The Meaning Behind Dreams About Cats
What Does a Cat Symbolize in a Dream?
The meaning of a cat in a dream usually comes down to the interpretation of the cat as an animal by the dreamer—some people are drawn to cats while others are repulsed. Therefore, as with most symbolic representations, the cat can be seen in either a positive or negative light depending on the circumstances. The cat is most commonly linked to the representation of traits commonly linked to the feminine—vulnerability and intuition, for example—in both male and female dreamers. How a feline manifests in a dream can suggest how the dreamer experiences many things, both consciously and unconsciously, including:
- The Self, the Shadow, and the Anima of Jungian psychology
- Independence and confidence
- Dynamics with the opposite sex
While reading, you should allow your own ideas about cats to help you interpret the meaning of your dreams. Use this guide as a starting point and not as the final word.
Jungian Psychology in Dreams: The Self, the Shadow, and the Anima
When interpreting cats as dream symbols, it is important to rely on your own association with these animals because different people feel differently about them. In fact, few animals provoke more disparate emotions.
For example, the cat worshipped by the ancient Egyptians is the same one reviled by the Puritans as demonic heralds.
In addition to being symbolic of everyday concepts, like vulnerability, these common household pets can also represent some of the deeper concepts in Jungian psychology, such as:
- The Self
According to Carl Jung, the Self is that which is comprised of all elements of a person's psyche, including the ego, the personal subconscious, and the collective subconscious. In a healthy maturation process, a person establishes their own unique sense of Self, building upon the experiences and relationships they encounter throughout their lives. Animals are often used as expressions of the Self in dreams. They reveal parts of ourselves that may be hidden, such as visceral emotional responses or impulses that are unconscious, even if we are unaware of their presence in our waking life. As symbols of independence, femininity, and intuition, a cat in a dream can have many meanings as to how you view your inner Self.
The "Shadow" in Jungian psychology is the dark opposite of the Self and is made up of the parts of ourselves that we hide away, ignore, and pretend don't exist, usually on an unconscious level. It is often comprised of desires and urges that we have learned (either from society or our families or ourselves) are unacceptable or negative. As symbols of our unconscious Shadow self in dreams, cats can be "shadow gold." This means that they can stand in for the parts of the self that you secretly prize and treasure, though you may feel guilty for liking these parts of yourself. Or, a cat may symbolize those elements of yourself that you hide and revile—it really depends on your opinion of cats in the real world.
The Anima, according to Jung, is the part of the male psyche that represents one's feminine nature. In opposition to the Anima is the Animus, which represents masculine nature in the female psyche. In dreams, cats represent the Anima, and can symbolize how well a man relates to women or his own intuition.
Symbolic Representations of Your Intuition
Intuition is often understood as a mysterious and aloof feeling that comes and goes as it pleases, which sounds very much like the animal being analyzed here. Cats in dreams are sometimes symbols of the intuition—that "gut" feeling of inner knowing. You can ascertain whether the intuition is being heeded or ignored in your waking life by checking the appearance and health of the animal that appears in your dream.
Healthy cats could indicate a healthy intuitive nature in the dreamer. This means that you should continue to listen to your inner compass and make decisions from your wise mind.
Sick or diseased cats could mean that there exists an imbalance between the intellect and the intuition. This means the dreamer may be struggling to remain grounded in their authentic self, or are unaware of what their authentic self even is. Operating from such a space is risky because you may be basing life decisions on what you intellectually believe everyone else thinks you should do, instead of what you intuitively know is best for you as a unique individual. If you experience a sick feline in one of your dreams, you would do well to start valuing intuition a little more because, just like a cat, intuition will come around the more it is valued.
Kittens as Dream Symbols
What If I Dream About Kittens?
Cats are often prized for, and associated with, independence and self-sustainability. However, the image of a helpless kitten in a tree is also one that is firmly ingrained in the collective unconscious and can therefore manifest in our dreams as a representation of something amiss in our subconscious self.
What If I Dream About Newborn Kittens?
If you dream about kittens, especially newborn kittens, or about loudly mewing and unseen cats, it may be an indication that you feel vulnerable and unable to get help. If you experience this type of dream, you should look to your waking life and ascertain whether or not you are being heard. You can also take the time to identify if part of the problem is an inability for you to ask for assistance. Many times, those who are most independent are also those who are completely unaccustomed to asking for help.
Dreaming of a Litter of Kittens
What's even better than one kitten? Many! At least in waking life. If you dream of a litter of kittens, it could mean that you are feeling absolutely swamped and you need to invite more fun, enjoyment, and relaxation into your life. Perhaps you should...adopt a kitten!
Kittens Often Symbolize Vulnerability
Dreams of kittens might also mean that you have embarked on a new project or phase of life that is in a vulnerable state and needs nurturing. It is important to nurture yourself as much as you nurture others.
What Does a White Cat in a Dream Mean?
Once again, the meaning of a white cat materializing in your dream depends on your relationship with felines. However, often a white cat symbolizes hard or difficult times ahead. That said, if you love white cats, maybe it means something wonderful is about to happen!
What Is the Symbolic Meaning of a Black Cat in a Dream?
As most people know, a black cat is often superstitiously linked to bad luck or bad things to come. Due to this affiliation, black cats instill fear in some. If a dreamer stumbles across a black cat in a dream (and they carry this negative association with a cat of this color), it could mean that they are fearful of listening to their inner intuition or connecting to and owning their feminine power. On the flip side, if the dreamer has a positive association with black cats, then its manifestation in the dream could have a less negatively charged symbolic meaning.
What Does a Grey Cat Represent?
Grey is a neutral, calming color—therefore, it is unsurprising that seeing a grey cat in a dream is less symbolically volatile than seeing a black or white cat. Essentially, a grey cat in a dream means the dreamer should try to take stock of what is happening in the dream and try to ascertain whether or not there is a message arising from their subconscious that they should be tuned into. If so, the presence of the grey cat means that the dreamer should definitely follow the guidance found within the dream—after all, it may be your intuition speaking to you!
What Does It Mean If I Dream About a Dead Cat?
Because a cat symbolizes your intuition and feminine power, dreaming of a dead cat can mean that you are disconnected from this part of yourself. The health of the feline in your dream is directly correlated to the health of your connection to the divine feminine. Additionally, a dead or dying cat can represent a lack of autonomy in your life; this is unsurprising as failing to listen to your intuition often leads a person to rely on others for direction and guidance in life. As a result, one may feel dependent on others and frustrated as a result.
What Is a Dream?
Dreams are a form of communication that is typically foreign to the waking mind. The unconscious does not impart information in a verbal form like the conscious mind does. The unconscious mind communicates through symbols that must be interpreted if you wish to understand the communiqué. Just think of dreams as messages needing interpretation, similar to how a message written in a foreign language would need interpretation.
What Does It Mean If a Cat Jumps on Me in a Dream?
Since cats often symbolize our feminine nature, a hostile cat in a dream can represent to the dreamer that they are uncomfortable or struggling with that aspect of themselves. Perhaps the dreamer feels overly vulnerable or not vulnerable enough; or perhaps they feel incapable of connecting to their own intuition, sexuality, creativity, or independence. If the cat scratches you in the dream, it could mean that you actually feel afraid of, or intimidated by, your own femininity in some way.
What Does it Mean If I Dream About Multiple Cats?
If multiple cats show up in your dream at once, it could mean that you are confused about some aspect of your life. The various felines in your dream represent some form of chaos in your life that can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. If you are indeed feeling stressed and pulled in too many directions in your life, this dream could be your subconscious trying to help you pace yourself so that you don't get pulled too far off center.
What Do Cats Symbolize in Women's Dreams?
The cat in women's dreams usually represents how the woman views herself. This personal perception includes not only how the woman thinks of herself physically, but also how she relates to her intuition and creativity. It also demonstrates how she sees herself in relation to men. Dreaming of healthy cats, for example, could indicate that a woman has a high level of self-confidence. This is different from arrogance. Self-confidence indicates a sense of comfort with one's self, meaning you feel completely comfortable in your own skin. Healthy cats could also indicate that a woman is comfortable with her personal power—she trusts her intuition and the decisions she makes based on that intuition.
On the flip side, dreaming of a sick or unhealthy feline could mean that a woman struggles with self-esteem and is ungrounded in regards to her sense of self-worth and validation. A woman who sees a sick cat in her dreams may subconsciously know that she is stifling her intuition in some aspect of her life, and that this is in some way leading her astray from the path that will allow her to fulfill her highest purpose.
A cat showing up in a woman's dream can also represent her connection to her inner sense of power. Power is not the same thing as control—controlling people like to direct everything and everyone around them precisely because they feel like they have no power.
Power comes from trusting yourself and being confident that you can get results and effect change. As a woman, stepping into and manifesting one's own power may sound both challenging and terrifying in today's world. However, a cat showing up in a dream bodes well and could very well mean you're getting closer to recognizing and honoring your inner power. Just as the cat exudes confidence and prowess, so can you.
A Cat Dream Can Mean Different Things in Different Religions!
In Hinduism, dreaming of a cat represents untrustworthy or malicious people in the dreamer's waking life and encourages caution.
What Do Cats Represent in Men's Dreams?
Cats appearing in men's dreams often relate to either the feminine side of his psyche (the Anima), or they reveal how the man thinks the opposite sex perceives him. It can also bring to light what his attitude toward the opposite sex is, whether it is an attitude grounded in consciousness or unconsciousness.
What Does It Mean If a Cat Is Purring or Climbing on a Man?
This could mean that the man thinks the opposite sex finds him attractive. It may also be a representation that he feels comfortable in his relationships with women.
What Does It Mean If a Cat Is Purring or Climbing on a Man?
This could mean that he feels rejected by women or that his current relationships with women are strained. He might also feel that the women in his life are hard to please, not to be trusted, overbearing, or just downright mean, in which case the dream may mean it is time to reassess his relationships.
Does a Litter Box Represent Anything?
Dreaming of a cat's litter box can indeed carry some of its own symbolism. Because the cat can represent various aspects of our subconsciousness (i.e. the shadow self), dreaming of the space where they eliminate waste could show a dreamer that they are experiencing shame about some aspect of their life, be it an external situation or circumstance, or a subliminal thought or feeling. Alternatively, the litter box could also represent a dreamer's underlying feeling that they are putting up with too much in life and are getting burnt out.
The Meaning of a Cat in a Dream Depends on the Dreamer
Cats in dreams are as complex as they are in real life—these animals can symbolize everything from a strong connection to your intuition to your subconscious perception of the opposite sex. Anytime a symbol comes with a rich mythological history, it is a sure sign that it likely has great meaning in dreams and is potentially an important source of valuable information.
Ultimately, the information that felines bring to the dream world can assist a dreamer in various aspects of in their waking life. As such, dream cats (just like their real-life counterparts), demand and deserve attention when they show up in your nocturnal visions.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2011 Aisling Ireland