?” and “Do you need or want help leaving?” Listen with your heart, and make your decision based on what you feel then. Getting some sign from Lola will help you make the decision you will then live with.
    My heart is with you at this tender time.

  • Hello Isha,
    This is a lovely dream. If it were my dream, I’d feel Saira had come to visit and let me know that even though I wasn’t there when she passed, we are still connected. Finding her in the dream and losing her, and then having her reappear, feels like the sequence of what happened in life – I lived with her, then left, and now she’s reconnected.
    There also is the aspect of every part of a dream is part of the dreamer. I put here inside the car – the way I move through life. Her face has dirt on it, reminding me to stay connected to the earth. I give her milk, reminding me to nourish myself. She runs off and plays with other dogs, reminding me to have fun. It feels to me that Saira came to visit, and also that she is reminding me about the Saira part of myself, and to take care of that part of myself.
    And I understand how such a dream can feel happy and sad at the same time. That’s like how love works.

  • Hello Michelle,
    I hope your life has settled some since Led passed. It can be really hard to regain our footing after a loved animal companion dies. Knowing they are still with us in spirit can help, but does not replace the need to hold and interact with them. There’s a big hole left in our heart, in our home, and in our everyday life.

    Please keep in mind that all dreams come in service of the dreamer. Even when it can feel like a nightmare, there’s something there. The dream itself didn’t feel like a nightmare to me, though I understand how having him come and go again can feel like that. It may not feel like the grief has lessened, but the fact of having had the dream shows there is some movement in your grief. Sometimes intense grief can block our ability to receive indications that our loved animals are okay.

    This is a lovely dream. If it were my dream, I’d feel Led had come to visit, and let us know he’s okay. He appeared first in the back yard, which is where family gathers, an informal place (as opposed to the front which is where visitors come). I note that the family is aware that he can only stay until night. Several other things stand out for me:
    Led was playing with new puppy Esmae and old friend Karma, which I feel is giving his blessing for Esmae and connecting her with his friend Karma. Playing all day is a long visit, and shows me he continues to feel part of the family. When night comes, he sits in his accustomed armchair, which is a very comfortable and familiar place for him. White represents purity as well as the spirit. Led turning white feels to me like he had a nice and loving visit, and it was time for him to return to the other side.
    Overall, it feels to me that he was able to come into your dreamtime to visit and reconnect, to give his blessing for your new puppy, and to let you know not only that he’s okay, but also that he continues to be with you in spirit.

    One of the challenges of losing an animal suddenly is that we can get stuck in remembering the last days and hours, or the event that caused death. It may help to balance those mental pictures with ones of Led while he was alive and healthy. It feels to me that is what Led wants you to remember. It may help to make a picture collage, if you haven’t already, of photos of Led. And please be gentle with yourself as you grieve him.

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"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." - George Eliot
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi
"There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings – we all feel pain, we all feel joy, we all deeply crave to be alive and live freely, and we all share this planet together." - attributed to Gandhi
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