“Feral cats! In My House and Everywhere!” A Dream Interpretation.

Dear Satya:

Q: I am in my house and look outside and see a swarm of feral cats invading my yard. I am extremely frustrated and anxious. I go around to the kitchen and open the door to scare them away, but the cats start coming into my house! There are other people in my house, and everyone wants me to get rid of the cats! I pick-up one of the cats but it starts scratching my arm so I drop it. I try to start shoving them out, but they’re all dodging my efforts. Then a big, Native American blanket is somehow thrown over a cat and it transforms into a giant, stuffed, toy pony that falls to the ground. The whole scene changes. The cats are gone and everything is now outside.

A: Like a proper story, this dream provides the setting, the problem, the climax, and then the unlikely solution. You’re in your house looking into your yard. Feral cats are swarming outside and, in your desire to be rid of them, you inadvertently let them in! Your attempts to get rid of them by force fail, but then, out of nowhere, an unlikely shift: with the help of something more ancient and unfamiliar, the cat is transformed into a cuddly, inert, soft, pony. And just as you desired, the cats are all gone.

I know from conversations with you that this is a recurring dream; these feral cats have been haunting you for a long time. As a recurring dream, you are being presented with a challenge of some kind, a personal difficulty, that persists because (almost like an injury) it requires your attention. So what do these cats represent for you and why are you determined to keep them out?

Cats are companions for many people and bring comfort; they live in our homes, sit on our laps, sleep in our beds, and cuddle-up with us. They are also dependent on us for food and shelter. I won’t go into the varied mythological symbolism of cats here, because I think the primary question is why these cats are so regularly in your dreams, seeking your help, and why you are so determined to keep them out.

In the dream, are you at all concerned that these cats are homeless and seeking shelter in your home? You and I have spoken about this dream, so I’ll share with our readers that when I asked you this question, if you were worried about them, you replied that you were just annoyed with them, and that, perhaps, you wanted them gone quickly so that you didn’t have to worry about them. Out of sight out of mind.

That’s it, though. The more we try to avoid things, the more they bother us. A small part of you, I think, is actually concerned about these cats but avoiding thinking about it. So what does that mean? Every character that arises in a dream is a part of us. These cats, whatever they represent, are a part of you, a part that may be rather soft and even somewhat dependent on others, that you may prefer were not part of you at all. All this work you are doing to protect your home (another important symbol) suggests that you are working hard to keep your defenses up, fortifying walls in order to keep from admitting that something a little gentler, maybe emotional, is being neglected and left-out.

All of your tools to keep the cats out of your house are not working. They never will. In order to get rid of these cats once and for all, you may just have to let them in and engage them. The incredible solution at the end of your dream, the Native American blanket and the toy pony, will need to wait for explanation for another time. But I promise you, if you learn to pay attention to this cat part of you and what it needs, this recurring dream will either change dramatically or will never come back again.

Do you have a question about your dreams? Send me an email! satya@quarterlifecounselor.com


  1. barbara

    I also have dreams about cats. This afternoon while napping I had this dream that my ex mother-in-law and ex husband were here visiting my son. My ex and son were outside riding around on the lawn mower, while mohter in law and me were inside. I kept smelling something foul. So I open the hatch to the basement and climb down. The light bulb is broken, it is very dark. So I try to replace the bulb. while doing this I realize there is movement around me. I am scared and yelling. LIGhts come on and cats every where. Big cats, little kittens, red cats, patch work cats, like a quilt, cats that looked like they had pretty patterns of flowers on them.. I start carrying them outside. they are crying.. there is a box of moth balls sitting near the house, one cat is eating the box, I am afraid it will eat the moth balls and die.. someone shouts Are you going to feed those cats? then i wake up.

  2. Jim Wilbourne

    I have a very similar type of dream. It’s also reoccurring. I just had it again last night and I just had to see if anyone else had this same type of dream.

    I have a cat in real life.
    Usually what will happen is either one of two things:

    1. I will have cats in my house that I don’t know. There will be dozens of them, often with kittens. Some of them will look like my cat. I’m looking for my cat in the mix and trying to separate him from the others so that I can deal with the issue.
    2. I go on a trip (usually back to my childhood home where my mother lives… another reoccurring all on its own) and there are cats in my old house. Or, alternatively, I’ll go somewhere strange and unnerving and there will be cats lurking.

    It’s maddening because cats are so quiet that you can’t know how many are in the house or where they’re hiding.

    In most situations, I’m looking to de-cat the area.
    In my most recent dream, the cats were in my house. After searching for my own cat, I found him on my couch. I then opened the basement door and got the other cats to leave. They walked on their hind legs (upright like a human, some of them assisting the others because it’s hard) down the stairs and then out the basement door.
    This is the first time I’ve actually gotten the cats out.

    Now this has me thinking. Is this one thing that I’m avoiding or represents several things that I’m avoiding. I know that I avoid things. But I avoid so many things (big and small) that I can’t tell what it is that’s actually bothering me. I avoid people I don’t want to interact with. I avoid problems I don’t have the mental capacity to deal with at the moment (which usually means it gets put off indefinitely). It could be any number of things big and small. Most of which I don’t even realize I’m consciously avoiding.

    How do I go about isolating the issue?

    This particular dream may be related to my 2.5 year old son learning to walk down the stairs better. Before I went to sleep last night, my wife said we need to start potty training him. That is one of the things I’ve been avoiding… perhaps it’s because I haven’t been actively working on this?

    Any thoughts would be helpful.

    • satyabyock

      Thank you for sharing your dreams and your reflections on what they mean. I’ll offer a few thoughts here, but encourage you to keep working this deeply. With all recurring dreams (that are not PTSD related), once the issue has been deeply contemplated and resolved, the dreams will go away. If you need further support, send me an email and we can set-up a consultation session.

      Regarding avoidance, I would say you’re beginning to circle in on what this issue is, but that it’s less the content of your avoidance than the avoidance itself. Why are you avoiding these things? Where does that stem from in your personality and in your family history? Importantly: What does your soul want out of life that it isn’t getting? Rather than having to dodge things all the time, are there things you could actually go after in your life that you haven’t had the courage to get? Are their boundaries you know you need to erect with people that you haven’t had the courage to erect?

      The particularities of your dream make me wonder about how much alone time you’re getting in comparison to what you need. I imagine you’re deeply burdened by people in your life and may have a deep need for more time alone and spent internally.

      Finally, take this all back to childhood again. What about that period of your life are you needing to attend to and deal with that you have been compartmentalizing and avoiding?

  3. Sandy

    I can see where I’m dealing with something that I can’t seem to control – that part of my dream makes sense. In mine, I’m unsuccessfully able to keep a door closed because (at the end of the dream) I discover that the door is warped and the 2 fluffy multi colored cats (believed to be owned by my daughter) push their way into what I believe is my bedroom even when I’m pushing against the door. (I hate cat hair, but love cats) The weird part of my dream is that the cats are digging into my genitals and breasts with their claws and getting their claws stuck in my skin. It doesn’t seem to hurt me in the dream. I find it to be a nuisance to have to pull the claws out. I can get the cats out of the room, but they keep coming back in.

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