History describes familiars as low-ranking demons in constant attention to Witches for the purpose of carrying out spells and bewitchments. Familiars usually assumed animal forms - cats, toads, owls, mice and dogs seem to have been the most common - though virtually any animal or insect could be suspected. In the Witchcraft Trials, if so much as a fly buzzed in the window while someone suspected of being a witch was being questioned or tried, it was said to be her (or his) familiar.
According to Legend, Familiars were given to Witches by the Devil. Although any animal could be a familiar, Black Cats were the favored form. And unfortunately, Cats were massacred in the hundreds during medieval times because of fear that the cat was a witch's familiar and were evil. Luckily most people now do not believe such nonsense, and cats have become one of the top pets in the world.
But that is not to say that cats are not witch's familiars.... because some still are. But they are not evil in any sense of the word. And of course familiars are not given to witches by the Devil... since there is no such thing as the Devil in witchcraft. (The Devil is part of the Christian religion) But unfortunately a lot of people are still afraid of Black Cats, and they still hold to the superstition that black cats are bad luck.
In fact, cats can be a wonderful addition to almost any family. They are very adaptable, and can live happily both indoors and outside. Also they can live happily with other animals and with children as well. Cats tend to need less attention then dogs, and they are much more independent. But if you do have a cat, it is important to give it as much love and attention as you can, because a loved and happy cat will make a wonderful addition to your family.... but a neglected/abused/or sickly cat will not be a very good pet.
Cats are smart, and it is often said that 'You do not own your cat, your cat owns you.' and many cat lovers can attest to that.
But getting back to the topic of familiars, cats make wonderful familiars. They are filled with their own type of magic, and many are happy to tag along with you, or even lend you their power when you perform spells. And many cats are very protective to their human, and can tell when there is something wrong.
For example: Many cats can tell when their human is upset or sick, and will curl up and purr in order to help calm and sooth their human.
If you have this type of cat then you may have a familiar.
Maybe I should try to explain a bit more. Not just any cat can be a familiar... you can not go to a shelter and pick out a cat and then say that the cat is your familiar. The cat has to CHOOSE YOU, in order for it to be your familiar.
Some ways you can tell if your cat is your familiar is:
- If s/he follows you around the house, but doesn't follow the other family members around.
- If s/he sits with you, or tries to get involved when you are performing magic.
- If s/he can tell when you are upset or sick, and tries to sooth you.
- If s/he has a special relationship with you, but not the other members of the family.
- If s/he can communicate to you easily/ You understand what she wants better then other people in your family.
- If s/he grooms you.
- If s/he feels like your familiar.
I am now going to tell you a story that you may not believe, but I believe fully.
I had two cats when I was younger. Mittens and Ditto. Mittens was the mother of Ditto, and I loved them both very much. Mittens was a wonderful cat, and I had a special relationship with her, but she chose my brother as hers. She followed him around, groomed his hair, could tell when something was wrong, and she even got between my brother and my mom once when my mom was angry. Mittens hissed at my mother that time, and that was very unusual behavior for her.
Ditto was also very special, and was actually born underneath my sister's bed on a pile of American Girl Magazines. I was very young when he was born, and I feel like we grew up together. He used to follow me around when I got home from school, and he would lay down with me if I wanted to take a nap, and he would play hide and seek with me.
One day, when I was in 8th grade, I came home to find Ditto acting very weird. He had been sick all over the house, and his eyes weren't working right. I was very frightened and called my mom at work to tell her. I cleaned up him mess and I brought him outside in case he was sick again. He staggered over to a bush and laid under it while I cried and waited for my sister and my mom to come home. When they finally came home and realized the situation was a lot worse then they thought we brought him to the emergency pet hospital. I held him in the car, wrapped up in a blanket and meowing in fear. When we go to the vet we found out he had a blood clot that got to his brain, and he had a stroke. We had to put him down. I held him and pet him as he slowly drifted to sleep. It was a very traumatic experience, and I find myself crying as I write this, even though this happened over 10 years ago.
Now I'm going to tell you the unbelievable part. After Ditto passed on I started seeing glimpses of him around the house, and at night I would feel a cat jump onto my bed, walk a few steps, curl up the same place Ditto always curled up with me, and purr. The first time I felt it I thought it was Mittens, but I turned on the light to find that there was no cat in my room, and the spot that felt like a cat was there was indented, but there was no sign of a cat.
This happened a lot, and I would even hear him walking around. We had hard wood floors and I could hear his nails clicking on the floor just like always.
In collage I moved in with my fiance, and she had a cat named Todd. He was an Orange and White Tabby just like Diddo.... except he was a lot smaller and skinnier them my giant kitty was. Anyway, I would see glimpses of ditto at my fiance's house, and I would write it off as it being Todd.... except most of the time it couldn't have been Todd, because he was always in a different room, or I'd be able to see them both at the same time. And my fiance had also saw Ditto a few times as well... Once we both saw him at the same time in the same place.
Anyway, Todd was the runt of the litter, and he had a lot of medical problems, including being blind in one eye and partly deaf. One day I noticed I hadn't seen Ditto around much, and I wondered why. But Todd started getting much more friendly with me, and would start to follow me around the house and sleep with me, and lay in my lap purring... It wasn't until after Todd died that I realized Ditto's spirit must have gone into Todd to help keep him alive a bit longer. Todd started acting a lot like Ditto used to, and it felt like he was there, but I didn't think about it much until after Todd passed away earlier this year.
Now I know many of you will not hold much stock in my story, but I believe it with all my heart. It's hard not to believe it when I felt it and saw it and lived it... but the reason why I told you this story was to show you my experience with familiars. I believe that Ditto was my familiar, and he was staying with me even after death. I believe he helped Todd stay alive as long as he could, and I was happy to have that extra time with him. Unfortunately I have not felt or heard Ditto or Todd at all. Maybe that is fortunate though, because that means they have moved on. But I miss them both.
Recently My fiance and I adopted a little kitten together. He just turned 8 weeks old today, and we named him Sage. He is a mostly Black kitten with some wispy White hairs on his back, ears, and legs. I really hope that he will become my familiar, but I will love him and take care of him no matter what.
We have had him for a week, and he's been a handful. It has been so long since I've been around a kitten, and I am not used to their constant need for play. I'm also a worrier so I have been a little unbearable myself trying to make sure he doesn't get into anything dangerous, or hurt himself, or claw the furniture, etc. But I am looking forward to raising him and taking care of him, and training him on the harness and leash so that we can go for walks together. I hope he will like going for walks with me, but right now I'm in the very first phase of training... Getting him used to the sight and smell of the harness. Luckily he got used to his collar pretty quickly. He still chews on it once and a while, but I think that is just him being playful and teething instead of him trying to take it off.
Anyway, I am hoping Sage will be my familiar, but I am not going to start calling him that until I know for sure. It's impossible to get an animal companion and have it be your familiar unless that animal chooses to be your familiar.
I will probably write more later on letting you know if Sage starts to exhibit signs that he is my familiar.