Animal House - Do Animals Have a Soul or Spirit Like Humans?

Updated on October 3, 2017
Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie shares her stories and knowledge of animals in her life. Is it their spirits that live on or simply all the memories of them?

Wikipedia Definitions of Soul and Spirit


In many religious, philosophical and mythological traditions, the soul is the incorporeal essence of a living being.

Soul or psyche (Greek: "psychē", of "psychein", "to breathe") are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc.


The English word spirit, from Latin spiritus "breath", has many different meanings and connotations, most of them relating to a non-corporeal substance either contrasted with or given ontological priority over the material body. It can also refer to a "subtle" as opposed to "gross" material substance, as in the famous last paragraph of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica.

The word spirit is often used metaphysically to refer to the consciousness or personality. The concepts of a person's spirit and soul often also overlap, as both contrast with body and both are believed to survive bodily death in some religions, and "spirit" can also have the sense of "ghost", i.e. a manifestation of the spirit of a deceased person.

These sisters never tamed down to actually become mine.
These sisters never tamed down to actually become mine. | Source

Have any of the dogs or cats or any pet you have owned or known, been just like another? Aren't they all so individual?

Cat Sisters. Same Spirit?

As much as I always liked cats I did get rid of a pair of sisters. They were meaner than striped snakes as was a saying in my family from I don’t know where. I am beginning with these two because they are the only animals I knew with the same personality I could never make friends with. If I had, perhaps I could have seen a difference.

Someone dropped them off on me. I think they took for granted I would keep them. They were wild. I called the pound and told them to come get them and they came and had their nets and those two gave those men a run around you would not believe, and they let me know they had never seen anything like them. They were past being kittens, but very young adult, skinny and fast! I had tried to lure them with food or any way I could to catch them and take them to the pound with no luck. This was odd since I had never had a problem having animals like me and get close right away.

After the catchers caught them they told me how much that would cost. What? I said I wasn't paying them anything. They said did you feed them? I said well of course I had to leave food out all the day hours I was gone for my own. But they never were in my house as my cats are allowed to do. One reason I wanted them gone too was them eating up my cats food, really. I couldn't be sure mine ever got any.

They said well if you feed them they are considered yours. I said well they are not mine and I am not paying you a cent. This is your job, you will get your money when someone takes them. They said well they would have to put them back out then. I said go ahead. They got in their truck and left...with the two wild cats. I guess they wanted to make sure they never had that chase again!

I stand my ground to that to this day. They were not my cats.


I had never seen cats act like that other than the calico kitten that had kittens. It was really the same just very odd, in a different way. She did not look to be more than a few weeks old herself. It was like a twelve year old getting pregnant. She played with her babies like they were toys and made me a nervous wreck. The nursing seemed to tickle and make her so rough! I was so glad they all lived to get big enough to get rid of them, especially the mother.

I wonder sometimes if animals aren’t much like humans, with an added good, bad and ugly, like us.

If you think about it, animals really and truly are so like adults and we know there will be animals in heaven. The bible tells us so. Who is to say they don’t have a soul? If real flesh humans are not in heaven then would it not be the same with animals? Well they have to come from somewhere not flesh and blood. I, of course, would not argue salvation for animals.

Have we ever seen two animals exactly alike?I have never heard science say so but I believe they all have their own DNA just like humans. Although I have not done a study on this just some basic searches suggest while most different types of cells in an animal have the same DNA there are some cells that are clearly different.

Well you know if even every snowflake is unique, surely animals are!

Miss Kitty loved to kneed my afghans on the backs of chairs and sofas but she knew to keep those claws tucked in.
Miss Kitty loved to kneed my afghans on the backs of chairs and sofas but she knew to keep those claws tucked in. | Source

“Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!”

Theophile Gautier

Even with their owners they are like children. If the owner spoils them and allows them to bark and snip at people's ankles (I use to sell Avon long ago so I have seen many) then that is what they will do. The very same type animal that has an owner who will not let the pet act that way will be friendly or simple go off out of the way. However the owner has taught it, just as with a child.

I have taken cats with me from state to state with the worry they may run off from me and it upset me to imagine one ever would, but they never did. They feared the newness (some enjoyed it) and checked it out good. All my animals have been outside ones. No litter boxes and keeping them much out of the way of a husband that did not like cats. (Although that has changed in recent years.) But like a child would come to me often for reassurance I was still there for them. None ever tried going back to the house they came from which proves to me it is the humans that bring animals back many miles sometimes taking a very long time. Humans and their love for them.


Odd Spirits Entwined


Have you ever known one animal to be exactly as another?

See results

Tom and Jerry

I only had one kitten with claws sharp enough to hurt and even as a tiny kitten he sliced me good just playing. Being a tom cat with another tom cat from a previous litter (half brothers) I never had them inside. They were barn cats and great friends to each other. He would need his claws to protect himself and I could never play with him but I loved him and would pet him when he got older not wanting to play. The older one was gray I called Tom. He and this younger one, because I loved the cartoon so much, I called Jerry. He was a beautiful golden striped color. Regrettably, Jerry was killed when he was a couple years old or so and left Tom all alone.

My sister put a small dog off on me and Tom left and never came back. I got rid of the dog that chewed all my small trees down but still never saw Tom. About a year later a huge gray cat showed up behind our house and he looked like Tom only bigger and wild. He had something like a veil over his eyes; it was the strangest thing I had ever seen. He was scary looking. Had he come home to us?


Did Tom Have a New Spirit?

I talked softly to him awhile and got him to come in to eat but I was afraid to touch him and I don’t think he would have let me, but before he left it was like that veil slid away, at least to some degree. It was him we were sure after awhile. We all talked kind to him. He left and maybe came back one more time but it was not long after this we moved to South Carolina to do some missionary work, so I never saw him again.

I assume he had lived in the wild and caught his own food and had become wild and those eyes I will never forget. I wondered what brought him back though and why he didn’t stay. Maybe he had his own family. He sure looked healthy and not hungry though he did eat. I don’t know but it was certainly a very mysterious thing. I thank God though I got to know he was alright. He was a very gentle, kind cat, all the time I had him. Even being older he was still a real brother to Jerry. They always were together before Jerry was killed. I saw a love there between these two and never once saw them fight.

Would Jerry have gone with Tom had he lived? Would they both have gone wild or would having each other prevented it? I will never know of course, nor how long Tom lived on his own in the wild. My guess would be a very long time.


“Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.”

Psalms 36:6

This was not intended as a religious article but as the bible and God almighty are a huge part of my life many things can often lead there.

Soul or spirit...which would you call it? In discussions I have had with others about it, some very much think the spirits of our good animals will be in Heaven. Others think animals will be there that we love (which the bible does say) but not those that have passed from here.

Personally I would not commit totally to either but know the bible says there will be animals. Of course no flesh will be there so it must be spirit animals. If then there are spirit people there from earth why not spirit animals? God made us all and gave out all the good spirits, so why not? He has promise us unimaginable happiness. Besides our loved ones, what could make us any happier than seeing our dear departed pets?

God is so good, I think He just might do that and why not?

What do you think?

Cats Acting Like Humans


© 2017 Jackie Lynnley


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  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 5 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

    Thank you Peggy! I see nothing sacrilegious in that belief, whether it is true or not and I so hope it is!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 5 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

    Yes we do Dianna. I am sure we all know to take care in our respect for them, but they are so easy to love.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

    I truly believe that animals have spirits or souls just like we do and will make it to heaven. As Linda Crampton mentioned, we are all a part of the animal kingdom. Enjoyed your animal stories!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 8 weeks ago

    Being a cat lover, I enjoyed the photos of these beautiful creatures. God has given us the task of caring for them and in return we receive their love.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    I wondered what you would think of this Bill. I sure did not mean to be sacrilegious. I do know we will enjoy animals in heaven and it would not surprise me for their spirits to be familiar to us.

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    William Kovacic 2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

    Hi, Jackie. You raise some interesting thoughts. I believe the soul is the real person. As you say, the body is just a shell that houses the person. The real person consists of the mind, emotions, and will.

    On the other hand, the spirit is that part of man that has the capability to communicate with God. Just my observations.

    I loved the cat video. We have a cat that can open doors, too. Now on to the next part!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Rasma, I do totally agree with the dead's spirit (or soul) no longer being in the body. The flesh is simple a shell of who we are in my opinion. Thanks so much for giving yours.

    I am so sorry for your loss. GB

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Linda C - I know we all have known animals on this earth preferable to some humans, so surely there is a fairness in spirits?

  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 2 months ago from Riga, Latvia

    Since I have a sixth sense and since I am very much in tune to the world beyond then yes, animals definitely have souls and they go to their place in the world beyond. After my husband died in August in those first agonizing days I went straight to him. I know I did and I was ready to stay beside him when he took my hand but I was meant to have more days down here on earth so I could not stay. I learned some interesting things and I really believe it all happened to me in my out of body traveling. What I saw there I saw differently from what those who have really passed on see but it is all nevertheless wonderful. I saw animals and I found out that there they even have rainy days. It made me all the more comforted and looking forward to another visit as time goes by. I can pass on another wonderful thing. At my husband's funeral I saw right away that they could have left the coffin closed because that was no longer him his soul had already been released and up there over that threshold he was so handsome. A totally new and different life had begun.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Thanks Peg. I appreciate you! Except for those first two who were not really mine and I didn't really get to know, I have found no likeness in any of my pets. Well, maybe hamsters and rabbits. Even there though were some real personalities if I did get close to them.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Linda L, I certainly will! Thanks for telling me.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Kari, I so agree with you. All my pets of any kind have been so different. I think most of us remember them too as individually as human loved ones who have passed.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Thank you Vladimir, I do think I know where you are coming from. I too have heard about plants being more than we would have ever dreamed even knowing they can thrive better on human touch.

    Just one big mysterious world, isn't it? So much we will never know for sure in this life.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thanks for raising the question about animal souls or spirits, Jackie. For me, the answer to the question in your title is most definitely yes. Biologically, humans are animals, so I believe that whatever happens to us after death must happen to other animals, too. If we continue to exist in some form (or if we cease to exist), I believe that the same thing must happen to them. You chose an interesting topic for this article!

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

    You've certainly had your share of difficult animals and hopefully of good pets as well. They each have an entirely different personality as far as I can tell and I've had quite a few over the past several decades. Sometimes I say one is "channeling" the behaviors of an earlier pet but is not identical to the first. Good food for thought in your article.

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    Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

    Jackie - What a sweet comment. Actually I did write about that kitty here on HP a few years ago. But, it didn't fit in with the other topics I have on my page so I "unpublished" it and moved it to my personal blog. If you go to my author page and click on my website (icon of a house in the upper right-hand corner, next to the button for Pinterest) you can find it.

  • ValKaras profile image

    Vladimir Karas 2 months ago from Canada

    Jackie---I was planning to comment in two parts, so here goes the Part Two, LOL.

    Life is multidimensional.

    Thus, man in a coma is said to live like a "vegetable"; when arrogant, territorial, fighting for a status of an "alpha-in-a- pack" and greedily hoarding means of survival---he is like an animal; and when spirited, he is an embodiment of love.

    Consciousness is universal, and all species are like "radio-receivers" with receiving capacity limited by their DNA and their level of spirituality.

    Thus, animals are conscious as well, and so are plants---to a degree. (It has been scientifically proven that plants have emotions too). And all these lower life forms can sense our emotional energy frequencies. (Cesar Millan, the "Dog Whisperer" talks all the time about dogs "reading" their masters' mood). And some persons are more successful to nurse house plants than others---meaning that plants "love" their vibes.

    And yet, these lower forms don't have a "soul" even if they can "love" us. Namely, they are survival-oriented, and they only pick up our vibes inasmuch as they are favorable or not for their survival. Their DNA is programmed to show affection towards anyone who is survival-friendly. That's why hatched goose chicks will mistake you for their mom if you are the only one around at the time.

    O.K., I announced "two parts" but not a hub-about-a-hub, so let me zip it before it turns into one.

    In any case, I certainly like your mind, Jackie, you are writing some quite interesting stuff.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    I am still not too clear on souls and spirits Eric or if there really is a difference. I just know I would really love to see all my loved ones who have passed, including animals!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Linda, what a beautiful story. You should make it a creative writing short story for all to read. I would love it for sure and know most if not all others would too.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    I can wait Bill, hahaha, will be looking for your message, but in case I go listening for me! That should make you rest well. I could be any wild animal in your nights. lol

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Thank you Hari, pleased you enjoyed it.

    We have seen many wild animals domesticated and loving mankind like sweet pets and so God says it will be in Heaven...there will be no wild anything. lol

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    Kari Poulsen 2 months ago from Ohio

    I do think animals have souls. Every animal I have ever owned was different in it's own way. Just like humans, they all have their little quirks. I had one cat who was wild as wild. Except when she was pregnant. Then she became the most docile, sweetest cat ever. LOL. She knew when she wanted my help.

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    Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Very interesting. It always seemed to me that the bond between animal and there human friend was very real. Now I am just suggesting that bonds like that have to be two way streets. I do not know anyone that loves another for any length of time if the love is not reciprocated. So I must assume that the animal loves back. Love must come from one's spirit and soul for it to be real.

    therefor, for me, animals have souls.

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    Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

    Jackie, I grew up having kitties around. My Dad loved cats and I knew that when one died the next day there would be another in its place, always a tabby. Mom wouldn't allow them in the house, so they always hid out in the basement when my dad had his workshop.

    I got married, moved away, Dad died, and I never gave another thought about cats until my younger daughter brought home a pathetic little kitten that she found being abused. I honestly didn't think I wanted a cat, but that kitty had a totally different idea. She managed to wrap each of us around her little paw. We loved that sweet girl for 13 years. When she died I cried more than I'd cried in years. And yes, I believe she is waiting for me in Heaven. Absolutely, no doubt about it.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

    I think, Jackie, I'll be finding out soon enough. When I get there I'll try to send you a message of proof. How's that for a good deal? All you have to do is wait for me to die. :)

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    Hari Prasad S 2 months ago from Bangalore

    Engaging article. I liked reading it without a break.

    The love we feel for others, is more an outlook of our own self.

    The animals other than the domensticated type are instinctive and do not have a constant liking for any. It only survival that is encoded in all of them.

    - hari

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    I appreciate and respect your opinion Vladmir.

    As I said I only use the bible's word about the animals at peace with each other in Heaven and of course I use my reasoning being an animal lover. Those who are not would not see it that way I am sure.

    I believe there is a sort of telepathy with pets and their owners, a mental understanding of each other in many cases...but perhaps that is simply love one for another.

  • ValKaras profile image

    Vladimir Karas 2 months ago from Canada

    Jackie---Moments after I wake up from my deep meditation I am so aware about the unfathomable difference between my daily self-image and what I experience as "self" during meditation.

    For, that's where I lose a sense of my physical sense, I don't have a body, no ego, no concerns, thoughts, emotions---at least not those of every day. It's a vibrating bliss of light, a sense of harmony totally strange to my waking state, although echoing for hours in me until it somewhat fades away. I don't even identify with that pure conscious state, or have a need for an identity to start with.

    So, quite honestly, I don't even bother playing with words like "soul", because whatever it is---it is not our verbalized concept of anything, it's something to be experienced, not squeezed into frames of our thinking.

    I believe--- from spiritual, not religious perspective--- in "life" after death, and I don't know if animals play any part in that "life"---since it's not just another "version" of this one.

    It's of another dimension.

    In this life, what we experience as "ourselves" is tremendously generated by our attachment to our body and its psycho-physical survival. It takes some deep sinking into our essence to experience meditative state of consciousness, and even in meditation, when free of bodily sensations, we are still just in the subconscious business of surviving.

    Again, I don't know how animals could "enrich" our afterlife in which we will be operating at so high frequencies that "pets" could hardly mean anything. In a total bliss and freedom of desire, we evolve on, and our evolution of consciousness takes us away from animalistic part of our nature where we harbor a sentiment and empathy for lower-frequency creatures like pets.

    It's at least my humble opinion. Well, who am I anyway to say anything that would not agree with Bible. Just using my own mind---it's the only one I've got, and probably one of my biggest sins.