This last weekend, at Dream Camp, we heard several dreams. In one of them a black panther appeared. Being black, the panther could represent night and shadow, and being a wild cat, represents predatory instincts. In a dream of mine from several years ago, a male African lion paced around a ballroom with a cut paw, leaving blood on the floor. My associations with lions include courage/cowardice (because of the Cowardly Lion) and royalty (King of the Jungle).
I dream fairly often of domestic cats as well, and as pets, they can represent unconditional love and compassion. Cats as a whole also represent instinctive, intuitive knowledge, careful observation, patience, pouncing at the right moment, self-grooming, and fastidiousness. If the cat is a wild cat, it will represent my untamed, wild instinctive energies, while a domesticated cat represents those same energies contained and tamed.
One difference between domestic cats and most wild cats is the ability to purr. As a human, I can’t purr (though I’ve often tried to mimic the sound) but metaphorically, dreaming of a small cat suggests the ability to use vibrational energy within my own body to soothe myself and others and to show contentment and pleasure. This might look more literally like singing or chanting, or it might manifest as choosing positive self-talk over negative.
Many cats have the ability to move silently. If I’m lying in bed with my eyes closed, I will always hear Finn jump up to join me, but I very rarely hear Grayson. I won’t know Grayson is there until he sniffs my face. So if I dream of Grayson, that stealthy ability would be one of the associations I’d consider when unpacking the dream.
Of course, each dreamer will have her or his own associations with cats, some positive and some negative. I still bear the scar of having intervened in a cat fight that was taking place through a window screen. My arm’s movement triggered all the anticipated fighting moves in my gentle and timid Tasha, and her rear foot raked over my elbow leaving a gash about five inches long. It got infected and left a ragged scar, which has now, twenty-five or thirty years later, shrunk and faded a little but is still quite visible. It serves as a reminder that I have that fierce energy inside myself as well, and if I must, I can protect myself, though I hope I’ll be able to distinguish in the moment before I lash out between those who wish me harm and those who are trying to help.