It doesn't matter if you're a proud cat lady or more of a dog/ bird/ iguana person — we all have the occasional cat dream. Which makes perfect sense — cats are excellent dream fodder. Cats have centuries of artistic and mythological symbolism attached to them, yet they're a familiar sight in most of our daily lives — making them ideal ambassadors to our subconscious minds. Look at them, skittering around, bringing messages from our deepest inner selves, and then darting off to go play with a stray piece of tinfoil (the tinfoil is a metaphor for your soul, obvi).
But while having a dream about a cat is common, it's not always easy to understand what that dream means. According to Vanderbilt University professor Volney Gay, speaking to the Huffington Post, "There are a lot of religious symbols associated with cats...[c]ats also can represent wisdom or our feral versus domestic selves."
Though Gay notes that the true meaning of our cat dreams can only be found by sorting through our personal emotions and reactions to the dreams (and to cats in general), we can all sometimes use some help making sense of dream imagery. So, with the assistance of "definitive" dream interpretation site Dream Moods, we've examined the meanings behind 11 of the most common cats and cat-related images you may see in a dream. Will this help you figure out what that dream where you play checkers with Grumpy Cat means? Maybe. Will it help you break free of that mind-control virus that your cat implanted in your brain via its litter? Sorry; that one's above my pay grade, buddy.
1. A Cat
Cats in dreams can either symbolize your own inherent creativity, power, and sexuality, or upcoming misfortune, bad luck, and all-around chaos. Um, that's a very wide spectrum of possible meanings! How can we tell whether our feline friends are supposed to signify our sexuality, or chaos, or possibly sexy, sexy chaos?
Well, the answer probably lies in how you feel about cats when you're awake. Are all your black clothes covered in tiny, fluffy strands of fur? Are you reading this on your phone while your cat furiously attacks your pants leg, then gets spooked by something you can't see and hides under your couch? In that case, seeing a cat prowling around the edges of your dream is probably a good sign.
But if you think cats are tricky, fur-covered little demons, seeing one in a dream is most likely a symbol that you are worried that something unpleasant may be headed your way. Or that your roommate's cat is sitting on your head while you sleep. One or the other!
2. A Kitten
Even if you're not a cat person, you have to admit that kittens are pretty adorable. That's why they're a universally recognized dream symbol of purity, innocence, and your need for snuggles (OK, I made the last one up, but I stand by it!). Your dream about kittens could also symbolize your developing need for independence — you're ready to stop being snuggled, and start exploring the big, wide world! OK, get one more snuggle for the road before you leave.
3. Angry Cat
Many people believe that cats are a symbol of womanhood and femininity; if you agree, then a dream where a cat goes totally medieval on you could mean that you're having some issues with parts of your life related to womanhood or feminine identity.
But even if you don't buy into that, a dream of a cat who's attacking and biting you might be a symbol of your fear that you're taking too much from the people in your life, and not giving enough back — or that you are frustrated because "something is not going as planned." A cat scratching you may signify that you feel threatened. Are you specifically feeling threatened by a cat who has more Instagram followers than you? Only you can answer that, but I think we both know that the answer is yes.
4. Cat In Danger
Have a dream in which you execute a daring rescue of a little kittle who's in danger? Saving a precious lil' kitty in your dream means you're "reclaiming your independence and power." And a dream about rescuing a cat or kitten who's lost on a busy street or highway may represent a desire to help others get on the "right path" in life. Maybe you could volunteer with teens. Or cats. Or teenage cats.
5. Missing Cat
Where is that darn cat? If you dream that your cat is nowhere to be found, you may just be thinking about your own desire to not be tied down. A missing cat in a dream may symbolize your "need to allow yourself to be free and not let anyone or anything hold you back."
6. Black Cat
Dreaming of a black cat may signal a fear of using and trusting your intuition. If you personally believe that black cats are bad luck, dreaming of one can symbolize the presence of something unpleasant in your life, but dude, black cats aren't bad luck — that belief is a remnant of ancient Greek myth, and was later tied to Renaissance-era witch hunts. And somehow, it's still the reason that tons of awesome black cats get stuck in animal shelters every year. So cut it out, OK?
7. White Cat
A white cat in a dream might signal that "difficult times" are upon you. Or, you know, that you have a white cat. Use your judgment, hombre.
8. Cats Playing
Awwww, finally! An adorable dream! If you dream of kitties frolicking, chasing each other, or playing with that little ball-on-a-spring-thingie, you may need a better outlet for your own playful nature. Get a ball of yarn or a laser pointer and let it all hang out, man.
9. Identical Twin Cats
See two identical cats rolling up on you? Don't freak out — this isn't some cat-based version of The Shining. Dreaming of two cats who look exactly the same means that you may need to find better balance between your own needs and the needs of your friends, family, and work — they're a reminder to "remember to take care of yourself and not always worry about others."
10. Large Group Of Cats
A dream about a large group of cats could mean one of two things: in this dream reality, you've slathered your legs in tuna fish for reasons unknown; or, more likely, you need to introduce a little more focus into your life. A mass of felines running amok in your dreamscape can often symbolize that "there is too much going on in your life that you are losing sight of what's important."
11. Kitty Litter Box
If you're dreaming of a litter box: first off, I am sorry. Also, seeing a kitty toilet in your dreams may symbolize "shameful thoughts" or shame you're feeling over a thought you had in your waking life. So, I guess I am sorry twice.
Images: Giphy (11)